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iRealPro key confusion

DavidUK

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I don't play with a band or orchestra, just by myself (nearly said "with"... phew).

Anyway, went back to my iPad and into my playlist in iRealPro AND took out my alto sax to play "Cry me a River" and I'm not sure what I'm playing matches the backing track?

Here's my sheet music...




Here's the iPad screen with the backing track...



Now I can't recall whether I last used iRealPro with a tenor or alto but I noticed the "Ballad Bb-part" top left of the backing track and thought "is that right?"
So I've done a Google but the thread which come up aren't that useful to me as I'm not great on music theory.

Typicaly they say something like this one:
"...Global transpose does work, but you might see inconsistencies in the enharmonics (Cb instead of B, or in II-V-I progressions for instance) but this is the case with transpose in song view also.
Remember the key you set in song view is for concert key (so the player knows what key you want to hear it in, 'sounding pitch') whereas the chords you are looking at are in the key for your alto (set in global transpose.)
If you only play alto, you probably only need to set global transpose once and leave it there."


Bit of gobbledegook there for me. I can read music and that's just about it, and if I played with a band I'd perhaps understand more about theory.

I have found how to access the Global Transposing setting, and mine looks like this...




...which on the face of it says I set this to tenor Bb at some point. But I don't recall EVER seeing the settings page before and I've done recordings (some posted on the Cafe) which sound fine.

SO... Am I correct in saying my iRealPro screen (as above) is set for tenor sax rather than alto, and do I simply need to alter Global Transposing to Eb or Bb each time I use whichever sax, alto or tenor?

OR... is it more difficult than that? If so, please explain but assume I have only one brain cell. :confused:

What makes it worse is that set as is it all sounds fine to my ears!
 

Pete Thomas

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That sheet music is very confusing. It shows the piano chords to play depending on whether the melody as written is played by alto or tenor. I've never seen that before but i understand why they might do that so saxophone and piano play off the same part. But it makes my brain hurt.

So for you to pay that tune as written on that sheet music in Dm on tenor, the piano is in C minor.

I would forget Transposing instrument in iReal Pro. Just use concert pitch and put it in the concert key of C minor.
 

DavidUK

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That's easy for you to say @Pete Thomas and thank you, but even that's confusing!

I want to play it on alto sax, so need to know what to change, where, in iRealPro to get the right backing track. You've probably told me, but you're assuming I have two brain cells.

Simply put, instead of the first G chord, what should this be for it to work with my alto sax?
 

Pete Thomas

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OK on that sheet music for alto the first not is E and is in D minor. (It starts on the 9th)

So iReal pro needs to be in F (edited) minor concert pitch. Untransposed.
 
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brianr

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OK on that sheet music for alto the first not is E and is in D minor. (It starts on the 9th)

So iReal pro needs to be in C minor concert pitch. Untransposed.

Pete, if he wants to play it on alto, does that not need the backing track to be in F minor?
 

nigeld

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As Pete says, the sheet music is in Concert C minor for tenor sax and concert F minor for alto.

Luckily, the iReal Pro backing you have is in concert F minor (it says Ab at bottom right, but hopefully that should be the same), and this is what the notes want for an alto sax.

So you just need to make sure that iReal pro is set to transpose for an Eb instrument instead of a Bb instrument:
a. click on the Settings icon at the top - it looks like a cog wheel
b. Choose Eb for transposing instrument

And it should work.


If you want to play it on tenor, you will have to change the chart to concert C minor:
a. Click on the pencil icon at the top and choose Edit
b. Click on the “i” symbol just above the keyboard
c. Choose Key, and set it to C minor
d. Choose “Set and Transpose”
e. Click Done, Done, Save

Or you can just click on the Ab symbol at the bottom and change it to Eb (relative major).
 
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DavidUK

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Thanks Pete & Nigel.

For ANY other sheet music, whether playing alto or tenor what is the SIMPLE way for someone stupid to work out how to set iRealPro using the first note I play on my sax OR from the key signature?

Pete and Nigel... you instantly know (a) one Bb on my sheet music is D Minor and then you instantly know (b) iRealPro needs to be in C minor concert pitch for tenor and F minor for alto (correct?) but how does someone stupid get to know (a) and (b) and then know which buttons to press to get to (c) the correct iRealPro setting?

By the way, found my previous recording of this tune with iRealPro backing track and I do indeed start on E as per the sheet music above but I've no idea what the backing is set to?

 

Pete Thomas

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Pete and Nigel... you instantly know (a) one Bb on my sheet music is D Minor and then you instantly know (b) iRealPro needs to be in C minor concert pitch for tenor and F minor for alto (correct?)
No not correct. I'd never seen that type of thing on sheet music and I find it really confusing (Hence I got confused in post above which I got wrong!) so I didn't instantly know - I went through quite a bitb of brain hurt wondering what it was all about.

It isn't normal sheet music.
 

Pete Thomas

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And the first note gives you very little clue about the key - I just happen to know that the first not of that tune is (unusually) the 9th (or 2nd) note of the key.

There is no formula for that.
 

nigeld

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. . . and I took my lead from Pete about the keys.

