In music theory, a natural (♮) is a musical symbol that cancels previous key signature or other accidental markings on a note, indicating that the note is at its unaltered pitch.[1]

Natural (music)
In UnicodeU+266E
(HTML : &#9838)


The natural symbol can be used as an accidental to cancel sharps or flats on an individual note. It may also be shown in a key signature to indicate that sharps or flats in a previous key signature are cancelled.

A note is referred to as 'natural' when the letter-name note (A, B, C, D, E, F, or G) is not modified by flats or sharps from a key signature or an accidental. These notes are represented by the white keys on the keyboard of a piano or organ.

The keys of A minor or C major and their scales contain all natural notes, whereas other scales and keys have at least one sharp or flat.

F, C, E, B, and most notes inflected by double-flats and double-sharps correspond in pitch with natural notes but are regarded as enharmonic equivalents of the natural note.

The natural sign is derived from a square b used to denote B in medieval music (in contrast with the round b denoting B, which became the flat symbol). The Unicode character MUSIC NATURAL SIGN '♮' (U+266E) should display as a natural sign. Its HTML entity is ♮.


In musical notation, a natural sign () cancels a flat or sharp from either a preceding note or from the key signature. As a temporary accidental, the natural symbol is written to the left of the note head and applies to any subsequent notes of the same pitch through the remainder of the measure.

 { \omit Score.TimeSignature \relative c'' { b!1 ))

Other accidentals such as a flat (♭) or a sharp (♯) are used to alter the pitch of a note with a previous natural sign.

Double natural

A double natural is a symbol that has two naturals (♮♮).[2] It may be used to cancel a double flat or double sharp but in modern notation a single natural sign (♮) is acceptable.[2]

\omit Score.TimeSignature \relative c'' {
  beses2_"Older Practice" \tweak Accidental.restore-first ##t b bisis \tweak Accidental.restore-first ##t b beses_"Modern Practice" b bisis b
} }

Similarly, a simple ♭ or ♯ without any natural sign can be used to indicate that a double flat or double sharp has been changed to single(a flat or sharp), but older notation may use ♮♭, ♭♮, ♮♯, or ♯♮ instead.

\omit Score.TimeSignature \relative c'' {
  beses2_"Older Practice" bes bisis2 bis \accidentalStyle modern beses_"Modern Practice" bes bisis2 bis
} }


  1. ^ Benward & Saker (2003). Music in Theory and Practice, Vol 1, p.6. McGraw-Hill, Seventh edition. "Natural ()—cancels any previous sharp or flat and returns to the natural, or unaltered, pitch."
  2. ^ a b "OnMusic Dictionary - Term". Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  3. ^ Max Reger: Clarinet Sonata No.2 (Complete Score), pp. 33.: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
  4. ^ Wen, Eric (2011). "E-quadruple flat: Tovey's Whimsy". Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie (in German). 8 (1): 77–89. doi:10.31751/612.
  5. ^ Chopin: Études No. 9, Op.10 (C.F. Peters), pp. 429.: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project