why does sheet music show sharp symbols to the far left, when none of the notes are sharp/flat?

Page 3 of 3
#81
Quote by Lloyd_rogers

but music being complicated isn't me complaining. it's interesting. i'm just surprised how much theory there is. but i guess it's needed. 
Only if you want to describe things, which is a skill that isn't directly related to playing or songwriting

It might be better to focus on playing songs first with the proper techniques and then figuring out how to describe it after you're familiar with the specific context
#82
proper playing techniques: i'm starting to learn about that now most recently, and their benefits. 
begginer geetarest.
#83
key signatures are for you sure but they're largely for the arranger and conductor to make heads from tails in their instrumentation

key tends to be pretty arbitrary for guitar, but other instruments that actually require intonating each note and having a good idea of what's expected of the rest of the ensemble get a lot more benefit from them. plus obviously the conductor who has to know everybody's individual part at any given time

i just skimmed but what the hell is that sharps and flats in the key signature crap. like yes technically it's comprehensible, but the convention is that you'd pick either sharps or flats via occam's razor and use the sharps/naturals as accidentals. the key signature doesn't have to specifically tell you the actual key - it's basically just shorthand to say 'pretend you're stuck in this scale to make sightreading this a little less painful'
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#84
Quote by Hail

i just skimmed but what the hell is that sharps and flats in the key signature crap. 

OK, you don't agree.
 the key signature doesn't have to specifically tell you the actual key - it's basically just shorthand to say 'pretend you're stuck in this scale to make sightreading this a little less painful'

Oh, hang on, you do agree.
#85
you don't use sharps and flats in the same key signature

there are a lot of conventions i'm totally okay with breaking, but sightreading is not one of them.

i could see where you would get confused not knowing that i do not believe in scales and think they are stupid out of this very specific and generalized context out of raw ease-of-use and muscle memory, particularly since my background is in trombone, where we intonate notes differently based on their function
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Last edited by Hail at Apr 22, 2017,
#86
Quote by Hail

key tends to be pretty arbitrary for guitar,


arbitrary- "based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system."

So when playing Guitar, the key is anything you want?

Quote by Hail

the key signature doesn't have to specifically tell you the actual key - it's basically just shorthand to say 'pretend you're stuck in this scale to make sightreading this a little less painful'


OK. So if I was scoring a piece that was purely in E Phrygian, you would be fine with it having a key sig. with no sharps or flats. In other words C Major.
But, others would argue that is in E minor, therefore should have one sharp in the key sig. All F#'s would have to have to be flatted in the score with a natural accidental.

So, why can't you have mixed sharps and flats that tell you to "pretend you're stuck in" Phrygian Dominant, "to make sightreading this a little less painful"

Intonation is a massive subject itself. I won't go into it in this thread, but I can't see how a key sig. in any way can determine how you intone notes based on function. A Trombone intonates notes no different to any other non fixed pitch instrument. It has to do with context. Ability of the performer, which temperament, (of the many), the ensemble is using, whether there are fixed pitch instruments involved, etc. etc. None of that is written in the score, and you have stated that "the key signature doesn't have to specifically tell you the actual key"
#87
Quote by Vreid
arbitrary- "based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system."

So when playing Guitar, the key is anything you want?

I don't think that's what Hail meant.

So, why can't you have mixed sharps and flats that tell you to "pretend you're stuck in" Phrygian Dominant, "to make sightreading this a little less painful"

I don't think mixing sharps and flats in the key signature makes sight reading less painful. I would actually argue it might make it more painful.
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#88
Quote by Hail
i just skimmed but what the hell is that sharps and flats in the key signature crap. like yes technically it's comprehensible, but the convention is that you'd pick either sharps or flats via occam's razor and use the sharps/naturals as accidentals. the key signature doesn't have to specifically tell you the actual key - it's basically just shorthand to say 'pretend you're stuck in this scale to make sightreading this a little less painful'
Agreed, though it was unfortunately the first example I saw and it purported to have a tonal center of D
#89
Quote by theogonia777
I don't understand why this is even an issue for people.  If the entire piece of music is going to use an F# and stick almost exclusively to that, why shouldn't you throw it in there?  Like nobody seems to be able to offer an explanation other than "I don't like it" or "you just can't do that" or the like.  


Are you trolling?

Back in the day, music was handwritten. Even with just one sharp like in the key of G, without a key signature you would be writing the sharp symbol every single time you had a leading tone, which in classical music is usually very often.
This was a huge pain in the ass.
So they invented a system that required them to make less pen strokes.

