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changing key signatures, going from Tenor Bb to Alto Eb music sheet transcricption

Lumipumi

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Hi folks:) I got a question I hope anyonbe of you can help me with :) I found a song on youtube ( el condor pasa) and the sheet music is written in Bb Tenor sax and the key is F#-minor. what I want to know is how to I play that song on my Alto Eb sax? do I change only the notes and have same key signature, or do I change the key signature, just wondering how to play it, and write the music sheet down in Eb alto :)
 

Pete Thomas

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If you aren't playing along with a pre-recorded track or other musicians you can just play it in F#minor - any song can be played in any key.

But to be in pitch with the rtcording you change the whole key, so as it's in concert pitch Em (F#minor for tenor) you'd want in in C# minor on alto.

Transpose it down a fifth or up a fourth (whichever is the best range) and change key sig to C#

BUT ideally with a simple tune, learn it by ear also. If you can sing it, you can pick the notes out on your instrument. It may take longer but is very good practice. (And such a great tune!)

See here on our site pages:

 

Lumipumi

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thanks for such fast reply :) it is just a few points I wonder about when u say that I should change the key signature to C#, for example, the start of this song in tenor Bb starts with the notes: octave f# then next note is octave E, then u have c# tied to another c# and is beamed together with B A B, then u get a whole note c# tied to a quarter note c# and last note on the measure of this 5 bar line is octave f# again, so when u say I should go either down a fourth or up a fifth and make it a C# key signature instead of f# minor, would the first note be c#, and instead of having E, c#, B A B, I would then get b#, g# octave f#, octave e# and octave f# for example? or am I getting this totally wrong? :)
 

Lumipumi

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If you aren't playing along with a pre-recorded track or other musicians you can just play it in F#minor - any song can be played in any key.

But to be in pitch with the rtcording you change the whole key, so as it's in concert pitch Em (F#minor for tenor) you'd want in in C# minor on alto.

Transpose it down a fifth or up a fourth (whichever is the best range) and change key sig to C#

BUT ideally with a simple tune, learn it by ear also. If you can sing it, you can pick the notes out on your instrument. It may take longer but is very good practice. (And such a great tune!)

See here on our site pages:

If you aren't playing along with a pre-recorded track or other musicians you can just play it in F#minor - any song can be played in any key.

But to be in pitch with the rtcording you change the whole key, so as it's in concert pitch Em (F#minor for tenor) you'd want in in C# minor on alto.

Transpose it down a fifth or up a fourth (whichever is the best range) and change key sig to C#

BUT ideally with a simple tune, learn it by ear also. If you can sing it, you can pick the notes out on your instrument. It may take longer but is very good practice. (And such a great tune!)

See here on our site pages:

Am I allowed to send you the youtube video of the song so u may understand what exactly I mean or u easily can explain me what u mean? if u for example could show me what to do with the first measure of the 5 bars, that would help me to understand and write down rest of the song :D
 

Pete Thomas

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Just post it here (N.B. it would be useful to write “you” rather than “u”)
 

Lumipumi

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the youtube video I am talking about is
El Condor Pasa Traditional (Sax Bb) Arr. Sergei Brazhnik
 

Lumipumi

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Im sorry if Im asking too much from you, it is just that I reallly want to learn the recepie to write from tenor to alto :D
 

jbtsax

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The simple "recipe" is to write each note down a 4th (C down to G) and add a sharp or take away a flat from the key signature. Sometimes taking each note down a 4th puts the notes too low to be in a comfortable range. In that case you write the notes up a 5th (C up to G) which makes the alto part sound an octave higher than the written tenor part.

The issue with that particular arrangement is that going down a 4th puts some of the notes too low (low C#) and going up a 5th puts some of the notes too high (E above the staff) to be in a comfortable playing range for most players who are still learning the instrument.
 

nigeld

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so when u say I should go either down a fourth or up a fifth and make it a C# key signature instead of f# minor, would the first note be c#, and instead of having E, c#, B A B, I would then get b#, g# octave f#, octave e# and octave f# for example? or am I getting this totally wrong? :)

You are right, except that it's B natural and E natural rather than B# and E#.

The piece is in concert E minor (1 sharp)
So the notes are written in F# minor (3 sharps) for tenor sax or C# minor (4 sharps) for alto sax.

