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Beginner key signatures

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
question
I understand that if playing with another instrument that is not a sax that I need to play up one tone to be in the same key.
What if im playing with another instrument but theyre playing in a different key...
Do I just still play one tone up ?????
Allansto
 

Bigtwin

New Member
Messages
161
I assume you have a b flat tenor? That's coz it's made to play a note lower than you are actually fingering. So, if you play what you call a D, it's actually a C on the piano. So, whatever key you are in, you will always be a whole tone out compared to instruments tuned as a piano is. You can make it a whole lot more complicated that that, but that's basically it in a nutshell.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
if you're playing from a score, get one that's got a part for Bb instruments, then play what's written.

If the score doesn't have this, use a notation program, something like Musescore (free). Type in the part in concert pitch (i.e. as written), then get the program to transpose to your sax. Up one tone for tenor as bigtwin said. Hardest part of transposing from concert for tenor is that concert Bb goes to Cnatural, not Cb, E goes to F#... It's a good exercise to do manually, you learn a lot.

If you get scores from wikifonia, you can get them in concert, transposed for Eb instruments, transposed for Bb instruments - or in any key you want. Just make sure you change the file name for the instrument when you save it and pencil in which is which when you print it. You can download from there in music xml format, which will go straight into musescore and most other notation programs, making it easy to do your own arrangements.

And make sure you stay on the right side of the copyright laws. I've a feeling that a lot of the stuff on wikifonia is not really legit.

Alternative is to play by ear and then you're always right, but it's beyond many of us mortals.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,063
The saxophone is what is known as a transposing instrument. Your tenor is a Bb. This means when you finger the note of C the sound that comes out is Bb. There's a historical reason for this. There used to be many different pitched saxophones and the ones remaining are the best sounding and most convenient to fit in with other instruments that transpose like Brass.


The Bb tenor and soprano are the most simple to transpose. If you don't have parts written for specific instruments, as in a band arrangement or a playalong book and CD then you play a tone higher than the non transposing instruments, Piano , guitar, etc.

If the piano part shows a C you finger a D. If the Guitar tablature shows an F chord you play a G chord.

It's worth practicing reading a score written for a non transposing instrument and playing a tone higher than what's written. It saves a lot of messing about and can become quite second nature. It's a part of the saxophonist's requirements when playing without written music. This may seem quite complicated and daunting at first but in time and with enough practice you'll be able to think in Bb.
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
thanks guys
no...... really .......!!!!
I sort of understood most of that allready but I needed to confirm it from concert pitch or other key.
thanks for recomending musescore which I have downloaded.
Now ive just got another software program to learn.
So much to learn................. so little time.
Regards
Allansto
 

MLoosemore

Deluded Senior Member...
Messages
759
I hope this isn't too much drift for the thread but has anyone noticed that Wikifonia isn't working?? Haven't been able to get past the following 'Unable to connect to database server' message for 2 days now... 'too many connections'???

http://www.wikifonia.org/
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I hope this isn't too much drift for the thread but has anyone noticed that Wikifonia isn't working?? Haven't been able to get past the following 'Unable to connect to database server' message for 2 days now... 'too many connections'???

http://www.wikifonia.org/
Oops, hadn't been there for ages. Needs a sysadmin to sort that out.
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
I hope this isn't too much drift for the thread but has anyone noticed that Wikifonia isn't working?? Haven't been able to get past the following 'Unable to connect to database server' message for 2 days now... 'too many connections'???

http://www.wikifonia.org/
Oh yeh I noticed .............funny how much you need it when you dont have it
Allansto
 

Loony Moon Hare

New Member
Messages
24
Urgh I recall having to arrange a piece of music for my music A Level and having to transpose it for myself and others on various instruments. Nightmare! So easy to just use a computer these days although knowing how it all works is a good thing I think. I remember being insanely jealous of the alto sax player who could transpose and sight read at the same time. Doing that for tenor is easy ish but not a simple task at all for alto.
 

dubrosa22

Senior Member
Messages
413
Circle of Fifths (or Fourths) is your friend. Since memorising that transposing keys for alto has become so much easier.

An easy method for alto is just to add third sharps to any concert key and down a minor 3rd.
Tenor would be adding two sharps and a major 2nd if I'm not mistaken?
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
confused again,

So Iwas at band prac again tonight

the key of a song was in B
so i transposed all the notes up one tone for my tenor.
but with the B scale the FCGDA are all sharps
But on transposition some of my notes dont even out to sharps
So if I have an FCGD or A do I just sharpen it anyway.
Regards
Allansto:confused::confused::confused:
 

Chris

Well Known
Subscriber
Messages
3,821
If you transpose up one tone from 'B' you get C#. With everything #. If when you transposed your notes some didn't sharpen then did you take into account any accidentals (extra #'s and b's)..Check out the sticky thread in the beginners forum re-music theory, it might help you out..

Chris...
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,943
Yes - if you've got an accidental sharpening a note that is not usually sharp in B (e.g. E#), you've got to sharpen the equivalent note in C#, which probably means some double sharps (sharpening a note that is alrady sharpened by a semi-tone - indicated by x instead of #).
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
OK
can I have a quick test to see if im doing it right
Key of B

If I have an A# written... Then up a tone goes to a B#/Cflat (no such note) so a C is selected.

So B goes up to A becoming an A#
F# goes up to G#
C# goes up to D#
G# goes up to A# = Bflat
D# goes up to E# no such note so becomes F ??????
E goes up to F #

have I got this right
Regards
Allansto
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
B -> C#
A# -> B# and stops there.
G# - A#, not Bb
D# -> E# and stops there
E -> F#.

This maintains as closely as possible, the structure. It was the B/C# that messed up my original reply (thanks for correcting BM).
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,419
Further to Kev's, you need to avoid the thinking Alan, that there is "no such note" as the ones you mention. They do exist and they are called enharmonic equivalents. Some you come across more than others but they all come up at some time so it's worth getting to know them. Eg,
B# = C (not Cb)
Cb = B
E# = F
Eb = D#
C# = Db

I agree about the circle of 5ths. Most useful for key signatures and lots of other things.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Pretty close. But there is such a note as B#. It's the same as a C, but if the key is C# minor, for instance, you will see it written as B#, to reflect it's function in that key. And there is such a note as Cflat. It's a semitone lower than a C, so it's the same as a B. So, yes, A# goes to B# ie C.

B goes to C#, of course, not A#

D# goes to E#, which does exist (eg in F# minor or major) and is that same as an F.

Otherwise spot on, unless I missed something.
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
Thanks to
Kev, young Col, Big M, bear.
Thanks Bear virtual piano is awesome.
So is B to C a whole tone and E to F a whole tone.

So heres where I`m confused,

B# = C (not Cb)............... on a tenor sax/piano there is no B# so a C is played
Cb = B .......................... on a tenor sax/piano there is no Cb so a B is played
E# = F ........................... on a tenor sax/piano there is no E# so an F is played
Eb = D# ......................... tenor has these keys. OK
C# = Db ......................... Tenor has these keys. Ok

So in music......, no note has 3 tones.... eg. Ab,A,A#............ Its either Ab,A,Bb ....or G#,A,A#.

now...., when Im in key of B, .....and I`ve just transposed an E up to an F,.... thats a [whole tone] jump !
the key of B needs an F# to be in tune ????

so the piano will be playing an E but I will be playing an F#????
 
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