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Beginner What key to learn these songs in

Pete Thomas

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m sure i bought taming the saxophone 1 is this covered in there. Also (humour intended) does the purchase give me the right to ask for more info on what a major 9th is. Is an octave half a whole note is it in part 1of taming the saxophone or is part 2 more relevant.. Thanks excuse my daftness
I just updated that page to show how to transpose Bb instruments for yourself:

https://tamingthesaxophone.com/saxophone-transposition#Working_it_out_for_yourself_tenor_or_soprano

I'm not sure if major 9 is in Taming the saxophone or not. It won't be in vol 1 because that is about tone.
 

eb424

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sooo if the song is played on a guitar; which is classed a concert c instrument, and i want to transpose and keep the original key. Write down the whole chromatic scale and take up one whole note. Still a bit lost on the sharps and flats do you count this as half a step...
 

stitch

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Still a bit lost on the sharps and flats do you count this as half a step...
It's complicated until you know that in the key of C maj (ie CDEFGABC, no sharps or flats) there's NOT a whole tone between each note as you might expect.
Instead, the spacing is TTSTTTS (T=tone; S= semi-tone). So, a tone (whole note) between D and E, but only a semi-tone between E and F.
 

eb424

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It's complicated until you know that in the key of C maj (ie CDEFGABC, no sharps or flats) there's NOT a whole tone between each note as you might expect.
Instead, the spacing is TTSTTTS (T=tone; S= semi-tone). So, a tone (whole note) between D and E, but only a semi-tone between E and F.
AAAARRGHHH... who is responsible for inventing this thing...lol
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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The twelve notes (semitones) in the chromatic scale are:
C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B
(Note that there is no # note between E and F or between B and C.)
In the normal equal-temperament scale C#, D#, F#, G# and A# can also be called Db Eb Gb Ab Bb
C D E F G A B are the white notes on a keyboard, the others are the black notes.
 

thomsax

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I always try to play a song in the original key. As it is written (melody line). I like to sing as well. But often the original key doesn't fit my voice (vocal range). So I have to move to another key. And if I sing a song in major A, I must play the saxophone (solo) in major B.

"Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad" is a good song. A rock ballad. It is not so diffucult to play rock sax. You can do a lot with the pentonic scale or blues scale. B major pentatonic scale: B, C#, D#, F#, G#, B.
B blues scale: B, D, E, F, F#,A, B. Try to play these scales along with the song and see how they fit.

I used to play "Smoke in the Water" in a band. This is not considering to be a song for tenor sax. The original key is G minor ( relative major is B-flat major). On tenor sax it's A minor (C major). The leader of the band, also guitarist and singer, played it in "A". I talked to a rocksax player and helped me to play fillings and a solo in "B". How to deal with the "power chords"? Lots of sheet music are sold in major notation. So "Smoke in the Water" notation is in Bb and not in Gm. If you are a reader it's fine. It sounds the same. I was told to use B blues scale and to add/borrow some other notes. So buy sheet music to a rock song can be tricky.

We played a song in concert E. The bari player was not used play in that key. He is a good big band bari player. He was in C# major (7 sharps). He is a very good reader , but this was too much for him. It was ok for the other guys. A Wilson Pickett song is often in concert E. And I have bought the charts and I was not so keen on buying new or pay for changes. So I wrote out the bari part in Db (5 flats) instead of C#. This was much better for him. "Same, same but different".

Try to sign up for a Rocksax Workshop. It's good if you have a teacher that can explain and demonstrate.

Good luck.

SOTWETT.jpg
 

thomsax

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3,897
I always try to play a song in the original key. As it is written (melody line). I like to sing as well. But often the original key doesn't fit my voice (vocal range). So I have to move to another key. And if I sing a song in major A, I must play the saxophone (solo) in major B.

"Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad" is a good song. A rock ballad. It is not so diffucult to play rock sax. You can do a lot with the pentonic scale or blues scale. B major pentatonic scale: B, C#, D#, F#, G#, B.
B blues scale: B, D, E, F, F#,A, B. Try to play these scales along with the song and see how they fit.

I used to play "Smoke in the Water" in a band. This is not considering to be a song for tenor sax. The original key is G minor ( relative major is B-flat major). On tenor sax it's A minor (C major). The leader of the band, also guitarist and singer, played it in "A". I talked to a rocksax player and helped me to play fillings and a solo in "B". How to deal with the "power chords"? Lots of sheet music are sold in major notation. So "Smoke in the Water" notation is in Bb and not in Gm. If you are a reader it's fine. It sounds the same. I was told to use B blues scale and to add/borrow some other notes. So buy sheet music to a rock song can be tricky.

