#1
Hello Everyone,

I just started learning music theory and standard notation and I'm getting the hang of it. However, there are a couple things that I am still confused about.

1. Double sharp. It looks like an "x" just before the note. I looked it up, and the description says that I should play a note that is two half steps higher than the note after the double sharp. But what do I do if I about the key signature?

For example, suppose I am playing in E major, where the notes are E F# G# A B C# D#. The notes say that I should play an F with a double sharp in front of it. Does this mean that I should play a G (two half steps higher than F) or a G# (two steps higher than F#)? I am leaning towards G# because if I played a G, it would not be in the scale. But which one is correct?

2. What should I play when there is a (#) in front of a note. I know that parentheses around a note mean that it is a grace note. What do parentheses around accidentals mean? A quick google search didn't reveal anything.

Thanks in advance!
#2
The key signature stays the same, the double sharp is just an accidental. It's also F double sharp, so it sounds a G. Otherwise it'd be F triple sharp, which is ludicrous :P

Edit: For parentheses and accidentals:

Courtesy accidentals

Although a barline is nowadays understood to cancel the effect of an accidental (except for a tied note), often publishers will use a courtesy accidental (also referred to as a cautionary accidental or a reminder accidental) as a reminder of the correct pitch if the same note occurs in the following measure. This usage varies, although a few situations are construed to require a courtesy accidental, such as

* when the first note of a measure had an accidental applied to it in the previous measure
* after a tie carries an accidental across a barline, when the same note appears again in the subsequent measure.

Other uses are inconsistently applied.

Courtesy accidentals are sometimes enclosed in parentheses to emphasize their nature as reminders.

Publishers of jazz music and some atonal music sometimes eschew all courtesy accidentals
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Last edited by Chikao42 at Jul 27, 2010,
#3
^That's correct.

Sharps and flats (and double flats) all work in the same way as double sharps - there is no "stacking" of accidentals, the accidental is applied to the natural note, regardless of key signature.

Also, courtesy or cautionary accidentals often appear without parentheses and I think that they may appear in parentheses to indicate that they have been added by an editor (in a similar way to slurs with lines through them) but I'm not 100% sure.
#4
Thanks! This makes a lot of sense. Before this, I didn't even know that the barline cancels accidentals or that accidentals are held for the entire measure.
#5
what they stated is correct but the didn't explain the usage for the double accidentals

the reason they are used is to clarify a key... for instance G# major

obviously the tonic is G# so that measn the leading tone is G
sometimes a composer will use F##...which is the same as G so it looks less confusing...however you RARELY see these
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#6
Quote by Angusman60
what they stated is correct but the didn't explain the usage for the double accidentals

the reason they are used is to clarify a key... for instance G# major

obviously the tonic is G# so that measn the leading tone is G
sometimes a composer will use F##...which is the same as G so it looks less confusing...however you RARELY see these

You use double sharp when you're trying to sharp a note that's already naturally sharpened.

There is no G# Major though... just Ab Major. And I prefer Ab Major to G# Major... avoid that nasty double accidental.
#7
Quote by Angusman60
what they stated is correct but the didn't explain the usage for the double accidentals

the reason they are used is to clarify a key... for instance G# major

obviously the tonic is G# so that measn the leading tone is G
sometimes a composer will use F##...which is the same as G so it looks less confusing...however you RARELY see these


I would say you always see these when a modulation to G# major (or tonicization) takes place - G is simply not the leading tone. But perhaps G# minor would be a bit more practical example, since the leading tone is Fx and this key is used more often?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHCjAHr4JrE

The first bar:


The leading tone is simply not G here, it's Fx. Double accidentals are quite frequently necessary, especially in 19th century and 20th century tonal music. And sometimes even triple accidentals.
#8
^^ this is y i said they are rare
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#9
Quote by Mishakuz
Hello Everyone,

I just started learning music theory and standard notation and I'm getting the hang of it. However, there are a couple things that I am still confused about.

1. Double sharp. It looks like an "x" just before the note. I looked it up, and the description says that I should play a note that is two half steps higher than the note after the double sharp. But what do I do if I about the key signature?

For example, suppose I am playing in E major, where the notes are E F# G# A B C# D#. The notes say that I should play an F with a double sharp in front of it. Does this mean that I should play a G (two half steps higher than F) or a G# (two steps higher than F#)? I am leaning towards G# because if I played a G, it would not be in the scale. But which one is correct?

2. What should I play when there is a (#) in front of a note. I know that parentheses around a note mean that it is a grace note. What do parentheses around accidentals mean? A quick google search didn't reveal anything.

Thanks in advance!


1. Notes can be from within or outside the overall key signature. Just play what it says. an Fx is enharmonic to G a Cx is enharmonic to D - The main reason that I see that you'd call one and not the other is to adhere to proper naming conventions:

Take for example A# Major A# Cx and E#

You wouldn't refer to it as D because a D is the 4th not the 3rd of A, so to maintain proper naming, the only real answer would be some sort of C note that's been modified, i.e C sharped 2x.

Best,

Sean
#10
Quote by Angusman60
what they stated is correct but the didn't explain the usage for the double accidentals

the reason they are used is to clarify a key... for instance G# major

obviously the tonic is G# so that measn the leading tone is G
sometimes a composer will use F##...which is the same as G so it looks less confusing...however you RARELY see these
In G# major the double sharp would be part of the key signature so TS's situation wouldn't happen (unless it was a cautionary accidental). Also, G# major would almost always be written in Ab major instead.

A more common example is in the case of D# minor. D# minor is the relative minor of F# major so there are 6 sharps in the key signature. However, it is common in minor keys to sharpen the seventh so that it can be used as the leading tone (eg. in the V chord in a perfect cadence). When this hapens in D# minor you get a C double sharp which has to be written out.

There are other cases where double sharps/flats are used, this is just one example.
#11
either way you almost never see them
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