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Topic: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry (Read 5371 times) previous topic - next topic

Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Is it possible for Noteworthy to favor flats over sharps in note entry? It seems the default is to favor sharps. For example in the Key of C if I want B flat, or D flat etc.  How do I get the program to select these notes as opposed to A# or C#.  Is there an option to toggle this default?

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #1
Ummm, how are you doing the the note entry?

Normally, if using mouse or computer keyboard you select flat/sharp/natural either prior to placing the note or after by highlighting the and then selecting the appropriate accidental.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #2
I am using the Piano toolbar with the mouse.  What I am asking is there a way for the program to select Bb and not A# when there is no key signature. If I select Bb on the piano the program chooses A#.  Is there an option to choose flats or sharps in this instance.

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #3
I don't think so...

I actually never use that form of note entry so I haven't explored it.  sorry.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #4
If I was using an actual midi keyboard, the program would do it differently?  If so shouldn't the same apply for note entry using the piano toolbar?  If not could there possibly be a toggle option to choose either sharp or flat for accidentals, when there is no key signature?

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #5
Umm, no, I don't think so - on the odd occasion I've used a MIDI keyboard I've also done manual corrections and used "Audit Enharmonic Spelling".

The only note entry method I use is the computer keyboard - it's fast and accurate,  at least, it is for me.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #6
I know of no option for this. The same problem exists with "Audit Enharmonic Spelling" - without a key sig, all you get is sharps. That's why I only use that audit (which would otherwise be very useful) as a last resort. IMHO, NWC should default to the old rule-of-thumb that sharps are used going up and flats are used going down. The conditionals shouldn't be too hard to arrange: the algorithm wouldn't have to look beyond the previous and next pitches.


Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #8
Perhaps we should have selectable methods. My preference is for major key notes 1, 4 and 5 to be sharpened (or naturalised if flat to start with) and 3, 6 and 7 to be flattened, thus taking the shortest route round the cycle of fifths. This actually deals with the notes of the equivalent minor key too (just pretend it's the major key). The ambiguous case is of note 2. This could be sharpened as it is the leading note of the dominant key of the minor scale (e.g. D# in A minor).

Piano keyboard entry would select the notes appropriately. This would solve the irritation of C# in D minor always being entered as Db – in the equivalent major it's note 5 in F, so the sharpened alternative would be taken. And also the case of B# in C# minor being entered as C natural. And Fx entered as G natural in C# major as the tune modulates into G# major (as it tends too!)

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #9
I could live with that. But the conditionals will be a whole lot harder to program if key has to be taken into account. An alternative between Peter's method and mine would be to always assume the most common enharmonic spelling of any given pitch. That would resolve A#/Bb in favor of Bb, C#/Db in favor of C#, D#/Eb in favor of Eb, F#/Gb in favor of F#, and G#/Ab in favor of G#. I'd guess that would cut the number of manual corrections necessary in most scores by 75%-80%.

Or maybe there could be an options tab with radio buttons allowing the user to choose the direction to resolve each accidental during an enharmonic audit.

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #10
always assume the most common enharmonic spelling of any given pitch. That would resolve A#/Bb in favor of Bb, C#/Db in favor of C#, D#/Eb in favor of Eb, F#/Gb in favor of F#, and G#/Ab in favor of G#.
My most spontaneous idea is almost the same as Bill's one.
Why most spontaneous? Because the celtic harp can only have C#, D#, Eb, F#, G#, Ab, Bb!

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #11
....the celtic harp can only have C#, D#, Eb, F#, G#, Ab, Bb!

Depends on how you tune it.  I keep mine with all the strings tuned to the natural notes except B, which is tuned to Bb. (For the uninitiated: the Celtic harp has "sharping levers" which can raise each string by a half-step, but there are no "flatting levers," so only two notes a half-step apart are available on each string - and you have to be able to flip the lever in the middle of a tune to get an accidental, hence most music for the instrument is completely diatonic. Setting the levers properly beforehand allows you to play in almost any key, however.)

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #12
Depends on how you tune it.
Yes, of course, and so goes for guitar and many other string instruments, but I was talking about the standard tuning.
It's no easy task to change the (basic) harp tuning during a concert (36..47 strings to be tuned)!
A harpist's joke says that a harpist passes half its time tuning the instrument and the other half playing with the instrument mistuned...

Orchestral (pedal) harps are tuned in Cb while Celtic (lever) harps are tuned in Eb.
This means that the only standard scales allowed for Celtic harps are those with up to 3 flats (Eb, Ab, Bb) and up to 4 sharps (C#, D#, F#, G#).

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #13
Eb tuning isn't required for the Celtic harp, Flurmy. When I was performing regularly, I kept mine tuned to F. I know of at least one harper who tunes hers to C. I don't want to get into a big discussion of this, let alone an argument, but I don't want people to get the wrong impression, either - just in case someone wants to write for the instrument. There are some tunings that are more common than others - it's very rare to find a harp tuned to any sharp key, for example - but there is no "right" tuning.

