Author Topic: Enharmonic spellings  (Read 763 times)

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Patrick O'Keefe

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Enharmonic spellings
« on: January 26, 2021, 01:04:43 PM »
I've asked questions like this before and will probably continue to until I die.

I'm writing a piece that uses a lot of the double harmonic minor (aka Hungarian minor or "Gypsy" minor) - the harmonic minor with a raised 4th degree.  The piece has no key signature but one phrase has a tonal center of C#.  Essentially, its scale is #C-#D-E-xF-#G-A-#B-#C.  I generally avoid double sharps, #B, etc.  Would their use be help or a hindrance for the player.  I've attached an image of my current notation of the phrase (which will hopefully appear in this posting). 

What would be the most helpful, most easily readable notation for this phrase?  Sight reading isn't an issue here.

And yes, I know that I'm a bit outside the mode by the end of the phrase; those B naturals don't belong in the mode but do belong in the phrase.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2021, 01:08:32 PM by Patrick O'Keefe »

Michel.R.E

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Re: Enharmonic spellings
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2021, 01:14:32 PM »
its quite readable as is.
I'd remove the parentheses around those C# in the 3rd and 2nd last measures. same goes for the low Gnat in the 3rd last measure.

ok, I'm having to go back and forth and re-edit my post...
remove ALL the parentheses from the part. the accidentals they accompany are all "required" so the parentheses cause more questions than avoid them.
Those accidentals are required and not "editorial".
« Last Edit: January 26, 2021, 01:19:02 PM by Michel.R.E »
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Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: Enharmonic spellings
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2021, 02:07:55 PM »
Thank you.  I've removed all cautionary accidentals ... even though I've met at least one performer that wanted them.  I understand how a cautionary accidental not in parentheses would cause questions (and confusion).  I can see an accidental in parentheses could cause irritation because it's unneeded, but I don't see how it could cause questions.  In any case, I've removed them.

Pat

Michel.R.E

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Re: Enharmonic spellings
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2021, 04:16:22 PM »
ok, I hope we understood each other: the accidentals you added must remain, it's the parentheses that must be removed.

yes to cautionary accidentals.
no to cautionary accidentals with parentheses.
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Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: Enharmonic spellings
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2021, 06:49:42 PM »
I'm afraid I did misunderstand you.   I'm afraid I have to fight my strong preference for putting cautionary accidentals in parentheses (because without the parentheses there's an implication they are necessary rather than cautionary), but I'll go with your suggestion.  I've put the cautionary accidentals back, and not used parentheses.

Gould sort of waffles on this.  She says it is traditional practice to put them in parentheses - she says "brackets" - but that they can reduce overall legibility so it's better to omit the brackets.

Pat

Michel.R.E

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Re: Enharmonic spellings
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2021, 07:36:16 PM »
in general practice, the use of parentheses for cautionary accidentals is reserved for rare and special cases.

for example, I'd use it if a large chord in the piano, widely separated, had a C# at the very bottom, but a C natural at the very top... the parentheses in this case indicate that "no, this accidental is NOT an error".

however, an arpeggio with a C# near the bottom and a C natural somewhere on the way up would NOT have parentheses as the notes are not simultaneous. simple cautionary accidentals (or in this case, just "accidentals") would be enough.

otherwise, they should be reserved for special editions for editorial markings.
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Jerry Engelbach

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Re: Enharmonic spellings
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2021, 03:47:45 PM »
In jazz, a dominant 7#9 chord is often notated as a dominant 7b10, to emphasize that the b10 is the equivalent of a b3 in a blues scale.

In which case, the lower natural third is notated with a natural sign in parens to distinguish it from the upper 10 with a flat sign.

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Michel.R.E

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Re: Enharmonic spellings
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2021, 05:50:58 AM »
so it's basically the same principle as for "classical" music notation. which gives the practice more weight I guess  ;)
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