Sharps, Flats and Naturals Game

Posted by on December 12, 2011

I had an awesome dream one night, that I was playing a game involving sharps, flats and naturals with some of my students.  And we were having fun!  The annoying thing is that I couldn’t remember the rules to the game.  Isn’t that always the way? ;D

After a little procrastination, here are the cards: Sharps, Flats and Naturals playing cards and here are the backs of the cards: Sharps, Flats and Naturals playing card backs

The logic behind this game is that it is a great note revision game as well as teaching that a natural will cancel out a sharp or flat.


How to play the long version:-

  1. Give each player 7 cards. Put the rest in a pile in the middle.
  2. Check through your cards to see if you have any ‘pairs’.  A pair will be a flat or a sharp, teamed up with its natural.  All pairs need to be cancelled out ie E Flat needs an E Natural to count as a ‘pair’.  Put these pairs aside.
  3. The aim of the game is to get rid of all the cards in your hand.
  4. Player one asks the player to his left if they have e.g an “E”. If that player has an ‘E’ (either on the first line on the treble clef, or in the top space), they need to hand over all the ‘E’s that they have including E Flats, E Sharps or E Naturals.  If the player doesn’t have any ‘E’s, Player One has to pick up a card from the middle.
  5. Keep playing until someone pairs up all their cards.

I think this is similar to Old Maid?


How to play the shortened version:-

- Same rules to above except pull out one octave of cards only to use.

How to play En-harmonic Snap:-

  1. Divide all the cards up amongst the players
  2. The aim is to ‘snap’ on the paired sharps and naturals, flats and naturals, or en-harmonics (ie E Flat and F Sharp or B Flat and A Sharp).


You could use these cards as flash cards as well, and pull some out randomly and ask your student to play through them.

I did write these cards out for violin students, but I have used them with piano students to revise naturals, and they love the game too.  Those leger line notes above the staff are good for them to read ;D


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