It is not difficult to perceive if you slow down and think about it.
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#90
Quote by NeoMvsEu
To clarify what emailmeplsili1 wrote ( ):

If it looks anything like this:

(this isn't really a common scale, would not recommend - just borrowed from Wiki )

At the beginning of every line (and before the time signature in the beginning - 4/4 in the above case), it shows the sharps and flats to be applied everywhere in the song unless superseded by another accidental within a measure; therefore, every occurrence of these notes is actually sharp or flat

-> the above reads D Eb F# G A Bb C D

This is a common shortcut that points to the key of the song (in most cases, at least we won't get to the exceptions yet, however)

You will never, ever, whatever see a key signature like NeoMvsEu posted from Wiki in any legitimate REAL music. NEVER. Ughh, the bad information out there on the net is atrocious and it's freakin difficult to read answers to such an honest, straightforward question by TS get so butchered by people who should know better throughout this thread. Kudos to the UG members passing on good information and now I'm breaking my vow to not post but holy hell, I feel for the learning musicians that are trying to sift through all this and actually LEARN and get better. 

The key signature doesn't just tell the performer which notes are sharp or flat throughout the piece, it tell what KEY the piece is in. A KEY is two parts: 

1) a tonal center or NOTE that is central or "home base" (resolved) to the passage or piece and 
2) the tonality or "mood" (major or minor) 

The example posted with B and E flat and an F# is obviously some example of G harmonic minor BUT ONLY THE Bb AND Eb belong in the key signature. F# would be an accidental throughout the piece and NEVER be added to the key signature.

TS: great question, simple answer that may have been answered already: those groupings of sharps and flats not only show which notes are sharp or flat throughout the piece, they show the actual KEY of the piece. EI: G major (just an F#) or G minor (B and E flat). Even NO sharps or flats indicate C major. This gets a bit more complicated in light of relative major and minor keys that share the same sets of notes but a different tonal center. But the analysis of this goes beyond just the notes on the page and to LISTENING to what is being played. Resolution will fall to the KEY NOTE. Overall mood will be either major or minor and you only need to strum a major chord and it's minor version (ie: E major then E minor) and you'll hear the same mood shift as you'd hear in a piece in the key of E major (F, C, G and D sharp) as opposed to E minor (just F#) where the note E is the tonal center or "resolved sounding" note. 

To any of you heavy handed mods that get your underwear in a bunch when someone disagrees with you and abuse your position by banning experienced musicians who are on UG to contribute and HELP the learning musicians that come to UG for help. Take a deep breath and just move on. I've had to. Now it's your turn. 
#91
P_Trik, you are not to use a threatening and demeaning tone anywhere on the site. This is your final warning. Please contribute constructively to conversation.
#92
Quote by Vreid

OK. So if I was scoring a piece that was purely in E Phrygian, you would be fine with it having a key sig. with no sharps or flats. In other words C Major.
But, others would argue that is in E minor, therefore should have one sharp in the key sig. All F#'s would have to have to be flatted in the score with a natural accidental.

So, why can't you have mixed sharps and flats that tell you to "pretend you're stuck in" Phrygian Dominant, "to make sightreading this a little less painful"

first of all, i'm not singing gregorian chant, so i really doubt a piece will come up in phrygian, but for the sake of argument, it doesn't fucking matter. whatever results in the least accidentals on the page (without overcomplicating the key signature) and makes things easy on the conductor is the key signature you'll use.

when i say "arbitrary" i mean that every position is virtually the same on guitar, and it really doesn't make any difference whether you move a whole piece down a fret or two. compared to other instruments, yes, what scale or key you're playing really doesn't require any effort at all and you can pretty much slam your face into the fretboard and have it be workable


Intonation is a massive subject itself. I won't go into it in this thread, but I can't see how a key sig. in any way can determine how you intone notes based on function.


you should play a jazz gig on a fretless or double bass and see how that mentality goes
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#94
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deep down


if i've changed at all in the last like 4 years, it's that i've gotten way saltier
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#95
Quote by theogonia777

I don't understand why this is even an issue for people. If the entire piece of music is going to use an F# and stick almost exclusively to that, why shouldn't you throw it in there? Like nobody seems to be able to offer an explanation other than "I don't like it" or "you just can't do that" or the like.



Quote by Panasonic3
Are you trolling?

