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Old 01-26-2013, 02:44 PM   #1
dannydawiz
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Accidentals on Chromatic Notes

Hello guys i'm transcribing a song in the key of D Major and there is a short sequence of accidentals on the A5 and i'm not sure how I should notate it.

Here's how it looks right now



The line descends from an A# to an A then ascends back to an A#.

Is there a rule to follow when adding accidentals to chromatic notes? In other words am I only allowed to used sharp accidentals in keys with sharps and flat accidentals in keys with flats?
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:51 PM   #2
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It depends how the note is functioning, there's no general rule. What comes before and after this melodically and what's the harmonic context? If it's not part of the harmony and just melodic decoration then you can go whichever way makes more sense in the notation (although I'd probably favour sharps in sharp keys and flats in flat keys in those cases).
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:32 PM   #3
NathanielLost
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Some composers opt for using sharps when ascending and flats when descending, but I think that would look a little confusing in your situation, so I'd just go with sharps in sharp keys and flats in flat keys.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:51 PM   #4
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Yes, you can have flats in sharp key. BVI chord is used a lot (Bb chord in D major) and it has flats.

I would maybe mark that as Bb, A, Bb. It would look better IMO. If the chord is A5 and you are playing A# at the same time, it's kind of strange.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:07 PM   #5
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What note do you go to after that? If it's a B natural, I would notate it Bb A A# B♮. If it's an A or practically any other note, I would keep them both as Bb.

That's based solely on the melodic context. The harmony could imply something completely different. What are the chords for this section?
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:25 PM   #6
dannydawiz
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I apologize for a late response. I also apologize that the first picture was actually in the wrong clef and the note was actually a C>C#>C.

Looking at measure 2.

The F# in the Cello is the root.
The A in Violin 1 is the minor 3rd
The D# on beat 2 in the Viola is a bb7
The C# on beat 2 in the Violin 2 is a b5.

So it looks like a F# diminished 7th chord is the harmony underneath measure 2.

Im probably wrong so feel free to correct me but it looks like the C is functioning as a neighbor tone to the C# which then resolves back to a C at the beginning of bar 3 to form the next chord.

There isn't an F# diminished chord in the key of D Major so it looks like it took the place of what would've been the iii chord. Before this measure we were on the (A) V chord.

How does that help me determine whether the note is a sharp or flat?


Last edited by dannydawiz : 01-26-2013 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:42 PM   #7
descara
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannydawiz
I apologize for a late response. I also apologize that the first picture was actually in the wrong clef and the note was actually a C>C#>C.

Looking at measure 2.

The F# in the Cello is the root.
The A in Violin 1 is the minor 3rd
The D# on beat 2 in the Viola is a bb7
The C# on beat 2 in the Violin 2 is a b5.

So it looks like a F# diminished 7th chord is the harmony underneath measure 2.

Im probably wrong so feel free to correct me but it looks like the C is functioning as a neighbor tone to the C# which then resolves back to a C at the beginning of bar 3 to form the next chord.

There isn't an F# diminished chord in the key of D Major so it looks like it took the place of what would've been the iii chord. Before this measure we were on the (A) V chord.

How does that help me determine whether the note is a sharp or flat?


The notes (as you wrote them) are actually B#-B-B#, not C-C#-C. The harmony is a D#dim7 with F# in the bass - it's enharmonic to F#dim7, but here you are tonicizing E minor, so notating it as a D#dim7 makes sense. A D#dim7 consists of the notes D#, F#, A and C, so a more proper notation of the vln 2 part would be C-B-C.

Also, you should freshen up on some intervals and chord stacking - F# to D# is a major sixth, not a bb7. A F#dim7 would be spelt F#, A, C, Eb.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by descara
The notes (as you wrote them) are actually B#-B-B#, not C-C#-C. The harmony is a D#dim7 with F# in the bass - it's enharmonic to F#dim7, but here you are tonicizing E minor, so notating it as a D#dim7 makes sense. A D#dim7 consists of the notes D#, F#, A and C, so a more proper notation of the vln 2 part would be C-B-C.

Also, you should freshen up on some intervals and chord stacking - F# to D# is a major sixth, not a bb7. A F#dim7 would be spelt F#, A, C, Eb.


Ouch! I must admit those are some very embarassing simple errors on my part.

I'm still getting used to notation and interval spellings which explains my errors but thank you so much for answering my question.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:54 PM   #9
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1) When possible, use a sharp when ascending, flat when descending
2) When possible, DO NOT use an accidental on a note that has a natural in another part/instrument (ie, if you have an A natural in the bass, don't put an A# anywhere in the same harmony, unless you have a really good reason)

The chord in question contains F# D# B# and A. I'd rename that B# to a C natural in the 2nd Viol, and call it a D#dim6/5. First inversion of the leading tone chord for Em, your next chord. Changing that to a C natural will make it easier to read, and spell the chord more conventionally.

If I might suggest: your Em (or is it E?), which should be a strong tonicization after the D#dim, is missing a third! You might want to resolve that A in the soprano to catch the third (G or G#), which will also voice lead more easily the F#.

Last edited by cdgraves : 01-26-2013 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:30 PM   #10
dannydawiz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdgraves
1) When possible, use a sharp when ascending, flat when descending
2) When possible, DO NOT use an accidental on a note that has a natural in another part/instrument (ie, if you have an A natural in the bass, don't put an A# anywhere in the same harmony, unless you have a really good reason)

The chord in question contains F# D# B# and A. I'd rename that B# to a C natural in the 2nd Viol, and call it a D#dim6/5. First inversion of the leading tone chord for Em, your next chord. Changing that to a C natural will make it easier to read, and spell the chord more conventionally.

If I might suggest: your Em (or is it E?), which should be a strong tonicization after the D#dim, is missing a third! You might want to resolve that A in the soprano to catch the third (G or G#), which will also voice lead more easily the F#.


There very well may be a third on the top of that E that I just didn't pick up with my ear while transcribing/ Ill make sure to give it a check again when I get the chance and thanks for throwing in the possibility of the C natural. The way the line was written bothered me because the line had no contour but adding a C natural will make it more clearer to the reader the shape of the melody.

Such fine musicians you all are.
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