Behind the Notation: Musical Spelling for Composers – 2

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2. Don’t Augment Your Troubles or Diminish Your Chances

Here is a fun little Compendium of Nasty Augmented and Diminished Intervals. View at your own risk.

Some Exceptions:

Diminished Third

Mozart — who was a very good speller, by the way — wrote this textbook-case of a correct diminished third:
W.A. Mozart Missa Brevis No. 7 in C major, K. 258

Mozart Missa Brevis K 258

The E-flat is just the plain-old third scale degree in the key of C Minor, and the C-sharp leads smoothly up by half step to the D, per guideline #1 above; also, the C-sharp is a secondary leading tone to D, the ii chord in C minor. (Mozart did not always write his clefs — and who can blame him? He was a busy guy, and he didn’t have Noteflight!)
CONTINUE to Section 3: Double Sharps, C-flats, and Other Strange But Necessary Beasts