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Author Topic: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb  (Read 459 times)

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Thrupenny Bit

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Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« on: August 21, 2017, 05:31:19 PM »

Hi,
I'm learning a finger twister and was getting in a knot as it was all over the place.
I then realised I was mistaking A# and playing as G#, my fault, I need better glasses, I know!

The tune is in the key of D.
Within the bar of music the first triplet has the B flattened, Bb
The next triplet has the A sharpened, A#.
I don't understand why the second triplet didn't have the note written as B, which within the bar should be played as Bb because of the first flattened B.

I know the composer attended Dartington School of music so he must have some formal musical training. Just wondering why the notes are written like this as it confused me.....
Any ideas?
Cheers
Q


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Thrupenny Bit

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playandteach

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2017, 06:04:11 PM »

Simplest reasons are, firstly to keep to related keys (in this case D minor would have Bbs but you'd have to go to B major for an A#). But most likely in your case you use the choice that doesn't require a correction accidental afterwards. So 3 notes going up chromatically - A, A#, B. That gives one accidental but A, Bb means the next note requires a correction to B natural  (sorry I don't have the right symbol on my phone). That means the player has more accidentals to read.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2017, 06:47:52 PM »

Ah yes, that makes sense.
It just added a further complication when reading it for the first time. I wasn't expecting it to be written that way and it caught me out.
Another complication being I misread the A# as a G# but as said, that was down to my old glasses  ::)
Thanks you for explaining.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

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george garside

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2017, 08:56:47 PM »

as an ignoramus by earist I thought A# and Bb were the same note.  they are on my box and sound exactly the same whatever you all them. Perhaps nobody has told them that they are different!

or is it a matter of complication for complications sake  that is loved by the classical brigade!

George >:E ;)
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2017, 09:02:33 PM »

I know what you mean George, but I think p&t has it.
The composer was following the rules properly, just that this ignoramus here didn't know Ithe proper rules.
..... But I do now and will look out for it in the future.
It's all learning, and learning keeps the brain going. It's good for me!
Q
« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 09:05:17 PM by Thrupenny Bit »
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RogerT

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2017, 10:56:02 PM »

A very good question that has slightly bothered me over the years...
This is quite interesting:
https://www.reddit.com/r/musictheory/comments/1h176q/faq_question_what_is_the_difference_between/

playandteach

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2017, 11:03:18 PM »

That's true but it does only help with the basic scale, not chromatic notes (by the way, there is nothing to fear in technical terms - chromatic just means notes outside of the scale, and our old friend diatonic means notes in the scale). Of course there are other meanings as we know.
I think it is great that people are asking questions about theory, but it doesn't mean that I think it's a better or more erudite way of working.
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george garside

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2017, 11:09:17 PM »

sounds like  carefully crafted bulsh'  that has no  place  in folk/trad music. I'll stick to if it sounds right it is right!

george  ::) ;)
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Edward Jennings

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2017, 12:50:02 AM »

"if it sounds right it is right!"
Whilst I would agree with Mr Garside's statement, I have to admit that I sometimes wish that I could sight read music. I have a reasonable ear for tunes, and can usually pick them up without too much trouble, as long as they appeal to me in the first place, that is.
My problem lies in remembering what they are/how they start! It would be so easy if I knew music. I cannot see the point in ABC and that sort of thing. After all, if you have to learn something, it might as well be the real thing, surely?
I also think that I understand what P&T meant about A# and Bb, although not entirely!!!! (But I don't need to, so please don't try to explain further for my benefit.)
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2017, 12:51:56 AM »

sounds like  carefully crafted bu (:)lsh'  that has no  place  in folk/trad music. I'll stick to if it sounds right it is right!

george  ::) ;)

It reads as interesting, if esoteric bovine poo but it is possibly more relevant to folk music than you may realise, if you take into account that much of our traditional music was written and played by musicians using just intonation. As soon as you start doing this Ab and G# etc are indeed perceptibly different notes. There are still traditional musicians around who play with just intonation. As you say "if it sounds right it is right". Just intonation is, inherently, more harmonious than the equal temperament we use. This is not very relevant to any but the driest MM reeded instrument, though  (:)
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2017, 07:40:19 AM »

