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Accidentals


Hilary
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Hi all,

Sorry if this is a really dumb question. When you have an accidental, it lasts for the whole measure. Ex. C Major- A Sharp on the F in first postion on the D string. If in the same measure you have another F without a sharp, flat, or natural sign in front of it, but the F is not the D string F but the first position F on the E string, would it still be sharp or would it be natural?

Basically, does an accidental only apply to the single octave of the one note or all of the octaves?

Thinking about it, I used to always believe it was only the note in the one octave that was affected. Looking back, I realize that if a publisher marked a A4 as flat in one measure and a A5 showed up later, they would also mark it as flat. So when I got this piece with the A4 marked as flat and the A3 in the smae measure without any mark, I do not know. It doesn't sound right if it is played natural, but I am not sure if this is right.

Thanks.

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Hilary,

i never really thought about this before, but i think you are

right--you are essentially changing the key for that measure, so it

applies to all the instances of a particular note, even if they are

a different octave! and i agree, too, that if it sounds wrong, it

probably *is* wrong, unless it's a piece where the composer wanted

the dissonce, and i would think you could tell by the

context...

however, i'm no expert, maybe someone who is will reply, also!

good luck!

cassi  

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Hilary - what a question! I'm so intrigued that I have asked my teacher (via e-mail). I would expect that if such a combination of notes existed, that the puplisher would insert a "curtesy" notation before the second occurrence, but I really don't know! If I find out for sure, I will post here. Thanks for making me think! Shirley

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Gee, I have had the quiestion debated with many music teachers since I actually teach music theory.

According to "The AB Guide to Music Theory, Part I" by Eric Taylor (the text book I use for my theory clas), the accidental only applies to the note (throughout the bar) and the same note on a different octave in the same bar should not have the accidental if it is not printed. I have also read in other theory books that this is correct.

However, my daughter's violin teacher believes that if the accidentals are apply to a note, the same note on a different octave should be played with the accidentals. However, her piano teacher and few theory teachers said no, this is not the case. We have asked many musicians and the answer is 50/50.

I have come to the conclusion that when playing in an orchestra, you have to ask the conductor or go back to the urtext edition to check. If you are playing a solo violin (with piano accompaniment), listen to the harmony and decide.

However, be very careful - if you play a contemperory piece, because of the way music is composed, you cannot assume that the accidental apples to the same note on a different octave!!!

When I teach, I teach based on the text book I use and so the accidantal only apply to the particular note in that bar, not the same note in a different octave.

Cheers,

Allegro

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allegro said:

"...he accidental only applies to the note (throughout the bar) and

the same note on a different octave in the same bar should not have

the accidental if it is not printed. I have also read in other

theory books that this is correct."

allegro, i never knew that!

well, Hilary, i guess you didn't ask such a silly question, after

all?

cassi

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I asked and was told that the accidental applies only to that note throughout the bar, not to the same note on a different octave. (What Allegro said.) I was also told it's sort of a moot point in practice because, at least in a professional orchestral situation, you'd have courtesy accidentals in the part, and if they weren't included you'd pencil them in. (You might remember without it, but if there happens to be a sub or if someone is out sick and seating revolves, someone else might be reading your part.)

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quote:


Originally posted by: Cassi

PS: hopefully the 'serious' people don't hang out here, so joking

around is ok!  

Seriously though, I think that 'serious' person wasn't particularly talking about you in that thread. Your postings are appreciated.

Sorry folks, I have nothing to add to the thread.

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Torbjorn,

i would have sent this in a PM, but you seem to have that turned

off?

to address your note, though, no, i know i wasn't the sole point of

that thread, and was kindly told so! however, there does seem to be

a pretty strong strain of sticking to the point, no nonsense, we're

here to discuss serious matters, especially over in the pegbox--i

had been chastised in threads, and have received PMs about

this...

and i think they're right, i don't want to cause problems, and i

definitely can and do get carried away! i am just kinda frustrated

right now, because i really don't have a good idea of where the

line is...

getting OT and joking around does seem to be more accepted in the

fingerboard, so i am trying to stay more serious in the pegbox, but

kinda being more myself here--however, if i get to be annoying, i

don't mind being told! i know how that can be, and i don't want to

harm anyone's enjoyment of the board!

thanks for the note! i always enjoy your posts, and i like having

you here!  

cassi

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Erika,

are 'courtesy accidentals' those ones in parentheses?

