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Question about accidentals

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by thatguy5623, Jul 20, 2007.

  1. thatguy5623


    Jun 21, 2006
    Sorry about the dumb question but I just resently learned how to read music after playing bass for several years. But anyway here's my problem...

    At the moment I am trying to learn Teen Town and it's going fairly well but when I got to the 5th bar I realized that I wasn't sure about something.

    Would the last D be a #D or a bD. This sounds like a really dumb question but I just can't ever remember anyone teaching me that.

    So basically my question is, do accidentals cancel out all the sharps/flats for the rest of that bar or just the one note it is indicating.

    Here's the bar I'm referring to...

  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    D natural. The "natural" accidental cancels out the "sharp" at the beginning of the bar for that note and the subsequent ones as well.
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The accidental stays accidental for the entire bar unless acted upon by another accidental, which takes over. So in this case, you have a D# being turned into a D natural, and it will stay D natural.
  4. thatguy5623


    Jun 21, 2006
    Alright, thanks for the quick replies.
  5. jongor


    Jan 11, 2003
    Would that apply to the octave of D as well?

    Do accidentals apply to octaves?
  6. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    it will apply to all the D in the measure
  7. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    No. However, be sure you are NOT talking about key signatures #'s and b's. A key signature's #'s or b's apply to all registers/octaves, of course.

    The alterations that arise by so-called accidentals: the natural, sharp, flat, double sharp, and double flat are "outside" the key signature, and apply to any given pitch in a given register (octave), for the duration of the measure, unless cancelled by another accidental.

    That has been the basic practice in tonal music notation from 1750 or earlier, to the present, pretty much regardless of style. However, highly chromatic and non-tonal (post-tonal) music uses a some different conventions, which need not be elaborated here. :ninja:
  8. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    The 'understanding' is that the octave is affected by the accidental, however I've seen a few cases where this is not the true. If you are writing music it's probably a good idea to write an extra accidental for the octave to avoid confusion. If you are sight reading, the best action to take is to assume the octave is affected by the accidental.
  9. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    you have to remember that notation is an evolving language, and there's no standardised body that sets the rules... so there's ambiguity about things like accidentals

    so whilst it's generally thought by most authoritative sources that notes on other octaves are not affected by accidentals, many people think they ARE (the opinion on this thread is 50/50 on the subject)

    the best rule of thumb is that clarity for the reader is the most important thing... (THE SCORE IS THE RECIPE, NOT THE FOOD) so I would always put in a courtesy accidental on an octave to clarify exactly what note it is... your job is enable someone to easily read the score

    all accidentals are 'reset' to the key signature at the barline... with the exception of notes that are tied over the barline... in that case the note is reset after the tied note ends - you don't have to 're-accidentalize' the tied note head that sits after the bar line
  10. skb5string

    skb5string Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2007
    Clinton Township, MI
    The sharp sign next to the "d" on Beat two is D# due to the accidental. The The last 16th note in beat 2 or "ah" (2-E-&-Ah) is "d" natural again due to the Natural sign cancelling the Sharp sign. The next "d" or last "d" you play is D Natural also. As stated Accidentals change a Measures worth of the same note until another accidental comes in to change it. But only measure by measure. If the song is in D Maj for example then all D's are D natural unless a flat sign or sharp sign changes it, but again for that measure only. Each accidental that arrises in one measure for the same note either sharp, double sharp, Natural, Flat, Double flat ect stayes that way until another accidental changes it again. But only per measure. Example if the song key is one where all the D's are natural and in measure 1 there is a accidental that makes all the "d's" sharp, then in measure two unless supported by another accidental all the "D's" are natural again. Sorry for the long explination!
  11. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I found the explanation on a page, it boils down to the accidental only applies to the octave or staff (in case of grand staff) it is written. It goes on to add though........

    [It is worth adding a comment on this 'so-called' rule. Many modern composers expect the accidental to apply to all notes in the same bar of the same pitch-class. Thus, their accidentals behave like the sharps and flats in a key-signature. While this may be the rule by which these composers work, modern players, who have to work with both conventions, need some reassurance and we strongly recommend the use of courtesy accidentals on all notes of the same pitch class, within the same bar, but at octaves that differ from the note to which the accidental was first applied.]
  12. Formally, accidentals apply to all notes of that pitch in the same measure, no matter which octave they are in. However, "courtesy accidentals" are often included, especially when the music is written for beginners. Courtesy accidentals can be added either within or without of parentheses. I think the better practice is to use parentheses around courtesy accidentals, else you may confuse someone who doesn't need them into thinking that they are needed for some reason. The parentheses clearly indicate that they are there only for courtesy.

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