Back in the day, music was handwritten. Even with just one sharp like in the key of G, without a key signature you would be writing the sharp symbol every single time you had a leading tone, which in classical music is usually very often.
This was a huge pain in the ass.
So they invented a system that required them to make less pen strokes.

It is not difficult to perceive if you slow down and think about it.


Not what Thegonia777 or myself is saying.

It is not difficult to understand if you slow down and think about it, when you re- read it.
#96
Quote by P_Trik
You will never, ever, whatever see a key signature like NeoMvsEu posted from Wiki in any legitimate REAL music. NEVER.  


I guess you need to define what constitutes "legitimate REAL music" . I will know what you are talking about then.
#97
Quote by Hail
when i say "arbitrary" i mean that every position is virtually the same on guitar, and it really doesn't make any difference whether you move a whole piece down a fret or two. compared to other instruments, yes, what scale or key you're playing really doesn't require any effort at all and you can pretty much slam your face into the fretboard and have it be workable


But, we are talking about sight reading. We aren't talking about a pre practiced piece that is transposing a pre-determined memorized pattern up or down a few frets. The notes on the score translate directly to named notes on the Guitar fretboard.

For example. Most, but not all, my guitars are down a whole tone D-D standard. That means when I play with guys tuned E-E standard, I play in F# if they are
doing something in E. For just jamming, no problem.
But, if I try to work out a piece from a score in E, things get tricky. I either have to play it as if my guitar was tuned standard, memorize it, then transpose up a tone. Or, rewrite the piece in F# and play it direct. Or, transcribe the notes in the score to intervals in my head, and play intervallically which is my preferred method. My brain doesn't allow for multiple note names of the same apparent note in regards to position.

Quote by Hail
you should play a jazz gig on a fretless or double bass and see how that mentality goes


You might have to explain that to me. I am well aware of non fixed pitch instrument intonation.

I don't see how the Key sig, which doesn't necessarily tell you what key you are in, will tell you the correct intonation wanted by the composer.

How do you intone in different keys any different when playing with a piano which is 12TET ?
Do you narrow or widen your thirds or fifths over the fixed pitch Piano?

When playing with only non fixed pitch instruments, or predetermined note selection of fixed pitch instruments, go for it.
But which temperament system are you using? Are the other guys using the same? How do you determine that from the key?
#98
Vreid, choral conductors can transpose a cappella music however they want, and most members of the choir won't notice. And tbh, if you're not paying attention to tuning (just intervals), you'll get the exact same effect with your guitar.

(However, some people do notice the offset, and it's an annoying game of intervals mentally transposing to the new key.)

The point: the intervallic values stay the same between the notes in the piece, as well as between the transposition of the instrument. There is always a way to offset this transposition (capo, retuning, etc); it is not the same with a piano, where you'd have to destroy it or completely set it up anew to get a similar effect (alternatively, just transpose)

As for enharmonic notes having different values in non-ET, it's simple to find that information with the correct search terms.
this site has good information
This is relevant to discussion on temperaments:
#99
Quote by Vreid
Not what Thegonia777 or myself is saying.

It is not difficult to understand if you slow down and think about it, when you re- read it.


If the entire piece of music is going to use an F# and stick almost exclusively to that, why shouldn't you throw it in there?

We move all the sharps flats to the front of the score instead of in front of every single individual note so we can reduce pen strokes.

I thought this question was very direct if I am misinterpreting the question please ask in a different way instead of just saying "read it better."
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#100
Yep, I agree. Choral conductors can transpose  a cappella  anyway they want. Non fixed pitch allows for any variation.
Also transposing on Guitar gets you the same pitch intervals. But you cant play say meantone or Pythagorean tuning without some crafty bar work. The Guitar is 12 TET and basically fixed. A piano is fixed, but does have slightly stretched upper and lower octaves.

It limits non fixed instruments when playing with fixed pitch, otherwise it starts to get a bit messy.

My sister who is ex ASO violinist, said it was not unusual to be pulled up by the conductor on intonation.

Which brings me back to why its being said and how the key signature can tell you how to intone any particular notes?

I am fairly studied up on non ET, starting with the monochord, and going through the centuries.
I have seen the Vid you posted before, thanks, when I was studying up on Midi control and Isomorphic instruments. 

