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Beginner Transposition

jbtsax

jbtsax

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Any vocal or instrumental ensemble can tune chords and intervals according to natural harmonies unless they are accompanied by a fixed pitch percussion instrument or keyboard. Then equal temperament takes over.
 
kernewegor

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Any vocal or instrumental ensemble can tune chords and intervals according to natural harmonies unless they are accompanied by a fixed pitch percussion instrument or keyboard. Then equal temperament takes over.

Quite.

This is one more of the ways in which music reflects life:

"The boss wants it done this way. OK, its never going to be right, but just do it to keep him happy..."
 
kernewegor

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I have a copy and have mentioned it previously on the Café.

So you did! I'd forgotten that - it was your posting which brought it to my attention! Thank you!
 
A

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Perhaps http://www.truetemperament.com/ would suit - guitars with wiggly frets certainly gets around the issue of double sharps and flats.
Back to even temperament, let us not forget that it is this development by Johan Sebastian Bach that allowed the explosion of music throughout the Western World as instruments could be standardised and combined with the standard notation allow everyone to play the same tune and harmony.
However back to transposition. I believe that the Saxes have a range of about two and a half octaves and are in the same range as the human voice indicated by the names. Thus the Tenor sax is generally regarded as the most popular because it falls within the most common voice range - by the way Mariah Carey does not have a range of five octaves or perfect pitch for that matter, that is simply copy writers' fluff for those that buy Dolly and similar mags.
The answers on this thread have clarified things for me so that I now see that the naming of the lines and spaces on the stave are taken as finger placement guides rather than absolute musical notes as I had imagined. This leads me to two further thoughts cheat sheets and playing possibilities.
Cheat sheets - I must admit I find the name Figured Bass more attractive - Does this mean that one has to be cautious when purchasing for piano as a C7 may be written as a Bb7 for a sax or trumpet?
Playing Possibility - does this mean that it is difficult for a transposing instrument player to play a note that is not in the two and a half octave pitch class indicated by the instrument. I would have thought that all the possible chromatic scale notes are available. I do remember when I saw Louis Armstrong in Birmingham England a trumpet playing friend was blown away by his party trick at the Musicians' Club after the show. He planted two fingers firmly on the valves and blew the entire upper register sharps and flats.
 
Colin the Bear

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If the written or expected note goes out of the range of your instrument you can substitute a pleasantly harmonious note as an alternative or play it in a different octave or on saxophone, slip into the altissimo range.

This guy ordered fingerless gloves and got this
http://youtu.be/PQyz34KZviM

Cheat sheets and fake books offer simplified harmony for complicated songs and often they are transposed into easy keys. If piano and trumpet are playing from the same sheet one has to shift. With a modern electronic keyboard the instrument will transpose at the touch of a button. With experience an Eb or Bb player can read from a concert sheet.

The beauty of live music is that each voice/instrument is searching for the sweet spot where the harmony sings.

Music is about sound. Theory and thinking can help but there's nothing like playing and finding out by ear.
 
kevgermany

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Careful. Concert C7 is written D7 in parts for Bb instruments.

For what we're doing, unless a part is marked for a specific transposing instrument or marked for Bb or Eb instruments, assume it's correct for piano.
 
Tenor Viol

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@ArgoPete
Bach didn't invent equal temperamnet - it was known about for at least a hundred years before. It was not widely used then in part because it is badly out-of-tune in places - major thirds are particularly horrible.

Bach wrote his 48 preludes and fugues for a "well tempered" keyboard and as a means of demonstrating how well-tempered a particular instrument was. Well-tempered is not equal temperament, it means a temperament that sounds euphonious across many keys - preferably all of them! There are very many temperamanets 1/4 and 1/6 coma mean tone, just, Velotti, Weckmeister..... Bach had developed his own temperament for tuning harpsichords, unfortunately, we don't know what it was...
 
