# Topic: Notation for a dummy - accidentals question :D

1. ## Notation for a dummy - accidentals question :D

Hi Guys,

OK, I have this question - when using a non-traditional scale in music, and you are scoring it using traditional notation, do you mix different types of accidentals?

This is the scale I am using.

Here is the passage in question.

I know for readability, oftentimes we use enharmonic equivalents but I was just wondering what the basic rules for this are. I should know this, with all the stuff I have done, but part of me says to leave it, other part of me tells me to change the notes so all the accidentals are either sharp or flat.

Jerry Wickham

2. ## Re: Notation for a dummy - accidentals question :D

I find the notation you have to be the most easily read. There is nothing wrong with mixing sharps and flats. D harmonic minor has a Bb and a C#, so it has a longstanding tradition!

The best readability comes when you can avoid using different sharp, flat, or natural symbols on the same note. If you had spelled the Bb in your example as A#, you would have to spell A-natural each time it occurred. Similarly with C#/Db and G#/Ab.

Rule of thumb: fewer accidentals = fewer accidents.

3. ## Re: Notation for a dummy - accidentals question :D

Originally Posted by Skysaw
I find the notation you have to be the most easily read. There is nothing wrong with mixing sharps and flats. D harmonic minor has a Bb and a C#, so it has a longstanding tradition!

The best readability comes when you can avoid using different sharp, flat, or natural symbols on the same note. If you had spelled the Bb in your example as A#, you would have to spell A-natural each time it occurred. Similarly with C#/Db and G#/Ab.

Rule of thumb: fewer accidentals = fewer accidents.
Thanks Jamie!

That settles it!!

MUCH appreciated!!!

Jerry

4. ## Re: Notation for a dummy - accidentals question :D

One more thing that might play into your decision is what other instruments are playing. For example, if your melody was accompanied by a piano playing a repeated F#7 chord, you might consider spelling the Bb as an A#, just to have agreement across instruments. Then it's just a matter of taste.

5. ## Re: Notation for a dummy - accidentals question :D

Jerry,

I'm in agreement with Jamie. Your example is very clear and easy to read.

Jeff

6. ## Re: Notation for a dummy - accidentals question :D

Originally Posted by Jeff Turner
Jerry,

I'm in agreement with Jamie. Your example is very clear and easy to read.

Jeff
Thanks to both of you - I totally agree with the rule of thumb. I knew this - but I heard someone criticize one of my scores here on the forum because I had mixed accidentals once - one of my very first scores I posted. I fixed the score and thought nothing more of it, but just now, when cleaning up one of my new pieces' scores, I wanted to make sure I didn't have anyone give me the "ah-HA!"
After all, there are plenty of Pros here, and I have, in the past, prided myself on my score layout abilties, etc.

Thanks again!

Jerry

7. ## Re: Notation for a dummy - accidentals question :D

Jerry,

Your example is fine. You can find some theory in this document:

http://www.ofai.at/cgi-bin/get-tr?pa...tr-2001-12.pdf

Be careful, however, with transposing instruments. Clarinet players, for example, seem to prefer flats, but this varies from player to player.

Paolo

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