Thanks Roger, very interesting. I need to go back and read it again to get it into my brain.
I was already aware that we use equal temperament following the invention of keyboard instruments such as the piano.
I'm sure in the dim distant past I've been told that the original English Concertinas were made before equal temperament cane in. Therefore, A# was a separate note to Bb so though it might be esoteric, it has had bearing in our folk past.
It also begs the question that early tune collections such as Playford would have been written before equal temperament. Therefore it has had relevance in our folk music, albeit of less relevance now as I assume manuscripts have been updated to allow for this.
Q
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Pete Dunk

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2017, 07:26:30 PM »

It would be so easy if I knew music. I cannot see the point in ABC and that sort of thing. After all, if you have to learn something, it might as well be the real thing, surely?

ABC is the real thing Edward, it's a text based method of type setting sheet music, to be printed and used by musicians who read music. It's favoured by people who want a simple way to print music without frills although it is capable of doing much more.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2017, 07:39:18 PM »

It took me  time to realise the benefit of abc. Now I do and readily acknowledge it's a great little tool.
As it's in text form, you can have tons of tunes in a file that only take up very little space on your pc/tablet/phone.
It converts it to sheet music *and* the bonus for me, it plays the tune so I can follow the dots and see and listened to how they are played.
If there's that cracking tune you want to learn but it's in a key you cannot play it in then you can transpose it to fit the keys available on your box.
A great little system to aid your tune learning......
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Gromit

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2017, 07:53:33 PM »

I find ABC useful for remembering how tunes start. When I first started learning tunes I made a little landscape notebook in which I drew staves and notes of the 1st few bars of each tune I learned, now it's so much easier just writing ABA DFA|dfe d2c|~B3 dAF|GFG EFG|.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2017, 07:56:50 PM »

...or printing off incipits, the first few bars of a tune in musical dots to jog the memory.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

playandteach

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2017, 08:17:18 PM »

sounds like  carefully crafted bulsh'  that has no  place  in folk/trad music. I'll stick to if it sounds right it is right!

george  ::) ;)
I'm not offended, but I have no idea what you are saying with this comment. I was simply answering a reasonable question about notation. I'm not saying notation is the best or only way, but if it is used we may as well know the conventions. What is the thing that you dislike so strongly?
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2017, 09:25:06 AM »

....
It also begs the question that early tune collections such as Playford would have been written before equal temperament. Therefore it has had relevance in our folk music, albeit of less relevance now as I assume manuscripts have been updated to allow for this.
Q

The thing to remember about early music was that it was largely written and performed in a limited range of keys which suited the instruments and didn't stray into the more remote keys. As an example, if you look at the Playford tunes, they are written mostly in the keys of F, C, G and D majors, and G, D, A and E minors. Those keys are quite OK on the instruments of the time, including keyboard instruments which could play harmonies, and still sound good. The instruments were tuned in mean temperaments of various sorts because the chords sounded nice and sonorous, particularly the thirds and fifths.

It is only when musicians tried to play on the same instrument in keys outside those basic ones that the problems started to occur. So for example, attempting to play in E major (4 sharps) and Eb major (3 flats) on the same instrument starts to have some notes and harmonies which sound bad. This is where the G# in E major needs to be harmonically slightly different from the Ab in Eb major, otherwise it sounds out of tune. On a keyboard instrument (especially say, an organ which cannot easily be retuned without a lot of time and work), composers simply avoided those more extreme keys.

It wasn't until Bach and some of his contemporaries started experimenting with compromise tunings ('Well temperament', which eventually led to equal temperament) that it became possible to play in all keys on the same instrument and it still sounded acceptable.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Written Musical rules when A# = Bb
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2017, 09:49:06 AM »

Thanks Steve for sorting that out for me, I was wondering how it worked before equal temperament.
It has resonance now inasmuch as we, on our limited instrument ( a DG box ) play tunes that are playable, stretch some tunes to fit, and some tunes leave as they are 'tunes too far'.
Fascinating how history is reflected in our current ways.....
Q
Being thoughtful for a change!
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!
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