Transpose . . What is this?


Rayblewit

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Still the novice and discovering new things . . I have been playing around with the "transpose" buttons. It can make a great sounding tune sound even greater adding new dimensions.

What is happening here?
My kb gives me options to increase or decrease the pitch by 24 increments. 12+ and 12-. (Is pitch the right terminology?)
So if I go +1 I am not going up an octave am I? That makes no sense . . There can't be 24 octaves. So am changing to another key? If so how come I am still playing in the same key and playing the same chords and same notes? Yet the tune sounds higher.

Now I know this is all technical and you might say "just play the tune and if it sounds good, then that's a wrap!" However, I still would like to know what's going on.:cool: please!
Senior in the dark!
 
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happyrat1

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You're going up in "steps" or "notes". ie. from C to C# or F to F#.

Remember there's twelve steps to an octave from C3 to C4.

So 12 steps up is an octave up. 12 steps down is an octave down.

It allows you to play almost any key signature with all white keys.

Personally I think of it as being "lazy" and never use the feature but most modern keyboards have it.

Gary ;)
 

happyrat1

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BTW, some keyboards allow you to detune in "cents" or hundredths of a note. This feature is useful if you are playing along with an out of tune instrument with fixed tuning like a glockenspiel or a marimba.

Or if you wished to play a classical piece with classical tuning instead of modern 440 A tuning.

Gary ;)
 
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Fred Coulter

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One reason for the transpose button is accompanying at musical theater auditions. (My daughter just auditioned for Spamalot at the local community theater, so it's on my mind.)

When you audition for musical theater, you bring 16 or 32 bars of a song. You give it to the pianist, tell them where to start, give them some direction, and go for it. In some cases, you may think a song is great for you and really shows off what you can do, but it doesn't quite fit into your range. So you tell the pianist to raise it by a third, or whatever.

Pianists at these auditions have to sight read the music. Many of them are not able to transpose the music on the fly. The transpose button is your friend.

By the way, do not bring anything by Jason Robert Brown or Stephen Sondheim as an audition piece unless you have cleared it with the pianist first. These pieces are very difficult on the piano, especially for sight reading. (The first time I heard anything by Brown, I thought it was another piece by Keith Emerson.)

On a final note, my daughter was cast in the chorus of Spamalot, performing at the Athens Theater in DeLand, FL, from July 22 to August 14. On the off chance you come to the show, let me know. Maybe we can have dinner before hand.
 
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Personally I think of it as being "lazy" and never use the feature but most modern keyboards have it.
I'll tell you where it can come in handy - playing in bands.

Sometimes you'll learn a song in its original key only to find that the singer can't quite hit the notes. Rather than go to the trouble of re-learning the song half a step or a step lower, you just hit your trusty "transpose" button and hey presto, all done.

Of course you can also re-learn the song in the new key, but that can sometimes be tricky depending on the time frame you have available to practice between gigs and the complexity of the song.

I try and avoid it where possible not because I'm particularly bothered about "cheating", but it can be risky due to the fact it does increase the chance of you forgetting to transpose to or back from a song live. Once at a gig I forgot to transpose a song, and in the intro the guitarist and I were half a step out as I backed him during his opening solo. It sounded horrible and was pretty embarrassing I can tell you. I had to quickly transpose the key and pretty much start the song again while the guitarist lasered me to death with his eyes.

Funnily enough after the gig I asked a few of our regular fans what they thought of my colossal mistake. None of them noticed it! Just shows you the average punter is nowhere near as savvy as we might think...
 

happyrat1

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Jeez guys!!!

What happens if someone auditions for a musical or for a gig and all you have is an old fashioned acoustic piano? :D :D :D

I suppose at that point the human effluvient impacts the spinning turbine? :D :D :D

Gary ;)
 

Fred Coulter

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Jeez guys!!!

What happens if someone auditions for a musical or for a gig and all you have is an old fashioned acoustic piano? :D :D :D

I suppose at that point the human effluvient impacts the spinning turbine? :D :D :D

Gary ;)

You either hope the pianist CAN transpose on the fly, do your best in the original key, or use your second best song.

OR

You can avoid the whole thing by buying your song from MusicNotes, and transposing it in their software before printing out the music. But that requires a level of preparedness that many vocalists don't have.

