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Is it Cheating to Use the Transpose Feature?


Pigmeat

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You do whatever it takes to get the job done the best you can.

 

The transpose button is DANGEROUS. I would feel better about it if you cook the transpositions into your Combi/Performance Setups/(Whatever your particular Brand of Keyboard Calls it) etc... so the transpose is an automatic process when selecting patches. Manually operating the function is asking for train wreck.

 

Playing in one key and hearing another screws with my Mojo. Transposed a whole show in 2013 when coming off 11 gigs in 10 days. The singers were fried. First song aptly named Roll With The Changes completely screwed with my brain. The whole night was weird.

 

I quit using it about 20 years ago when I played in a band that did the Linda Ronstadt version of Desperado (in B) but I knew the Eagles version in G. I said F--- it and used the button. One night I forgot the button. It is a solo intro and sounded fine to my ears because I played the Eagles version a thousand times. That was embarrassing.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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This has been discussed a few times here... :snax:

 

My short answer; If you're sight reading something and need it it a different key, it's a lifesaver. Other than that, it's a crutch that can mess with your sense of pitch recognition. :crazy:

 

My `80s band for a while did everything down a half step so the singer could hit the high notes. Rather than play fun songs in awkward keys, I swallowed my pride and used the transpose feature. After a few months of doing that I found it messed with my ears. When I went to ear a song out, I found I usually aimed a half step too high! :cry: I had gotten too accustomed to hearing everything a half step below what I was playing. Thankfully we're back in concert pitch now, so my pitch recognition has come back. :cool:

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Steve

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Depends, is it a crutch or just for expedience? SRV tuned his guitar 1/2 step down to Eb like Jimmy Hendrix. Sometimes when you play a song for years in one key and you find yourself playing with some guys who have changed it its easier to use the transpose. Muscle memory, its easy to mess up at first. I say use the transpose and then practice it in their key. Also some licks are not so easily fingered in a different key.

Boards: Kurzweil SP-6, Roland FA-08, VR-09, DeepMind 12

Modules: Korg Radias, Roland D-05, Bk7-m & Sonic Cell

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Yeah but what Reese often does is whacked. He would often transpose the stage piano and synth but not the Hammond so he plays in two keys at the same time. It would be easier to play everything in B. LOL

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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No. It's not cheating, in the same way it's not cheating to use any other feature of an electronic keyboard.

 

Is it cheating to select a fake horn patch? As a horn player, that bothers me much more than using the transpose feature.

These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
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Has been discussed here more than a few times, and sometimes devolves into Mac vs. PC.

 

Typically the walls of tribal belligerence get drawn around something like:

 

Chocolate: Do whatever you have to in order to nail the tune. For heaven's sake don't sound like a doofus when the TX button is just a press away. What are you a religious idiot, that's why the good Lord put a TX button on your front panel.

 

Vanilla: True KB players develop the skill to mentally TX to any of 12 keys, instantly. It was the best thing for me and you should do it to, or you should turn in your man card.

 

 

Mostly, I don't think some folks in the debate listen to each other. It's really good for long term growth to learn everything in 12 keys, and the skill to TX on the bandstand with just your mind and your hands is a valuable, marketable skill - and essential in some markets.

 

And you never want to sound like a doofus who can't play the song, ever. If for now you gotta hit the TX to do that, well, there isn't a law against it. In most states.

 

The only universal I see here is this: Remember to TX back to concert before the next tune starts. Or you'll really be playing jazz...

..
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I quit using it about 20 years ago when I played in a band that did the Linda Ronstadt version of Desperado (in B) but I knew the Eagles version in G. I said F--- it and used the button. One night I forgot the button. It is a solo intro and sounded fine to my ears because I played the Eagles version a thousand times. That was embarrassing.

That F**ing song. I played that for years in two bands - one with a male vocalist in G and the other a female in D. I can't count the number of times I started off in the "wrong" key and after getting the stink eye from whichever vocalist, had to creatively turn around, obfuscate, and modulate my way back on track.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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I forgot to TX back to concert at the end of a set once when my band was hosting an afternoon jam. A very accomplished player went up to play my keyboard and the guitarist started a boogie in C. The keyboard player had to play in Bb and did a great job, but I got an earful from him when he got off stage. Very embarrassing for me.
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I use it when sight reading something for rehearsal and then rewrite the changes and important parts in the key we agree to. Also used it when the chart I have is sufficiently complex and its a one time performance (visiting singer for example). You are bound to forget it if relying on it on a regular basis and would not want it messing with my ears. It doesn't take long to get comfortable with a different key if you sit with it a bit in practice session.
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The only universal I see here is this: Remember to TX back to concert before the next tune starts. Or you'll really be playing jazz...

That's why I quit doing it. Too many embarrassing next tune starts.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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Re: forgetting to reset the tx that may be a reason to never use it, but has nothing to do with whether or not it's a useful feature. It's a button on a keyboard, you don't want to use it then don't press it!

 

I've said my piece a few times here, and only reiterating now because of course MY view is the correct one and everyone must acknowledge it! :)

 

It's a tool - which can be both used and abused. A lesser musician that can't play on anything but the white keys would use it as a crutch (yea, I know, Irving Berlin but he only played in F#!!). A better musician might use it in a pinch - someone puts a chart in front of you for the first time and asks you to play it transposed. A singer sits in on a gig and calls a tune you know well but in a key you've never played it in you're pretty sure you can pull it off but there's an audience out there that doesn't know or care that you're doing it in an unfamiliar key.

