Key signature and accidentals

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
bitwise
KVRist
155 posts since 18 Mar, 2012

Post Fri Nov 26, 2021 4:55 am

I needed to generate some midi events for testing purposes. So i defined a very simple plain text notation format.

When it comes to accidentals i have some doubt:

Consider the key of G major:

Which note is addressed by the accidental F# ? Courtesy accidental => the note remains F# ? I guess.

But which note would be addressed by the accidental Fb ? Is it allowed?

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BertKoor
KVRAF
13337 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Fri Nov 26, 2021 6:58 am

bitwise wrote:
Fri Nov 26, 2021 4:55 am
I needed to generate some midi events for testing purposes. So i defined a very simple plain text notation format.

When it comes to accidentals i have some doubt
In the context of midi events: no one cares.

I presume your notation format defines a 7 tone scale at the start for the whole song, and per note an optional accidental. So just do that, best to have no surprises and keep it simple.
bitwise wrote:
Fri Nov 26, 2021 4:55 am
Consider the key of G major:

Which note is addressed by the accidental F# ? Courtesy accidental => the note remains F# ? I guess.
G major has one sharp on F - the 7th tone of the scale. Whaddayamean by "the" accidental? If it's a sharp accidental, then the result is F# + 1 semitone = F## = G. (mind you, I don't know why someone would notate it that way) When it's flat, the result is plain F.
bitwise wrote:
Fri Nov 26, 2021 4:55 am
But which note would be addressed by the accidental Fb ? Is it allowed?
Sure, I don't know a valid reason why Fb shouldn't be allowed. Same as E, but it is not illegal.
We are the KVR collective. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Image
My MusicCalc is served over https!!

bitwise
KVRist

Topic Starter

155 posts since 18 Mar, 2012

Post Fri Nov 26, 2021 8:00 am

BertKoor wrote:
Fri Nov 26, 2021 6:58 am
Whaddayamean by "the" accidental?
Sometimes an accidental seems to act like an "operator" that shifts the note pitch, sometimes it seems to stress what's implied, like a courtesy accidental:

https://www.musicca.com/accidentals#6

So i was wondering whether it's an operator or something that replaces or (re)defines.

In my notation, i decided to avoid using it as an operator, so:

1) F can be F, Fb or F#, according to the key signature
2) F# is F#
3) Fb is Fb
4) F [natural] is simply F

imrae
KVRAF
1962 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Post Fri Nov 26, 2021 8:15 am

In equal temperament, Fb always sounds the same as E-natural and would be represented by the same MIDI note number.

It can be the appropriate notation for, say, the seventh note of a Gb harmonic minor scale.

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BertKoor
KVRAF
13337 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Fri Nov 26, 2021 8:22 am

bitwise wrote:
Fri Nov 26, 2021 8:00 am
In my notation, i decided to avoid using it as an operator, so:

1) F can be F, Fb or F#, according to the key signature
2) F# is F#
3) Fb is Fb
4) F [natural] is simply F
Since it's your notation, do whatever you like. But it sounds like a bit counter-intuitive and ambiguous to me. (rules 1 & 4 contradict each other)
We are the KVR collective. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Image
My MusicCalc is served over https!!

bitwise
KVRist

Topic Starter

155 posts since 18 Mar, 2012

Post Fri Nov 26, 2021 8:42 am

BertKoor wrote:
Fri Nov 26, 2021 8:22 am
bitwise wrote:
Fri Nov 26, 2021 8:00 am
In my notation, i decided to avoid using it as an operator, so:

1) F can be F, Fb or F#, according to the key signature
2) F# is F#
3) Fb is Fb
4) F [natural] is simply F
Since it's your notation, do whatever you like. But it sounds like a bit counter-intuitive and ambiguous to me. (rules 1 & 4 contradict each other)
1) is simply F
4) is F with "Natural" symbol ------> F ♮

jancivil
KVRAF
23613 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from gonesville

Post Fri Nov 26, 2021 11:43 am

In the key of Cb major, the seventh flat of the signature is F flat.
if you write E there, have a good reason to... its function is distant as pertains to that key.

