ABC Music Notation: Accidentals

by John Chambers
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Ordinary keyboards, and the most common computer character sets, don't include accidentals, so ABC uses a scheme that works for the ASCII character set:

^GG sharp
=GG natural
_GG flat
Note that these are somewhat pictorial, since ^ is a "high" letter and _ is a "low letter".

There's not much more to it, except that there are a few ABC programs that also accept a notation for quarter-tone accidentals. These are written with a backslash before the accidental:

\^GG half-sharp
\_GG half-flat
People dealing with music that uses quarter tones should check to see if a tool handles this notation. Note that there are several different ways to indicate quarter tones in staff notation, and different formatting tools may draw different characters. There may be more development of this idea in the future, so ask around if you're interested.

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Copyright 2001, 2002 by John Chambers