Lesson 2: 4/8/2011 – Naturals
Continuing from the last post (it was getting large, so I split it)…
Ex. 20 introduces the natural sign (♮) as well as giving us our first flat to play. The natural sign cancels any implied sharps or flats until a new sharp or flat symbol is introduced. What this means is that, if I make F into F# and I have 4 F’s in a measure, placing a natural sign after, say, the 2nd F makes the 3rd and 4th regular F’s again.
So if the measure was F#-F-F-F, we would normally play it as F#-F#-F#-F#, because that first sharp makes all of the other F’s in that measure sharp. If we stick a natural in there after the 2nd one, it would look something like F#-F-♮F-F . It would then play as F#-F#-F-F.
Here’s Ex 20, the one with the flat that’s leaving me tongue-tied:
I don’t know how to enter natural signs (♮) or change the sharps into flats in PowerTab, so the 5th measure doesn’t show the exercise as it is in the book. The first G should have a natural sign in front of it. The 2nd should be a Gb, not an F#, even though they’re the same sonically. The G is a natural anyway, because its the first note in a new measure, but the example showed a natural sign there, which is called a courtesy accidental and is meant to make it really clear that the notes following aren’t sharped or flatted.
You know, now that I think of it… does that apply to flats and naturals of different notes? Like, if there’s an F# and a G# in the same measure, does it apply to one or both? I’m going to have to ask the people on the Talkbass forums about that.
 I asked on Talkbass and they answered really quickly. A natural sign (♮) in front of a note cancels sharps and flats for notes of the same letter, not for other letters, so if you have an F# followed by a G# in a measure and place the natural sign in front of the F#, it becomes F, as do any other F’s in the measure. It doesn’t affect the G#. (Here’s the link to the thread.)
Wifey’s working late today, so I’m going to go practice some more now. And on top of that, Jazzology: The Encyclopedia of Jazz Theory for All Musicians just came in from Amazon! So, I have even more reading material to bury my poor, tender head with. The timing is probably good for this, as I’m beginning to look at more theory while learning to read music.
That also means that tomorrow, the music stand will come in!