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Allen's Master Theory Help & Hints

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Lessons 71-72

Transposition

Important Note for My Students:  We will not use the Syllable method of transposition. The Syllable Method is the same as the Number Method, except for the use of Do-Re-Mi in the former and 1-2-3 in the latter. Please do all syllable exercises using the Number Method instead.

Transposition In Your Everyday Life:  The need to transpose varies from situation to situation for band instrument players. The Interval Method may come in handy for a tenor saxophonist having to play a short passage from an alto sax part, or for a clarinet player trying to cover a brief oboe part. The interval method is most effective in playing short passages with which you aren't really familiar.

For longer passages, especially on pieces that you already know, the Number Method is the one to go with. This is because the Number Method uses the same thought processes that are involved in playing by ear. If you plan to play in a rock, soul or country band down the line, this is the way that you want to handle most of your musical thinking. In groups like these, a singer may specify a key for the piece to be played in, and the band simply goes along. This is a pretty easy matter for rhythm players. It's harder for us--so this is where you learn.

Common Snag #1 - In the Student Assignment for Lesson 71, watch your accidentals. Because of key signatures, an accidental which involves a sharp or flat sign in one key, may sometimes simply call for a natural sign in another key. The reverse can also be true.

Common Snag #2 - In Lesson 72, examples 4, 5 & 6, my students should remember to use the Number Method rather than the Syllable Method to transpose. This provides additional practice with the most important and most commonly used method.

Common Snag #3 - This is really an extension of #1. Remember that sharp, flat, and natural signs can be a bit relative. Look at Lesson 72, Example 4. The first note of the second measure is the sharp-2 of the scale, but it is marked with a natural sign. Why? Because the key signature makes its normal value flat. If the second note of the scale is B-flat, then the sharp second should logically be B-natural...right?

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