Mozart sonata K545, first movement, measure 32, the same key appearing twice, as Db and C#, respectively (see circles in image). Is it because this way it looks more uniform like in the previous measure? Is it also why the accidentals in the bass scales in these two measures are noted the way they appear? Is such consideration a rule to follow or just a preference by the composer?

enter image description here

  • Is the top line relevant? If so, what no. bar?
    – Tim
    Jan 18, 2021 at 17:33
  • @Tim it's the previous one, bar 31. Jan 18, 2021 at 17:36
  • I show the previous measure to show the pattern/shape which I thought was the reason to notate that way. Jan 18, 2021 at 17:38
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    @seamurmurs By showing the previous bar you confirmed it should be a C#. the first and fourth notes of the RH 16th run are spelled the same in the previous bar. I agree with the answers, C# both times, it’s part of a D harmonic minor scale over the V resolving to Dm in the following bar. Jan 18, 2021 at 19:38

2 Answers 2


That D♭ is...odd. Typically the accidentals will be spelled following a few different conventions:

  1. Following the key of the current section (e.g., if you're in B♭, the notation will in most cases prefer B♭ to A♯).
  2. Following the direction of resolution (e.g., if something moves up by half step to D, it's easier to spell it as C♯–D than as D♭–D♮).

Following an A-major scale in the left hand and an implied D-minor scale in the right, this note should certainly be spelled as C♯.

The Neue Mozart Ausgabe, by the way, uses a C♯ at this location; you can access the score (but it's not public domain in the US) here. I've only found this erroneous D♭ in the public transcription available here.

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    Somehow, 'conventions' seems far more fitting that 'rules'!
    – Tim
    Jan 18, 2021 at 17:43
  • @Richard ^That's exactly where I got my copy, from IMSLP. Jan 18, 2021 at 17:44
  • So is it still possible in some scenario that the same key within the same bar is notated differently? Jan 18, 2021 at 18:01
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    @seamurmurs That may occasionally happen in more chromatic works. Let's say Robert Schumann is in A-flat major and he goes to bVI. He may temporarily spell this as F-flat major before changing it to E major. But in most cases, it will be spelled the same.
    – Richard
    Jan 18, 2021 at 18:03

According to the Urtext at IMSLP, the example you give is notated wrong.

enter image description here

  • I saw another version (free-scores) has that same as your Urtext, too. But the same question applies, because they are still different, just in reverse. Is it because the first C in this measure is noted as C#? Jan 18, 2021 at 17:35
  • What is that question? How to choose accidentals? Like when to use Db or C#? Jan 18, 2021 at 17:39
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    @seamurmurs I strongly believe that the issue is not that important, and it's just an error of the copyist, probably due to some copy/past gone wrong, as it clearly is a C# and there's absolutely no reason to use a Db there. Jan 18, 2021 at 17:40
  • Question is why the same key is notated differently within the same bar. Jan 18, 2021 at 17:40
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    BTW, bar 32 is very interesting for other reasons. Notice how in bar 32, beat 2 has a G# in the bass, and beat 4 has G natural in the treble. Also, bar 32, beat 2 has F#, then bar 33, beat 1, has F natural. From the end of bar 31 to the beginning of 33 the basic harmony is Dm: ... iv | V V7 | i ... but there are several interesting cross relationships in the various F's and G's. Jan 18, 2021 at 18:03

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