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Working out the key......

Discussion in 'Playing' started by akame, May 6, 2012.

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  1. akame

    akame New Member

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    Hello

    I'm not sure I'm posting this in the right category, but I'm hoping someone out there with more brains than me can assist!

    I have a sax book with the song Buffalo Soldier in (50+ Easy Popular Solos for Sax). I play the Alto sax, my mum plays the clarinet and my brother the guitar. The music I have has two lots of chords, one for Eb instruments and one for Bb instruments. I can work out how to work out using the circle of fifths what key the clarinet plays in - if I play the piece in C, and the clarinet would play it in F major. My notes start with E, the clarinet to play in unison would play an A.

    If the first chord for a Eb sax is Eb, and for a Bb sax is Bb, what would the guitar play? I'm guessing the chords are for a keyboard, but surely there must be an easy(ish) way to work out the chords for a guitar (which I assume is in C)? I'm sort of thinking that the first chord would be a G#, but somehow I don't think the guitar would play that. :dontgetit:

    It may turn out that I need to scrap the whole thing and start from scratch! If so, please let me know - I can take it (I think). :crying:

    Thanks!
  2. kevgermany

    kevgermany Landrover Nut Cafe Moderator

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    Guess it's only got one set of notes. So the chords would be for guitar or keyboards, depending on which instrument you're using for the melody. You don't need to transpose.

    So if the first chord for Eb sax is Eb, then you're playing on the tonic, so you're playing in C. Same for tenor/clarinet both instruments are in Bb, and the opening chord is Bb. You can confirm this, there won't be a key signature in the sax score - i.e. no sharps, no flats.

    Trouble with arrangements like this is that you can't share the lead with the alto and clarinet, cos the concert key that the accompaniment is in changes.
  3. MartinL

    MartinL Member

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    That book is written for a Guitar or Keyboard to accompany you. If you are playing the notes written on an Alto (Eb) sax then the guitar follows the chords marked for Eb. If you are playing the notes written on the clarinet (Bb) the the guitar follows the chords marked Bb.. Its the same in the "saxmania" series books..
  4. akame

    akame New Member

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    Thanks Guys.

    So basically, my brother needs to stop moaning and play the damn guitar the way it's written :thumb:

    Just need to pluck up the courage to tell him......!
  5. kevgermany

    kevgermany Landrover Nut Cafe Moderator

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    Yes, AND learn it both ways so he can acccompany the clarinet as well.>:) That'll cheer him up no end. ;}
  6. jbtsax

    jbtsax Old and opinionated

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    If the goal is to have the clarinet and the sax both play the melody at the same time, you would need to do the following:

    - If the guitar plays the chords to accompany Bb inst.,the alto sax would transpose up a 5th (down a 4th).
    - If the guitar plays the chords to accompany Eb inst., the clarinet would transpose up a 4th (down a 5th).

    If the sax were a tenor or soprano, both instruments could play with the Bb chords and no transposition would be necessary.

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