We played a song in concert E. The bari player was not used play in that key. He is a good big band bari player. He was in C# major (7 sharps). He is a very good reader , but this was too much for him. It was ok for the other guys. A Wilson Pickett song is often in concert E. And I have bought the charts and I was not so keen on buying new or pay for changes. So I wrote out the bari part in Db (5 flats) instead of C#. This was much better for him. "Same, same but different".

Try to sign up for a Rocksax Workshop. It's good if you have a teacher that can explain and demonstrate.

Good luck.

View attachment 15476
 

thomsax

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I bought SOTW Smoke On The Water) in concert A. On some sites you can transpose the sheet music.
 

Tenor Viol

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Transposing isn't too tricky once you've got a few key things under your belt.

To go from concert pitch to Bb sax pitch you need to ADD two semi-tones to the key. Usually people would say 'add two sharps' but just be aware that the original key might have flats in it. You then just move the note up two semi-tones i.e. a full tone. If the original has accidentals in it (notes not in the key signature) then you need to allow for that. Remember that if a flat that is in the key signature has a natural against it, that might mean a sharp in the transposed key. Here's table of keys for Bb transposition:

CONCERTKey SignatureB flatKey Signature
C maj0D maj2 sharps
G maj1 sharpA maj3 sharps
D maj2 sharpsE maj4 sharps
A maj3 sharpsB maj5 sharps
E maj4 sharpsF# maj6 sharps
B maj5 sharpsC# maj7 sharps
F maj1 flatG maj1 sharp
Bb maj2 flatsC maj0
Eb maj3 flatsF maj1 flat
Ab maj4 flatsBb maj2 flats
Db maj5 flatsEb maj3 flats
Gb maj6 flatsAb maj4 flats
Cb maj7 flatsDb maj5 flats
 

eb424

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600
Thanks all managed to complete 2 out of three and thanks to another thread on here now have it on a tablet with a page turner... definately the way to go....so just for clarity... for most songs are you saying keep it in the original key but transpose it up 2 semitones or one whole note to play the same key on tenor sax. Or do i use tenorviols chart and change (transpose ?) the whole key signature
 

thomsax

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3,897
When I ask a guy guitar, keyboard, bass (the drummer doesn't know ;)) in what the key the song is in the say A which means concert A major. Then you have to do the maths yourslef. A major is B major for Bb instruments (soprano, tenor, bassax) and F# major for Eb instruments (sopranino, alto, baritone and contratrabass). If you are going to play with other it's good if get the concert key so you can practice in the right key on your sax.

But today it's tricky. If ask a keyboard player in what key he is playing the song he says often "C". After he while he looks at the display and says no "E" !!! He can pitch the keyboard and keep the fingerings for C.
 

eb424

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600
Transposing isn't too tricky once you've got a few key things under your belt.

To go from concert pitch to Bb sax pitch you need to ADD two semi-tones to the key. Usually people would say 'add two sharps' but just be aware that the original key might have flats in it. You then just move the note up two semi-tones i.e. a full tone. If the original has accidentals in it (notes not in the key signature) then you need to allow for that. Remember that if a flat that is in the key signature has a natural against it, that might mean a sharp in the transposed key. Here's table of keys for Bb transposition:

CONCERTKey SignatureB flatKey Signature
C maj0D maj2 sharps
G maj1 sharpA maj3 sharps
D maj2 sharpsE maj4 sharps
A maj3 sharpsB maj5 sharps
E maj4 sharpsF# maj6 sharps
B maj5 sharpsC# maj7 sharps
F maj1 flatG maj1 sharp
Bb maj2 flatsC maj0
Eb maj3 flatsF maj1 flat
Ab maj4 flatsBb maj2 flats
Db maj5 flatsEb maj3 flats
Gb maj6 flatsAb maj4 flats
Cb maj7 flatsDb maj5 flats
Hi thanks tenor viol; it's been a while and thanks to this thread i managed to complete 2 outta 3 but want to do hand bags and glad rags. I hope you dont mind me asking i found the music it has 2 flats. Does this mean that it is in key of Bb major and for tenor sax i need it in c major. thanks Eddie
 

nigeld

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I hope you dont mind me asking i found the music it has 2 flats. Does this mean that it is in key of Bb major and for tenor sax i need it in c major. thanks Eddie

2 flats means Bb major or its associated minor key: G minor - the key signature is the same for both. So you are correct - for tenor sax you need a part with no sharps or flats - C major (or its associated minor key: A minor).
 
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