It is how I approach the fretboard on Guitar. I look it as an Isomorphic layout, 2 dimensional transposition.
No CAGED or Chord shapes or positions needed   
#101
Panasonic3 

I was just having a dig at your statement " It is not difficult to perceive if you slow down and think about it."
Hence the smiley face.  

What we are saying is the key signature is for ease of playing, not to denote the actual key of the piece.

G major has one sharp, and you would find that sharp on the upper F ledger line with a treble clef. No problems.

But, what if you were scoring say SHA, the classic is it in D or G?

Would you use 1 sharp for G major, even if you think it's in D? As in Mixolydian.
Would you use 2 sharps, for the key of D, and place an accidental natural on all the C#'s?

What if you were playing in mainly B Phrygian dominant. Would you say it was in E minor, 1 sharp F#, and accidental through the score on the D to D#.
Or, a key sig with a sharp on the F and on the D?
There is no key that has F and D sharp.

What about the D Phrygian Dom. scale posted above? Are you OK with both sharps and flats in a non standard key sig?
Or, would you prefer it to have the sharp as an accidental?

Some agree with non standard, some agree with mixed , but most don't, and most can't tell me why, other than that's just the way it is.
If I change a score of " any legitimate REAL music " to contain a mixed key sig to suit my way of playing and processing the information on to the fretboard with how I visualize it, apparently it becomes not real music, and I am then uneducated and not a proper musician.
I am not saying everyone has to do this, just that it is a alternative that I find acceptable.
#102
Guitar and 12TET
Frets make 12-tone temperament easier to achieve on the guitar; however, any harmonics will follow just intonation and will thus fall sharp or flat of 12TET depending on the interval. This, combined with the tendencies dictated by the keys and related accidentals (the first link in my previous post here), can greatly influence how fretless instruments perform (human tendency is to gravitate towards non-equal temperament)

Also, guitar has been adapted to non-12TET tunings before.

======
Mixed key signatures

I did a bit of research, so I'll post my notes

Mixed key signatures exist

Bartok: non-standard signatures
Mikrokosmos, some examples
Book 1 #10: 1 flat, Ab
Book 1 #25: 1 sharp, C#
Many key signatures, 1 sharp with treble sharp on first space instead of fifth line

Book 2 #38: treble sharps on 1st and 3rd spaces

Western music: Adams, "Harmonium" - mixed key signatures


Other uses:
folk music around the world (people can invent completely new ways to notate music, however)
key signatures involving notes beyond the 12-tone Western system

Defining ALL of music in the world with relation to Western notation convention is extremely close-minded imo. However, as said before, it would be better to justify the breaking of long-held conventions
#103
Quote by Vreid

You might have to explain that to me. I am well aware of non fixed pitch instrument intonation.

I don't see how the Key sig, which doesn't necessarily tell you what key you are in, will tell you the correct intonation wanted by the composer.

How do you intone in different keys any different when playing with a piano which is 12TET ?
Do you narrow or widen your thirds or fifths over the fixed pitch Piano?

When playing with only non fixed pitch instruments, or predetermined note selection of fixed pitch instruments, go for it.
But which temperament system are you using? Are the other guys using the same? How do you determine that from the key?

I figure the idea is that the key signature and looking at a couple notes in the piece will pretty quickly tell you what key a piece is in, at least most of the time. Especially when playing solo, instruments like violins frequently play F# in G major sharper than an F# in a key like D where it isn't a leading tone.

When playing with a piano you would want to be a bit more conservative with the effect, but it still tends to happen unless you're going to hang on a slightly sharpened/flattened note for a really long time that would clash with the piano's even temperament version.
#105
bar2271, that's just poor translation to the page from notation software; there shouldn't be bleed between instrument staves
#106
Quote by Vreid
Panasonic3

I was just having a dig at your statement " It is not difficult to perceive if you slow down and think about it."
Hence the smiley face.

What we are saying is the key signature is for ease of playing, not to denote the actual key of the piece.

G major has one sharp, and you would find that sharp on the upper F ledger line with a treble clef. No problems.

But, what if you were scoring say SHA, the classic is it in D or G?

Would you use 1 sharp for G major, even if you think it's in D? As in Mixolydian.
Would you use 2 sharps, for the key of D, and place an accidental natural on all the C#'s?

What if you were playing in mainly B Phrygian dominant. Would you say it was in E minor, 1 sharp F#, and accidental through the score on the D to D#.
Or, a key sig with a sharp on the F and on the D?
There is no key that has F and D sharp.

