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Chromatic symbols

September 11, 2012


The basis of our tonal system is the diatonic scale: A, B, C, D, E, F, G. The note H, however, had two different forms as early as the end of the first millennium: b rotundum (also b molle or soft b) and b quadratum (b durum or hard b). The first of these was fixed as the note name B by the 16th century printers in Germany, and the latter was named H, perhaps because of its form, which resembled the letter h.


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