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In the notes prior to the sheet music, it is said that an accidental note only lasts for one bar. Here in bar 3 an accidental note has been applied to the C in bar 3. In such a case why has the sharp note been added to the C in bar 4 (the note for 'broom') also? Wouldn't that auromatically be a C# as the accidental note's effect ends in the 3rd bar?

If you here the vocals track for this song, the note for 'broom' sounds like a C# also.

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    It's not just in Blues songs! Some editors feel the need to spoonfeed us. It seems particularly prevalent in pieces that children may play. Sometimes I think why don't they just leave out the key sig. and put accidentals all the way through... Oh, sometimes they do! – Tim Nov 7 '18 at 8:50
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They call it a "courtesy accidental". In your particular case, the C♯ is written in because of the C♮ that occured recently before it.


Sometimes written in parentheses, they exist to remind performers of an accidental that applies. These are written usually where a note is tied across a bar line, or otherwise the note it emphasises is in a position to be forgotten. Examples:

Examples of the same above, though there's plenty of occasions to use them.

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    Thank you so much!! I have been going crazy trying to figure this out. – Sanjana Jain Nov 5 '18 at 4:59
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    @SanjanaJain No problem. That's what total strangers on the internet are for. – user45266 Nov 5 '18 at 5:04
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    Although, in actual fact, an accidental in one octave is inapplicable to the same name note in another. Added to the fact that the next barline cancels anyway, in the quoted situation, it's in reality quite unnecessary! – Tim Nov 7 '18 at 8:47
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There is absolutely no need for that #. It's just a friendly reminder that the C in that bar is actually C#, even though any C on that line was going to be C# anyway; the previous C# cancelled down to a Cnat. being in a different octave, therefore not affecting that middle C note anyway. That apart, the previous barline cancelled the higher C.

Often the courtesy accidental is in brackets, which makes more sense - and says 'yes, I know there's strictly no need for this, but...' But putting it in like a proper accidental, as here, is confusing - as you found.

To actually answer the header question: In Blues, there are basically 3 flattened notes that get used often - 3rd, 5th and 7th. The m3 over (under?!) a major chord is commonplace, sometimes inflected upwards. The b5 produces a triton, very dissonant. The m7 helps towards the dominant 7th sound of the main chords.

  • Wow!! Thanks so much for explaining this!! – Sanjana Jain Nov 7 '18 at 8:31

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