Use of Proper Accidentals in a Given Key

by Chase Allsup
(North Carolina)

Here is my situation:

I am trying to write down a Minor 2nd in the key of G Major (G/Ab). The common practice is to use only Sharp symbols in a key signature that uses sharps.

The problem is, it seems impossible to notate a G and G# simultaneously on the same ledger line without it appearing as (G#/G#) so my only route seems to use the notation (G/Ab)

My question is; is it acceptable to use a Flat symbol in a piece of music using the G major key signature? To me, it looks confusing to the reader.

Comments for Use of Proper Accidentals in a Given Key

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
A little misunderstanding there! ;)
by: Maria

Hi there Chase,
Thank you for your question!

There is no such thing as a common practice to use only sharp accidentals in a key with sharps in the key signature.

A key signature can use any type of accidentals (sharps, flats and naturals).

So, in the key of G major, wanting to write the interval of a minor second up from G, you were right the first time to write a G and an Ab.

However, if you'd like to write a G and then an G# (which is an augmented unison, NOT a minor second) it is fine too.

An accidental is valid only from the note it is written in front of and to the end of that measure. So the first G is not yet "affected" by the next G's #, so to speak.

I think you'd be helped by reading my articles about intervals and key signatures:

Music Intervals
Key Signatures

And this youtube video is really great:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkgQfQYcZgc


Hope this helped!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Music Theory Questions and Answers.