Erika and Allegro,

so the key doesn't change in that measure, just that one note? for

instance, i though usually if something was in the key of C, and

you added a C#, that if you had an F in that measure, you would

also have an F#?

thanks!

cassi  

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Cassi - with regard to your second point, not necessarily. It depends on what is going on harmonically. For example, suppose you are in the key of C major and you want to modulate to A minor (the relative minor of C). You need at some point to add a G# (harmonic minor) to signal that you are modulating and continue to use it while in A minor, but you would not also add an F# and a C#. Or, if you were modulating to the dominant, G major, you would only add an F#. You do not add an F# and a C# unless you are modulating from C major to A major or F# minor (which would be a bit unusual harmonically). When you study theory, you will learn all this stuff.

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thom said,

"...suppose you are in the key of C major and you want to modulate

to A minor (the relative minor of C). You need at some point to add

a G# (harmonic minor) to signal that you are modulating and

continue to use it while in A minor, but you would not also add an

F# and a C#..."

so if there were an F or a C in that measure, you would play them

as naturals? (i also am not really sure what you mean by

modulating, i assume it is adding accidentals, but maybe you mean

something else?)

and:

"Or, if you were modulating to the dominant, G major, you would

only add an F#. You do not add an F# and a C# unless you are

modulating from C major to A major or F# minor (which would be a

bit unusual harmonically)."

actually modulating to A major is what i was talking about, but

just as a quick example; i didn't think too much about whether that

would really happen or not, because as you point out:

"When you study theory, you will learn all this stuff."

which i have some, but obviously not enough...

cassi

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Hi Cassi

From memory (I have not taught Harmony and have studied quite a while ago - about 25 years ago), when you modulate (i.e. change key), you are only allow to change key to subdominant, dominant, relative minor and the sob dominant and dominant of the relative minor.

Accidental on one single note does not mean a key change. Generally when you see a modulation, there will be a few bars with accidentals associated with the key change, i.e. from C major to G major, you will consistently see an F#.

You said:

".....so if there were an F or a C in that measure, you would play them as naturals? (i also am not really sure what you mean by modulating, i assume it is adding accidentals, but maybe you mean something else?)"

Yes, that is true.

Cheers,

Allegro

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allegro - generally you are correct concerning the keys to which you can modulate, at least for the period up to Beethoven (who broke all the rules). It would be unusual to modulate from C to A because that would be regarded as a modulation to a "remote" key (more than two sharps away from the tonic). Your point that just adding an accidental here or there does not mean the key is changing is right on. One has to analyze carefully. It can mean that the key is changing, but not necessarily.

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If an accidental begins in a certain measure, and in subsequent measures that accidental is always there, along with some other patterns, you can usually tell that the music has modulated into another key. Bringing this into the original question -- supposing that you have modulated from C major to G major, you will be sticking a sharp in front of the first F in every measure. All the other F's will also be sharp and you don't need to add sharps to the rest of them, do you? Or is that a courtesy thing? But supposing that there is another F which is an octave above or below that first F, does that F have to have a sharp placed in front of it? Does the fact of it being a modulation have anything to do with it at all?

Would this be the case: In a key signature, the sharp for F means that all F's everywhere regardless of octave are sharped. In accidentals, only the F's on the same line/space (same octave) are affected. A modulation resembles a key signature, but it is not a key signature, so the notes would behave as in accidentals. ? Is that how it works?

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Steve - you do not necessarily change the key signature in classical music because most of the time you ultimately return to the original key at the end of a movement. Standard classical sonata form usually has an initial theme in the tonic, then a second theme in another key (usually the dominant or the relative minor/major), a development section which may go through a number of keys, and a recapitulation section with both themes in the tonic. In most cases, the composer will not change key signatures.

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Wow thanks guys! I was not expecting so many repsonses so fast. I thought this was just one of those yes-no questions. So basically an accidental only affects the note of that one octave and not the octave above or below? But not always? For example:

In the Francesscati's edition of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, in the first movement Measure 319, there is a D(fourth finger, third postion on E string) then a B with a flat (on the e string) and then a G (fourth finger, 3rd postion, a string). Then it proceeds with the same notes except each is an octave lower. This time the B does not have a flat sign in front of it... can it be inferred that the B is to be played flat in this case?

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Hilary - hopefully you did not learn more than you wanted to know. I have an urtext version of the concerto. In measure 319, I have B flat marked with an accidental in both octaves. This is also true in the surrounding measures for accidentals that occur when the same note is played in different octaves (e.g., C natural in measure 312, B flat in measure 315 and 316, E flat in measure 317, C natural and E flat in measure 318, B flat in measure 321). These markings make sense in context (you would rarely find a series of three notes repeated with an octave difference in the same measure but with an accidental in one set but not the other). Hope this helps.

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I gave up on theory when it got to the point of requiring advanced degrees in chemistry and mathematics in order to proceed.

"Then it proceeds with the same notes except each is an octave lower. This time the B does not have a flat sign in front of it... can it be inferred that the B is to be played flat in this case?"

I'm with the school that says no: Accidentals do not apply to same named notes in different octaves.

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