Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by wilky, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. wilky

    wilky Member

    Hi All,

    After a lot of discussion at band alot of people tend to have a different opinion on the below and no one seems to know what the actual rule is!!

    If you have for example a top b with a flat accidental at the start of the bar and at the end of the bar you have a bottom b without the accidental does the accidental carry through on a different octave or does it only apply to that particular octave. A number of test pieces recently seem to have different rules that apply and no one seems to know what the standard rule is?

    Perhaps some composers out there can explain why different composers tend to use the accidental rule differently.

  2. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    I learnt that the accidental only applies in the same octave, and I don't think I've come across many pieces (if any) that don't follow that 'rule'.
  3. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

  4. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    Does the same go for sharp accidentals, accidental?
  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    The change would only apply to that specific note. I would have to see examples that contradict this practice.
  6. wilky

    wilky Member



    Im sure there has been some wilby pieces where the accidental has carried through to other octaves
  7. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I'm struggling to remember even piano works that would use this rule. I would expect to see it in some of the French Expressionist pieces from the likes of Debussy and Ravel (or even the Russian repertoire of Stravinsky or Shostakovich) but nope. Sorry, I can't help you any further here!
  8. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    .... BUT ... I have found this (which doesn't help the player at all!)
  9. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Take it from a pianist - in any music anyone will ever play (which neatly cuts out the bizarre exception brassneck dug up :biggrin:), the accidental only ever applies to the one note it is next to.

    Otherwise how would you differentiate between a one-handed major chord C#-E-A-C# and the flattened tenth version C#-E-A-Cnatural?

    I suspect what Ian remembers as an example was a misprint - it's easy to forget to add an accidental late on in a bar when the note has already been altered in a different octave...
  10. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Any examples?
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Oi, come on ... :cool: ... if the question wan't asked, I couldn't investigate it! The rule does exist but it seems that the music writers who use it keep it to themselves until asked (but maybe not in every case!). The same annoying situation applies for the Sibelius rule when an altered note ties over to the next bar ... it returns to it's previous state without a courtesy accidental. I cannot speak for Finale or any other notation programme but I bet it's the same. My rule ... try and keep it clear & simple for the reader so no ambiguity exists! (this may extend to ornaments which I mostly write out in full ... because of the issue of Wagnerian turns).
  12. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Ooops! Expressionist should have been Impressionist as you have probably already realised! :oops:

    - put in place a simpler scenario ... what about notes placed in octaves with only one note having an accidental?
  13. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Simpler in one way - fewer notes; more complex in another - harmonically less likely to occur in tonal music. I was trying to give an example that was easy to relate to.
  14. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    It looks like this rule is another one of these unnecessary practices! ;)
  15. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    For nothing other than facility of reading, surely the accidental should be re-marked if it applies in both octaves. If it wasnt marked, I'd assume it didn't repeat.

    If I'd flattened a note in the low octave I'd probably mark a cautionary flat/natural as required in the high octave just to clear things up but I don't think it's by any means compulsory that you do.

    Diverging slightly - In a cadenza passage, I remember reading somewhere that, though the key signature still applies, no accidental should be assumed to repeat - so every accidental should be marked separately. Is this correct?
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2008
  16. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Oh, I assumed it was deliberate! ;)
  17. E flat fred

    E flat fred Member

    how long

    any accidental only has value on the line or space it is positioned.
    No bearing on any other note an octave different.
  18. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    The Darkside Of The Tommass! :biggrin: Nah, we're all meant to be friends here! :cool:

    I bumped into an old college buddy who sings in the major choirs etc. (Mary Oliver, one of the finalists in that BBC soprano competition) and asked her about this form of notation. She thought I was winding her up! :oops:
  19. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    This is an issue that has been raised more than once for 'Concertino' (the Nationals testpiece). There are semiquaver runs through almost an octave which we understand do not carry the accidental flat from the upper to the lower octave, but there are also 'carry-over' tied notes which do not seem to fit and possibly some phrases which only work if the accidental does cross octaves.

    Playback on allegro seems to follow the "accidental doesn't carry over" rule.

    I don't know anything about piano scoring (or even e.g. multiple solo cornet line scoring) but what would happen in the following situations:

    a) in C major how do you differentiate a "Bb last quaver in the bar tied to a Bb first quaver in the next" (i.e. accidental automatically carries over because of the tie) from a Bb quaver slurred to a B natural (does the natural need to appear as an accidental or not - without a tie\slur there would be no question - the second B would 'be natural' [apologies for the pun] but use a tie\slur and it becomes ambiguous)

    b) in C major a cluster chord (dischord) occurs at the start of the bar including a (unmarked) B natural, accidental B flat and accidental B natural all at the same time. What note does the next written B in the bar sound??
  20. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    If the slur/tie line goes from notehead to notehead, I would assume it to be a tie and carry the accidental over. If it was over a group of notes and not just those two, I would assume the note to return to the state indicated by the key signature. For facility of reading, a slur between the two should have the second note marked with a cautionary accidental or it's often impossible to tell it from a tie.

    Again, for facility of reading, I either would use an A-sharp accidental next to the B natural, or a C-flat next to the B-flat - depending on what the music is doing at the time. That way the state of the next note in either case is much clearer. It's a similar situation to repeated semitone movement from F-natural to F-sharp within a bar. It's much simpler to either use E# to F# or F-nat to G-flat as each accidental only has to be marked once.

    It may not be ideal musical grammar, but certainly no worse than having two B-naturals - one marked and one unmarked - on the same line as a marked B-flat. I'd always try to use as many accidentals as required, but as few as possible within that.

    And no, that doesn't answer your question... because you've got me. I don't know!! ;)

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