Talk:A-sharp

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I've left out the other two definitions, on the grounds that instruments that have an A-sharp would generally call it a B-flat, and A-sharp major is a rare enough key that it's usually called by its full name. E.g., "key of A-sharp" picks up 37 hits on google (at least some just as an alias for B-flat) vs. 1430 for "key of A-flat". -dmh 04:28, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

In traditional theory, as I understand it, A-sharp major cannot exist, as there would have to be double-sharps (3 of them) in the key signature; on the otherhand A-sharp minor is the relative minor of C-sharp major and therefore has a perfectly respectable 7 sharps in the key-signature. The google hits for "key of A-sharp" appear to be partly explained by "key of A-sharp minor" matches, and partly by errors. — DavidL 04:54, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)
A little more searching shows we're both wrong. First, there are pieces in A-sharp major, and second, the term "in A-sharp" is used on its own. Google for
"in A-sharp" piano
for example -dmh 05:47, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Very interesting. Many of the hits for "in A sharp" piano can be explained by the valid key of A sharp minor (minor keys are always qualified as such, so a piece in A sharp minor, would never be referred to as "in A sharp", the unqualified phrase indicating a major key). But there are indeed many google hits for A sharp major. Google turns up, for example, Chopin's "Impromptu in A sharp major, Op.36" but this turns out to be a "mistranslation" of the key "As-dur" which means "A flat major". Another reference is to Bruckner's Erinnerung which also appears to be another case of the As-dur misunderstanding. For now, my theory is that the google hits for pieces in A sharp major are either goofs for As-dur or typos for other letters, but as there are thousands of hits, I can't be sure. I still believe a key of A sharp major to be impossible, although a chord of A-sharp major makes sense. — DavidL 08:27, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Here's what appears to be a bona fide quote regarding Berlioz's opinion of A-sharp major on the violin (one of the few instruments where A-sharp major could be played differently from B-flat major). http://members.ozemail.com.au/~phillijr/BerWrite.html
Congrats! From a lexicographic point of view that seems indeed to be justification enough. Is Berlioz joking, though? A sharp major: impracticable! Hard to say. On further reflection, I suppose it is indeed possible for a piece of music to modulate into A sharp major, and the score will accordingly be littered with double sharps - so yes, it probably does make sense to talk of the key of A sharp major, although I do not know how one could make the appropriate key signature, so I still do not believe in the possibility of a piece being in the key of A sharp major. — DavidL 08:13, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I like the example :-). Composers have a penchant for trying to put into practice anything theoretically possible, so I'm not too surprised to see this turn up, but I agree it would be tricky to read, to say the least. When would it make a difference? Presumably a string quarted in A-sharp would sound ever so slightly different from one in B-flat, as the slightly higher (?) pitches would resonate differently with the open strings of the instruments. -dmh 12:51, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)
FWIW, I think an A-sharp major key signature would look basically like C-sharp major, but with double sharp signs for F##, C## and G##. With the key signature in place, it should be just as legible as anything else. Playing it correctly is a different story. A pianist might as well have the whole thing transcribed as B-flat. -dmh 15:44, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)