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According to this site, a Double Sharp can be notated as ♯♯. But is there any score that contains this notation?

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    The website does not seem reliable. Not only are there at least two glaring proofreading errors, but it is genuinely incorrect in its last paragraph describing the meaning of the double accidental natural-sharp. I would not recommend this site to anyone wanting to learn about music notation or music theory.
    – Aaron
    Jan 27, 2023 at 5:12
  • @Aaron - I agree, it's not worth a look at. Trouble is, it's on the 'net - so it must be true - mustn't it..?
    – Tim
    Jan 27, 2023 at 9:26
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    "a Double Sharp can be notated as ♯♯": well, yes and no. It depends on what you mean by "can." if you use that notation, people will understand you with little or no ambiguity. But that doesn't mean that you should do it that way. One reason not to is that some musicians (or many of them) would have to stop and think about why you used this nonstandard notation. Another reason is that it could cause people to doubt the credibility of your notation more generally.
    – phoog
    Jan 27, 2023 at 9:47
  • Given the situation (rare, it's true) where there's a double sharp in a bar, but the next bar has the same note written as a n ordinarily sharpened note (one sharp), there's usually a natural and a sharp sign used. If soon after, the same note needs to be double sharp again, I feel it's acceptable to use two sharp signs then.
    – Tim
    Jan 27, 2023 at 11:53

2 Answers 2

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You can do it, but most likely you shouldn’t. 𝄪 is the standard character used for this sort of thing, both in engraved scores and handwritten scores.

Historically though we need to consider that the double sharp is a fairly new symbol, coming up after 1700. If you are interested in the history consider page 94 here https://zenodo.org/record/2387750

If you consider some scores e.g. in Bach’s WTC you will find that no sign is used for 𝄪, but rather an additional sharp is placed in front of the note (adding one sharp to the key signature).

Furthermore this notation is viable if you are limited to a musical typesetting system that does not offer these characters.

In any case the website you linked should make it clear that 𝄪 is the preferred way to do it since the 1750s.

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The website is incorrect. "##" is not used, nor has it been used, in musical scores.

  • Elaine Gould makes no mention of the symbol in Behind Bars, and uses only "x" for "double sharp".
  • The Oxford Companion to Music (ed. Alison Latham, 2002) only mentions the "x" symbol in its "Double sharp" entry (p. 377). The "Accidentals" entry (p. 4) does show two other symbols used historically in the early evolution of double sharp notation, but both are long obsolete.

Ancient double-sharp symbols

  • The Norton/Grove Concise Encyclopedia of Music (ed. Stanley Sadie, 1994) uses only the "x" symbol in its entries for "Accidental" (p. 4) and "Double sharp" (p. 230).

Addendum

One does sometimes see "##" used in online posts. For example, it appears on this site:

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    I reckon you'll find other text-heavy contexts where ## and even ♯♯ are used, because # and ♯ are easier to obtain than 𝄪 as well as being more likely to display correctly (and # is of course even more so than ♯). I'd also note that Bach's WTC book I manuscript of ca. 1722 treats accidentals as additive (sharps at least), contrary to modern practice, using single-sharp accidentals for double sharps, but a 1725 manuscript by another copyist uses a diagonal cross. Nobody seems to be using ♯♯.
    – phoog
    Jan 27, 2023 at 9:00
  • That said, there must be at least one manuscript somewhere that uses ♯♯ (even ignoring those that do so out of ignorance), perhaps also from before the diagonal cross was developed. I read about its invention a few months ago in doing some research for another question here, but I don't remember the details. I have a vague recollection that it was in part at least invented because writing ♯♯ requires eight strokes of the pen (or six if you join the horizontal strokes). If my vague memory is correct, that would imply a brief period in which double sharps were written that way.
    – phoog
    Jan 27, 2023 at 9:41

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