Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower?

Posted by: casinitaly

Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/23/13 08:06 PM

I've got a piece with an accidental A flat (the A below middle C). I know that accidentals don't carry over to the next bar - but do they apply to another A in the same bar if it is one octave lower? (in the first space of the bass clef?)

If it were in the key signature, of course it would apply to all the notes that are sharp or flat - but as an accidental? I don't seem to have come across this before.
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/23/13 08:14 PM


Accidentals only apply to the single note upon which they exist. No other note anywhere else on either staff is affected.

At least that is what I was taught. laugh
Posted by: Whizbang

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/23/13 08:15 PM

I've seen cases where an accidental applies just to the register in question and cases where it applies to both registers in the octave. These could be score typos but I recall my teacher mentioning that it could vary by notational conventions of various piano eras.
Posted by: Andy Platt

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/23/13 08:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Whizbang
I've seen cases where an accidental applies just to the register in question and cases where it applies to both registers in the octave. These could be score typos but I recall my teacher mentioning that it could vary by notational conventions of various piano eras.


I've never seen that. I have seen many cases where they will use a courtsey accidental to show that, no the note really is as written even though another octave had an accidental so I guess it's possible that it gets overlooked ... but I would play as written unless I had a very good reason not to.
Posted by: Whizbang

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/23/13 09:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Andy Platt

I've never seen that. I have seen many cases where they will use a courtsey accidental to show that, no the note really is as written even though another octave had an accidental so I guess it's possible that it gets overlooked ... but I would play as written unless I had a very good reason not to.


If I run across an example, I'll post it. I just skimmed a lot of my ragtime collection and the notation is pretty consistent--publishers are putting accidentals on both notes in the octave. But this specifically came up at one lesson because I encountered a counter example and wasn't sure what it meant (so asked my teacher). A flat 9th or maj7 left-hand octave would be very uncharacteristic of ragtime and be a good reason to ignore the lack of accidental.
Posted by: dmd

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/23/13 11:08 PM

Originally Posted By: casinitaly
I've got a piece with an accidental A flat (the A below middle C). I know that accidentals don't carry over to the next bar - but do they apply to another A in the same bar if it is one octave lower? (in the first space of the bass clef?)

If it were in the key signature, of course it would apply to all the notes that are sharp or flat - but as an accidental? I don't seem to have come across this before.




Can't you tell by trying it both ways and listening to it ?
Posted by: BenPiano

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/23/13 11:27 PM

I guess I'll chime in as well - I remember this discussion from a previous thread, but can't find the image I used.

But, the accidental only applies to the specific note and does not include notes above or below an octave.

I looked at some Scriabin, and the first one I looked at was very clear. The editing was nice as well, clearly showing this, and clearly showing that the octave related notes were or were not changed.

Since the editors are so ambitious to mark this so clearly, perhaps there is no written rule on how accidentals apply to other "octavated" notes. (or perhaps Scriabin's music demands it! laugh )
Posted by: Stephen Hazel

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/23/13 11:30 PM

Per standard notation, an accidental applies to the given note in all octaves of that bar on that staff.

But this standard is not always followed to the letter. You almost -always- have all octaves on the note/staff/bar notated with the courtesy accidental and that courtesy accidental is NOT always surrounded by parenthesis.

I have researched this pretty hard. (I'm writing a program that renders standard notation given midi). If anyone knows differently, I'd appreciate your source.



Edit: per Packa (below), I was mistaken.

All 3 of these sources agree that pitches in other octaves (of the same pitch, staff, bar) need additional accidentals.

Read, G. (1979). Music notation: A manual of modern practice (2nd ed.)

Heussenstamm, G. (1987). The Norton manual of music notation.

Gould, E. (2011). Behind bars: The definitive guide to music notation.
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/23/13 11:50 PM

Originally Posted By: dmd
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
I've got a piece with an accidental A flat (the A below middle C). I know that accidentals don't carry over to the next bar - but do they apply to another A in the same bar if it is one octave lower? (in the first space of the bass clef?)

If it were in the key signature, of course it would apply to all the notes that are sharp or flat - but as an accidental? I don't seem to have come across this before.




Can't you tell by trying it both ways and listening to it ?


This.
Posted by: BenPiano

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/24/13 12:08 AM

Originally Posted By: Stephen Hazel
I have researched this pretty hard. (I'm writing a program that renders standard notation given midi). If anyone knows differently, I'd appreciate your source.


Okay, scratch my post above and listen to the guy that researched this - my qualifications on this matter ...wait, I don't have any qualifications! whome
Posted by: stumbler

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/24/13 12:18 AM

There is some information in the documentation for Lilypond. It implies that accidental marking differs between the 18th century and the 20th.

http://lilypond.org/doc/v2.14/Documentation/notation/displaying-pitches#automatic-accidentals

I don't think the examples are the greatest.
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/24/13 04:47 AM



Well, ....I thought it would be a simple "yes" or "no" question! Live and learn.

