Monday, February 10, 2020, 10:00:03 PM, you wrote:

> On 2020/02/09 16:15:53, thomasmorley651 wrote:
>> On 2020/02/09 15:32:14, wrote:
>> > Surely "standard scale pitch or previously altered pitch". In D
> major: "cis c
>> > cis" the first note is an alteration but not an accidental, the
> second is an
>> > accidental but not an alteration, the third is both. Now I'm really
> splitting
>> > hairs.
>> I read this as "In D major the note c _is_ an accidental". 
>> Or did you mean _has_ an accidental?
>> > I'm beginning to think that this is all getting too theologial. I'm
> a
>> practising musician, not a theorist, and I raised the point as I'd never 
>> heard of
>> > 'alteration' used in this rather technical sense. If people are
> happy with the
>> > distinction let's just keep it and I withdraw my suggestion.
>> Wait. If we try to improve the docs we need to care about best
> wordings, so that
>> people speaking different language and with different musical
> education
>> understand what we want to express.

> +1

>> Furthermore we need to explain how we do things in LilyPond.
>> Look at:
>> mus = { \key d \major cis'4 }
>> #(display-scheme-music (car (music-pitches mus)))
>> #(display-scheme-music (ly:pitch-alteration (car (music-pitches
> mus))))
>> =>
>> (ly:make-pitch 0 0 1/2)
>> 1/2
>> First how the cis is seen in LilyPond, second the alteration.
> (ofcourse no
>> Accidental is printed in pdf)
>> Do the same with note c and you see no alteration, i.e. 0 (ofcourse an
>> Accidental is printed)
>> Do similar with c and cis (and you see the alteration for cis again
> and an
>> accidental for cis is printed)

> However, I think that the description of
> LilyPond's internal pitch data
> structure
> is not helpful for this (pretty introductory) part of the docs.
> The longer I think about it, the more I'm unsure if the term
> "alteration" makes
> sense for a basic understanding how pitches are entered in LilyPond.
> If I think about a, lets say D major scale, I would not say that the
> pitch 'fis' is an 'altered' note, though it is stored that way in the
> data structure. 'Alteration' for me always
> refers to some 'unaltered'
> form. 
> Our pitch naming system with a 'nucleus' (e.g. 'f') and some suffices
> (e.g. '-is') OTOH supports the conclusion, that a pitch consists of
> some base, diatonic pitch and possibles alterations.
> It is also conclusive, though, that LilyPond 
> uses the C major scale as the base for its pitch structure.

The nub of the question is the difference between how a musician thinks of a 
note name and how it get written/engraved. If I'm working on paper I don't 
think of  'C sharp' as 'C' modified by 'sharp'. I think of it as a single 
entity. It's about 70 years since I learnt musical notation, and that was in 
the English system on the piano, where the white notes have names which are 
letters, and the black notes have what I was told (somewhat incorrectly) were 
called 'accidentals'. I think key signatures came later. I discovered about 
German notation using 'B' for the note one diatonic tone below C much later - 
so my previous comment about the 'black notes' doesn't work.

I've just had a very quick look at musicXML and I have to admit that this seems 
to take the same view as LilyPond - note plus alteration - and they even use 
the tag <alter> for the latter. So the use of 'alteration' as a technical term 
does at least have some justification. 

But my concern was, and still is, that a newbie coming to Lilypond and needing 
to check up on exactly how to engrave a C sharp won't find much help in the 
section headings in the LM. I speak from experience form my early fumblings 
with LP. We shouldn't discourage new users by hiding what are, in practical 
terms, the easy bits.

>> This is absolutely inline with my thinking.
>> Though, c itself in D major can't be called an accidental.
>> In my book an Accidental is always the printed ♯-sign or ♭-sign or
> natural or
>> double-sharp/flat, nothing else, never the note itself.

> +1

Agreed, it's a note with and accidental natural sign. I've already covered this 
in other replies here.

>> Furthermore in german we have the distinction between "Vorzeichen" and
>> "Versetzungszeichen", in lilypond that would be the accidental-grobs
> from
>> KeySignature and the additional "on the fly"  Accidentals in music.

> Can you cite sources for this? Being also a
> practising german musician
> I've never used the term "Versetzungszeichen" and I thought it to
> be synonymous with "Vorzeichen". What I know and (rarely) use is
> the term "Generalvorzeichen". These would be the KeySignature
> accidentals. 


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