What is the difference between G♯ major and A♭ major? Why do they look different on sheet music?

• Jul 27, 2023 - 10:53

For example, there is "𝄪♯♯♯♯♯♯♯♯" in G♯ major and "♭♭♭♭" in A♭ major. This is the symbol that looks like this on the score.
Why is there an extra double rising mark?
(The material comes from the Internet for image)

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You are asking a question that is a music theory question and that requires a complex answer, too complex to go into here.

If you are really interested, take a music theory course. :)

G# major is not a thing in standard music notation. I mean, in theory one could create a custom key signature and write that, if you hate musicians and want to hear your music performed poorly :-). But I don't recommend it. It would be like printing your music with gray ink on slightly less gray paper and asking people to read that - possible with effort, but pointlessly difficult.

For the reason why there is a double-sharp:

“In naming the notes of a scale, it is customary that each scale degree be assigned its own letter name: for example, the A major scale is written A–B–C♯–D–E–F♯–G♯ rather than A–B–D♭–D–E–Edouble sharp–G♯. However, it is impossible to do this in scales that contain more than seven notes, at least in the English-language nomenclature system.”

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scale_(music)

As for the G# major, there actually is an instance of it in published music, notably a fugue by J.S. Bach, as shown in the 5:37 part of the video linked below.

You can watch 3:00-6:52 part of this Adam Neely's Q&A video for his insight on this matter, which I find useful.


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