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #14
Is it possible for Noteworthy to favor flats over sharps in note entry? It seems the default is to favor sharps. For example in the Key of C if I want B flat, or D flat etc.  How do I get the program to select these notes as opposed to A# or C#.  Is there an option to toggle this default?
Maybe I can write a user tool for this, but therefor I need more precise specifications.
(I'm not a musician, just a singer with no knowledge of enharmonic spelling. I think I know that C major means no key signature, but that's about everything.)
Note that a user tool can't change the way NWC chooses between flat or sharp when using the piano toolbar, but you could modify them afterwards by  running the tool and give the needed input.
So what user input is required and what should be the resulting action for each possible input?
Always look on the bright side of life!

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #15
Maybe I can write a user tool for this....

Interesting idea. I don't think it would require entry from the user, other than to start the tool. In the simplest form, the tool would find accidentals (notes whose pitches are outside the key signature) and change all A#s to Bbs, all Dbs to C#s, all D#s to Ebs, all Gbs to F#s, and all Abs to G#s. That would be like taking a sledge hammer to pound in a carpet nail, however. Two refinements would help:

  • First, check the key signature and, if it's a flat key (any key that uses flats in the signature), leave the Abs and Dbs alone and change the G#s to Abs and the C#s to Dbs. This would simply be a matter of creating two different tables, one for sharp keys and one for flat keys.
  • Second (this is a little harder to describe), check the next note. If the next pitch is HIGHER and the accidental on the note you are working with is a FLAT, change the note to its sharp enharmonic equivalent: Ab to G#, Bb to A#, etc. If the next pitch is LOWER and the accidental on the note you are working with is a SHARP, change it to its flat enharmonic equivalent: G# to Ab, A# to Bb, etc

These conditionals would not produce the best accidental in all cases, but they would be miles ahead of NWC's current make-everything-sharp approach. There would be a lot less hand correcting after a MIDI entry or enharmonic audit.

BTW, "enharmonic" simply means "the same pitch." The black keys on a piano keyboard can relate to the white keys on either side; white-key notes modified by the black key between them are enharmonic equivalents (G#=Ab, etc). If there is no black note between two white keys (B and C, for example), then the enharmonic equivalent of an accidental is the next white note in that direction (B#=C; Cb=B). Does this help?

Over to you....

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #16
(..)Two refinements would help:

  • First(..)
  • Second(..)

Over to you....

Do you mean: first do the first refinement and next the second? In that case, with a flat key G# would be first changed to Ab and, if the next note has a higher pitch, back to G#. Is that what you mean?

BTW, I did know the relation between the black and white keys. I didn't know what enharmonic meant and was to lazy to google it.
Always look on the bright side of life!

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #17
Shows you I haven't programmed for a while. I forgot to consider the effect of the order conditional statements are processed. But, yes, I think that order is correct. "Change all Abs to G#s" is a brute-force method. "Change all Abs to G#s unless you're in a flat key" is a refinement. And "make sure all G#s lead up and all Abs lead down" is a further refinement.

Thinking about what I said in the light of what you said, I realized that you don't need to do a table read for sharp and flat keys. In sharp keys, leave everything sharp; in flat keys, make everything flat; in C (or when no signature exists), follow my original "brute force" recommendation. Then adjust as suggested in my second refinement.

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #18

NWC's strength has always been that it is fairly easy to use; complicating the Audit Accidentals function could hinder its marketability.

I'm probably displaying my ignorance once more, but I'd be careful with assuming that a sharpened note is the same as the next higher note flattened.

That's probably true on tempered pitch instruments (piano, organ, electric keyboard, vibraphone, etc.) but not necessarily on unfretted strings, or brass or reed instruments.

I sometimes am told there is a difference between Gb and F# or Bb and A# for string instruments depending on whether the progression is ascending or descending.  I suspect that is because the fingers fall in slightly different positions on the neck as they run up or down a scale, but since I don't play strings, I'm guessing.

I'm often told brass players prefer flat keys and reeds prefer  sharps.  As a reed, I couldn't care less, as long as the notation is easy to read when sight-reading (I prefer flat accidentals in descending passages and sharps on the way up, as long as these are consistent with the key signatures - don't give me a sharp accidental in a flat key or vice versa). 

Jazz and pit orchestra charts often use accidentals to avoid cluttering up a bar [in this sequence, # G, nat G, # G, nat G, # G  3 fewer symbols are needed when you write # G x F G F G ].  You don't want to override that with an automatic process such as ""make sure all G#s lead up and all Abs lead down."

Similarly, you don't want to have an automated process cause stupid notation - example: low D# instead of Eb for the bottom note on a traditional bass clarinet. Non-orchestral bass clarinet parts until recently have not normally been written below Eb below the staff. It's jarring to encounter a low D# because it was seldom written by professional copyists.  [The evolution of the instrument is changing this - the modern professional and very expensive horns have an extended range to wrtten C below middle C, and some composers now write for this extended range, but they're still uncommon. Notation software is changing this too, since composers often just whip out the parts without paying attention to their playing customer.]. 

