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32 votes
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Which key are these notes and how to transpose it to the key of D?

(It's going to be tough to explain all of this in a single answer. If you're interested in this, I strongly recommend finding a music theory text, either online or in hard copy. But I'll do my best to ...
Richard's user avatar
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30 votes
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C Trumpet in Beethoven's 5th symphony

Back in Beethoven’s day, trumpets and horns were not in fact chromatic, which is also the reason why scores call for trumpets in different transpositions. It was possible to play horns chromatically ...
Lazy's user avatar
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28 votes
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Why do instruments have a key?

There are two concepts and ideas that happen in music which, when combined, explain why this happens. The first is that the way certain instruments are constructed affects what sounds they can ...
Dom's user avatar
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28 votes
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In a folk jam session, when asked which key my non-transposing chromatic instrument (like a violin) is in, what do I answer?

If someone is asking about the key of the instrument, I would answer "I play in concert pitch." If when jamming, someone asks "what key are you in?" I would say, "I am playing in (name a key) concert ...
Heather S.'s user avatar
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24 votes

Why are some instruments listed 'in F' or 'in B'?

IN orchestral (and other instrumental) music, the notation like "Clarinet in Bb" (or "Klarinette in B") means that the instrument is a "transposing instrument." When the clarinetist plays what his ...
ttw's user avatar
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22 votes

Why is guitar music written one octave higher?

I'm following up on @Tim's answer. I didn't use a comment because I wanted to show a picture and discuss it. As you can see, the notes that fit on a typical guitar fret-board fit nicely on the treble ...
chasly - supports Monica's user avatar
19 votes

Which key are these notes and how to transpose it to the key of D?

how do I determine which key they are in? A) Recognise that those notes are the start of the overture to Mozart's The Marriage Of Figaro, but two semitones higher. B) Note that that piece is in D ...
gidds's user avatar
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19 votes

What is the formal definition of 'transpose'?

To transpose a piece of music is to change the pitch of all notes by the same interval. The intervals between adjacent notes in the piece will remain the same. Major keys can only be transposed to ...
Elements In Space's user avatar
18 votes

Treble Clef with optional 8 va bassa?

This is used in vocal music where the line can be sung either at normal treble-clef pitch (usually by a soprano), or at a pitch an octave below that (usually by a tenor or baritone). It's very often ...
Andrew Leach's user avatar
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17 votes

Why is guitar music written one octave higher?

If it was written in the same octave that it was played in, it would stray too often into the much lower parts of the grand stave. By keeping it where it is written, apart from the notes on the bottom ...
Tim's user avatar
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16 votes

Why is french horn not written a 5th above the rest of the orchestra when it is supposed to be?

Traditionally horns have always been written with no key signature. When horns were introduced into the orchestra they had no valves, and had a very limited set of notes. To change key extra tubing, ...
PiedPiper's user avatar
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15 votes
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Am I Doing It Wrong? Why Can't I Use Multiple 5-Line Staves to Represent Guitar's Open Strings?

You are trying to reinvent the wheel it seems. All you have to do if you want to see the actual pitches of the open strings of the guitar is use the grand staff: I showed where the G and B strings ...
John Belzaguy's user avatar
14 votes
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Lowering the key of a song by a semitone

Yes, that is what lowering the key of a song by a semi-tone means. You transpose every note down one half-step. Changing from the key of F major to the key of Bb major would actually be raising the ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
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14 votes
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why does music become less harmonic if we transpose it down to the extreme low end of the piano?

The linked answers are based on the assumptions that pitch hearing is the same over the whole audible range, and that pianos are in perfect tune. Both of these assumptions are not really true. First, ...
ojs's user avatar
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13 votes

Can the guitar be a "non-C" transposing instrument?

Ok, let's clear up some confusion. First: The guitar is a transposing instrument. It sounds one octave below written pitch. Second: The guitar is a "C instrument". What this means is that the ...
jjmusicnotes's user avatar
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12 votes

Why do instruments have a key?

Transposing instruments are so due to convention, not by a technical property. The main advantage is, that different instruments of the same family can share the same mapping of (printed) note → ...
guidot's user avatar
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12 votes

How to simplify difficult barred chords in a song

If you're happy playing open chords as opposed to the barres involved here, take the song up by a semitone - most likely not going to strain any tonsils - and substitute as follows. G for F♯, D ...
Tim's user avatar
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12 votes
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Can you explain the transposing convention in this Jean Sibelius's score?

The English horn (in F) and the A clarinets have the expected transposed key signatures: concert B minor (two sharps) is written F♯ minor for the English horn (three sharps) and written D minor for ...
phoog's user avatar
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11 votes
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Is there a simple way to transpose a song from one key to another? What is the methodology?

Once a melody is composed and written in one key using the notes from said key's corresponding scale, that same melody can then be "transposed" (converted) to any other key that exist in Western music....
Rockin Cowboy's user avatar
11 votes
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How many cents would would i need to shift the pitch of the sample to change its key?

Each semi-tone (half step) is 100 cents. There are five half steps between the two pitches you mentioned... So 500 cents up. Or you could shift the pitch 700 cents down, to get it in F# an octave ...
The Chaz 2.0's user avatar
11 votes

Is it possible to transpose samples (in cents) from minor to major?

You can't just transpose a minor key into a major key, because a minor scale has a different structure than a major scale. Natural minor scale in steps: whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole ...
Andy's user avatar
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11 votes

Acoustic guitar chords' positions vs those of a Bass guitar

The standard tuning of the bass strings are the same as the bottom four of standard guitar tuning - E, A, D, G - but one octave lower. The tones of chords are the same between the instruments except ...
Michael Curtis's user avatar
11 votes

Transposing from C to Cm?

This isn't a transposition job. Call it a 'transformation' if you like. The music stays at the same pitch, but some notes change. Your basic scale will be C minor rather than C major. (But it won't ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 93k
11 votes

In a folk jam session, when asked which key my non-transposing chromatic instrument (like a violin) is in, what do I answer?

If someone asks you what key you play in, I take it as meaning "name a key". You say what you want, and the others will follow. If you want to jam in F#, you'll tell them "let's play in F#". Each ...
piiperi Reinstate Monica's user avatar
11 votes
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Note-naming when transposing by semitone

In the 12-tone system, A sharp and B flat are "enharmonically equivalent," meaning that they are somewhere between being essentially the same and being literally the same. In any given ...
phoog's user avatar
  • 22.9k
10 votes

How to easily transpose sheet music?

Good spelling is important. Unless there's a compelling reason in the harmony to do otherwise, it's best to try to give each note its own line/space in the staff. If you write an accidental and then ...
MattPutnam's user avatar
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10 votes

Is it OK to use the transpose function of a piano like guitar players use a capo?

Being able to use easy open position chords is not the only possible reason for using a guitar capo, and often not a reason at all. When guitar players use a capo, it is a very specific situation. ...
piiperi Reinstate Monica's user avatar
9 votes

Lowering the key of a song by a semitone

You're on the right track, but adding to Todd's answers each note gets dropped down by a semitone, it puts the song into key E. Thus each new note must belong to that key, and that key contains one of ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 193k
9 votes

Is it possible to transpose samples (in cents) from minor to major?

You could transpose the G minor sample to A minor, which is the relative minor of C Major, which means that it uses the same notes as C Major and the sample won't clash (too much) with other elements ...
Your Uncle Bob's user avatar

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