4

A quick question about the conventions of writing music. I have a song I am working on where I am going from a G major to a F#-b9. The song is in G major for most of it before going into a middle which is A-9, Ab#5#9 then back into G and then the F#. So G Major has 1 sharp which is F#. When I write out the chord on the staff do I note the 5th as Db or a C#? Does it matter?

Also I am looking at the Ab altered as a tritone sub of D7 in G major. Should this be written as Ab or G#?

4

When I write out the chord on the staff do I note the 5th as Db or a C#? Does it matter?

If this is the fifth of the F♯(♭9) chord, then you would want to notate this as a C♯. This is because the fifth of the chord is so named because it is a fifth above the root. Since the root is some kind of F, the fifth must be spelled as some kind of C. The D♭ is enharmonically equivalent to this C♯, but technically speaking the fifth is C♯, not D♭ (which would be a sixth or thirteenth of some kind).

Also I am looking at the Ab altered as a tritone sub of D7 in G major. Should this be written as Ab or G#?

You would spell it as A♭. Since this chord will typically resolve to G, it will be easier to notate A♭ moving to G instead of having to move from G♯ to G♮ (with all of the natural signs to remind the performer not to play G♯). Furthermore, the G♯ chord would involve a B♯, and although this won't bother any performer worth their salt, it's typically better to notate music in as friendly a way as possible when there are multiple options.

1

Since the piece is mainly featuring sharps, anyone who is reading the written version will have their 'sharp hat' on. So it is easier for them to continue thinking in sharps. Why not? And while you're at it, keep it all the same for the tritone. To some, it won't matter, as they are sufficiently good sight-readers to merely read what is presented on the chart, but others may think theoretically, and keeping sharps together may help.

Missed a bit! If you're talking about the chord of F#anything, then the fifth of it has to be C♯, not D♭. So if that F# chord was F#+, the 5th would be Cx - not D. I realise it isn't, just underlining the 'C-ness' of that 5th.

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.