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15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???

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Mr Red 28 Apr 03 - 09:25 AM
Snuffy 28 Apr 03 - 09:35 AM
Mr Red 28 Apr 03 - 09:45 AM
JohnInKansas 28 Apr 03 - 10:30 AM
M.Ted 28 Apr 03 - 01:10 PM
JohnInKansas 28 Apr 03 - 01:37 PM
M.Ted 28 Apr 03 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,T-boy 29 Apr 03 - 08:22 AM
treewind 29 Apr 03 - 09:00 AM
M.Ted 29 Apr 03 - 01:15 PM
JohnInKansas 29 Apr 03 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Apr 03 - 03:32 PM
M.Ted 29 Apr 03 - 04:48 PM
GUEST,Mr Red 30 Apr 03 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Mr Red again 30 Apr 03 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,Mr Red says thanx 30 Apr 03 - 11:52 AM
M.Ted 30 Apr 03 - 04:27 PM
Marc 01 May 03 - 05:20 PM
Mr Red 01 May 03 - 07:19 PM
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Subject: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: Mr Red
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 09:25 AM

Q1)So when would you refer to a C# as Db? Given that it must be easier to count 5 flats than 7 sharps why the preference? Ditto B/Cb and the other one I don't get to use on the Rouge Bodhrans? Is this a piano (or other) fingering issue or is it a striving for neatness/orthogonality of the look and feel of the whole scale of things?

This is not an idle question I am writing a singing to notes program. I have given the user the decision making process of what note they sang (human brains are better at ignoring imperfection). But with a pile of notes that seem to fall into a given key (or nearly) when do I quote key Db instead of C# (etc).

Q2)Which note is more normally referred to, G# or Ab.

My reference books are somewhat at odds and it is the lingua Franca I am after. What is normal? My next question is going to be about melodic and harmonic minors but not yet


Drums were never this much hassle


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: Snuffy
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 09:35 AM

As a basic rule of thumb it is wise to avoid having 2 notes with the same letter in your scale - i.e. C and C# but no D). It's easier to put a global accidental in the key signature than to sharpen individual notes and then naturalise (?) the next one.

So you would use C# if the scale has a D natural, and Db if the key contains C natural.


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: Mr Red
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 09:45 AM

Thanx Snuffy. Didn't think of that one. Easy enough to program as well!

Any thoughts on a web page that might help with these kind of decisions - simple rules. Plus Aeolian, Myxolydian, etc & Doric? (which I always thought was a column. Plus the melodic/harmonic. And yes I have heard of the centuries long debates over whether Mozart's sqillianth was really xyz minor dimished transitional to augmented seventh in "Nidd" but I have to know the pitfalls even if I choose to keep it simple. Most people who would need the program would be in a major key and off pitch occasionally which is a delicate problem negotiate.

The only Bodhran beater I have (and it is red) in C# is a Swish Army Knife...................


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 10:30 AM

One of the best ever explanations of the modes (Doric, Aeolian, etc.) is right here on the 'cat at the PermaThread Mode Primer.

The best general reference I've found on music notation is a book: Music Notation: A Manual of Modern Practice, Gardner Read, Taplinger Publishing Co., 2d ed 1979, ISBN 0-8008-5459-4 (pbk). It was about $24 (US) a couple of years ago, but it's been on the shelf at Barnes and Borders recently. If you can't find it in your local library, have a cup of coffee and look up what you need while you pretend you're thinking about buying it - just don't get coffee on it before you put it back on the shelf.

John


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 01:10 PM

Since he is writing a program, John, I think he ought to buy the book;-)

If I were you, I think I'd put my efforts into working out a voice-to-midi program(or an an analog pitch to midi info converter) and then either attach it to one of the existing notation programs, or just let your users import the midis to their own notation program--

There are lots of notation programs out there that work, so why re-invent the wheel? It takes time to learn the conventions of notation, and you could better use that time developing a transducer that will create an output that can be easily converted to midi data--


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 01:37 PM

The "singing to notes" program is pretty much the same thing as a "voice-to-midi." The conversion from notes to midi and back should be pretty much routine. If you go for notation, you can ignore that many of the notes may fall "in the cracks" on the keyboard, although Read does show how to notate them, if you want to.

