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Old 11-28-2017, 05:30 PM   #1
salex
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Default Accidentals

In the Key of C Major for notation purposes if my next note is an accidental do I use a C# or do I use a Db and what is the formula that I use to figure this out on another Major chord.
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:26 PM   #2
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W-W-H-W-W-W-H The C major scale is the only one that doesn't have sharps or flats.
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Old 11-29-2017, 12:13 AM   #3
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It could be either or both depending on the context.

Things to consider:

Is this a melody note or a harmony note?

Is this a chromatic passing tone or is this a borrowed note from another scale or key?

Does the note have a function relative to a given scale or chord?

What's going to be easier to read?

etc

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Old 11-29-2017, 04:16 AM   #4
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Since C has no sharps or flats, the odds are that you are doing a chromatic move like C, C#, D. If you are in C and are moving up, I would write it as C# but if I was moving down from D I would write it as Db. However, I wouldn't write it as C# in one place and then Db in another. Try to be consistent in how you use it. With all that said, I would think of C as a sharp key only because of the 2nd tetrachord of C being the 1st tetrachord of G and the 2nd tetrachord of G being the 1st tetrachord of D, etc. If that isn't confusing enough, I can keep going until your head explodes.
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Old 11-30-2017, 06:07 AM   #5
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Call accidental notes a sharp when going up in pitch and call them flat when descending in pitch no matter what the scale simply stated
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Old 11-30-2017, 10:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salex View Post
In the Key of C Major for notation purposes if my next note is an accidental do I use a C# or do I use a Db and what is the formula that I use to figure this out on another Major chord.
For melodic purposes, sharps up and flats down is a good rule to follow because it saves accidentals. C-C#-D only requires the sharp sign. C-Db-D requires the flat and then a correcting natural on the D. For the same reason D-Db-C is better than D-C#-C.
If the line just goes back to the first note, then two rules apply: the same "fewest accidentals" rule, but also a "notes on different line or space" rule. So C-Db-C is better than C-C#-C. And D-C#-D is better than D-Db-D.

IOW, an overall rule to apply in any key is economy of writing, and clarity of reading.

However, you seem to be asking about chords. (Keys and chords are different things .)
If you have a C chord with a semitone above C added, then that should be called Db (b9), regardless of any melodic movement. A b9 on a major triad would be very unusual, but 7b9 chords are common in jazz as dominants. C7b9 = C E G Bb Db. Not C E G Bb C#. And definitely not C E G A# C#!
The rule there is about not having two versions of the same note (C and C#) if you can avoid it; as well as the rule about stacking chords in 3rds (alternate notes).

But lastly: as in all music theory, there is only one rule for which there are never any exceptions. And that's the rule that "every rule always has exceptions". (Actually I'm not sure even that rule is always followed.... )

Last edited by JonR; 11-30-2017 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 12-02-2017, 05:41 AM   #7
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It usually depends on the context you're using the out of key note in. If you're using it to lead to another note, then typically if it's leading up, then you use a sharp, and if it's leading down, you use a flat.
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Old 12-08-2017, 03:10 PM   #8
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Thank You guys I'm going to use the ascending and descending context. I wanted to understand this to be able to apply this concept for transposing
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Old 12-08-2017, 05:52 PM   #9
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my self I don't under stand why ther is any flats because you get the same note using a sharp and you cant have a c flat or a f flat in the natural scale
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Old 12-08-2017, 09:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaxJaxon View Post
my self I don't under stand why ther is any flats because you get the same note using a sharp and you cant have a c flat or a f flat in the natural scale
This is a term to determine location on the staff in regards to [ " PITCH " ] .

Think of it this way , a stair case has it's up and down - When you take a step up it's sharp , on the way down the same step is now flat ---

It's that simple .

EZ :

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