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@kevgermany thank you it seemed likely but I prefer to be sure.
@Colin the Bear I totally agree that music is about the sound although not all musicians are after harmony - it is normally pretty easy to get a ticket at a Schoenberg concert. However my point is that one can noodle around for years looking for that sweet spot whereas just knowing the circle of fifths can see you there in seconds if you have basic skill with the instrument. Love the fingerless sax - now that does demonstrate the importance of embouchure which I initially thought just applied to trumpets and the like not reeds.
@tenorviol All great ideas take time.The Sumerians seem to have described the basics of the chromatic scale 10,000 years ago, whilst Pythagoras was bashing different lumps of metal a Chinese chap was cutting bits of bamboo pipe with the same aim. However it is always salesmanship that sells an idea. Many people think that Steve Jobs invented Windows and the mouse. No he pinched the idea from Xerox and got Wozniak to design the machine and write the code. However he could sell ice to eskimos in a blizzard. Equal temperament was probably tuned by JSB's associate but it was JSB who wrote the code and sold the idea so well that a few years later Franz Liszt was smashing wooden pianos using the idea leading to pianos with steel frames and the absolute flood of Accordians (that means even temperament) the sounds of which now form the basis of most Western music.
 
BigMartin

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Of course that technically correct, but in the music vernacular that is understood by musicians the way musicians say it is "the alto saxophone transposes up a 6th" which implies that the music written for alto saxophone is transposed up a 6th.
Not where I come from they don't. Maybe it's an east/west of the pond thing.
 
Colin the Bear

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Knowing a perfect fifth is harmonious on paper won't help you play in tune and make it harmonious in the room. Seeing frequencies expressed on an oscilloscope explained things I could hear and gave me confidence when playing to trust my ear.

Knowing the circle of 5ths is like having the handbook for a car. It tells you where all the buttons and switches are but it won't help you negotiate rush hour traffic.

Music is about much more than the science that explains it and the history behind it and being technicaly proficient on an instrument.
 
kernewegor

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We should avoid loose and confusing terminology.

Plato records Socrates as saying much the same thing around 400 BCE.

I expect the human race might catch on eventually... any millennium now, if we're lucky.
 
aldevis

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Plato records Socrates as saying much the same thing around 400 BCE.

I expect the human race might catch on eventually... any millennium now, if we're lucky.

A soon as it becomes marketable, we are on.
 
kevgermany

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...
I expect the human race might catch on eventually... any millennium now, if we're lucky.

Doubtful. It seems to be endemic in many groups. It's only in professions where precise terminology is critical that it seems to matter. Imagine what it would be like if surgeons were like that... Or teachers.

But politicians and corporate lawyers, on the other hand, avoid precision - only using it to argue minutae when it suits them. Too likely to bite them otherwise.
 
Colin the Bear

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Innittho?You get me tho?
 
kernewegor

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Doubtful. It seems to be endemic in many groups. It's only in professions where precise terminology is critical that it seems to matter. Imagine what it would be like if surgeons were like that... Or teachers..

Teachers, ideally, should use precise language.... however governments the world over often prevent this by policy. Conspiracy theory explains some (history, almost always and almost everywhere is distorted both by terminology and factoids) but not all - in Britain an incompetent Department of Education instructs teachers to describe graphemes as phonemes (I've seen the worksheets) and describes certain vowels as 'long' and 'short' when any ninnyhammer with a pair of ears can tell that the difference is not one of quantity but of quality...
 
jbtsax

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We have found in education that not all students learn the same way. Some are more visual learners, others learn best aurally. Still others do best with written instructions. A good music teacher will try to cover all the bases when teaching a concept. It is also important that the written and spoken information use words and concepts that are at the student's level of understanding. Sometimes a description can be too detailed and precise to be understood by younger learners, even though it is accurate.

For example to teach breath support, one can lecture on the proper use of the abdominal muscles, proper breathing, proper posture or the teacher can say sit up in your chair and pretend you are trying to blow up a balloon that is hard to blow. This explanation is not really "precise", but it conveys the concept to the age group you are working with because it gives an example of something with which they are all familiar.
 

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