What about the D Phrygian Dom. scale posted above? Are you OK with both sharps and flats in a non standard key sig?
Or, would you prefer it to have the sharp as an accidental?

Some agree with non standard, some agree with mixed , but most don't, and most can't tell me why, other than that's just the way it is.
If I change a score of " any legitimate REAL music " to contain a mixed key sig to suit my way of playing and processing the information on to the fretboard with how I visualize it, apparently it becomes not real music, and I am then uneducated and not a proper musician.
I am not saying everyone has to do this, just that it is a alternative that I find acceptable.

Key signatures aren't used to denote what scale is being used, nor are they used to signify what the tonal center of the piece is in, so in the case of something like E phrygian, it's parent major scale is C, so we use the key signature of C. Writing out a piece in E phrygian using the key center of E minor/G major with an F#, only to then natural every single F# would do nothing but make things complicated. Same deal with D Mixolydian or any other modal piece, you use the parent major scale because it just makes the performer's job easier, they don't need to know what the tonal center is in order to play the piece, and so doing so would just be unnecessary information.  

As for something like B Phrygian Dominant, for most musicians, the key of Eminor and having the D sharpened as an accidental is almost always preferred. Because harmonic minor is not it's own parent scale, we see it instead as an alteration of the natural minor scale, otherwise we'd have an entire list of key signatures for harmonic minor, or any other 7 note scale for that matter. Harmonic, melodic and natural minor are all seen as just variants of one another, and so most musicians have just trained themselves to read the score as it normally would, and sharpen when needed. Not to mention most tonal music that uses harmonic minor, will alter the 7th degree multiple times in different situations, so either way you can't avoid the accidentals. 

That's not to say either is easier or harder, it's just what people are comfortable with, and so to answer the question of "why can't we use unconventional key signatures?"; you can, if you find that easier to read then by all means. But it's just that with music being notated the way it has for centuries now, people are just comfortable with the conventional way. It's the same as people who say we should all switch from QWERTY keyboard layouts to newer ones like Dvorak: they may be faster or more streamlined or whatever, but most people simply don't see the need to change when they're already so comfortable with the QWERTY layout, and they know that since it's been the standard for over a century, they won't have to worry about switching layouts all the time since everyone uses the same layout. While the odds of running into a score with an unconventional key signature is probably no where near as unlikely as running into an office that only uses Dvorak keyboards, my point stands. So if the answer of "that's just the way it is" isn't good enough for you, then I'm sorry but that's the best answer you're gonna get. It works, it's been around since forever, and changing it at this point would probably be more trouble than it's worth the majority of musicians.
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#107
Quote by Jimjambanx
Key signatures aren't used to denote what scale is being used, nor are they used to signify what the tonal center of the piece is in, so in the case of something like E phrygian, it's parent major scale is C, so we use the key signature of C. Writing out a piece in E phrygian using the key center of E minor/G major with an F#, only to then natural every single F# would do nothing but make things complicated. Same deal with D Mixolydian or any other modal piece, you use the parent major scale because it just makes the performer's job easier, they don't need to know what the tonal center is in order to play the piece, and so doing so would just be unnecessary information.

But what if we are talking about a piece in the key of E major that is kind of "bluesy" and doesn't use D# once and instead uses D natural all the time?



I would still use the key signature of E major because that's the key the song is in. Many times the key signature has to do with the tonal center. When it comes to modal key signatures, I have a bit mixed feelings about them. Or it has to do with the style of music we are talking about. I would usually prefer a key signature that matches the tonal center, especially if we are talking about modern music, not pre-17th century music. And I have seen it both ways - some pieces use modal key signatures whereas others use key signatures that match the tonal center of the piece.

It's the same thing with songs that are based on the minor pentatonic scale. For example if we are in the key of Dm and the song is completely based on the Dm pentatonic scale, I would prefer having the Bb in the key signature, even though the song has no Bb's in it.