I've been noticing a trend away from acoustic pianos at these gigs. The electric ones are cheaper to buy, cheaper to maintain, and have a volume control. But you're right, they're still out there.
 
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What happens if someone auditions for a musical or for a gig and all you have is an old fashioned acoustic piano? :D :D :D

I suppose at that point the human effluvient impacts the spinning turbine? :D :D :D
Hahaha...love it, quite possibly you're right Gary!

I know nothing about musicals but speaking from plenty of experience with gigs, you either:

a) make the effort to learn the song in the new key (this doesn't always suit guitarists either).
b) drop the song from your set list
c) have a crack at it anyway and do a really bad job because your vocalist can't hit the notes
 
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Hi Gary,

I'm quite surprised at some of these responses. ! Quite simply, all the transpose button does is to 'CHANGE THE KEY THAT CAN BE HEARD, BY STILL PLAYING THE SAME NOTES AS WRITTEN IN THE MUSIC. Purpose. ? Apart from the fact that an 'audio' key change can enhance what you're playing, the main purpose is- that it enables the player to play as per the written music when accompanying a singer, whilst the singer can sing his/her song in a key which suits their singing, Thereby enabling the accompanist to play in the key of the actual written music. Therefore, the use of the button changes 'the audible sound' of the accompaniment, so as to make it comfortable for the singer to sing in. In effect 'A KEY CHANGE'. Hope this helps.

ColinL
 

SeaGtGruff

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Some keyboarding purists apparently look askance at using Transpose. :) Over in the forum for Keyboard Magazine there are entire threads devoted to whether or not it's "acceptable" to use the Transpose buttons-- which I assume is all meant in good fun. ;)

Notation programs often include a function for transposing a score to a different key so you can print it in any key needed. Or if you've already got a printed score you might also be able to scan it into a notation program, or import a PDF copy of the score, so you can use the Transpose feature to reprint it in another key. But when those options aren't available, the keyboard's Transpose buttons come to the rescue! :)
 
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Over in the forum for Keyboard Magazine there are entire threads devoted to whether or not it's "acceptable" to use the Transpose buttons-- which I assume is all meant in good fun. ;)
Yes, it's one of a few perennial topics among the professional keyboard players over there, some seem to regard it as "cheating". I think you're right however Michael, most of the ribbing that goes on in there is pretty good-natured.

Personally I tend to use whatever tools are available to get the job done, although as noted above "transpose" does not come without inherent risk when in live use, so I generally steer clear of it for that reason alone.
 
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Hi Gary,

I'm quite surprised at some of these responses. ! Quite simply, all the transpose button does is to 'CHANGE THE KEY THAT CAN BE HEARD, BY STILL PLAYING THE SAME NOTES AS WRITTEN IN THE MUSIC. Purpose. ? Apart from the fact that an 'audio' key change can enhance what you're playing, the main purpose is- that it enables the player to play as per the written music when accompanying a singer, whilst the singer can sing his/her song in a key which suits their singing, Thereby enabling the accompanist to play in the key of the actual written music. Therefore, the use of the button changes 'the audible sound' of the accompaniment, so as to make it comfortable for the singer to sing in. In effect 'A KEY CHANGE'. Hope this helps.

ColinL
That's how I understood it....
 
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Still the novice and discovering new things . . I have been playing around with the "transpose" buttons. It can make a great sounding tune sound even greater adding new dimensions.

+1 means +1 SemiTone +2 is one tone +12 is octave +24 2 octaves
The same with minuses of course
 
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well I clicked here cause I didn't know what transpose was either but assumed it was overlapping.. Wouldn't detune or pitch adjust be better?
 
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happyrat1

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Transpose and Detune are both specific musical terms with well defined meanings.

Transposing a sheet of music involves shifting a piece to a different musical key by shifting each note in the piece the same number of steps or semitones up or down.

Detuning is a different feature found on more expensive keyboards allowing you transpose in cents or hundredths of a note so that you can tune to your xylophone or trumpet or tuba or glockenspiel or whatever instrument or recording is a bitch to tune and out of concert tuning.

So while a transposition could technically be called detuning, it actually has a well defined meaning and purpose in the business of show.

Gary ;)
 

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