For alto sax, the notes in the first line are C#, B, G#, F#, E, F#, G#, C#

The problem, as, @jbtsax has pointed out is that if you start on middle C# then it will get too low to play and if you start on top C# it may be uncomfortably high (It will go up to palm E). The easiest solution is to put the notes up or down an octave as necessary.
 

jbtsax

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There is another "trick" I sometimes use to play the music on the screen on a different instrument and that is to convert the Youtube video to an mp3 file using an online converter (search Youtube to mp3) download that file and open it in Amazing Slowdowner or Transcribe and transpose it (down a 4th in this case) and save it in the new key. You can hear it and download it at this link: El Condor Pasa (It looses a bit of quality when changing the key that far.)

The next time you want to play an arragement for tenor sax on the alto, it would help to pick a song in a better key. ;)
 

Lumipumi

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Thank you very much all of you for your amazing inputs :D this really helps me :) I have no problem playing a high E above the staff, only the high f and up is the tricky part for me atm :) my mom wants to hear me play el condor pasa on sax, and since I couldn't find any good sheet music for it on youtube I figured I had to find out how to transpose or transcrice/ transform the notes from one instrument to another :p really helpful input folks :D
 

Lumipumi

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I just looked over the whole song and with the recipe with making it a c#-minor key and go up a fifth is posssible to do, since then the highest note would be palm E, but if I were to go down a fourth there are few spots in the song where it would be impossible like where there is a low c#, if I would go down a fourth from that, then it would be a super low g#, and I don't think I can play any lower than a low B-flat/ low A#, unless any of you know if I can actually play lower than that? :p and if I start with going lets say down a fourth from beginning, can I later in the song go up a fifth? or do I have to follow same pattern throu the whole song? :)
 

6441

 
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The next time you want to play an arragement for tenor sax on the alto, it would help to pick a song in a better key.
The reason a popular standard has sometimes been played in several keys is because both singers and instrumentalists like to choose a key that works with their range. This is possible for most songs. You have to find the lowest and the highest notes and see if each is playable (or singable). Changing the key of written music is only easy if the music is in electronic form, such as in MuseScore. Otherwise, it's writing it out, note by note in the new key.
 

Lumipumi

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The reason a popular standard has sometimes been played in several keys is because both singers and instrumentalists like to choose a key that works with their range. This is possible for most songs. You have to find the lowest and the highest notes and see if each is playable (or singable). Changing the key of written music is only easy if the music is in electronic form, such as in MuseScore. Otherwise, it's writing it out, note by note in the new key.
I love writing notes down, instead of playing this song in tenor f# minor or alto c# minor, can I change it to a different key, lets say for example e-minor or b-minor scale? :) and if so is there a recipe for changing keys that far? :)
 

6441

 
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is there a recipe for changing keys that far? :)
Changing keys is always a matter of interval, which is the distance between the two keys.

The first thing I'd do is think of the song in concert key. So if a song is in concert A, if you want to move it to G, means moving every note down a whole step. Moving betwee, Bb and Eb instruments is a pain without software.
 

Pete Thomas

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and if I start with going lets say down a fourth from beginning, can I later in the song go up a fifth? or do I have to follow same pattern throu the whole song?

I would start by using the same pattern then you review it and may realise (as you have done ) some notes are too high, some too low.

So after transposing (in this case either up a fifth or down a fourth) you decide which bits are outside a comfortable range and transpose those up or down an octave.

If it's just one note, it will often make more musical sense to transpose the whole of the phrase that contains that one note, or you may get some sudden jumps that aren't great melodically.

Also bear in mind, as mentioned above, the comfortable range. when playing melodies you may want to avoid extremes of the range.
 

6441

 
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Also bear in mind, as mentioned above, the comfortable range. when playing melodies you may want to avoid extremes of the range.
As an aside, not to confuse the OP, sometimes we choose keys that use the lowest note of the instrument on purpose. Listen to Night and Day, by Earl Bostic, he sure uses the alto's low Bb to effect!
 

Lumipumi

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As an aside, not to confuse the OP, sometimes we choose keys that use the lowest note of the instrument on purpose. Listen to Night and Day, by Earl Bostic, he sure uses the alto's low Bb to effect!
That my friend is what I call jazz music :D thanks you very much for helping me and for suggesting this epic masterpiece of music :D
 

Colin the Bear

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If you learn the concert pitch of each fingering, transposing between tenor and alto becomes less confusing.

When playing in a band with concert, Bb, Eb and sometimes F instruments, it is easier to think in concert. imo.
 

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