BTW, I remember a song by Alban Berg that had a key signature with 6 flats in it (IIRC). It was very chromatic and actually there was an accidental in front of every single note, even if those notes were also in the key signature. I guess the only point of the key signature was to indicate that the key center was technically Eb (if you had to pick a key that it was in - as I said, it was very chromatic and it was actually mostly based on the two whole tone scales). I'm really not sure if the key signature was necessary, though, but I'm sure there was a reason why Berg decided to use it instead of leaving the key signature open.
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#108
Quote by MaggaraMarine

BTW, I remember a song by Alban Berg that had a key signature with 6 flats in it (IIRC). It was very chromatic and actually there was an accidental in front of every single note, even if those notes were also in the key signature. I guess the only point of the key signature was to indicate that the key center was technically Eb (if you had to pick a key that it was in - as I said, it was very chromatic and it was actually mostly based on the two whole tone scales). I'm really not sure if the key signature was necessary, though, but I'm sure there was a reason why Berg decided to use it instead of leaving the key signature open.


if it means anything, i don't see myself putting a key signature on a Berg piece just out of general principle
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#109
Quote by MaggaraMarine
But what if we are talking about a piece in the key of E major that is kind of "bluesy" and doesn't use D# once and instead uses D natural all the time?

I would still use the key signature of E major because that's the key the song is in. Many times the key signature has to do with the tonal center. When it comes to modal key signatures, I have a bit mixed feelings about them. Or it has to do with the style of music we are talking about. I would usually prefer a key signature that matches the tonal center, especially if we are talking about modern music, not pre-17th century music. And I have seen it both ways - some pieces use modal key signatures whereas others use key signatures that match the tonal center of the piece.

It's the same thing with songs that are based on the minor pentatonic scale. For example if we are in the key of Dm and the song is completely based on the Dm pentatonic scale, I would prefer having the Bb in the key signature, even though the song has no Bb's in it.

BTW, I remember a song by Alban Berg that had a key signature with 6 flats in it (IIRC). It was very chromatic and actually there was an accidental in front of every single note, even if those notes were also in the key signature. I guess the only point of the key signature was to indicate that the key center was technically Eb (if you had to pick a key that it was in - as I said, it was very chromatic and it was actually mostly based on the two whole tone scales). I'm really not sure if the key signature was necessary, though, but I'm sure there was a reason why Berg decided to use it instead of leaving the key signature open.


With E blues, that kind of implies mixolydian, so personally I would use the key of A, but if it's like a 12 Bar blues sort of thing where every chord is dominant, then it doesn't matter what you do you're going to have accidentals, so you might as well have the key of E, I don't know it's a hard question that doesn't really have a clear answer. But blues is one of those styles that really goes against traditional music theory and notation anyway. If you look at a transcription of the solo to you shook me all night long, it looks way more complicated than it really is. Trying to transcribe blues in standard notation is like a kid trying to fit a square through a triangular hole; even if you succeed it's going to look messy.

If a piece is based on Dm pentatonic then of course you include the Bb in the key signature, there's absolutely no reason not to, even if you don't play it. Unless there's a surprise B natural in there, in which case you would just call it D Dorian and use the key of C. If you really want the performer to know what the tonal centre is, you could just write in text "D Dorian".

When it comes to atonal stuff, I wouldn't even bother with a key signature, just leave it as open key, you're not doing anyone any favours by having 6 flats in the key signature only to have a crap tonne of accidentals.
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#111
Quote by P_Trik
You will never, ever, whatever see a key signature like NeoMvsEu posted from Wiki in any legitimate REAL music. NEVER. Ughh, the bad information out there on the net is atrocious and it's freakin difficult to read answers to such an honest, straightforward question by TS get so butchered by people who should know better throughout this thread. Kudos to the UG members passing on good information and now I'm breaking my vow to not post but holy hell, I feel for the learning musicians that are trying to sift through all this and actually LEARN and get better. 

The key signature doesn't just tell the performer which notes are sharp or flat throughout the piece, it tell what KEY the piece is in. A KEY is two parts: 

1) a tonal center or NOTE that is central or "home base" (resolved) to the passage or piece and 
2) the tonality or "mood" (major or minor) 

The example posted with B and E flat and an F# is obviously some example of G harmonic minor BUT ONLY THE Bb AND Eb belong in the key signature. F# would be an accidental throughout the piece and NEVER be added to the key signature.

TS: great question, simple answer that may have been answered already: those groupings of sharps and flats not only show which notes are sharp or flat throughout the piece, they show the actual KEY of the piece. EI: G major (just an F#) or G minor (B and E flat). Even NO sharps or flats indicate C major. This gets a bit more complicated in light of relative major and minor keys that share the same sets of notes but a different tonal center. But the analysis of this goes beyond just the notes on the page and to LISTENING to what is being played. Resolution will fall to the KEY NOTE. Overall mood will be either major or minor and you only need to strum a major chord and it's minor version (ie: E major then E minor) and you'll hear the same mood shift as you'd hear in a piece in the key of E major (F, C, G and D sharp) as opposed to E minor (just F#) where the note E is the tonal center or "resolved sounding" note. 