 

IMO the music comes first. Whatever works to produce a successful performance vs. falling on your face is cool. If you feel bad about having to hit the button, then hopefully you're inspired to practice playing in different keys. It's a useful skill and some are better at it than others, but I would not be as judgmental about anyone using it as some on this forum seem to be. I was actually inspired by the last monster thread on this topic and worked on playing Dolphin Dance and Giant Steps in any key. I learned a few things about how I hear harmonic relationships in the process. In short, I rarely use the button but I'm glad it's there for the few times I do want it.

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:)

 

Yes, it's technology solving a musical problem that you ought to be able to get your musical mind around.

 

At the same time, you do what you have to do to get the job done.

 

Some side notes. When reading sheet music it's easy to transpose a half step up or down by changing the key substitute in your head. But it's harder to do complicated parts up a sixth or down an augmented fourth.

 

When just comping a chord progression to a popular tune it's easy to jump intervals in your head - playing every chord up a whole step or some specific interval.

 

Alternatively some guys hear this is the I chord and that's ii chord, just play the recognized progression in the new key.

 

Practicing this stuff makes you more confident and more flexible in unexpected musical situations. Or, use transpose button forever. Just get the job done.

Live: Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700

Home: Rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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I use it every gig simply because we tune down a half step.

 

There are tunes I could probably play better if I *did* transpose, one in particular is bluesy and in F#. Or, I could learn to play better in F# :)

 

I don't like playing (fingers-wise, not sonically) in a key different than the band. Makes it too hard to communicate, though granted this is mainly when you are still learning the tune.

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Just gonna play devil's advocate:

1) The singer needs to drop the original key down. Who's cheating?

2) In a cover/tribute act, does anyone actually believe they're above transposing for the sake of "art?"

3) When Jimi or SRV (or Keef lol) tune their guitars down just so they can play in "E," who's cheating?

 

 

 

 

____________________________________
Rod

victoria bc

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Typically the walls of tribal belligerence get drawn around something like:

 

Chocolate: Do whatever you have to in order to nail the tune. For heaven's sake don't sound like a doofus when the TX button is just a press away. What are you a religious idiot, that's why the good Lord put a TX button on your front panel.

 

Vanilla: True KB players develop the skill to mentally TX to any of 12 keys, instantly. It was the best thing for me and you should do it to, or you should turn in your man card.

 

Succinct. Cogent. Pungent. I'm a vanilla man myself. :cop:;)

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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You do whatever it takes to get the job done the best you can.

 

The transpose button is DANGEROUS. I would feel better about it if you cook the transpositions into your Combi/Performance Setups/(Whatever your particular Brand of Keyboard Calls it) etc... so the transpose is an automatic process when selecting patches. Manually operating the function is asking for train wreck.

 

Yes and yes. I've been a "train wreck" victim. My own dumb fault.

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I posted something very similar to this on the Nord forum last week, but it works for me.

 

I use about 20 to 25 sounds on an average gig. We had a time when, due to health reasons, we would seem to rotate almost equally between two lead singers from gig to gig. One sang half step down. This went on for nearly a year.

The challenge for me was to play a complete gig, same songs, same band, etc. etc. one time regular, next time half step down. I was afraid I would forget which was which!

 

My 2 Keyboards are Jupiter 50/73 and Nord 5D/73. The J50 is easy to transpose, the Nord is a PIA. WTF are those Swedes thinking, with all those little round knobs, no sliders, just those little darn knobs, all the same shape? Oh well, the ultimate Swedish Socialist equality went too far. Anyway...

 

There are tons of slots available to store sounds on each, so I just duplicated every sound on 2 different banks; 1 and 8 on the J50, 5 and 6 on the Nord.

Made it simple for me. The big, obvious Bank #s made it easy to know where I was.

 

For my situation, with all transposition being 1 step down only, this was a simple effective fix. Also, if I messed up a setting on one of the Banks, I had a duplicate (off a half step) nearby to fix the mess.

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I've used it a few times live, I don't anymore because my brain couldn't handle playing a note "C" and hearing something else like "D". As others have written, it's extremely important to reset it to normal. I was learning a song by ear from an MP3 player but found it was between keys. I adjusted the tuning on my Nord to match the player and learned the song.

Unfortunately I forgot to reset it to 440 pitch. Went to a gig the next night, played the first song and immediately the Nord sounded off key. While I'm playing (with LH bass) I checked transpose value, it was 0 indicating no change from normal, so the problem can't possibly be me. I thought maybe guitar player had tuned wrong or possibly the Nord was malfunctioning. At end of song, guitar player checked his tuning, it was fine. Checked the Nord against his tuner and it was off, THEN the memory came back of changing the tuning the previous night.

I hate moments like that on stage when you feel like everybody is staring at you, there's tremendous pressure and you're the only one that can fix it and fix it fast.

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Both my current boards have (reasonably) easy ways to globally transpose. Unfortunately it's not retained if I lose power, or at least I haven't bothered to find out if there's a way. I don't want to mess with A not being 440 though or some such. I'm in the habit of just quickly transposing before each show for our 1/2 step tune down.

 

However--I've very occasionally lost power for whatever reason and then forgot to tune down again LOL Nothing like that big intro with a giant chord 1/2 step out of tune!

 

kicking off something like Don't Stop Believin'.....

 

The funniest thing that happened to us similar to this wasn't me transposing...it was our bass player starting off "Some Kind of Wonderful" at least 2 steps too low. I sing that song in "C". I started belting out "I don't neeed...a whole lots.." like the bass singer in the Oak Ridge Boys, hey I was in key...

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