Changing the accidentals audit function could just complicate matters. 

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #19
David, you are correct that a sharped note is technically not the same note as the flatted note a step above (G# and Ab are not the same note; G# is a few cents higher than Ab). A good string player, a good singer, or a good wind player will actually perform them that way. And that is precisely the problem that we are trying to solve here.  NWC's "Audit Enharmonics" tool changes everything to sharps. That is only accurate half the time. The difficulty lies in trying to figure out an automated method to determine which of the sharps that result from a given run of the tool should actually be flats. The rules I've given Opagust will be accurate 80%-90% of the time (educated guess), which would mean far fewer accidentals to correct by hand.  I doubt an automated process can be made much more accurate than that, although if someone comes up with one I'd certainly be happy to see my suggestions here superseded. But I'm pretty sure some hand editing will always be needed.

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #20
In sharp keys, leave everything sharp; in flat keys, make everything flat; in C (or when no signature exists), follow my original "brute force" recommendation.

Not in a minor key. I'd want C# in D minor. My suggestion achieves that and is simple to program.

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #21
In sharp keys, leave everything sharp; in flat keys, make everything flat; in C (or when no signature exists), follow my original "brute force" recommendation. Then adjust as suggested in my second refinement.

If I do understand, if there's no key, there are two options: most common and with refinement:

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!NoteWorthyComposer-End
Always look on the bright side of life!

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #22
Not in a minor key. I'd want C# in D minor. My suggestion achieves that and is simple to program.

Pardon me for being so ignorant:
- Is minor key the same as key signature with flats?
- What key signature corresponds with D minor?


Always look on the bright side of life!

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #23
If you click the Key Signature Selector with an open score, it will show you the major and minor keys for all of the sharp and flat counts. To answer your specific question, D minor has one flat, the same as F major, but the key signature does distinguish between major and minor keys, since it records the tonic.

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #24
And just to complicate matters, in G# minor you'd need Fx , and not G natural.


Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #26
This seems to be an old issue with no simple and straigtforward solution.
My musical knowledge is too inadequate to understand all the dsiscussions.
I give up...   :'(
Always look on the bright side of life!

 

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #27
I give up...  :'(
No, I didn't. It was a challenge I could not resist.
Before I will publish it in the User Tools subforum, I look forward to your expressions of gratitude, comments, more wishes, criticism, bug reports,...

With this tool you can replace notes with their enharmonic equivalents. It works on a selection of a staff, or the whole active staff, if you don't select anything.
There are several options you can choose from(see below).
Independent of the chosen option:
- if a note gets an accidental that's also present in the key signature, it will be omitted;
- if a note is to be be changed, all following notes in the same measure or tied in the next measure are investigated, even when they are not part of your selection:
  ° before the change: a following note with an implicit accidental, inherited from the preceding note will receive a forced accidental (e.g. if C# is changed to Db, a following C will be changed to C#);
  ° after the change: if a following note has no accidental and has the same name as the changed note (with accidental), it will recieve a natural accidental.
- if one or more notes in a measure had to be changed, all unnessary accidentals in that measure are removed(e.g. if C# is changed to Db, a following Db will be changed to D)..
 
Available options:
- 'No sharps': All sharps are replaced.
- 'No flats': All flats are replaced.
- 'No doubles': All double sharps and double flats are replaced.
- 'Preferably naturals': If a enharmonic equivalent without accidental is possible, use that.
- 'Avoid forced naturals': if a natural accidental is caused by an preceding note with an accidental, this preceding note is replaced by its enharmonic equivalent.
- 'Common prefered accidentals': A# becomes Bb, Db becomes C#, D# becomes Eb, Gb becomes F#, Ab becomes G#.
- 'Sharps up, flats down': if the next note is a tone or a semitone higher, use a sharp; if it is a tone or a semitone lower, use a flat (not applicable to chords and restchords).
- 'Your changes': You can choose one or more items from a list of all possible enharmonic changes. (You need version 2.75a beta 11 or higher to use this option).

25/07/2017: removed attachment, see revised version in reply #30 .
Always look on the bright side of life!

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #28
Looks interesting - thanks! I won't have time to test it for a while - will post test results when I do.

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #29
The processing concerning the accidentals in the same measure does not always give the correct result.
Correction wiil follow...
Always look on the bright side of life!

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #30
Revised version in attachment.
Always look on the bright side of life!

Re: Enharmonic Spelling - Note Entry

Reply #31
Another revision attached.
  • Processing of tied notes: Corrected.
  • Change report:
    • Intermediate changes are now omitted in the report. E.g. when C# is changed to Db, a following C in the same measure will first recieve the explicit accidental #, next the enharmonic change to Db will be applied to that note as well, and after processing all notes of that measure, the accidental b wil be removed due to the preceding Db. In short: C -> Db/ Db -> D will now be reported as C -> D.
    • Line feed after all changes in a  measure, instead of after each change.


Always look on the bright side of life!