There are, incidentally, standard notations for double-sharps and double-flats, so you can consider that there are many more Keys than just 15. C## is enharmonic with D, just as C# is enharmonic with Db. I've seen "commercial" choral music with double-sharps and double-flats in the key signatures (many years ago) although I don't recall anyone ever explaining why the publisher chose to do it that way. It was back in the days when music theory classes still emphasised the "difference in how things sound" in different keys and tried to ignore Beethoven and his equi-tempered stuff.

John


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 01:37 PM

Oh, there is a simple rule to remember, and that is that every diatonic scale included a note with each of the note names, and that Flat keys(F,Bb,Eb,Ab,Db) have only flats and Sharp Keys(G,D,A,E,B) have only sharps--

This is sort of true until you get to writing in minor keys, or in modes, or are transcribing Klezmer music, or you are writing something chromatic, or are moving through diminished or augmented chords, or you want your melody to moves through the circle of fifths/fourths using accidentals(which is the custom)--


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: GUEST,T-boy
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 08:22 AM

There is a good reason for double-flats in a key signature:

Imagine a piece in D-flat major (5 flats), then you want a short section in D-flat minor so the key signature changes to ... ?

In effect, 8 flats, because the B-flat is now B-double-flat.

Just hang in there, it's really not as confusing as it sounds.


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: treewind
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 09:00 AM

Alkan wrote a piano piece that started in C and modulated sharpwise though all the keys - when it got to C# (7 sharps) he continued adding sharps to make double sharps until he ended up in B sharp which is the same as....... C again!

I think the idea was that there was no point where the mood of the music merited a sudden change from a 'flat' feel to a 'sharp' feel. Of course Alkan was known to be a bit eccentric.

For sanity I'd stick to no more than 6 flats or 6 sharps. Take your pick with F#/G flat - a genuine case of "six of one and half a dozen of the other".

Double sharps occur naturally as accidentals in sharp minor keys - G# minor has 5 sharps in the key signature but will have F double sharp accidentals in the music, for instance.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: M.Ted
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 01:15 PM

The Key of G# seems to have an F## in it, which is as good a reason as I can think of to play in Ab--
By the way Anahata, that F#/Gb comment was a rather witty--


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 01:41 PM

There's nothing too confusing about double sharps and flats, but unless you're trying to prove a point or you're striving for some esthetic "purity" you don't ever have to use them.

In the example above that modulates to a Bbb key signature, most people will have a lot easier time playing it if you just notate it in the enharmonic A. It may obscure the theoretical "structure" of your piece, and there's no problem with "doing it the hard way" if you're trying to show something; but the conventional practice is to use the simplest enharmonic notation for copy that you're going to play from.

Beethoven did the same thing as Alkan, when he was trying to "sell" the equitempered scale concept. And quite a lot of others did the same thing to "prove" that it didn't work, because (for the instruments and tunings used then) the C (B#) wasn't the same C you started with - by the well-known "comma" error.

Road kill "occurs naturally," but you don't (usually) have to eat it. But even here, several US states have "special provisions" to allow donation of large pieces of road kill to charities - there's always an exception.

John


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 03:32 PM

The trouble with the people who have responded thus far is that they know too much about music.

So, to back up a little, whom do you visualize as reading the music you will produce? Music majors? People with 12 years of piano? Or ordinary folk?

If the answer is ordinary folk, the C# is better than Db because C# says "A-chord" or "F#minor" to the people who want to play the music in a group. Db doesn't say a thing to most of us.

G# says "E Chord," whereas Ab says "skip this song."

Forget the rule that says if there are sharps (or flats) in the key signature, then any incidentals should be sharps (or flats) too. Go by the chords.

Ordinary folk play music in C,D,G,F,A and E. Notes like D-flat just don't arise. They don't bother with modes; modes are outmoded.
(Actually, I know people with more than twelve years of piano who don't understand modes.)

Remember, you did ask "What is normal?"


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: M.Ted
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 04:48 PM

I know a good many "ordinary folk" who read music, and none of them are thrown by Db, Ab, or any of the other flats--Don't see any value in changing the way you write music to make it more understandable to people who don't read music, because they still won't be able to read it--


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 11:24 AM

M Ted
I don't intend to write an ABC or Midi to notation part. The output will be in ABC or something when I absorb the format rules. Probably ABC.
JohnInKansas
The essence is to NOT automate the bit that automated programs have difficulty with and the human brain is so forgiving with. The analogy is like scanning a text document and OCR'ing it. The products of the larynx are analogous to hand writing - hopefully in Uppercase only. It needs a stop and think and tinker phase.

