81

Pretty basic and simple. Each key has 7 notes, with a different letter name for each. A B C D E F G but not always starting on A!! Let's take Gmajor G A B C D E F G - except the F needs to be F#. So far so good with your idea. Let's take Fmajor. F G A A# C D E F. Oops, there are two A notes - and no B. Try writing it out on the lines and spaces we call ...


40

It is related to "chunking", once you are used to keys, it is easier to quickly understand the single chunk "This piece is in G major" instead of having to see and interpret each of the individual sharp signs. This aids sight reading. With the way keys are conventionally notated, the presence of accidentals is actually informative: it tells you when the ...


37

There are a few general rules. Most accidentals should be of the type found in the key signature. For example, in G Major, use G# -- not Ab. In F# major, use A# instead of Bb. If the accidental is in a chromatic scale, use sharps ascending and flats descending In any other scale, use the accidental that typically goes with the scale. For example, Bb and Eb ...


37

Wikipedia has it right. An accidental that is written in, as shown in the example above, only applies to the note in that octave until the end of the measure. You may be confusing it with the accidentals in the key signature which do apply to every octave. It's also possible that in the pieces you are playing you are seeing a courtesy accidental instead of ...


36

Historically, keyboards didn't always work that way. So an A# and a Bb used to actually have different pitches. Our musical notation is older than enharmonic equivalency that you get with "well-tempered" keyboards. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Well_temperament) Just speaking as an amateur classical composer, different spellings of notes have different ...


34

1. Bias against "unorthodox" notes Western music tradition (and some others) was, and to a large extent still is, based on heptatonic scales, that is, seven unequal divisions in an octave. So, in a given musical context, all twelve notes are not created equal. For instance, in a musical phrase in C major, natural notes (ones with no accidentals) are the ...


34

It can be depending on the context . If you were using the F♯ major scale, you would have the notes F♯, G♯, A♯, B, C♯, D♯, and E♯. Another common example is in a C♯ major chord you would have the notes C♯, E♯, and G♯. The E♯ is an enharmonic equivalent to F. F is used a lot more though, since it is a naturally named note. In the same way, F♭ can ...


34

Accidentals affect the basic note - if you like, the white key on the piano. So, regardless of the key signature - which permanently changes certain notes (here F, C, G and D♯), the double sharp applies to a basic F note, making it Fx (F♯♯) or F double sharp.Taking it up two semitones, so it looks like a G note on piano. What it doesn't ...


30

Hmm. Lets take an example of how this would work in practice. Currently, when I see a sharp sign in front of a note (lets say F as an example) I know that the note required is an F sharp. It may be in the key signature already but that does not matter: it is an F sharp, always - no question. Under your system when I see a sharp sign in front of an F ...


28

Actually it depends on the instrument. Some instruments can produce different notes for A# and Bb, others can not. There are different ways to intonate. On one side you have a just or harmonic intonation which is built on harmonics scale (each tone has a a matemathical relation between the base tone), this makes each tonality have its own intonation; on the ...


28

When we are writing or playing a piece in a key, we are pretty much choosing a set of notes to play. Out of the 12 notes used in "Western" music, we want to mainly focus on 7. That means we are choosing not to play 5 notes. When we are choosing not to play C natural and we want to play the black key in between C and D, we say we are playing C# instead of ...


25

This is just D doublesharp, which is enharmonic to E. The trick is that key signatures are not additive. In other words, any accidental added to a pitch is considered to be its own construct, not something in addition to what's already given in the key signature. As such, this is not D♯ that is then sharped twice again, but rather just D doublesharp.


22

It wouldn't be easier to read. Firstly, most instruments are not tied into any particular key signature. A simple sequence like someone singing/playing a scale in E major and someone else singing a third above feels very natural but actually is a complex walk resulting in an unregular sequence of major and minor thirds. This makes sense and can be done in ...


