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Topic: Question about accidentals  (Read 2134 times)

Offline TonyP27

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Question about accidentals
on: May 08, 2005, 11:51:26 PM
Hey guys, I am a self-taught piano player, I just have a quick question about accidentals.  Does the accidental, if placed in one clef, carry over to the other clef as well?

For example, the piece I am learning (Star Wars Suite, arr. Dan Esposito), where I currently am the key signature is no flats or sharps, key of C.  In one measure in the BASS clef, there is an A marked flat. Later in the same measure but in the TREBLE clef there is another A with no accidental. Would this A also be flat?

I have found most of the time when I see this same situation the 2nd A is simply marked flat as well.  But I am unsure whether that is just a reminder or what. Thanks for any help,

Tony

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Question about accidentals
Reply #1 on: May 09, 2005, 12:03:48 AM
The accidental is valid for all subsequent notes of the same scale degree within that measure, no matter which staff it is on. The editor could/should have also indicated it in the other staff, but it is strictly speaking not required.

Offline abell88

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Re: Question about accidentals
Reply #2 on: May 09, 2005, 01:52:17 AM
I hate to disagree with xvimbi, but my understanding is that the accidental only applies to notes on that same line or space in the same measure.  It should not be assumed to apply to the other clef.

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Question about accidentals
Reply #3 on: May 09, 2005, 02:30:05 AM
I hate to disagree with xvimbi, but my understanding is that the accidental only applies to notes on that same line or space in the same measure.  It should not be assumed to apply to the other clef.

even if the note jumps an octave usually another accidental is placed on the note.

Offline whynot

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Re: Question about accidentals
Reply #4 on: May 09, 2005, 02:42:29 AM
And this is exactly the problem with notation!  I assume this is because it evolved over so much time and across so much territory, that there are still aspects that haven't been completely agreed upon.  Or maybe agreed upon in certain time periods, then experimented with and changed in the next? and I think this is one of those aspects-in- limbo.  Because it should be that Ab's in one measure are all Ab's (extra markings within the measure are a courtesy), and I think this is almost always the case, but once in a while I do see that a composer (or shall I blame the editor?) has done it the other way.  And those cases don't seem to be typos (even though you find those all the time), because it's a consistent style throughout these occasional pieces.  I agree with xvimbi that the (typical) intention is to match the accidentals.  In pieces that are the exception, you can hear when it's supposed to go the other way, unless you're doing pretty out-there stuff...    

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Question about accidentals
Reply #5 on: May 09, 2005, 02:56:00 AM
I hate to disagree with xvimbi, but my understanding is that the accidental only applies to notes on that same line or space in the same measure.  It should not be assumed to apply to the other clef.

You can disagree with me any time you want ;) ; not on this one, though :P One accidental is sufficient; other accidentals are, as whynot so nicely put it, a courtesy of the editor.

Offline TonyP27

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Re: Question about accidentals
Reply #6 on: May 09, 2005, 03:05:46 AM
Thanks for the replies guys.  I think I will have to just play both and see what sounds closer to a recording. 

The note in question is part of a 32nd-note run.  During practice this evening I have been playing the Ab.  What's bugging me is several measures later there is a similar run, but with an A natural.  But I'm sure I can figure it out by ear, once I can play the piece better.

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Question about accidentals
Reply #7 on: May 09, 2005, 11:36:19 AM
Thanks for the replies guys.  I think I will have to just play both and see what sounds closer to a recording. 

The note in question is part of a 32nd-note run.  During practice this evening I have been playing the Ab.  What's bugging me is several measures later there is a similar run, but with an A natural.  But I'm sure I can figure it out by ear, once I can play the piece better.

Keep in mind that there is always the possibilitiy of a "typo", particularly when the score comes from a less reputable publisher or from somebody on the Internet, and even good publishers sometimes make errors.

Offline Glyptodont

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Re: Question about accidentals
Reply #8 on: May 09, 2005, 03:56:29 PM
The note in question is part of a 32nd-note run.  During practice this evening I have been playing the Ab.  What's bugging me is several measures later there is a similar run, but with an A natural.  But I'm sure I can figure it out by ear, once I can play the piece better.

In the Chopin A-Minor Waltz (Op. 34, No. 2)  There's an interesting passage -- a run that initially takes place in a major key, hitting a number of black keys.  Then a couple of staves later there's the identical passage in a minor key, played almost entirely with white keys.  The change of mood is very powerful. 

It is very interesting.   What you describe -- a passage with marked accidentals that then disappear in a later repeat of the passage -- that's not so unusual.

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Question about accidentals
Reply #9 on: May 10, 2005, 12:27:06 AM
I hate to disagree with xvimbi, but my understanding is that the accidental only applies to notes on that same line or space in the same measure.  It should not be assumed to apply to the other clef.

I have now conducted a poll in my surroundings and I was digging in some music theory books. I have found rules regarding accidentals both according to what I wrote in my post as well as what abell88 described above. I must admit, however, that the prevalent rule in modern music theory texts is the one that abell88 stated. Interestingly, most practicing musicians and even a qualified Julliard alumni I asked either ignore that rule or didn't know about it and automatically assume that an accidental applies to all the notes of the same scale degree irrespective of the pitch.

I guess, they just don't know better :) Shows you that a degree from Julliard doesn't mean squat :P

In any case, I herewith retract my statement, and I will now claim the opposite! I apologize to abell88 and from now on praise him/her (?) for his/her scholarly magnificence. I would feel honored if you would disagree with me in the future :D I will go through my scores and rectify all ambiguities, and I will curse all editors who have shamelessly confused me over the years  :(

Offline abell88

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Re: Question about accidentals
Reply #10 on: May 10, 2005, 01:25:21 AM
Thank you, xvimbi, for your gracious apology...I was all set to quote my experts!  ;)

I'm a bit of a theory nerd, I guess!

Alice

Offline whynot

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Re: Question about accidentals
Reply #11 on: May 10, 2005, 05:36:38 AM
Please sign me up for an apology, as well.  I asked a theory professor I trust who said that they don't carry throughout the octaves.  I have seen it both ways, but I guess the option "b" is the rule and "a" the exception, not the other way around!  Sorry! 
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