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Transposing Question for Alto Sax

Sweet Dreamer

Hi everyone, I haven't posted on this forum for a very long time. But I have been actively playing the sax.

In any case, I have a question concerning notations and transpositions.

I'm learning a piece called "Ain't no Sunshine" by Bill Withers.

I found the score for Alto sax written in concert Eb. And so I started learning the piece in Eb. It's really easy to play in Eb or course. However, I then realized that the original song is played in concert Am. I'm sure my band is going to want to play it in the standard key. Although they might be open to playing in Eb which is where they would need to play if I play in Alto Am.

In the meantime I'm writing up score for the whole piece using my sheet music program. The sheet music program does automatic transposing so the actual transposing it not a problem. But I'm just wondering if this software did the best job?

Here's what I had originally written in concert Eb. The Sax is then be playing in Am (in alto sax land)


But then to put the band back into Am I had to transpose and so I got the following. My sheet music program does this automatically. I just tell the sheet music program to put the guitar in Am and it transposes the sax accordingly.


So now the sax is either in A major or F# minor. I'm not sure which way to think of it. And it's starting out on a Bb note. Is this the correct way to do this?

This is of course, slightly more difficult to play than the original easy key because of the Bb and Eb. But I can play it. And it does seem to be in the right key with a concert Am backing track.

I'm also wondering how professional musicians might handle something like this. Is there another concert key that might be better for both the sax and the band?

Have you ever played "Ain't no Sunshine" by Bill Withers on an alto sax with a band? If so, what key did you play it in? What's the best way to determine what key a band should play a piece in when they have various transposing instruments? After all the sax is playing the lead melody, should the rest of the band play in concert Eb to make the sax player happy? Or should the sax player just bite-the-bullet and play in a more difficult key to make the band happy?

Although I'm not saying this is necessarily difficult, but it's more difficult for me than the original concert Eb that puts the sax in Am which is really easy to play. So I'm just curious how profession bands handle this sort of thing.
I just realized that I made a mistake when I did this. My mistake was too complicated to explain, but let me just say that I did the transposition correctly this time and got the following:


This is much better. And I guess it does put me in F# minor then. This makes more sense is is far easier to play too.

Sorry for the confusion. Had I done it right the first time I would have never posted this thread. I made a mistake and was confused by it, but I realize what the mistake was now.
transposition is from minor to minor. So . . . If you want the band to play in Am Concert, you will have to be in F# minor (3 sharps).

Wikifonia is down as of this writing, but its been up and down and up and down lately. Dunno if they have a "xml" of this song. I tried to look for you but it is down right now.

Contact me in the private section, and I might be able to eventually come up with something for you.;}

(wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more) aka Monty Python. (dates me).
To transpose, simply, from a concert score to one for the alto, or any Eb instrument, add three sharps to the key signature and drop down 3 semi tones for the notes. If it gets too low, play up an octave.

In time you will become familiar with the concert pitch of the finger positions on the alto. You can count from the ones you know. C is Eb. F# is A.

Personally I don't find playing in A/F#m on the alto very satisfying. Not so bad on the low A Baritone. Have a chat with the guitarist and see if you can find a suitable key. Perhaps F/Dm would be a compromise. Puts you in D/Bm on the alto.
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