22

Your #2 thought is the convention. Yes, this means you'll need to write lots of accidentals. That's okay. Contemporary players, especially those who regularly perform new music are used to reading lots of accidentals. A fair number of people (including myself) actually prefer reading accidentals over key signatures. In addition to writing in every ...


22

The answers so far seem to have missed the point. I think you're asking in a key where there is C♯ in the key sig., and you come across a C note with a flat sign just before it, what do you play. You'd play a C♭ note - equivalent on most instruments to sounding like a B. Reason being, any accidental changes a base note into sharp or flat, and a ...


21

No, it is still a B♭ as the accidentals in the key signature and measure are never additive. The flat is just reminding you that the B is flat. This is known as a courtesy accidental and is typically done if the previous measure uses a B that was different then the one in the key signature or if there was a different quality of B used in the measure it is ...


20

TL;DR: Backwards compatibility, and the predominance of seven-note scales. We're going to take a musical walk through history... Let's say you're inventing music, and you start out with a single string playing a single note. That gets boring after a while, but you realize that you can play more notes by shortening the string length, so with a bit of ...


20

The harmony of the given chord in the 1st 2 bars is in E (major chord), the accidental in front of g you consider (minor third!) is referring to this Chord of E.


19

A natural sign always completely cancels any accidental that may be or have been on a note, and the note is played natural. A G natural that comes after a G# is played as a G natural. A G natural following a G double sharp (Gx) is also played as a G natural. Note that all the accidental symbols are treated the same way: they are absolute. A G# written ...


19

Notating this in a flat minor requires fewer accidentals, but those that it requires are more obscure. A player might well prefer well-known notes to less well-known notes. Remember that woodwind instruments have to know the exact fingering for every tone they play. An f flat is much rarer and more annoying to read than a plain e, while the g sharp, f sharp ...


17

The accidental will apply to following notes in the same measure / bar but not after that. If it is needed to cancel the effect before then another accidental (maybe a natural sign) will be required. Oddly, although a sharp or flat in the key signature affects the same note in other octaves, an accidental does not. An extra point thanks to Arthur. In ...


16

C♯ and D♭ are enharmonically the same. This means that they are played by the same key on a piano, but they have a different musical meaning and they actually should sound a tiny bit different (although the difference is minimal). However, string or woodwind instruments might be able to play them slightly differently and thus correctly. In Pythagorean ...


15

"A minor" is a key. A piece being in a particular key means that the harmony will tend to resolve towards that note/chord, and mostly use notes from the associated scale. But almost all music involves borrowing notes from outside that scale. "A natural minor", "A harmonic minor", and "A melodic minor" are scales. In ...


14

You retain the accidental. In this case, it is pretty unambiguous since the lead note is immediately preceding the note (baroque trills would even start with the upper note). If there is more of a distance to the preceding use of a changed pitch, one would lean towards adding a reminder accidental to the trill.


14

There are many other mistakes in this transcription. I wouldn’t use it! Db should be C# and then the 5th would be G#. Google for imperial march (images) Compare with these music sheets:


14

Music can, and often will, have notes in it that exist outside of the scale of the current key. We call these outside pitches chromatic, and it's these chromatic pitches in the Paganini that led to your question. (In contrast, we would call music that only uses the members of the A-minor scale diatonic, which basically means "in the key.") But in ...


13

Sometimes indeed it HAS to be E#. It will depend on what key you're in as to what it is called. If a key has 6 sharps, the order is F#, C#, G#, D#, A# and E#.It's a technicality, but as far as writing it down is concerned, E# would be found on the 'E' place on the stave. It won't be found in the 'F' place, because that would signify an F note, which is ...


13

'Off key' often means 'out of tune', so if the singer is singing an accidental properly, they may well be 'in tune', but 'out of key'. The accidental D# isn't diatonic (meaning a note from the key) so it could be thought of as 'off key', but a more apposite term would be 'out of the key'.


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