I have to tell a good story to naive musicians and as one myself I can see a lot of the problem, hence the questions. My problem is how much of the problem can I see?


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: GUEST,Mr Red again
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 11:36 AM

M.Ted
The first question was about duplicates. Why would I tell someone (who does not know why) a bagfull of notes fall (ish) into the key of C# when I could just as well tell them it is in the key of Db? I detect a bias toward C# because the world out there prefers it. But why the preference? It does matter because our naive singer then goes to the accompanist who spends the first 5 minutes asking why it was notated in the key of Db. I can give the users the choice but how do they decide?

Is it a real issue?

FWIW my test WAV of me singing (intended for a pdf of the words etc) produced 16 wrong notes in D maj (first pass). By re-assessing the dodgiest notes I can put it in D but have no idea yet if I should have tackled the next worst (18 bum notes). An imponderable I have not thought through - maybe can't.


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: GUEST,Mr Red says thanx
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 11:52 AM

GUEST,leeneia
Exactly my point. Thanks for the incite (sic)

Liked the "6 of one Half doz of t'other" I sort of accepted that. But the two 7/5's? C# it is (with a not recommended on Db) Ditto G# it seems.

Isn't the 'Cat wonderful

d8^)))))))


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 04:27 PM

Here is one problem that I see:

"Folk" instrumentalists   tend to play in music in D,G,A, with C being basic on piano, and E for blues---but singers they may start in whatever key is comfortable or natural for them--could be B or Eb as one of common ones--and some people even sing in tune but somewhere in between the established scale pitches--This means that if you print out the notes that they actually sing, it may be in a key that no one really wants to play--

(I've been thinking about Leeneia's point above, which, if i understand it correctly, essentially is, you need to worry more about getting the music down in notation that people can read and use, than about precisely documenting what the singer is doing--)

Here's another:

Some country singers tend to slide up to the first note in a phrase from about a minor third below--other singers bend the whole notes down a bit in the middle, or even tremelo up and down.   These ornaments would never show up on a fake sheet of a melody, or even in a printed vocal arrangement for a song, but when you literally transcribed what people sing, you'll have to deal with them.

Nother one is the classic midi to notation problem:

A lot of notes are played differently than they look--quarter notes often are actually dotted eighth notes with a sixteenth rest, with whole notes falling as a count short of the end of the measure sometimes, and sometimes crossing over it--Bad problem with instruments, but will be even worse with voice, since most singers are rarely exactly on the beat(particularly with folk and pop music, it would sound very unnatural)--

The first problem could be remedied by simply letting people pick the key they want to be in, and then transcribing them as if they were in that key(This essentially what you do when you write out a part for, say, a Bb Trumpet--which is, even though the open note on a trumpet is a Bb, you write it as a C--This is why the trumpet part always has a different key signature than the piano)--

The last one might be resolved by quantizing(which is basically just setting the smallest note size you want to have), but I haven't a clue what to do about the middle one--


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: Marc
Date: 01 May 03 - 05:20 PM

I'm finding this very interesting, so I thought I'd refresh before it left the page. I might even add 'my own two cents' in later.


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Subject: RE: 15 Keys, 3 are duplicates. When Used???
From: Mr Red
Date: 01 May 03 - 07:19 PM

M Ted
I am aware of the problem of singing in one's own key. That is why I wanted the user (& singer?) to make the decisions.

The solution, ultimately, to the self consistent pitches is to NOT quantize the pitch of each note to concert pitch but retain the frequency. Then a control (auto or manula) can be added to nudge all notes up or down by the same amount to see if there is a correlation with one key. Once that is done, transcribing is just a matter of doing what Irving Berlin did, pick-up the keyboard and notch it one place up or down until we find a key that we like. (He always played in F# I am told and I did know the name of his special piano, once)
Pitching up or down is as simple as that. It is the notation that is brain fading.

No. We hit the F'ing key, and we call it E ( but don't forget one of those #'s is a given in this instance)

Actually I have the spreadsheet of these keys sorted and it shows that # Keys are mostly letters only and the flat ones mostly letter plus flat except the 5/6/7 # or b's where # is preferred. But it means that I have to report piano positions until the output (in some notation-ready format) when the spreadsheet table will be in play.

And I thought chess was complex!


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