In the key of G major, a descending line where Fb to Eb is a thing has sense, albeit target being an already chromatic tone pertaining to key.
There can be reasons for such a thing. For instance Eb is b6; so a tritone substitute for its dominant, Fb7b5 for Bb7b5 IE., functionally V of VI in G minor. But linearly it is viable in descension at least.

bitwise
KVRist

Topic Starter

155 posts since 18 Mar, 2012

Post Sat Nov 27, 2021 7:18 am

I was only talking about syntax. Anyway some of these comments make me think that in order to support the semantics, the syntax must be flexible enough. Let's say context sensitive. If the semantics allows it, the syntax allows it.

jancivil
KVRAF
23613 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from gonesville

Post Sat Nov 27, 2021 9:08 am

In functional tonal music or modal music with a tonal center, spellings are about meaning, there is nothing higher level. Even in dodecaphonic serialism, music from 12 tone rows one's spelling may have individual semantic sense. Syntax has semantical sense, or it is error. Or, in the case where it doesn't matter to the person with the idea (EG., 12-tone practice), there's nothing to talk about.

So, again, using E in the key of Cb Major or Ab minor is a misspelling unless_there_is_a_good_reason. A leading tone to its #4 F natural for instance.
The only meaning inhering in your question is musical meaning. You aren't interested, oh well.

bitwise
KVRist

Topic Starter

155 posts since 18 Mar, 2012

Post Sat Nov 27, 2021 10:05 am

It's not that i'm not interested but, in order to prepare some tests, i needed to generate a sequence of midi events with a quick way to input notes. I would like to create a notation format which fully reflects Music Theory, but it would take time. There's already Abc, Lilypond, Musicxml. For my needs, i have to settle for something less ambitious. Yet, with my method, one could probably declare a note in a semantics friendly way, anyway. Who knows? :roll: I opened this thread when the program was already developed. I was curious, i guess this shows some interest. :wink:

keys_au1
KVRer
9 posts since 7 Nov, 2021

Post Sat Nov 27, 2021 10:29 am

some good info here

imrae
KVRAF
1962 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Post Sat Nov 27, 2021 11:12 am

Did anyone mention double-sharps and double-flats yet? I guess BertKoor touched on them. If you want to allow any accidental in any key that might reasonably be encountered then they might come up.

If it's just for your own testing I don't suppose it matters if it only works in certain keys, anyway.

bitwise
KVRist

Topic Starter

155 posts since 18 Mar, 2012

Post Sun Nov 28, 2021 6:42 am

imrae wrote:
Sat Nov 27, 2021 11:12 am
Did anyone mention double-sharps and double-flats yet? I guess BertKoor touched on them. If you want to allow any accidental in any key that might reasonably be encountered then they might come up.

If it's just for your own testing I don't suppose it matters if it only works in certain keys, anyway.
It should work anyway because i put accidentals after the note. You should be able to declare a note with a nomenclature suitable for the given key.

jancivil
KVRAF
23613 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from gonesville

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 12:02 pm

"If the semantics allows it, the syntax allows it."
Yes this works as a truism, but I'm not following the notion of syntax apart from the semantics of spelling, or really what the project is designed for.

As a rule of thumb, distantly-derived spellings are less likely to hold, but there will be no perfectly simple map and be exhaustive at the same time. Which evidently you've worked out for yourself already.

bitwise
KVRist

Topic Starter

155 posts since 18 Mar, 2012

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 3:37 am

jancivil wrote:
Sat Dec 04, 2021 12:02 pm
"If the semantics allows it, the syntax allows it."
Yes this works as a truism, but I'm not following the notion of syntax apart from the semantics of spelling,
The syntax allows flats and sharps, but that doesn't mean that you can use them interchangeably. When you have to decide whether it's flat or sharp, you need to analyze the context to understand the meaning of what you're doing. You probably see it as a truism because you have lots of experience and live in the world of semantics, so you already know how things must be. But someone with less experience learns the syntax and, at some point, realizes that a meaning is needed in order to make some decision.
jancivil wrote:
Sat Dec 04, 2021 12:02 pm
or really what the project is designed for.
Something in the spirit of RTTTL ?

https://www.mobilefish.com/tutorials/rt ... ation.html

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