Take the 2-minute tour ×
Musical Practice & Performance Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Here is a picture of the sheet music (Eine Klein Nachtmusik, movement 1). The odd accidental has a red freehand circle around it.

enter image description here

What does this natural sign mean? As you can see, the key is G Major and the C is left natural in G Major. There is no C sharp in the previous measures anywhere near (the last was in measure 54, in the previous section), so I doubt it's a grace note. This is also found in the fourth movement, measures 86. enter image description here.

Again, here, there are no accidentals on B's or C's for quite a few measures. Any ideas what these accidentals could mean?

Update

Don't want to spoil the fun, but this could be some sort of error (not saying it is, but it could be). This arrangement was dated May 2008 and I just found a revised version (Feb 2012) by the same guy. It drops the accidentals in both spots and corrects the measure numbers (in case you didn't notice they are off). This doesn't necessarily mean that it was a mistake, but it is a possibility. Either way, if you can make sense of it, go ahead and answer the original question. I just wanted to let you know that the problem is not necessarily you, but it could be the score. If the natural signs do make sense to you, go ahead and answer the question. :)

share|improve this question
1  
Also note that there is a natural sign in the usual place before a C. Bar 60, third staff. The possible reason for that is that there is a D# in the previous bar. This could be the leading tone of E harmonic minor. This D# isn't canceled in the next measure. So the natural on the C looks like an reminder that this is harmonic minor, not melodic. Or something like that, in any case: a reminder not to play in the wrong scale. –  Kaz Dec 14 '12 at 0:04
    
Any idea why the B has a natural on it also? I can provide the preceding measures there to give more context if it helps. –  American Luke Dec 14 '12 at 0:13
    
I think it has something do with sliding slightly to or from the nominal pitch, but I'm not sure. –  Matthew Read Dec 14 '12 at 23:57
    
My guess is it's like a 'tenuto'. It's in the same position as the trill notations, so I think it might mean "not trilled", emphatically so, somehow. –  luser droog Dec 15 '12 at 23:47
2  
If this were earlier music, I'd suggest it was en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musica_ficta, but that doesn't make sense here. They could be signals that the accidentals are editorial, but I'm not sure there was another way of performing this that needed correcting editorially. –  Iain Hallam Dec 16 '12 at 18:03
show 2 more comments

2 Answers 2

Generally accidentals above notes refer to accidentals that are missing in the original but were likely mistakes in the original or were not notated originally but are necessary in modern scores (for instance, in a piece with no key signature, a low F# might be followed by an F# in a higher octave. In the 18th c. the higher F# would not need a sharp sign, but it would today). Such accidentals ("musica ficta": http://www.ccarh.org/publications/reprints/ieee/TYPE54.HTM for instance) are common in Medieval and Renaissance music where many of the accidentals were not notated but were just expected to be sung. Think of the 7th scale degree in minor leading to a cadence on the tonic; you generally know that it will be raised. In the Renaissance it didn't need to be explicitly marked. Modern editions put these notes above the staff so that performers can distinguish between notes in the original and notes in the edition.

That's the general answer since, after the edit, you said the editor later removed them. They don't seem to make sense here, and there are other errors besides these notes: the 2nd and 3rd staves are an octave too high at least from the "p" onwards and the 1st part is an octave too low. The measure numbers are right though: this passage begins at m. 56 in the score. In the 4th movement, the accidentals almost make sense since they were preceded by a B-flat and C# the last times a B and C appeared. In my score though the naturals appear in the normal place, but they are, strictly speaking, unnecessary.

share|improve this answer
1  
The octaves are changed here because this is an arrangement for the recorder and to keep the original octaves would place some portions out of the instruments' ranges. –  American Luke Apr 18 '13 at 13:39
    
thanks. I was wondering if it was intentional. –  Michael Scott Cuthbert Apr 18 '13 at 13:49
add comment

Probably a typo. Naturals in front of a note could be there for all the reasons mentioned by previous commenters. Naturals above a note refer to ornaments (turns, trills) and mean "when you play this ornament, put a natural on the upper note." These notes have no ornaments so the mark doesn't make sense.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.