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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000864.txt from 2004/10

From: "Patricia A. Smith" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] learning to transpose on the fly
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 2004 19:36:55 -0400

Roger Hewitt wrote:

>Find some fairly easy music that you know and just do it. It will be awful at first but if you know the piece well enough you will hear the mistakes a nd adjust them more quickly. Build up to more difficult stuff. I found the best way was to do it in a group
Another suggestion:

This is more "nuts and bolts" stuff:

When transposing, I find it helps to understand the structure of the
music I'm transposing from a melodic and harmonic standpointrelative to
the scale degree in the given scale (given that it's possible to do so
*G*). For example, if I'm transposing from the key of B to the key of
Eb, and I come across a passage that is F#, E, D#, C# F#, IF I remember
that F# is the 5th degree of the scale in the key of B, all I have to do
is recall that Bb is the 5th degree of the scale for Eb and that I['m
moving downward in scalar motion, until I come to that F#.

Now, obviously, it is VERY slow going at first, and one HAS to develop
this sort of listening ear. However, after a while, you get used to
hearing these intervals, and it becomes a bit easier. (I admit freely
to cheating most of my life - because I started out musical life as a
piano player, which meant scales until the end of my days, not to
mention intervals ad nauseum. Therefore, I always pretty much
transposed EVERYTHING by ear, and by interval)

Another tip is to, at first, take an entire SIMPLE song (Mary Had A
Little Lamb, Happy Birthday, etc.) and play it in one key, say, G.
Then, BY EAR, transpose it - and play the entire thing in a completely
alien key - not the next one either way on the circle of 5ths, but say,
oh, Eb or something really bizarro. Again, the idea is to get used to
hearing intervallic relationships.

Once you can do this by ear, perhaps you may want to take a line from a
simple etude, and transpose the line, by memorizing the line. OR you
can simply decide, I'm going to play this in a different key, and
remember the scale degree you are on, relative to the key you're coming
from and the key you're going to. (And folks think theory is such a
useless thing!)

Hope these help a little. Let us know how you get on, and if you find
any tricks that are particularly helpful to you

Patricia Smith

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