I recently picked up a collection of Czerny exercises, including Thirty New Studies in Technics, Op. 349.

In number 12, measure 17 begins with a C# accidental. Later in the measure, in the 8va section, the accidental is not repeated, despite the note being in a different octave than before.

So the question is: should the circled note below be played sharp?

measure with accidental and 8va


1 Answer 1


I'm sure I have come across this before, but I have never really stopped to think about it. I think the answer is pretty clear for anyone with some experience, but I find the question itself quite interesting and thought it might be of some value to someone.

The "accidentals apply only to one octave" rule is a bit misleading. Really, it should be "accidentals apply to the line (or space) they appear on". This is further illustrated by the C# half way through the measure, which, being at the start of the 8va section, is actually the same note as the first, yet it includes the accidental because it appears on a different place on the staff.

This is done to reduce clutter and improve clarity, thereby increasing the speed at which it can be read, while reducing the likelihood of errors. It is easy to see that removing the # from the lower C and adding a # to the higher C would make this passage much less clear.

So yes, the note in question should be played sharp.

  • This contradicts the answer here.
    – guidot
    Commented Jul 14, 2021 at 7:18
  • @guidot - so, the answers contradict each other. Does that make one of them correct to the detriment of the other? And which one?
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 14, 2021 at 8:17
  • @guidot The answer references a book, which is subject to the author's own understanding. I'm sure the author of the book is very knowledgeable, but it is possible that they simply didn't take this edge case into account. Generally speaking (as was the question asked in your link), this definition is accurate. But this is not generally speaking, this is a very specific case.
    – WillRoss1
    Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 21:13
  • @guidot When it comes down to it, one of the primary goals of music notation is clarity and readability. The answer you linked, taken unilaterally, would mean that the example above should be written with no accidental on the first note of the second beam (since it is the same pitch as the first note of the measure), and a repeated accidental on the C an octave up. That, I am sure, would be much easier to misinterpret that what is written.
    – WillRoss1
    Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 21:13

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