To any of you heavy handed mods that get your underwear in a bunch when someone disagrees with you and abuse your position by banning experienced musicians who are on UG to contribute and HELP the learning musicians that come to UG for help. Take a deep breath and just move on. I've had to. Now it's your turn. 

Finally!!! I read two first pages and all you guys are talking about adding flats or sharps to the key signature because 'what if this piece is in this scale'. Scales are not the same as keys. And while this seems 'easier' for you to read it totally messes with people who actually sightread on the flow and have been trained classically/properly.  And yes, I've seen and read at least miles of scores and sheet music and never have I seen anything like this.

It also would mess the crap out of harmonic approach and if you tried writing anything along the lines of countrepoint music or even harmonize a few things, it'd fall apart realy quickly.

Also, key signatures come in two ways only, major and minor. They're not scales. You can use all sorts of weird scales and accidentals in any major or minor key (granted it sounds good), but a key is not supposed to be catered to the scale you use. So if you are writing a lot of your parts in D harmonic minor and never even once play C and keep it at C# you would still write it as D minor key signature with one flat and then add accidentals to C (making it a C#).

Another good reason not to add the gibberish additional sharps or flats: Say you're using D Melodic Minor scale, ascending you get raised 6 and 7th (each a semitone), however when going back, the 6 and 7 go back to what they originally are. Why would you put a sharp on 6 and 7 in this case?
#112
Speaking in absolutes usually ends up with fallacious generalizations.

Quote by Jimjambanx
With E blues, that kind of implies mixolydian, so personally I would use the key of A, but if it's like a 12 Bar blues sort of thing where every chord is dominant, then it doesn't matter what you do you're going to have accidentals, so you might as well have the key of E, I don't know it's a hard question that doesn't really have a clear answer. But blues is one of those styles that really goes against traditional music theory and notation anyway. If you look at a transcription of the solo to you shook me all night long, it looks way more complicated than it really is. Trying to transcribe blues in standard notation is like a kid trying to fit a square through a triangular hole; even if you succeed it's going to look messy.
Gonna reply to this without a bump

Jet said this a long while ago:
^Horizontal vs vertical music, and various spelling considerations. Lots of orchestral concert music actually uses modal key sigs because no one's responsible for harmony, only playing what's on the page and nothing else.


A lot of Baroque (and pre-Rameau stuff in general) used the number of accidentals used in the piece (only one type of sharp or flat, however).

Note G minor and no notated E in key signature.

However, Rameau's Treatise on Harmony did a lot to change the order of things. It established the concept of a chord, cadences, and a lot of what we know as tonal music theory today.

I'd say that blues expands music theory's reach rather than breaks it; after all, music theory is just systematic description. Consistent dominant chords and extensions (7#9) make for the chromaticism found in the AC/DC song; actually, since the only thing that becomes a new flat is B (flat, to go with the G7#9 sound; the others are C natural and F natural, but I'd argue that natural accidentals are more likely to happen, particularly C natural, than a flat in a sharp key (D major, Bb))
#114
Quote by Lloyd_rogers
i think i know now why they have music college. 


same reason they have liberal arts colleges

high unemployment rate and student debt keeps the proletariat stifled
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#115
Quote by NeoMvsEu
Consistent dominant chords and extensions (7#9) make for the chromaticism found in the AC/DC song; actually, since the only thing that becomes a new flat is B (flat, to go with the G7#9 sound; the others are C natural and F natural, but I'd argue that natural accidentals are more likely to happen, particularly C natural, than a flat in a sharp key (D major, Bb))

Which AC/DC song, did you miss putting a link? I thought of Back in Black with the chromatic G#, A, A#, B part in the riff but that doesn't seem to fit with what you're talking about!
#116
Quote by NSpen1
Which AC/DC song, 

I think NeoMvsEu  was referring to this.
Quote by Jimjambanx
If you look at a transcription of the solo to you shook me all night long, it looks way more complicated than it really is. 
#118
Vreid
Yes, thanks. Very next song on the album!
You know, I probably read this originally and followed the thread of the conversation fine, it was only when it was bumped that I got confused!

Quote by INSULIN
ASIAN MINOR IS NOT A KEY

Playing (with an) Asian minor can get you locked up.
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