"Naturals in Key Signatures"

• Nov 22, 2014 - 11:51

In Beta 1 and subsequent Nightlies:

Style > General... > Accidentals

naturals in key signature.jpg

What does the third option mean? I don't understand the syntax of the statement at all, perhaps due to some shorthand used for brevity (i.e., "< = >").

(Also, the word 'less' (in both the second and third options) should be replaced by fewer to be grammatically correct.)

Attachment Size
naturals in key signature.jpg 66.38 KB

Comments

I will change "less" for "fewer".

The third option, the naturals will be displayed after the key signature for change to fewer sharps or flats but before the key signature for a change from sharps to flats or flats to sharps (thus the <==>). Any suggestions to make it clearer and concise is welcome!

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Oh, thanks, you guys. I get it now - and a major reason for my misunderstanding was that I've never actually seen the naturals placed after the new key signature. It doesn't seem to have been an engraving convention (i.e., 'house style') of any of the publishers of piano music with which I'm familiar.

Anyway, now that I understand the intention, the only suggestion I can come up with is this:

"After a change to fewer sharps/flats (but before a change from sharps to flats or vice versa)"

I know that's less concise, but I think it's a worthwhile trade-off for optimal clarity!

For what it's worth, I do strongly feel that including the indefinite article 'a' before the term 'change' (in all three options) makes the choices much more intelligible.

In reply to by [DELETED] 448831

I have to share a very odd coincidence. I was scanning and preparing a public domain score published by G. Schirmer for uploading to IMSLP today, and I encountered several instances of precisely what I thought I had never seen before - i.e., naturals after a change to a new key signature with fewer flats or sharps.

This is one of those examples, from Schumann's Blumenstücke, Op. 19 - and it proves that I must have seen this before; I just never noticed it or thought about it!

naturals after key signature change.jpg

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naturals after key signature change.jpg 73.93 KB

Sorry guys, still confusing. Too many /'s, but's, respective's, mutatis mutandis's, etc.

I believe that the clearest thing would be an example next to the radio button. For choice 2 we could simply show 3 sharps going to 2. The user will understand what that means for flats. For choice 3, a similar example. I believe that the case of sharps to flats , and vice versa, can be omitted entirely, as it's the same for both choices 2 and 3 -- the user has no choice, so why confuse them?

Finally, are we sure the default and order of choices is right? A more minor point.

In reply to by Nicolas

"After a change to fewer sharps or flats but before a change from sharps to flats or vice versa"

This still makes no sense. Are you changing to FEWER sharps or flats, or are you changing FROM sharps TO flats (or flats to sharps)? One clause implies one; the other clause implies the other. You can't have both simultaneously. Which is it? Example, please.

In reply to by RexC

Without trying it out, here's what that wording seems to pretyt clearly say to me>

"After a change to fewer sharps or flats" - this presumably means, when changing from 5 sharps to 3 sharps, or from 5 flats to 3 flats, natural signs will appear *after* the key signature.

"before a change from sharps to flats ot vice versa" - this presumably means, when changing from sharps to flats or from flats to sharps, naturals will appear *before* the key signature.

This seems 100% clear to me. If it also happens to describe how it actually works, great. If that happens to be something someone would actually want, even better :-)

In reply to by RexC

The offending word is "but", which incorrectly expresses the relation between the two clauses. I would just omit it. Better would be:
"After a change to fewer sharps or flats; before a change from sharps to flats or vice versa"
or
"After a change to fewer sharps or flats, or before a change from sharps to flats or vice versa".

It could be made more concise:
"After a change to fewer sharps or flats; before a change between sharps and flats"
or
"After a change to fewer sharps or flats
Before a change between sharps and flats".
I like breaking it into two lines because it clearly separates the two possibilities and makes it easy on the eye.

The word "change" is also a problem (albeit less serious) because the same word is used to express two subtly different ideas in the same sentence. "After a change" means "after the key signature" or "at the end of the key signature". I think a more accurate expression would be
"After key signature if changing to fewer sharps or flats
Before key signature if changing between sharps and flats".

If the latter form is used, the second option should also be changed to
"Before key signature if changing to fewer sharps or flats".

I think pictures might be an excellent alternative to text if this is feasible. For brevity it would not be necessary to show all cases. Just show one example of the new form for each option.

In reply to by RexC

I like the last options. Removing "key signature" to be a bit more concise..
2/ "Before key signature if changing to fewer sharps or flats".
3/ "After key signature if changing to fewer sharps or flats. Before if changing between sharps and flats".

Any further opinion?

I just looked in Gardner Read's book, and he points out another category: when switching to the relative minor in sharps or the relative major in flats it is easy to misread if the naturals are not shown. So arguably a case 1.5 "Show only switching to Cmaj/Amin or relative major/minor".

But cases 2 and 3 here, it seems to me both mean "Yes, show cancelled sharps and flats". The only difference is when you are reducing the number of sharps/flats, whether or not to put the naturals *in* the key signature position, or before. (But how do you do that? Write two naturals followed by the three sharps? Is this really used?)

Switching from sharps to flats or vv you *have* to put the naturals first, or they might cancel some of the sharps you have just written. So I think good distinguishing phrases might be "Always before", and "In key signature".

I also feel that it would help to show an example of the most marked case in these methods: particularly for 2 and 3 show reducing from 5 to 2 flats or sharps.

In reply to by Imaginatorium

Good points. It could be
2. Naturals first
3. Naturals last when possible
[leaving it to the documentation or a tooltip to explain that they must be first when changing from sharps to flats or from flats to sharps]

or
3. Naturals last except when changing between sharps and flats

Or with any of the previous schemes, change "before key signature" to "naturals first" and "after key signature" to "naturals last".

Seems like an improvement to me.

But I just realized, should there be an option for no naturals?

In reply to by RexC

You're right, of course.

2. Naturals first
3. Naturals last if possible

Note the grammatical correction to #3. I just noticed that #2 may have changed the meaning from the original behavior. I take the original to mean "Naturals first if changing to fewer sharps or flats; no naturals if changing from sharps to flats or vice-versa." I don't know why a complicated choice like that is necessary, but I'll leave that to someone else to decide. Personally, I would prefer the simple rult: "2. Naturals first", meaning "naturals always displayed, and always first".

Also, it's possible that Imaginatorium has a point, although I'm having a hard time imagining all the possibilities. I'll leave that to someone else. I'm (hopefully) signing off on this.

In reply to by RexC

I'm satisfied just to have the clarity of the language improved.

At this point, I am most concerned with the bug that prevents naturals from being hidden on the new system when the change of key signature occurs at a system break. That is, in my opinion, a bigger problem than the language issue describing these choices ever was.

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