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I've composed the following figured bass example:

enter image description here

It modulates from E to F and therefore needs several chromatic alterations. But my question is on the final beat of the third measure: if I want a B♭-minor chord here, is this the correct figured bass? As I see it, there are at least three possibilities for how to handle this chord:

  1. Write it as I have; the ♮5 lowers F♯ to F♮ and the ♭♭3 lowers the D♯ to D♭.
  2. Use a system where the figured bass shows the literal accidentals, not the adjustments from the key signature; in this system, ♮5 would give me F♮ and ♭3 would be enough to suggest D♭.
  3. Use ♮♭3 to indicate first a change from the key signature's D♯ to D♮ and then a move from D♮ to D♭.

What would be the correct approach here? Ideally I would have a citation from a published figured bass manual (perhaps Heinichen?).

I've never seen a double accidental in a published figured bass before, likely because that repertoire doesn't often get this chromatic. As such, I'm uncertain how best to notate this.

  • You start off in E major. Why aren't you using an A sharp minor chord in that position? – Dekkadeci Feb 19 at 6:54
  • I think you have added one too many flats on the 3. Shouldn't it just be a 'b' to make it a Db note? – Jomiddnz Feb 19 at 7:05
  • @Dekkadeci It's functioning as iv in the new key. – Richard Feb 19 at 8:11
  • @Jomiddnz That's basically my question! – Richard Feb 19 at 8:12
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    It looks like you're already in the new key in bar 3, why not change keysigs there? Or is it just a temporary modulation? – LSM07 Feb 19 at 14:55
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This is a cut and paste answer so please consider double checking my source, I could have taken this paragraph out of context. The frustrating thing is there are no musical illustrations regarding figures with double sharps/flats to go with the rule! I scanned the other pages but could not find an example. Anyhow, your first choice matches up with Albrechtsberger.

enter image description here

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...page 35 or 36 in the Google book.

  • I literally couldn't have asked for a more clear citation. Great detective work! – Richard Mar 6 at 5:06

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