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How to Transpose fash


STR41N

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Quick answer - first, you only transpose if you really have to. It is far better to actually think in the key you wish to play in.

 

That is more easily accomplished by thinking in terms of numbers regarding harmonic function and also numbers for the melody - what scale degree does the melody begin on, etc.

 

A tune in C major that has C, bm7-5 E7, Am, Gm7 C7, F ... is really I, [ii7-5 V7] of vi, [ii7 V7] of IV. I 'see' those original chord changes as numbers as I play - I think in terms of harmonic (chord) function.

 

Think in terms of numbers and harmonic function and you can think in all keys at the same time though you can only play in one at a time. The way to accomplish this is to practice everything in every key and to know the basic chord changes in all keys without thinking . What scale degree does the melody start on? What is the tonal center of the 'B' section? If you start in C major and the bridge goes to F major, you're going from I to IV, correct?

 

There are many variations on this this theme, but that's about it. Don't transpose, think in the key you wish to play on. You have to analyse the tune really good first. There are no shortcuts and you would do well to have a good theory textbook so you understand the basics inside and out. Practice everything in all keys and playing in all keys will become second nature.

 

There are ways to do this more effectively and that's why I earn money passing on this info to others. Get a good teacher.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Originally posted by Dave Horne:

Don't transpose, think in the key you wish to play on. You have to analyse the tune really good first. There are no shortcuts and you would do well to have a good theory textbook so you understand the basics inside and out. Practice everything in all keys and playing in all keys will become second nature.

Like Dave says, this is probably the only way. I´ve found that once I´ve learned a tune in a new key, playing it in yet another key becomes easier, if that´s any comfort.

 

/J :cool: nas

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Good advice in the previous posts. Analysis of the harmony structure of the piece really helps to sort it out. Clearly, it takes lots of practice.

 

I find that certain intervals get me messed up more easily when transposing - for example, if you only have to transpose a semitone up or down to accompany a vocalist, it can be tricky to get the accidentals right, whereas a perfect 4th or 5th transposition seems much easier.

 

Of course, most synths today allow you to cheat, and transpose things with the touch of a button, so it's probably a dying art.....

Tom F.

"It is what it is."

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Originally posted by Tom Fiala:

Of course, most synths today allow you to cheat, and transpose things with the touch of a button, so it's probably a dying art.....

Do a lot of people do this? Just curious. Do alot of keyboardists just transpose and play in C position?
Amateur Hack
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Originally posted by shniggens:

Originally posted by Tom Fiala:

Of course, most synths today allow you to cheat, and transpose things with the touch of a button, so it's probably a dying art.....

Do a lot of people do this? Just curious. Do alot of keyboardists just transpose and play in C position?
i dont think so, i usually dont, except in a few practical cases , like when i got to play some spanish classical piano piece in Db major and needed to orchestrate it later, it was hard for me to read thru it quickly, so i just rearranged the accidentals to make it D major, and learned to play that way.. http://www.click-smilies.de/sammlung0304/grinser/grinning-smiley-004.gif

 

btw, on topics of transposition and roman numerals, go check this nice KSS thread:

 

Chart For Roman Numerals

http://www.babic.com - music for film/theatre, audio-post
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My advice woulde be to NOT use the transpose button, unless in a real emergency situation. It's too easy to forget it's engaged, and start the next tune in the wrong key...

 

About learning transposition, I'd start by practicing separately melody transposition and chord structure transposition. When the brain is accustomed to both processes (they differ a bit, the ear/brain connection being more involved when dealing with melody), I would join them, transposing pieces of increasing complexity.

Also, practicing the transposition of simple classical pieces (a Haydn adagio, for example) really helps a lot.

Finally, be aware that transposition, like sight-reading, is a rather volatile art - if you fail to practice it for any substantial amount of time, it just flies away.

 

Carlo

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Originally posted by shniggens:

Originally posted by Tom Fiala:

Of course, most synths today allow you to cheat, and transpose things with the touch of a button, so it's probably a dying art.....

