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The keys are only identical on equal-tempered instruments, but that's most modern western instruments like pianos. Wind instruments other than the trombone are built to be (mostly) equal tempered [EDIT: I might be simplifying too much here, see David's comment below], but the players can bend pitches somewhat. The trombone, all non-fretted string instruments,...


43

log (25 / 24) / log (2) * 1200 = 70.67, so the conversion of a standard movie (24 frames per second), to be broadcast on European TV (25 frames per second) will shift all pitches up 70 cents; that's one common situation that you may be referring to.


42

The TL;DR answer: Some instrument families (saxophones, clarinets, double reeds) have variants which change the instrument range by something other than an octave. To make it easy to switch between instruments in the same family, the parts for these instruments are transposed so the same written note has the same fingering, but produces a different actual ...


33

(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 address it all here!) When it comes to major and minor keys, the best way to determine tonality, in my opinion, is to determine the location of half steps. (...


31

As someone who writes music, I have this to add: I usually come up with ideas for songs by improvising on a piano until I come up with a phrase that I really like. Way back when I started improvising, I came up with some ideas in certain keys (mostly based on what was easy for me to play at the time), and over time, the emotions in those songs became ...


28

Technically, there are no reasons, but practically, there are quite a few. Obviously, we've reached the point where we can construct instruments that are fully chromatic, so there is no need to change crooks and play only the overtone series. The practical reasons are many, and mostly stem from the fact that if all instruments were pitched in C, any time ...


25

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 produce. The E♭ alto saxophone, the B♭ clarinet, and the horn in F each can easily play in the key designated. Typically, when learning to play these ...


25

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 music shows as a "C." the note comes out as a Bb. The true (or "concert") note is always one whole step below the notation. With instruments with the notation "in ...


25

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 pitch." Then everyone else will transpose appropriately. In a group with many transposing and non-transposing instruments, a discussion might be needed to find ...


21

A transposing instrument is one for which the standard practice is to write music in a key different from the sounding pitch of that instrument. For example, a non-transposing instrument is something like a piano (anything with a keyboard, really)--when you read a C on the staff, you play a C and it sounds a concert pitch C. Most pitched percussion ...


21

The capo allows you to play a song in a particular key using chord shapes and formations from a different key. For example if you like to use the open (first position) chords in the key of G major such as G, C, D, Em and Am but want to sing a song in the key of A, you can put a capo on the second fret and play the chords as if you were playing in the key of ...


19

The composers/arrangers/publishers of tuba parts and sheet music have no idea what key of instrument you play! In Europe, the Eb tuba is fairly widespread, but the standard issue tuba in American school bands is actually keyed in Bb! In a conservatory, you will find tuba players who own multiple instruments for a wide variety of different playing ...


19

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 major. C) Infer that the notes in the question are therefore in E major. :-) More seriously, I don't think you can say definitively just from the notes.  They ...


17

It's probably not transposed, but speeded up or slowed down by a little bit. Sometimes to fit exactly into a sequence, sometimes changed to fit better with the mood of the film at that point. With digital sound, nowadays, this is not a necessary operation to do, as the tempo can be altered without affecting the pitch. Previously, to slow a piece down (to ...


16

Here's a really easy way to think about this question. Write a song in the key of C. Now transpose that song up by 10 octaves. It's still in the key of C, but does it "emotionally" sound the same? The answer is no (actually you probably won't hear anything except an annoying high pitch whine) Obviously, the differences are more subtle, but moving a key ...


14

You're right. There's no effect when transposing by a perfect unison. But it does make sense to have the option of transposing by an augmented unison (eg. Ab major to A Major) or a diminished unison (eg. B major to Bb Major). I guess the perfect unison option is simply there because you have perfect, diminished and augmented transpose options for each ...


13

This goes back to the early days of "modern" instruments. Initially, instrument-makers did not have the accuracy of instruments (mechanical) to create keys, accurate boring, etc. If you look through the history of any wind instrument, you'll see such profound comments as "and then it received two keys!" Because most instruments were created at a time ...


13

I once had to arrange and record an album for a (rather unschooled) artist who wrote her own songs, and they were all in C. After two or three songs in the same key, the remaining songs lose much of their potency because the ear gets bored. By the fifth song, you just don't want to hear any more. (At least I don't!) It took some doing, but I convinced her ...


13

Why would you need more than that? Five semitones up and six down can make every possible key: Let's say the original MIDI file was in C major. Up 5 semitones and you can get C C# D D# E and F. Down 6 semitones and you can get C B Bb A Ab G Gb. I am aware that you cannot transpose to a different octave using that but for practical purpose that is easily ...


13

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 key by a fourth (five semitones), although it's clearer to say "transposing up a fourth". Gb is enharmonic to F#, Ab to G#, etc. If you replace each flat with ...


12

In a slash chord, the chord on the left is played over the bass note on the right. So for D/G a D chord is played over a G bass note. If you have separate player on bass, then a guitarist can play an ordinary D chord, while the bassist plays G. If you're trying to play D/G on a solo guitar, then you have to find a fingering in which your prominent bass ...


12

In music with vocals, the key is often chosen to adjust to the vocal range of the performer. I used to play in a band with a female lead singer. Whenever we played covers of songs that were originally sung by a male performer, it was often to low for her. Pitching up the vocal melody by one octave would then often be too high, so we would transpose the song ...


12

What user12864 said, it's the PAL speedup. Luckily, these days it's easy to reverse by telling your movie player to play at 96% (24/25) speed. THX films correct the pitch, by the way.


12

p-i-m-a indicate which finger to pluck with (thumb, index, middle and ring, the letters come from the Spanish names), and thus are guitar specific. Similarly the small numbers to the left of the noteheads indicate which left hand finger to use to fret that note. The diamond shaped notes are natural harmonics. I believe that the way it is notated here is: ...


12

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 guitarist reads "C", they play "C", and we all hear "C". Regardless of the tuning of the individual strings, this fact still applies. In music, with respect to ...


12

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 be quite as simple as that, unless the piece is a simple folk tune sort of melody.) Show us sheet music for the song in question, we may be able to give more ...


11

There is an overarching reason for transposition of wind instruments, which can be corroborated by anyone who has played woodwind doubles in a pit orchestra. Regardless of the reason transposing instruments came into practice in the first place, the practice is still standard in writing circles (besides the valid observation that there alr4eady exists a ...


11

In music theory, you're probably right - for Western music it's the same scale just transposed up and down a given interval. All the maths still works so . . . why ? However when you come to play it, that's when it becomes more apparent. Like this : On a keyboard, the key makes a difference to the fingering of the chords/melody. On a Guitar, some keys are ...


11

It doesn't quite work like that. The guitar doesn't exactly have a single key that its "in". Instead it has chords that are easier and more difficult to play. Some relatively easy ones (sticking with just major chords) include C, G, D, A, and E, which allows you to play in quite a few different keys. If you were playing in the key of D, you'd likely see a ...


11

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 Major scale in steps: whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half Because you've talked about cents... 100 cents are equal to one semitone. So you could ...


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