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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:19 pm 
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It seems to be common to call the metal keys attached on the flute such as Eb (not D#), G# (not Ab), Bb (not A#), etc... Have you ever thought about why it is? I guessed it has something to do with the tonality.

Starting from the key of C major, there is no sharp or flat of course. And then...

3 flats --> Eb major, you get flat on A → Ab
2 flats --> Bb major, you get flat on E → Eb
1 flat --> F major, you get flat on B → Bb

C major

1 sharp --> G major, you get sharp on F →F#
2 sharps --> D major, you get sharp on C →C#
3 sharps --> A major, you get sharp on G →G#

Hence they named the flute keys according to the order of adding sharps and flats. But if it is so, you could name G# key as Ab key. Maybe in Irish music, the key of Eb major is rare to see, but the key of A major is more common?

Am I understanding it right?
Excuse me for my poor writing skill. I hope my explanation makes sense.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 3:58 am 
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Have wondered about this myself. Perhaps it is just historical (traditional) as tunes written in the key of E flat were considered very suited to the simple system flute according to this article?: http://www.oldflutes.com/articles/WNJmodes.htm


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 8:54 am 
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Right. Three flats, key of Eb. For the key of E, one of the scale-steps is D#, and that's four sharps. Of all the printed music I've seen, the key of Eb is much more common than the key of E, and there are horns built in the key of Eb.
However, piano (and organ) tuners just refer to all the "black keys" as sharps.
But if we talk about Quantz, at the right pinky, he had separate keys for D# and Eb to accommodate just intonation as needed.
Walt


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:21 am 
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waltsweet wrote:
But if we talk about Quantz, at the right pinky, he had separate keys for D# and Eb to accommodate just intonation as needed.
Walt

Some early keyboards before 12TET became standard had "split" keyboards where the black keys were separated into two different parts, one higher than the other towards the rear, so two different notes like Eb and D# could be played in just temperament. It kept things like the third interval from sounding too dissonant in certain keys. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_sharp

Now that we're all used to hearing 12TET we ignore that dissonance, although in some cases like Classical string quartets with instruments that are infinitely variable in pitch, the players will naturally drift into something closer to just intonation to make the intervals sweeter.

As I understand it, the convention for naming these notes in modern 12TET is in reference to the key a piece of music is written in. So it's relative, and not a fixed thing. As mentioned above, if tunes in Eb were more common back in the day these keys were first added to a flute, it would make sense for flute makers and players to name the key Eb instead of D#.

As an aside, this is something my fiddler Significant Other and I have fun arguing about. She was trained on violin and piano, and tells me I'm wrong, every time I call the note Eb in an Irish trad tune. Well, that's the key I'm hitting with my finger, so that's the note, innit?
:P


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:39 am 
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waltsweet wrote:
Of all the printed music I've seen, the key of Eb is much more common than the key of E, and there are horns built in the key of Eb.

Horns also had crooks for multiple keys including E, but Eb was considered a particularly good horn key. So, for example, Mozart's four horn concertos were in D, Eb, Eb and Eb, but, as well as two more incomplete Eb works for horn and orchestra, he started another concerto in E.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 12:09 pm 
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When you play tunes in the sharp keys, the notes are sharps - when you play tunes in the flat keys, the notes are flat - it's that simple. :D :thumbsup:

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 1:28 pm 
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fatmac wrote:
it's that simple.

For diatonic major or modal tunes, perhaps. For those with accidentals (including the sharpened leading note in a minor key), it's not. But naming the keys for the expected key signature order of sharps or flats still makes sense and I'd probably prefer the D#s on our school tuned percussion to be Ebs!

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 4:35 pm 
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So it's a nomenclature that works for those with a wider perspective than a folky tunes on simple system flutes in D and using the open fiddle strings ? In that repertoire almost every time I use my Eb key it's to play an note notated as D# (and the G# key is for notes notated as G#). As with Conical bore, I tend to call the note Eb and get corrected, correctly, by people with proper training.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 5:59 pm 
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If you're playing a piano, or other keyboard, and you're using equal temperament, then there's only one black key between D and E: there's only one place to get to. If you're in the key of Eb, it will be written on the first line of the staff (with 3 flats in the key signature) and we'll call it Eb (no other markings). If you're in the key of E with 4 sharps, the next lower note will be called D#, and it will be written just below the first line of the treble staff (as a D with no other markings at the note). Let's say you're in a key like F that has D-nat and E-nat. When ascending the scale, it is efficient to write D, D#, E rather than D, Eb, E-nat (to cancel the effect of the printed accidental); when descending the scale, under these circumstances, it is efficient to write E, Eb, D rather than E, D#, D-nat (to cancel the effect of the printed accidental). On the piano, you have one black key to press; on the flute, you have one key-spatula to press (unless your name is Quantz).

Just Diatonic Scales use simple fractional ratios, and the harmony is sweeter. Let's say that middle C is your point of departure, approx 261.6 Hz. You will use simple ratios to get Just Ratios for the keys of F, Bb and then Eb (where Eb is the tonic, "Ut" at 310.0 Hz). Now if we go back to the key of C, but instead work our way to the key of E, then the frequency of D# (as "Ti") will differ from our Eb above. This would make Mr. Quantz happy. If there is only one key-lever, you would lip the pitch in.

In Just Diatonic scales, please note that many notes along the way will also be modified: If our starting scale is C at 261.1 Hz, then D (as "Re") will be 294.3 Hz . If we use simple ratios and work our way to the key of Eb at 310.0 Hz, that D (as "Ti" will be 290.7 Hz . Note that the printed music does not use different names for D; a violinist or a skilled singer would alter the frequency in accordance with the chosen key. So therefore, if we want the correct frequency for our D, and we know there's a difference according to the chosen key, and we don't want (or need) extra symbols to tell us so, it is my opinion that the ascending sequence named D, D#, E is just as good as the descending sequence E, Eb, D; the key signature (and our musical aesthetics) tell us what frequency to use when playing the note in the middle.

We interrupt this Regularly-Scheduled Pontification for a Special Report on Sweet's Integral Scale:
.Ut...Re...Mi...Fa..Sol...La...Ti...Do
240 270 300 320 360 400 450 480..........Twenty-Four is the LCD of the Pythagorean Ratios (Just Diatonic).
The 4::5::6 ratios are preserved for the I- IV- and V-chords. 240 Hz is near B3 on the piano, in the audible range.

Walt Sweet


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