Do a lot of people do this? Just curious. Do alot of keyboardists just transpose and play in C position?
I don't. I find it very disconcerting to play, say a C chord and get an F chord.

 

If you learn by the numbers there is no point as you can play in any key. Some technical things are easier or harder in some keys (hammer ons, for example) so you can't play exactly the same thing, but if you practice doing hammer-ons from white to black notes, for example, you can get by.

 

Reading a chart that is written out as notes, recognizing the chords, converting to numbers and then playing

in some other key is excellent practice that works on many aspects of playing at once.

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Originally posted by marino:

My advice woulde be to NOT use the transpose button, unless in a real emergency situation. It's too easy to forget it's engaged, and start the next tune in the wrong key...

LOL! I did exactly that last night, after a nice long keyboard intro the rest of the band came in, and the rest is history... :freak::rolleyes::D

 

/J :cool: nas

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It's too easy to forget it's engaged, and start the next tune in the wrong key...

I used to do this all the time. I only transposed one song, Bobby Caldwell's "What You Won't Do." When I learned it, the singer did it in F. Did it like that for two years, then my next band played it in the original Gb, and it was WAY easier to transpose than relearn the chord voicings I used. But about once a week, I'd forget to turn off the transpose.

 

But in my current duo, we don't do the song at all, and if we did, I'm on acoustic piano, so it's deja vu all over again...

 

Dasher

It's all about the music. Really. I just keep telling myself that...

The Soundsmith

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Originally posted by Dasher:

about once a week, I'd forget to turn off the transpose.

When in Japan, about 17 years ago, our group had to suddendly change the singer. We had to transpose about one third of the songs (We had an 80-song repertoire). I had thought about redoing all my patches with the new tuning... :D But I didn't really use a different patch for every song, so that would have meant to write, and memorize, a whole new bunch of patches.

I ended up writing charts for all the tunes which needed a key change. It worked like a charm: After a few gigs, I had memorized most of them in the new key.

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Originally posted by marino:

My advice woulde be to NOT use the transpose button, unless in a real emergency situation. It's too easy to forget it's engaged, and start the next tune in the wrong key...

This happened to me once, when I first started using an electronic device to play. Never again...

 

Dave Horne's advice is the right way to go. Think by numbers -- it's definitely what I do.

 

I do know several guys around here who use the transpose key all the time, and play everything in C (or perhaps G, more white keys for blues). One guys even keeps a little tranposition cheat-sheet taped to his board. To each his own, I guess. But I'm afraid to use it, both for the reason Carlo mentions, and because it would become a crutch that would prevent playing a B3, piano, Rhodes or other mechanical instrument when the opportunity arises.

 

--Dave

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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Originally posted by Dasher:

 

But in my current duo, we don't do the song at all, and if we did, I'm on acoustic piano, so it's deja vu all over again...

 

Dasher

Irving Berlin had an acoustic piano that could transpose. He would transpose so that he could play everything in F#! - not sure if that is really true of if he was having us on.

 

BTW, he used to employ a musical secretary as he could neither read nor write music. Secretary would sit at piano and bang out chords saying" is this the chord" and Berlin would say "no". Wonder they ever managed to write anything.

 

(All this according to a bio I saw on TV about Berlin)

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Originally posted by Byrdman:

Originally posted by Dasher:

 

But in my current duo, we don't do the song at all, and if we did, I'm on acoustic piano, so it's deja vu all over again...

 

Dasher

Irving Berlin had an acoustic piano that could transpose. He would transpose so that he could play everything in F#! - not sure if that is really true of if he was having us on.

 

BTW, he used to employ a musical secretary as he could neither read nor write music. Secretary would sit at piano and bang out chords saying" is this the chord" and Berlin would say "no". Wonder they ever managed to write anything.

 

(All this according to a bio I saw on TV about Berlin)

Almost. From what I understand, Cole Porter could only play using the black keys -- Gb, F#, Db(?). He would use the transposing piano so his playing would sound in another key. He used a copyist to put his work down on paper.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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