The Use Of Double Sharps/Flats?

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moto_psycho
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When should they be used when writing. If you were going to raise a note a whole step, lets say D#, why would n't you just write it as F? Can someone please enlighten me on when they should be used?[/code]
mroppy
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Double-flats are actually more common than double-sharps. Double-flats are used in flat minor keys (Db minor, Ab minor, etc) because you're flatting a note that's already flat. I'm trying to think of a way that you would wind up using a double-sharp, but I can't think of one off the top of my head. Oh, well. Hope that helps.

Oppy
moto_psycho
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But usually when you flat a note thats already flat like F# it would just become F
mroppy
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Look at it like this:

Db major
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db

Db minor
1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8
Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bbb Cb Db

The reason why it's Bbb is because the A is already flat. Calling it A natural would give the assumption that you're actually using it as a sharp 5. Does that make sense?

Ultimately, it's your decision whether or not to use a double-flat. I would only do it in a case where I would have lots of Ab's, Bbb's, and Cb's in the same measure so I don't wind up having accidentals before every single note. Whatever gets your point across in the most orderly way. I would much rather see that it's clearly a Db minor descending figure than see a bunch of wacky accidentals designed for "clarity."

Chris
brainpolice
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'Db minor
1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8
Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bbb Cb Db"
I understand what you're saying but....CONTEXT!
It isn't Db minor, it's C# minor. Check out the circle of 5ths, there is no Db minor it's called C# minor.....so the result is: C# D# E F# G# A B C#.
If we were to PRETEND there was a Db minor, we would run into B double flats, but if you use the proper key signature, C# minor, there is no issue.
Take the key of Gb major, Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F Gb. There is no Gb minor, there is F# minor. F# minor constitutes: F# G# A B C# D E F#. If were to PRETEND there was a Gb minor, you'd run into b double flats. But if you use the proper key signature, F# minor, there is no issue. CONTEXT!
:)
So if you actually follow the proper names of the key signatures, there is no need for double flats or double sharps at all. Double flats and double sharps are the result of confusing flat and sharp keys. I repeat: Double flats and double sharps are the result of confusing flat and sharp keys.
Last edited by brainpolice on Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:15 pm, edited 7 times in total.
Ryan Layton
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i think its also used when modulating. kind of like saying #7. it also has to do with modulating.
moto_psycho
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ok, so i should never really need to use them when writing in sheet music?
brainpolice
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If you use the proper key signatures, no need arises for them. :P Simple as that. Not Db minor, it's C# minor. Not Gb minor, it's F# minor. Not Cb minor, it's B minor. Etc. I'm sure i'll get someone who disagrees with me, but I believe I demonstrated why you dont need them above. It's all context.
And no, Ryan, even when modulating, there's no need for double sharps or double flats if one uses the proper key signatures in the first place. It will just be normal sharps, flats, and naturals. Or you just literally change the key signature, for an easy way out, but I just use accidentals.
moto_psycho
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What about with augmented and diminished chords? Iv seen them used quite a bit in those sort of chords.
brainpolice
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What about them? Take the key of A minor. A G# fully diminished chord is a common occurence. Lets spell it: G# B D F. Where's the double flats and sharps? There's no need for them. How about an A diminished chord in A minor? That's a cool b5 sound, typically preceded by the normal minor I chord. Let's spell it: A C Eb. Where's the double flats and double sharps? No need for them. Take the key of C major. A C augmented chord is a common occurence. Lets spell it: C E Ab. Where's the double flats and sharps? There's no need for them.
All you need is flats sharps and naturals. If you're using double sharps and double flats, you are using a key signature that doesn't exist! Like I said, double flats and sharps are the result of confusing flat and sharp keys. It's F# minor, not Gb minor. It's C# minor, not Db minor. It's B minor, not Cb minor. Etc.
j3
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brainpolice wrote:If you use the proper key signatures, no need arises for them. :P Simple as that. Not Db minor, it's C# minor. Not Gb minor, it's F# minor. Not Cb minor, it's B minor. Etc. I'm sure i'll get someone who disagrees with me, but I believe I demonstrated why you dont need them above. It's all context.
And no, Ryan, even when modulating, there's no need for double sharps or double flats if one uses the proper key signatures in the first place. It will just be normal sharps, flats, and naturals. Or you just literally change the key signature, for an easy way out, but I just use accidentals.

You wouldn't want to change key sigs in a middle of a measure. It's very common to use tritone modulation, in which you might prefer to go to f# as opposed to Gb from C7. Or what about D# or Eb from Ab7 if its Ab harmoni minor you've got problems with double flats conflicting with sharps.
The bottom line is context. If you're modulating from a # key you probably want to go to a natural or # key. If you're modulating from a b key, you want to modulate to a natural or b-er key.

Or what about a raised note in a very sharp key? Say you're in G# minor (5#'s). If you go to D# dom 7, you have to write XF. Writing G-nat would be dumb--completely missing the whole point. This is especially true for sight singing if you're the type to use moveable do. I use fixed do, but you would definitely run into problems if you are trained in tonal harmony and you just use a bunch of short cuts in your notation. Sometimes complication of notation is necessary for communication of the composer's intent.
FINGERS76
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Simply put....

If you are making a note that is flat or sharp, flat or sharp, such as..
A# to B, but you are playing in a key that B is already sharp, it may be confusing that you have a B and B# in the same scale or key, so it is notated as A##. It sounds like a B but for notation purposes it is a ##.

Same for flats...

Brainpolice you are simply wrong saying you don't need them.
brainpolice
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"If you are making a note that is flat or sharp, flat or sharp, such as..
A# to B, but you are playing in a key that B is already sharp, it may be confusing that you have a B and B# in the same scale or key, so it is notated as A##. It sounds like a B but for notation purposes it is a ##."
B NATURAL! Simple as that. B NATURAL!
"Or what about a raised note in a very sharp key? Say you're in G# minor (5#'s). If you go to D# dom 7, you have to write XF. Writing G-nat would be dumb--completely missing the whole point. This is especially true for sight singing if you're the type to use moveable do."
That I accept. But it is just a rare exception. You're right. There are some exceptions. I admit to making a bit of a jump of judgement, But most of the time you just plain dont need em. Moreover, I hope you understad that I was correcting the use of improper key signature names, in which the case proved that doubles were NOT needed in those situations if one used the proper sharp key instead of a makeshift flat key that doesn't exist. :)
FINGERS76
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YOU WOULDN'T USE A DOUBLE SHARP OR FLAT IN A KEY SIGNATURE FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND. THAT IS NOT WHAT THE ORIGINAL QUESTION WAS TRYING TO CLEAR UP.
brainpolice
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HUH? PEOPLE WRITE MUSIC IN KEY SIGNATURES! LOL
SHARPS AND FLATS ARE PART OF :O OMG! KEY SIGNATURES?
wtf are you talking about? i was actually starting to correct myself (for j3's sake, not yours) until you had to come in and be like that.
"When should they be used when writing."
PEOPLE WRITE IN KEY SIGNATURES! HE's PARTICULARLY ASKING HOW TO NOTATE (IN A KEY SIGNATURE!)
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