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Topic: What's a "caution" accidental?

  1. #1

    What's a "caution" accidental?

    Just a simple music theory question...

    Those accidentals that are written like (#) or (b) in front of the note... what exactly are those for? I thought I knew at one point, but I'm clueless now.

    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  2. #2

    Re: What's a "caution" accidental?


    An accidental in parenthesis is a "cautionary" accidental.

    In essence it is a reminder to the player of whether a note is sharp, flat or natural.

    e.g. with a key signature of C, if there is a measure containing an F# any F's in the following measure are F natural's, however the music engraver/editor/copyist mght decide to add a cautionary parenthesised natural to the first F of the following bar to reduce the chance of a wrong note being played.

    They are sometimes also used in measures containing a lot of notes to remind the player of an accidental that it is still applicable within that measure.
    Richard N.

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  3. #3

    Re: What's a "caution" accidental?

    Thanks Richard! That makes sense.
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  4. #4

    Re: What's a "caution" accidental?

    Also: Sometimes it happens that a held note to the next bar, goes to the next page. If that note is not a natural, I usually add a cautionary accidental (even with the slur beforehand), to make sure the performer remembers.

  5. #5

    Re: What's a "caution" accidental?

    ... and if orchestra players want to signal: "Caution - here can happen accidents" at a technically difficult or surprising passage they will draw little glasses in the notes.

    No, the composer shouldn't do that in advance .

    All your strings belong to me!

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