A# or Bb

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Bruce J, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    What do you do when you see a saxophonist walking down the street? Run away???
     
  2. doc w

    doc w Tele-Afflicted

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    Sax players are part of the conspiracy. Look it up. I am sure there is a website showing the connection between the New World Order, sax players, and flats.

    :lol::lol::lol::twisted:
     
  3. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Seems there's a whole lot more discussion goin' on here then needed when virtually any guitarist or other player in a band understands that A# and Bb are the exact same note. I don't have any problem playing in sharp or flat keys but I know a few keyboard players that don't care much for it.
     
  4. jbmando

    jbmando Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    This is the theory forum. This is what we do. We discuss whether a note should called A# or Bb.
     
  5. radio

    radio Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    And sometimes, per my classically-trained composer GF, they're NOT the same note in some tunings. Fortunately, they are the same in equal temperament.
     
  6. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I've never had a girlfriend with equal temperament. Not even close.
     
  7. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    [​IMG]
     
  8. doc w

    doc w Tele-Afflicted

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    Ok, enough tomfoolery.

    Let's look at major scales. There are two basic rules:

    1) the scale must conform to the pattern T T S T T T S
    (where T= tone and S = semitone)

    2) the scale must be consecutive letter names

    The scale of G major is:

    G A B C D E F# G

    It cannot be

    G A B C D E Gb G

    because you can't have two G's (rule 2, consecutive letter names)

    In the long run, this just makes chord spelling a lot more rational.

    So, as many of you have already said, it is all about context. Having said that, most of us are not slaves to theory when we are talking about a chromatic run. But in terms of chords, intervals and degrees of the scale, we should stick to the basic rules. As John Goodman said in "The Big Lebowski," "It's about the RULES!"

    ... and I had too much wine with dinner.
     
  9. radio

    radio Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    GF is rolling on the floor, BigDaddy. Thanks, made her day!
     
  10. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Thank you, I'll be here all week, try the veal!
     
  11. gaddis

    gaddis Tele-Afflicted

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    I understand the rules for major scales, but what are the corresponding rules for minor scales?
     
  12. xMercury69x

    xMercury69x Friend of Leo's

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    Mmm....veal!
     
  13. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Gaddis, for a natural minor you can work out the rules by starting on the sixth of any major scale. C major is a minor= abcdefg= WHWWHWW. You can look up melodic and harmonic minor to see how they differ.
     
  14. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    An A# is extremely rare in popular music. A Bb is pretty common, unless you think you're playing in the key of C#, but you're really in the key of Db.

    It's Bb, not A#.
     
  15. JazzDreams

    JazzDreams Tele-Meister

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    Just last night I was reading something (and agreed with it.) A# and Bb are not the same note - they're the same pitch.

    The 'note' is going to depend on the musical context.
     
  16. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    That was me that said that in the John 5 chicken pickin' thread.


    I have no idea whether my distinction between 'note' and 'pitch' would be accepted by people 'in the know' about such things. It was just the best way I could think of to say what I thought was an important thing to notice.
     
  17. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The reason we call the key Bb is that the key of A# would have ten sharps, which is more notes than are in the scale. So, every note would be sharped, and three of them would be double-sharped. As someone said, it's sadistic.

    It's much easier to denote the same key with a mere two flats. Shortest path around the circle.
     
  18. gaddis

    gaddis Tele-Afflicted

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    They are neither the same note nor the same pitch. In the equally-tempered tuning system, A# and Bb are the same because a compromise is made which puts both of these notes at the same pitch/frequency. But a true A# would be different than a true Bb.
     
  19. doc w

    doc w Tele-Afflicted

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    bblumentrip makes a good point. Most of us call it Bb because we very rarely, if ever, play in a key that uses A#, such as the key of C#. Nonetheless, you need to know the difference and the difference is all about key and context.

    gaddis, there is no "true" Bb or A#. Those two notes are different in different systems of temperament, but we use equal temperament and have for hundreds of years. I also would not call that a compromise. It was a major advancement which allows us to play in any key. Before equal temperament, it was simply not possible to play in all keys.
     
  20. tape

    tape Tele-Meister

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    I find that guitar players tend to think of accidentals as sharps because the keys that the guitar naturally lends itself to (E, A, D, G) are keys with sharps in the scale/key signature. Horn players tend to think of accidentals as flats because their natural scales/keys (Bb, Eb, Ab, F) contain flats.

    Since I came into music via playing guitar, I'm more likely to say e.g. G# instead of Ab, at least without other context to go on.
     
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