What is the phonetic pronunciation of every note name in German? So, all three iterations of every letter (flat, natural, and sharp) including E#, Cb, etc.

Also, how do you pronounce the German note names “B” and “H”? Is there a German equivalent for the English “B#” (such as “H#”?) and how would that be pronounced phonetically?

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    – Jan
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 15:34
  • I wonder what the German equivalents of quarter tones, i.e. “half sharp” or “half flat”, are. Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 0:41

2 Answers 2


For those notes that are a letter of the alphabet, e.g. C, A, E, H, B (yes, that one, too) they are pronounced as the letter itself would be. Note, that English B is called H in German and English B flat is German B.

A sharp is rendered as the syllable -is added to the letter name. So C♯, D♯, E♯ would be cis, dis, eis. Note that eis is pronounced e-is, not like Eis (ice). His is no exception.

A flat is rendered as es appended to the letter’s name. The exceptions are A, E and H, which are As, Es and B respectively.

Double sharp is -isis appended to the letter. E.g. Fisis. Likewise, double flat is -eses. A double flat would be Ases, B double flat is Heses.

-Es is [ɛs], -is is [ɪs]; the double forms are twice that.

By themself, ♯ is called Kreuz and 𝄪 (probably not displayable) is a Doppelkreuz, ♭ is called B and ♭♭ is Doppel-B. Note the possible confusion that may arise from both ♭ (the sign) and B (the note B♭ in English) sharing the same name.

  • 7
    We usually say "Kreuz" and "B", which can be a little bit confusing in the latter case because it's also the name of a note. It is usually clear from context, however. "Warum hat der Trompeter Angst vor dem Friedhof? Wegen der vielen Kreuze!" is a popular musician's joke showing usage of the word "Kreuz". Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 19:45
  • I think, English b double flat is German Bes (instead of Heses), since English b flat is German B, isn't it?
    – Jonathan Herrera
    Commented Jan 15, 2021 at 11:43
  • @jonathan.scholbach You can think that, but you would be wrong. At least according to my trumpet teacher (who made a point out of it being Heses back when I was in high school).
    – Jan
    Commented Jan 17, 2021 at 11:53
  • 2
    @Jan Ah ja, you are right: de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doppel-b: H hingegen wird zu Heses, nicht etwa zu Bes.
    – Jonathan Herrera
    Commented Jan 17, 2021 at 11:57

The German sequence of the basic notes (white keys on piano) is: C, D, E, F, G, A, H.

The system is simple. There is no »flat« or »sharp«, just the suffixes »-es« and »-is«. And you have to keep in mind, that the German name of the English B is H. There are five exceptions, they are written in boldface.

I will not talk about enharmonic, I guess you know about it.

  • C Note
    • C♭♭: written as »Ceses«, spoken: [t͡sɛsɛs]
    • C♭: »Ces«, [t͡sɛs]
    • C: »C«, [t͡seː]
    • C♯: »Cis«, [t͡sɪs]
    • C♯♯: »Cisis«, [t͡sɪsɪs]
  • D Note
    • D♭♭: »Deses«, [dɛsɛs]
    • D♭: »Des«, [dɛs]
    • D: »D«, [deː]
    • D♯: »Dis«, [dɪs]
    • D♯♯: »Disis«, [dɪsɪs]
  • E Note
    • E♭♭: »Eses«, [ɛsɛs]
    • E♭: »Es«, [ɛs]
    • E: »E«, [eː]
    • E♯: »Eis«, [eːɪs] (do not mix up with [aɪ̯s]! Later is the pronunciation of the German word for ice or ice creme, not for the music note)
    • E♯♯: »Eisis«, [eːɪsɪs]
  • F Note
    • F♭♭: »Feses«, [fɛsɛs]
    • F♭: »Fes«, [fɛs]
    • F: »F«, [ɛf]
    • F♯: »Fis«, [fɪs]
    • F♯♯: »Fisis«, [fɪsɪs]
  • G Note
    • G♭♭: »Geses«, [ɡɛsɛs]
    • G♭: »Ges«, [ɡɛs]
    • G: »G«, [ɡeː]
    • G♯: »Gis«, [ɡɪs]
    • G♯♯: »Gisis«, [ɡɪsɪs]
  • A Note
    • A♭♭: »Asas«, [asas]
    • A♭: »As«, [as]
    • A: »A«, [aː]
    • A♯: »Ais«, [aːɪs]
    • A♯♯: »Aisis«, [aːɪsɪs]
  • B Note
    • B♭♭: »Heses«, [hɛsɛs]
    • B♭: »B«, [beː]
    • B: »H«, [haː]
    • B♯: »His«, [hɪs]
    • B♯♯: »Hisis«, [hɪsɪs]


The sign ♯ (that looks very similar to the sign #, but is different to it), which is written in a staff before a note's head to mark it as being a halftone higher, is called »Kreuz« ([kʀɔɪ̯ʦ]). This sign can also be part of a staffs key signature.

The sign 𝄪 before a note's head marks it as two halftones higher and is named »Doppelkreuz« ([ˈdɔpl̩ˌkʀɔɪ̯ʦ]) in German. This sign can not be part of a staffs key signature.

To mark a note as one halftone lower, you use the sign ♭ before a notes head or in the key signature. Since it looks like the letter b (from which it is different!) it is named »B« ([beː]) in German.

To make a note two halftones lower you use the sign 𝄫 (before a notes head only, never as part of a key signature). It's German name is »Doppel-B« ([ˈdɔpl̩ˌbeː].

To cancel all four of these signs there is the sign ♮ (which also looks similar to #, so be careful with that!). Its German name is »Auflösungszeichen« ([ˈaʊ̯fˌløːzʊŋsˈʦaɪ̯çn̩]]) (verbatim: annulment-sign). But be careful: This sign has barely nothing to do with »resolution« (of a dissonant accord into a consonant accord), with is »Auflösung« in German too.

  • 1
    As far as I know, in Germany at least, C♭ is pronounced [ʦɛs] (not [ʦes]) and C♯ is pronounced [ʦɪs] (not [ʦis]), etc. Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 22:51

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