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Reading Question :Accidentals

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by metalguy2, Dec 17, 2005.


  1. metalguy2

    metalguy2

    Dec 26, 2004
    Boston
    When reading sheet music and there is an accidental. Does the accidental carry through just that measure? Or does it carry through to when it is changed with a natural? I had a question like this before a while ago. But I am unsure about this one.
     
  2. The consensus at my house is that it only lasts to the end of the measure (my sister and I agree).
     
  3. metalguy2

    metalguy2

    Dec 26, 2004
    Boston
    Thankyou for the quick answer!!! Now I can continue with practice! YAY!
     
  4. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    That's right, but notice that accidentals have an important difference compared to the alterations in the key signature: An F# in the key signature affects all the Fs found in the piece, regardless of the octave in which they are. But let's say we have a chart in C major and at a certain point there's a G# on the first line, bass clef. It works only during that measure as you already said, but only for that specific pitch. If a G on the fourth space follows that G# (within the same measure), this new one is natural unless you write an accidental for that note. Since most of the times we're only told that accidentals work just for the measure in which they're written, omiting the accidental for the octave is a common mistake when writing octaves within a measure.
     
  5. So what you are saying, is if there is a prgression in a single measure that goes say C C# D on the G string, then C D on the A string, then it goes say C D on the G string, the Third C that is written on the G string, is still sharp for that measure, but the C on the A string is neutral?

    Im just asking to be sure.
     
  6. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    ...unless the particular note is tied over the bar line into the next measure. :)
     
  7. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    No. If all those notes are occuring within one measure, the accidental is in effect regardless of the note's octave. (i.e.: A # put on a C to make it C# makes all the following C's in that measure C#)

    Now (in FreeSpirit's example), since our C (on the C, C#, D line) has been "accidentalled" sharp, in order for it to read "C", D and then "C", D again (within the same measure), the next "C" (following the C, C#, D) will have to have a natural (not "neutral" ;) ) sign put on it, causing it and the next "C" to revert back to......C natural.
     
  8. Right.
     
  9. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    I must respectfully say that you're wrong:

    From Wikipedia:

    "accidentals have been understood to continue for the remainder of the measure in which they occur, so that a subsequent note on the same staff position is still affected by that accidental, unless replaced by an accidental of its own. Notes on other staff positions, including those an octave away, are unaffected. Once a barline is passed, the effect of the accidental ends, except when a note affected by an accidental (either explicit or implied from earlier in the measure) is tied to the same note across a barline;"

    From http://library.thinkquest.org/C001468F/library/theory/10accidentals.htm :

    "Except for the accidentals in the key signature, an accidental affects a note only in the measure in which it appears, and only that one line or space. Exp. the second note in this measure is F natural.

    [​IMG] "

    (I had to upload the image to Imageshack.us. Hope this will make things clearer)
     
  10. Hey, you could have written that Wikipedia article yourself! :spit: Just kidding; I'm not accusing you of that.

    I'm still not convinced though. I've seen plenty of music that did funny things with notes in other octaves to work around an accidental.
     
  11. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    It's not your fault. I had the same mistake during so many years until I saw a book in the library of one of the universities I work with and found that annotation. I did a further research and confirmed the information.
     
  12. metalguy2

    metalguy2

    Dec 26, 2004
    Boston
    Once again.. Thankyou for the further elaborations!
     
  13. Yes. Yet another example of everybody doing it wrong.
     
  14. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I don't doubt that you have a book (or two ;) ) that explains it as such, but I've seen many others (including the one I keep by my computer for when I need a "refresher") that make no such distinction.

    I don't really know if there is an absolute, definative answer to either situation. This seems to fall under the same argument as some of the chord labelling threads that have been done here at TB (i.e. It depends on who actually wrote out the chart/score as to what rule(s) we are following).

    I do know I've read plenty of charts (both live and studio) where you had to observe the accidental in more than the octave written, or you were hitting a wrong note (and looking like an idiot :p ). That being said, I have also seen it written in more than one octave (as your book states is correct), but that was less often and I usually just considered it a courtesy to the reader.

    What probably happens is: In the world of Classical Music scores, certain rules of notation are strictly observed. But when you get into charts in the world of Jazz, Rock, Country, and R'n'B, things tend to be a little bit "looser".

    PS. Least you could have uploaded an image/example in BassClef......:smug: :D . (It's OK. I read TrebleClef too ;) )
     
  15. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Here's one. :smug: :D
     
  16. As a composer, it's a helluva lot more useful to specify when a note an octave away is altered and when it isn't. Apparently, there's no common practice for this, so it's better to be on the safe side, in my opinion. More information is better than less.
     
  17. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Very true.