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Jam School

Play A Song with a CD

Walking Through the Process with "Yesterday" on clarinet

Step 1 - I want to play Yesterday (by the Beatles) on my clarinet.

Song Key Starting Note Ending Note Accidentals
Yesterday F 2 3 #4, #5

Step 2 - According to the chart, the song's key is Concert F. I consult the band instrument transposition chart because the clarinet is a B-flat instrument, and I need to know that key Concert F is on the clarinet. The chart shows me that Concert F  is the key of G on B-flat instruments.

Concert Key
(C Instruments)
B-flat Instruments E-flat Instruments F Instruments

Step 3 - Having not played by ear before, I want to know the starting and ending notes for the vocal melody. The chart tells me that Yesterday starts on "2", the second note of the scale. It ends on "3", the third note of the scale. I follow the link to the Transpose A Song activity and consult that chart. My clarinet will be playing in the key of G, so I go to the row for that key. I see that note #2 of that scale is A, and that note #3 is B. So, Yesterday's vocal melody will start on A and end on B when playing clarinet.

Key 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
G G A B C D E F#

Step 4 - I pick up my clarinet and go up and down my G major scale a couple of times.

Step 5 - "Yes-ter-day" (A-G-G or 2-1-1). "All my trou-bles seemed so far away"...wait a minute. A couple of these notes don't fit my scale. Let's see...B-?-?-E-F#-G-F#-E-E (3-?-?-6-7-1-7-6-6). Okay, some of these notes are in my scale, but the ones for the underlined syllables are not. I check the song chart, and find that Yesterday has a couple of accidentals. There is a sharp 4, and a sharp 5. I look these up for the key of G on the chart in the Transpose A Song activity and find that a sharp 4 in G is a C# and that a sharp 5 in G is a D#. This is a good match, because my mystery notes are in an ascending line between B and E. Let's try again.

"Yesterday" (A-G-G or 2-1-1). "All my trou-bles seemed so far away" (B-C#-D#-E-F#-G-F#-E-E or 3-#4-#5-6-7-1-7-6-6). Perfect. Let's keep going.

"Now it looks as though they're here to stay" (E-E-D-C-B-A-C-B-B or 6-6-5-4-3-2-4-3-3) Great, all these notes are in my G scale.

"Oh, I be-lieve in Yes-ter-day" (A-G-B-A-E-G-B-B or 2-1-3-2-6-1-3-3)

"Sud-den-ly" (A-G-G or 2-1-1) Okay, the melody starts repeating itself. This is the second verse. "Oh Yes-ter-day came sud-den-ly".

"Why she had to go, I don't know, she woul-dn't say" (B-B-E-F#-G-F#-E-F#-E-D-E-B or 3-3-6-7-1-7-6-7-6-5-6-3) Melody changes again--this is the bridge of the song. "I said some-thing wrong, now I long for yes-ter-day"

"Yesterday" (A-G-G or 2-1-1) Okay, the old melody is back again. Just follow on through and catch the tag. "Oh, I be-lieve in yes-ter-day" (A-G-B-A-E-G-B-B or 2-1-3-2-6-1-3-3) Okay, the melody ends on B, the 3rd note of the scale. That's right where we're supposed to be.

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