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This enharmonic treatment of notes I can (when I think fast) play but why is music written this way? Why a flat when going up but a sharp when descending?
Why this extra burden on the player?
Tradition?
 

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It's not necessarily as you say.

The reasoning for flats and sharps is because of keys. If you continue to add sharps beyond the seven sharps, you start getting into double sharps. For instance, Bb major, which has only two flats, B and E, would be written in sharps as the key of A#, which would have eleven sharps, written A#, B#, Cdouble#, D#, E#, Fdouble#, Gdouble#, A#.

I'd rather limit keys either 7 sharps or 7 flats.
 

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The chromatic scale is commonly notated using #'s going up and b's going down. This is probably in keeping with the definition of sharps as raising a tone 1/2 step, and flats lowering a tone 1/2 step.

Another simple idea to keep in mind is that diatonic scales are always spelled line-space-line-space. Therefore in the Bb scale one would never spell D then D# because they would occupy the same line. One would have to use an Eb for the 4th tone.
 

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This enharmonic treatment of notes I can (when I think fast) play but why is music written this way? Why a flat when going up but a sharp when descending?
Why this extra burden on the player?
Tradition?
Accidentals are written according to the harmonic structure. An Ab minor chord consists of Ab - Cb - Eb. The minor third
is Cb not B natural. There are also intonation implications. Technically D# is not exactly the same pitch as Eb
in some contexts even though they are fingered the same.
 

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This enharmonic treatment of notes I can (when I think fast) play but why is music written this way? Why a flat when going up but a sharp when descending?
Why this extra burden on the player?
Tradition?
C C# D D#....ascending half steps to the octave and then descending from the octave in half steps to the tonic... Eb D Db C. Next lesson is the melodic minor scale
 

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Really? I've never thought of this. Explain further.
Actually, when tuning chords, the tempered scale of a keyboard instrument or as displayed on a tuner is not really accurate and the pitch of certain notes have to be altered to sound really in tune. For example, for a major chord to really sound perfectly in tune the third of the chord actually must be flattened and experienced players will do this either consciously
or instinctively. The third of a minor chord must be sharpened to sound really in tune. This is usually referred to as Just temperment as opposed to the equal temperment of a tuner or keyboard instrument. If you are really interested in this subject get a copy of "Practice Book for the Flute, Book 4, Intonation and Vibrato" by Trevor Wye. Tuners are really rough guides for tuning. This is a complicated subject for me to explain in any more detail but if i've whet your apetite there is much literature on this subject.
 
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