I found the sheet music completely confusing until Pete worked out what it meant.
 

nigeld

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Good rendition, by the way. You should post more recordings.
 

Colin the Bear

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Don't over think it. I find it easier to think in concert. Song is in Cm. So Am for alto Dm for tenor. That's it.

Simply tenor needs to play tone or 2 semi tones up. Alto needs to play minor3rd or 3semi tones down.

The best thing to do is get Band in a box. ;)
 

nigeld

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Pete and Nigel... you instantly know (a) one Bb on my sheet music is D Minor and then you instantly know (b) iRealPro needs to be in C minor concert pitch for tenor and F minor for alto (correct?) but how does someone stupid get to know (a) and (b) and then know which buttons to press to get to (c) the correct iRealPro setting?

One flat in the key signature is F major or D minor, so it’s a matter of deciding whether the piece is in the major or minor key. A good tip is to look at the last note - most songs end on the tonic. Though for iRealPro, I don’t think it matters whether you choose the major or the relative minor, so F major and D minor will both work in this case.

If a tenor horn is playing in any written key, then the backing needs to be one whole tone down - C minor in this case. This is because the tenor is a Bb transposing instrument, which means that if you finger a C, it sounds a concert Bb, and hence if you finger any note, it sounds a whole tone lower. So tenor D minor becomes concert C minor and tenor F major becomes concert Eb major.

If an alto is playing in any written key, then the accompaniment needs to be a minor third up - F minor in this case. This is because the alto is an Eb transposing instrument, which means if you finger a C, it sounds an Eb, and hence if you finger a D, it sounds an F. So alto D minor becomes concert F minor and alto F major becomes concert Ab major.

For iReal Pro, the trick is always to set the right concert pitch first, and then choose the instrument (Bb or Eb).

Usually a backing track is provided in a single key (e.g. Concert C minor) and different notes are provided for tenor (in D minor) and alto (in A minor). This is what we do in Café SOTM and BOTM. What is confusing in your case is that the notes have been written out the same for tenor and alto, and the key of the backing track has to be changed depending on which instrument you are playing. It is very easy to get it wrong.
 

nigeld

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Don't over think it. I find it easier to think in concert. Song is in Cm. So Am for alto Dm for tenor. That's it.

Not in this case, which is why it is confusing. The song is in concert C minor for tenor and in concert F minor for alto.
 
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DavidUK

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Hmmm... wonder where I obtained the sheet music? It's just loose in my folder, like other favourites.

I guess an easy solution is to only play SOTM or BOTM then I'd have matching notes and backing tracks.

I will have another go with this though, just to see the difference between the SA80II of 2015 and my "new" SDA.
That's once I get back into Garageband with the new mic I bought.

Thanks for all your help. I may be back with more questions...
 

Greg Strange

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The sheet music above is from a series of books called "Saxmania" edited by Steve Tayton and "Cry Me A River" is out of the "Blues Greats" volume...

Greg S.
 

randulo

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Because I think in concert all the time, I didn't know that iReal Pro had a transcribe setting, never saw it. In concert, you just set the key to what you want and the backing and the chords on screen are the same. I hate when the chords are notated for the instrument. For example, a song in C concert will be written as A for the alto. But I understand the problem. The sheet music is confusing, I'd never seen anything like it with both symbols, one on top of the other. Confronted with such a chart, I'd have to make a copy and white out the "wrong" chords!

Bottom line, you must set the key of the song to that which you want here (concert key) and set the transpose to Bb or Eb according to which instrument you want to see chords in and play. The music will be in the key you want to play in and the chords will appear as they should be for the Eb or Bb instrument. They probably should have put the transposing key somewhere more accessible, because it's not an unreasonable assumption that if you own a Bb instrument, you also own an Eb.
 

brianr

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[QUOTE="randulo, post:

The sheet music is confusing, I'd never seen anything like it with both symbols, one on top of the other. Confronted with such a chart, I'd have to make a copy and white out the "wrong" chords!


[/QUOTE]

These books that are available with backing tracks can be done two ways.

1) there is only one version of the backing track. ie in one key only.
The music notation is then written out in 3 keys.
So a version each for Eb, Bb, Concert instruments.

This is how Aebersold does his backing tracks, for example.

2) the music notation is written out in only one key.
So, it doent matter if you play Alto sax (Eb), Tenor sax(Bb) or Flute (Concert).....or whatever.
They all read the same notation, from the same page.
BUT.................( its a big BUT ).......
They then need a backing track to suit them.
This is the difference. In this scenario, the publishers of the book provide the backing track playing in the 3 different keys. The player plays the backing to suit.
I think this is probably what happens in the music given in the initial post, and which Greg has now identified.

This is different from “I real pro”, which gives you the chance to choose the key of the backing track to suit.
So, you play alto. You have learned a piece of music and it is written in D. You want to try it with backing. So you set it upto play in its/the machines/the computers F.
Bingo!!!!!!!!
Happy days.

Next you decide to go up a semi tone and play the tune in this new key, BY EAR (ie no music in front of you )
You are now playing in Eb.
Change the backing track to play in F sharp.
Or maybe not !!!!!!!
 
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