by Tamsyn

December 22, 2015

Introducing a theory game to teach sharps and flats.

This printable is only available to our members right now.

Sharps and Flatters is a simple printable board game based on chutes and ladders.  It teaches/reinforces sharps and flats, as well as intervals.

Game components:  Printable board game, printable game cards (32 printed on two sheets).  Small game tokens, 1 per player, such as buttons, pony beads, or pebbles (not included).

Instructions for preparing the game:  Print out the gameboard on cardstock, or regular paper.  Laminate for best durability.  Print the playing cards on cardstock so the players will not be able to see through the paper, as well as better durability.  Cut the cards out and laminate if desired.  Shuffle and place near the game-board, face down.

Sharps and Flatters game board

Gameplay:  All players begin on the lowest "C" in the bottom, left-hand position.  The youngest player goes first and play proceeds clockwise.  The player draw the top card and follows the instructions on the card.  If the player draw the "flat" card, they remain in the same place and the next player continues the game. 

If the player draws a number they move forward that many spaces, counting only the color they are on, in this case white.  Example, if the player is on "C", and they draw a "5", they would move forward 5 white-note spaces, landing on "A".  On subsequent turns, if a player is on a black note and draws a number, they will move forward that many spaces, counting only black noes.

The number cards are not the same as interval cards.  With the number cards, players move forward beginning their count on the first white or black note in front of them.  Players will move further using number cards when they are on black notes.

Interval cards, on the other hand, specify a musical movement observable on the gameboard or hear-able on the piano or other instrument.  Half-steps are counted by moving forward using white AND black notes. If a player is on a "C", and draws the P5 card, they will move up a perfect 5th, seven half-steps, landing on "G".  Sometimes the interval cards will leave the player on a different color.

When a player reaches the end of a row, they move up to the next row beginning on the far left.

Arrow to go back to first of line above

Slide and Ladders:  When a player lands on the bottom rung of a ladder, they get to "climb" up a row, landing on the note above.  The ladders represent sharps.  For example, if the player lands at the bottom of the first ladder, a "D", they will be climbing up to a "D#".

When a player lands at the top of a slide, they must "slide" down a row, landing a the bottom.  The slides represent flats.  For example, if the player lands at the top of the first slide, landing on an "A", they will slide down to an "Ab".

Winning the game:  When a player would land beyond the top right note (a "B") if the gameboard were bigger, that player is the winner!

About the author 


My name is Tamsyn and I love music. I got my bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from USU. I spent many years teaching private piano lessons until I had children of my own. I have attended several children workshops on how to teach children music. I really like the Kodaly method, but have adapted a lot of different techniques for my own children.

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  1. Hi!
    I tried downloading the files but they both come up with an error message. Would you mind emailing the pdf? Thank you! I can’t wait to use this with my students! 🙂

    1. Alicia, Sorry that you had problems getting the file. I’ve had problems with people downloading the files with the links to Amazon s3. It might have to do with our caching tool, or it could be that you just let the browser page open for too long and the link expired. If this happens again, try refreshing the page and see if the link works then. I’m going to be doing some things to change this in the future.

  2. Bom dia!

    Sou professora no Brasil. Tentei baixar os arquivos e recebo mensagem de erro… Que pena… Gostei tanto da sua ideia! Seria possivel mandar seus arquivos por e-mail? Estou ansiosa para usa-lo com meus alunos… Obrigada. Meire

    Good day!

    I am a teacher in Brazil. I tried to download the files and get error message … Too bad … I liked both of your idea! It would be possible to send your files by email? I look forward to using it with my students … Thank you. Meire

  3. Hi Tamsyn,
    The download doesn’t work – i’ve tried using different browsers, on different days, refresh etc. This is the error I get:

    This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below.

    Request has expired


  4. I’m so sorry, I am not sure what is going on with this file, but I have changed the hosting location so it shouldn’t be a problem. We are having problems with AWS. I will also e-mail the files to everyone who commented. I really appreciate the feedback. I hope you enjoy the printables!


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