2

Question is in the title,

assuming I'm writing say a f harmonic minor scale WITHOUT a key signature at the beginning. Is it more correct to emphasize that the E should be natural and not Eb by a natural sign, or is it best to leave it "blank"?

2

No, there is no automatic need for a courtesy accidental here. Use one if a previous E♭ triggers the usual rule for a courtesy accidental. But only if.

2

It's generally a bad practice to use accidentals redundantly, because they clutter up the music, and they can confuse musicians - if I'm sight reading a piece and see an accidental that's not needed, it causes a brief moment of panic (did I miss a key signature change??)

If you do want to use a redundant accidental for clarity, it's a good idea to enclose the accidental in parenthesis to show it's a "courtesy accidental".

1

If you write an unnecessary natural it's likely to confuse people. If there is any possibility that the note might be intended to be an E-flat (maybe there was an E-flat in the previous measure) then it helps to add the natural sign.

0

It is probably a bad or uncommon practice to write a scale without a key signature.

Only exception if you want to demonstrate how the flat scales are developed from the tetrachord of a scale with one flat less: c minor has c,d,eb,f. Now I think it is necessary to set a courtesy natural sign in parentheses to make clear that in f minor the upper tetrachord c,d,e,f has a natural e.

1
  • In music with no key signature it's still very common to find scale passages. – PiedPiper Feb 27 at 13:56
0

The key signature for F♯ minor is the same as that for A major - 3♯s. So reflect that in the notes with accidentals.

Think about it. In key C, with no ♯ or ♭, it's only when you come across an accidental that you think 'out of key'. The default is therefore nothing. Obviously were there a previous accidental in that bar, and the next same name note needed to be natural, it would be signed. Otherwise no.

However, if it's the scale of F♯ melodic minor, with no barlines, and E♯ ascending,then you'll need that natural sign before the E descending. And, for the D notes similar. There will be a sharp for the E whatever in F♯ harmonic minor. You may want to write in cautionary signs (maybe in brackets), to remind beginners.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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