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Thread: A flat and G sharp in same measure

  1. #1
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    A flat and G sharp in same measure

    I have "Fanfare for The Everyday Super Heroes", by Brian Story. It is in the key of C, and has one measure of 3 sets of triplets -- with an A flat and G sharp in the same measure. Why would that be?

  2. #2
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    Composers like confuse players, less so it is the transcribers.

    Dennis
    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original
    2019 Wessex Tornister

  3. #3
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    Yes, and at 120 bpm it throws you off until you get used to it. It's a distraction.

  4. Depending on the chord, the Ab may want to be shaded lower in pitch while the G# may be a leading tone into the next phrase and shaded just a bit sharper?
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  5. #5
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    Hey Roger,

    I took a quick look at the piece. It seems to be in Bb concert. What part and what measure are you referring to? I am looking at a score and don't see what you are asking about. I would like to see it and offer up my thinking.

    John
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Kingdom of the Sun Concert Band, Ocala, FL (Euphonium)

  6. #6
    Hi Roger,

    I checked the score on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgF0dlX4mW0) and saw what you're referring to in measure 15 of the Euph part. I get what he's trying to do, but the editing is a little off for my taste.

    The TL;DR here is that there may be reasons to do this, but it didn't make sense in this piece.

    In the piece in question

    The way it's written has a switch in the middle of the measure from Gb to F#. The last F# leads up to a G in the measure following. One of the principles in voice leading is to make intervals clear based on how they sound. Having an F# lead to a G is, in isolation, preferable to having a Gb lead to a G, because things that sound like a second should look like a second. So far so good.

    Broaden the context to the surrounding two measures, though, and this stops making sense either melodically or harmonically. Let's start with the harmony. The chord in m. 15 is C-flat major (spelled as B major in some parts) progressing to C minor at the beginning of m. 16. With this harmony, Gb to G is a perfectly natural bit of voice leading.

    Now, the melody in 15-16 is (| is a barline, . is a new beat):

    Gb F Eb . Gb . Gb F# F . Eb Eb F# | G(nat) F(nat) Eb . G . G F Enat . C |

    Over a Cb chord, the F#s really don't make sense as they introduce augmented seconds and introduce ambiguity to the F in the following measure. Given this case, it would have been much cleaner to use Gb throughout 15 and just slap a natural on the first G of 16, like so:

    Gb F Eb . Gb . Gb Gb F . Eb Eb Gb | G(nat) F Eb . G . G F Enat . C |

    Notice that I now have only 3 written pitches in the first bar, every interval in the first bar is spelled like it sounds, and I could get rid of the cautionary accidental on the F in the next bar. Much clearer.

    A case where it would make sense

    Now, the point about the augmented second brings up a case in which I would switch between Gb and F#. The problem with augmented seconds, such as between Eb and F#, is that they're really minor thirds in disguise. They don't sound like seconds, so they become awkward to read.

    Consider a progression from Eb minor (Eb-Gb-Bb) to D major (D-F#-A). If I have a figure alternating between these two chords, I could try to use just Gb or F#, but it gets awkward. Using F#, I could have this:

    Eb F# Eb F# . D F# D F# . Eb F# Eb F# . D F# D F#

    This creates a bunch of augmented seconds that obscure the sound. Using Gb, I could have this:

    Eb Gb Eb Gb . D Gb D Gb . Eb Gb Eb Gb . D Gb D Gb

    This creates a bunch of diminished fourths, which are also thirds in disguise. Mixing them here produces a figure that is overall clearer, even if it has augmented seconds and diminished fourths between the beats:

    Eb Gb Eb Gb . D F# D F# . Eb Gb Eb Gb . D F# D F#

    Conclusion

    When you start getting into chromatic harmony, spelling becomes about balancing tradeoffs. There's no way to obey all the rules, so getting clear spelling becomes a matter of knowing where to break them. Goofs like the one Roger pointed out happen because sometimes composers or engravers favor one principle over another, without considering the whole. Self-publishers (of whom I am one) have it doubly tough since we often don't have a professional editor to catch us when we're doing this.
    Adrian L. Quince
    Composer, Conductor, Euphoniumist
    www.adrianquince.com

    Kanstul 976 - SM4U

  7. #7
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    I finally found a score that showed the euphonium part on measure 15. The bari sax has a similar situation. But, after reading through Adrian's post above, there is absolutely nothing I can add to that excellent discussion. Well done and said, Adrian!
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Kingdom of the Sun Concert Band, Ocala, FL (Euphonium)

  8. #8
    We are Playing "The Seventh Night of July" by Sakai. It has a measure with an an E natural, E sharp, and F. I keep wanting to play that F as an F sharp!

    Mike

  9. #9
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    A little late on this, but thanks for all the comments .. and especially to Adrian for his excellent lesson in theory.

  10. #10
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    And thanks for reminding me I'm playing a transposing instrument! Need to always remember that when communicating., re: keys, notes, etc.

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