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Chromatic scale notation: Grade 5 2018 paper B


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#1 pianoviolinmum

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 13:33

2018 paper B qu 5 asks the candidate to  write one octave descending of the chromatic scale beginning on F#. I would expect the next note to be E#, since the accepted method is to write the tonic twice (once at each end) and dominant once, then fill in the gaps between and never more than two notes on any space or line.

 

The model answer gives F natural as the second note.

 

Any comments?  Are there two acceptable ways of doing this? It is only for the second note that we're in disagreement with the model answer....

 

Thanks!


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#2 Ligneo Fistula

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 14:16

I agree: when I practised this, I ended up using the descending harmonic form of the chromatic scale which uses the sharpened seventh (E#) rather than the flattened octave (F-natural) for the second note.

 

According to my understanding of Eric Taylor's description of the descending melodic chromatic scale (taking the key to be either C major or F# major as there's no reason to suspect the key if F# minor though it would make no difference), you still do not achieve the model answer.  The only explanation I can offer is Taylor's caveat that "[s]ome authorities, however, would always use the 7th degree twice...".

 

Grove argues that, because a chromatic should not cause modulation to another key, the seventh should appear twice (minor 7th and major 7th).


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#3 elemimele

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 16:28

Sometimes Wikipedia summarises things nicely. In equal temperament, the chromatic scale has no tonic and thus no key. It also has no set enharmonic spelling. Wikipedia notes that sharps are often used when ascending, and flats when descending (which is unhelpful if you're asked to write it descending from a sharpened note).

 

This question belongs to the category "pointless thing asked for the sake of asking"; it's not surprising that the OP has a dilemma in how to answer it, and the answer is of no practical or theoretical relevance, so basically whoever set the original question should be ashamed of themselves.

 

(feeling grumpy today)


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#4 -Victoria-

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 19:05

The ABRSM marking criteria state that any combination of flats/sharps will be deemed correct as long as it's the right enharmonic notes, no letter name is used thrice (Gb-G-G#) and the start/end note of the scale matches (start on C#, end on C#, not Db).
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#5 BadStrad

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 19:14

Cole says that the aim is to have the least number of accidentals (for ease of reading) and to arrange the notes such that when there are two of the same letter name only the second one needs an accidental, ie the second of the two notes is raised or lowered a semitone. If you use E#, E_flat then both Es require an accidental. So his logic would agree with the model answer.
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#6 Ligneo Fistula

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 19:56

Cole says that the aim is to have the least number of accidentals (for ease of reading) and to arrange the notes such that when there are two of the same letter name only the second one needs an accidental, ie the second of the two notes is raised or lowered a semitone. If you use E#, E_flat then both Es require an accidental. So his logic would agree with the model answer.

Are you saying the natural sign in F? is not an accidental?


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#7 BadStrad

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 00:10

I think the logic (here) goes that as the "key" can be considered to be F#, then the F_natural has been lowered a semitone (from the note naturally occuring in the scale) and so the natural sign is the accidental in this case and that then allows for the E, E_flat etc pattern which continues the accidentals in the second incidence of the letter name.

It's late and I'm tired but hopefully that makes sense.
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#8 pianoviolinmum

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 13:55

Thank you everyone -  it seems if we go with the learned method things will be ok...I have to admit I don't find the different types of chromatic scale enthralling either.


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