I have a question. In the image you see that the F is raised twice by a sharp, making it equavalent to a G. Then, the F is raised again by one sharp. This happen within the same measure. Is the latter sharp a F# or a G#? I am confused. I have somme music theory books but they do not discribe such situations. I also read that accidentals are not additive (but I do not know if it applies in this situation). The excerpt is from Rachmaninoff's Prelude Op.3 No.2 The measure


It's pretty poor writing - or printing.

The Fx marked prior is just that, not F♯ as in the key sig., but that note raised another semitone. The note in question is a simple F♯, reverting to key sig., but in reality should have a natural (♮) sign along with the sharp sign. That then would mean cancel one sharp (of the two), but retain the other. I guess a lot of readers would just see the sharp sign, and play F♯, but with belt and braces mode, there ought to be a natural as well...

  • The text is from a Urtext print. The author also uses natural signs. That is why I am confused. Why did he not used that sign... Thanks for the clarification. – Clifford Oct 14 '20 at 16:57
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    @Clifford: I haven't looked at Rachmaninoff's original manuscript here, but one common convention to "cancel" a double-sharp (or double-flat) to return to a "single" sharp (or flat) is simply to rewrite the single sharp after the double-sharp (as here). Probably the most standard convention is to use the natural/sharp combo as Tim says, but either way, it's bound to create confusion among some people who don't deal with double-sharps very often. Often "Urtext" editions will make changes to use a "standard" notation that's exactly equivalent to what the composer wrote, as here. – Athanasius Oct 15 '20 at 16:11

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