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Transposing Blues

navarro

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Hi all, I have just entered another phase of my saxophone education and become involved with a rhythm and blues group. Given a list of tunes to play and happily set about playing them, then suddenly that as the group is driven by the vocalists I realized that everything had to be transposed from Concert to Eb instrument.

My knowledge of the art of transposition is limited. However I know the basics but can anyone suggest a transposing tool which is not going to cost me my pension multiplied by 10.

Please bear in mind that this has to be an `Idiots guide to Transposing.`

I have checked out a few but they all seem to incorporate such a complex mix of tools which I will have no need of.

This is basically to save me time as I have quite a substantial playlist of tunes which need to be transposed. Regds.,I was merrily transposing a tune one day and realized it would soon be May etc.etc. N.
 

Colin the Bear

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The best tool for transposing is your head. Like anything, it seems complicated at first but it's really quite simple.

Remember that Blues solos aren't about the notes. It's all about the feel, the phrasing and the tempo. There's lots of examples of the sax solo being one note rhythmically and dynamically expressed

If you have to move a piece from concert pitch to Eb , everything moves down 3 semitones. If it goes out of range or is uncomfortable to play, Raise it an octave.
 

Sue

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Yep I'm with Colin here. As an alto player I transpose a lot from concert to Eb and after a while it becomes second nature to shift down a minor third. I just think of the relative minor. key and that works for me. I suspect if you have a rummage round Pete's web site there will be a guide to transposing there.
 
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Tenor Viol

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Hmmm - a lot depends on how your musical mind works as to whether you can 'feel' or 'hear' the transposition.Works for some, not for me. As mentioned Wikifonia is the simplest option. If that hasn't got what you need, you're going to need some notation software and a lot of patience...
 

sushidushi

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I do like Wikifonia, and transposition is just a matter of pushing the Eb button, but I do find that it often puts things in to an unplayable pitch. I don't mean beyond the limits of my incompetent playing, but so much ends up below low Bb. Not really a problem for riffs, I suppose, but a bugger if you want to play the straight melody.
 

jbtsax

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I appreciate the need to get some tunes ready in a hurry, but learning to do the transposition mentally has long term benefits too numerous to mention. It is really quite simple to go from a concert part to Eb.

Key: Add 3 sharps or take away 3 flats or a combination. Example: concert 2b's goes to 1#, concert 1b goes to 2#'s, concert 3b's goes to no #'s or b's.

Notes: They simply go up a 6th. If the concert note is on a line go to the 2nd line up and then up to the next adjacent space. If the concert note is on a space go to the 2nd space above and then up to the next adjacent line.

The more you write out transposed parts, the sooner you will be able to transpose "on the fly". Then you will start to think "intervallically" which will make you a better improviser and better at playing tunes you have heard "by ear".
The bottom line to all of this is that playing music becomes even more fun when you are not always tied to the written out parts.
 

kevgermany

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I do like Wikifonia, and transposition is just a matter of pushing the Eb button, but I do find that it often puts things in to an unplayable pitch. I don't mean beyond the limits of my incompetent playing, but so much ends up below low Bb. Not really a problem for riffs, I suppose, but a bugger if you want to play the straight melody.

Just install Audacity (and Lame), download the tune from Wikifonia in music xml format and do the transposing in Audacity. Open Audacity, open the musicxml file and select the whole score with ctrl-A. Use the notes/transpose function to move to a specific key or by a specific interval.

If you don't want to change the key sig (interesting exercise...) Select whole score. Up arrow moves the score up a semitone each time you press it, down arrow down a semitone. Ctrl plus the arrow moves it a full octave.... It sometimes gets the enharmonic notes confused as it uses sharps when transposing up and flats when transposing down, e.g. D# instead of Eb, but if this is the case just transpose half a step extra, then half a step back. e.g. you're going from C to Eb, moving up. In Eb you'll have D#s. Transpose up another half step to E, then down to Eb.
 

sushidushi

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Many thanks. I ought to try to get to grips with Audacity. It just looks so terribly complicated... :eek:
 

Colin the Bear

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Whatever happened to the universal writing stylus known in days of yore as the pencil. Print off some blank lines and exercise your hand skills.

Still quicker than getting on the interweb at peak times. Ludite that I am. ;-)
 

kevgermany

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Many thanks. I ought to try to get to grips with Audacity. It just looks so terribly complicated... :eek:

It's not really. Just use the bits you need, then it's simple. Learn the other bits as you need them. The manual's excellent, but you need to know a couple of tricks - like search for measures instead of bars.
 

kevgermany

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Whatever happened to the universal writing stylus known in days of yore as the pencil. Print off some blank lines and exercise your hand skills.

Still quicker than getting on the interweb at peak times. Ludite that I am. ;-)

Can't read my own writing, let alone musical notation. I'm in the middle of resetting a jazz tutorial book cos I can't read the font accurately when I play.
 

MandyH

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Whatever happened to the universal writing stylus known in days of yore as the pencil. Print off some blank lines and exercise your hand skills.

Still quicker than getting on the interweb at peak times. Ludite that I am. ;-)

In each of my sax cases, I have a card with the full set of 13 notes written out at concert pitch, Bflat and Eflat transposition. That way, in theory, I should be able to achieve a reasonable swift transposition from (eg) alto to tenor, or from a full score to a sax.
 

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