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reading accidentals, how long do they apply

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by dustamaphone, Jan 23, 2004.

  1. dustamaphone


    Feb 24, 2002
    USA, MN
    I am teaching myself to read music and working on a Bach cello suite. My question is when I see a accidental does that note remain altered for the rest of the measure or until notated otherwise again. For instance in the key of G if a F# is notated as F natural does that apply to the following F note(s) as well and until I see it notated as F# at which point it would be business as usual, meaning all F's are F#'s (ala key of G? Thank you in advance for any and all input.
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    It's usually just for that bar - unless corrected.

    Also a note tied across the bar line will stay what it was, into the next bar, until that note ceases.
  3. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Usually, they'll last up to two hours. Unless it's daylight savings time.

    If I'm wrong, just go with what Bruce said.
  4. It is also important to note that the accidental is applied only to that specific note, and not to the same note in any of it's other octaves.

    But correct me if I'm wrong.
  5. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    I was taught that accidentals apply to every octave, but many composers and editors write them in each octave anyway just as reminders. Just like a key signature, an accidental should apply to every octave.
    I could be wrong, but I don't think so, 21 years of Concert band and orchestra playing tell me so.

  6. See, originally thats what I thought (assumed), but in my private lesson on friday my instructor mentioned something about them not applying to every octave, and only to the specific note. Maybe its just a stylistic/preference thing for composers.

    If I wasn't sure I'd probably apply the accidental to every octave, because it only makes sense, especially if the writer is trying to elicit a specific chord or something..
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Each octave of a given pitch not already altered by the key signature requires an accidental to alter it. Key signatures are a different story - key signatures alter all octaves of an affected pitch. Maybe that 22nd year will clear this up. ;)
  8. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I love you Durrl.

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