I did try playing it before I posted my question!
Really, I did!

The thing is that I can't easily stretch to play it and had a lot of trouble getting a clear transition from one chord to the next - so it didn't sound very good at all!

This morning I tried some more and now I can hear that the first (higher) chord leads into the second -- it is a "Ta-dum" effect and now I can hear the musical resolution.

The answer is that in THIS context it isn't an Aflat.

I am really surprised that the "rules" on this aren't clear cut.

Thanks everyone for your help!
Posted by: malkin

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/24/13 10:41 AM

Originally Posted By: casinitaly
I've got a piece with an accidental A flat (the A below middle C). I know that accidentals don't carry over to the next bar - but do they apply to another A in the same bar if it is one octave lower? (in the first space of the bass clef?)

If it were in the key signature, of course it would apply to all the notes that are sharp or flat - but as an accidental? I don't seem to have come across this before.



Are you in measure 28 of Slippin' Around?
I played it making every note in that chord just slide down a half step. So the lower one is A natural.
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/24/13 10:46 AM

Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: casinitaly
I've got a piece with an accidental A flat (the A below middle C). I know that accidentals don't carry over to the next bar - but do they apply to another A in the same bar if it is one octave lower? (in the first space of the bass clef?)

If it were in the key signature, of course it would apply to all the notes that are sharp or flat - but as an accidental? I don't seem to have come across this before.



Are you in measure 28 of Slippin' Around?
I played it making every note in that chord just slide down a half step. So the lower one is A natural.


Aren't you a mind reader smile

Thanks!
Posted by: malkin

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/24/13 10:51 AM

Originally Posted By: casinitaly

Aren't you a mind reader smile

Nah, just a bit of a sleuth. You gave enough clues!

Originally Posted By: casinitaly

Thanks!


You're welcome. Have fun with that book!
Posted by: scorpio

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/24/13 02:43 PM

Interesting question. I just came across this in a video. Not sure how credible the source, but this is one interpretation.

The rule as stated in the video:

"Accidentals 1) only last for a bar; and 2) only affect the line or space in which they sit."

Here is the video (around 1:45): http://www.musictheoryvideos.com/accidentals.html

Curious if there is another reference stating otherwise.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/24/13 02:49 PM

They don't apply to other octaves, but the problem is that some don't seem to know (or maybe they overlook it while composing or writing exercises) because I have found quite a few scores in which other octaves should have their own accidentals but they don't.
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/24/13 02:57 PM

Thanks very much to everyone for the replies (and the videos and links!)

it is great to have such great resources at hand so quickly!

p.s.
Malkin I am indeed having great fun with the book!
Posted by: packa

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/24/13 04:30 PM

Originally Posted By: Stephen Hazel
Per standard notation, an accidental applies to the given note in all octaves of that bar on that staff.

But this standard is not always followed to the letter. You almost -always- have all octaves on the note/staff/bar notated with the courtesy accidental and that courtesy accidental is NOT always surrounded by parenthesis.

I have researched this pretty hard. (I'm writing a program that renders standard notation given midi). If anyone knows differently, I'd appreciate your source.


Sorry, but I can't find any support for this notion as standard practice.

From Read, G. (1979). Music notation: A manual of modern practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Taplinger Publishing:

"When an accidental not included in a key signature precedes any note, it affects the pitch it precedes--and no other--for that one measure only" (p. 129, author's italics).

From Heussenstamm, G. (1987). The Norton manual of music notation. New York, NY: W. W. Norton:

"An accidental applies only to the note at its original pitch level. When that note is sounded at a different octave level, another accidental is needed" (p. 69, author's italics).

From Gould, E. (2011). Behind bars: The definitive guide to music notation. London, England: Faber Music:

"An accidental holds good for the duration of a bar. It applies only to the pitch at which it is writen: Each additional octave requires a further accidental" (p. 78).
Posted by: scorpio

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/24/13 04:35 PM

Thank you packa!
Posted by: malkin

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/24/13 04:48 PM

Originally Posted By: scorpio
Thank you packa!


+1 packa!
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/24/13 05:08 PM

Packa! That was the definitive answer I was hoping to hear right off the bat! Who knew there would be so much discussion on what seemed to be a straightforward question!
Posted by: Stephen Hazel

Re: Accidentals - do they apply to a note one octave lower? - 02/24/13 08:07 PM

Yes - thanks Packa.

I've read all three of those books and must have missed those "not for any other octaves" phrases somehow.

Good to know!