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EpISODE 44 TRANSPOSITION

HOSTS- Jeremy Burns, Matthew Scott Phillips

 

TYPE- Theory

 

DURATION- 52:57

 

BUMPER MUSIC- "Tuesday's Here" (Area 47 Music)

ANNOUNCER- Mike Cunliffe

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DESCRIPTION

Transposition, the act of changing a piece of music to a different key or mode, can be one of the most useful tools any musician can have in their kit. In this episode, we will discuss diatonic and chromatic transposition, as well as when and why we use them. We will also have a discussion on transposing instruments, instruments that sound out different notes then what is written on paper.

It's time to change it up a bit! It's time for transposition!

KEY WORDS TRANSPOSITION- The act of raising or lowering the pitch of a group of notes, or pitch classes, by interval, while maintaining the same melodic and harmonic structure. DIATONIC TRANSPOSITION- Transposing a group of notes or a piece of music, up or down, while staying in the same key signature. This might result in a slightly different sounding melodies and harmonies. CHROMATIC TRANSPOSITION- Transposing a group of notes or a piece of music, up or down, while maintaining all of the intervals between the notes. This will result in Identical melodic and harmonic content, only in a different key. TRANSPOSING INSTRUMENTS- Instruments that play notes that sound different than what is written. For example, a written C for an Eb saxophone will sound out as an Eb. EXAMPLES CHROMATIC TRANSPOSITION
The following melody is in the key of C. Observe it's contour and the intervals between all of the notes. If we transpose every note up by a MINOR THIRD (m3), while keeping all of the same intervals, the result will appear as follows: Notice that the notes changed but the scale degrees remained the same. The contour is identical to the original. If you were to play the two melodies, in succession, you would hear the exact same melody sounding higher in pitch. The above 2 example are in the key of C. But now that we have all these flatted notes, we might as well change that key signature to Eb. It will look like this and sound identical to the latter example.

Similarly to changing the key signature, If you change the clef of a staff, It will transpose a melody.

CHROMATIC TRANSPOSITION

Here we have the first 2 measures of "Ode To Joy" (Ludwig Van Beethoven), in the key of A major. This melody starts on the 3rd (C#), ascends to the 5th (E) and falls again to the root (A).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This time we will transpose the melody up a MAJOR 2nd (M2) so that it's rooted on the 2nd scale degree of A major (B).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You see no accidentals because we kept all the notes in the key of A major. The contour is identical but it will sound quite different if you play it. This is because it is now rooted in B DORIAN. The key signature has remained untouched.

TRANSPOSING CHORD PROGRESSONS

1. FIND A SONG YOU LIKE AND LEARN IT'S CHORD PROGRESSION

 

Here's a chord progression in the key of A major:

 

     CHORDS:  A - E - F#m - D

 

 

2. TRANSLATE THE CHORDS INTO THEIR DIATONIC NUMBERS

 

Try to focus less on the chord "letter" names and more on the chord "number" names. So:

 

A - E - F#m - D      =      I - V - vi - IV

 

3. FIND THE NEW KEY YOU WANT TO PLAY THE PROGRESSION IN

 

Let's TRANSPOSE this one to the key of G,

 a whole step down.

 

4. TRANSLATE THE NEW FOUND DIATONIC NUMBERS BACK INTO THE CORRESPONDING CHORDS OF THE NEW KEY

 

I - V - vi - IV     =     G - D - Em - C

 

TRANSPOSING INSTRUMENTS Many instruments are keyed in such a way that the notes they sound are different from those on the given notation. The difference depends on the distance of the the instruments "letter name" from C. Therefore, if a Bb trumpet player sees a C note on sheet music written for the Bb trumpet, they will play a "C" on their instrument but a Bb will sound. This is because the Bb is a MAJOR 2nd below C. HERE ARE SOME COMMON TRANSPOSING INSTRUMENTS ENGLISH HORN: F CLARINET: Bb, A, Eb BASS CLARINET: Bb SOPRANO SAXOPHONE: Bb ALTO SAXOPHONE: Eb TENOR SAXOPHONE: Bb BARITONE SAXOPHONE: Eb HORN (FRENCH HORN): F, Eb, E, D TRUMPET: Bb, D

Instruments that play the note that is written are referred to as "C" instruments.

HERE ARE SOME COMMON C INSTRUMENTS

 

VIOLIN

VIOLA

CELLO

CONTRA BASS

BASS GUITAR

GUITAR

MANDOLIN

BANJO

DOBRO

PIANO

ORGAN

HARPSICHORD

FLUTE

WHISTLE

PICCOLO

OBOE

BASSOON

TROMBONE

C TRUMPET

EUPHONIUM

TUBA

TIMPANI

STEEL DRUMS

VIBRAPHONE

XYLOPHONE

THINGS TO REMEMBER

-Transposition is a very handy skill set when working with other musicians and other instruments.

 

-A good ear training knowledge of the DIATONIC CHORDS will give you a great advantage when using your ears as your transposition tools.

 

-Some stringed instruments can be transposed up by clamping a capo down on their frets.

 

-Most notation software allows for transposing via a "transpose button" or by "clicking and dragging" the notes up or down on the staff.

 

-Challenge yourself by transposing a song you already know. Use unfamiliar keys and chords your not well versed in!

 

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