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real time transposing on English concertina


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Good day everyone. I am in danger of overthinking the process of transposition on my concertina. My young boy plays the baritone sax which is an Eb instrument. He has a collection of Christmas carols that I want to play with him but the notes on the sheet music don't match. Barring buying the flute music in c, what should I do to quickly transpose the music with him? Thank you. Have a great day! Eric in Montana.

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Good day everyone. I am in danger of overthinking the process of transposition on my concertina. My young boy plays the baritone sax which is an Eb instrument. He has a collection of Christmas carols that I want to play with him but the notes on the sheet music don't match. Barring buying the flute music in c, what should I do to quickly transpose the music with him? Thank you. Have a great day! Eric in Montana.

Hi Eric, this may sound more complicated than it really is, but here is a way to think about the problem.

 

Your son is playing a transposing instrument in Eb. When he looks at a C on the staff what he plays sounds like an Eb, what we call concert Eb. So here's what you do. If your son's music is in the key of C, in your mind, add three flats to the key signature (that is move three steps in the flat direction around the cycle of fifths) so you are going to play in Eb. Now transpose by sight, up one line of the staff. So you are looking at a C but playing an Eb. In reality, to get a unison with your son you should transpose down a sixth but up a minor third (one line of the staff) gives you an octave above him which is probably what you want anyway and easier to do.

 

Let's say your son is reading in the key of A (not too likely I suppose) with three sharps. You think C and up a line and bingo, there you are. If he is in F you will be thinking Ab etc.

 

This may sound difficult, but after a bit of practice it is not so hard, assuming you can play in those keys. On the other hand, buying the flute book might be your best bet.

Edited by Jody Kruskal
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I can remember playing Christmas carols with a beginning sax player who didn't realize he was playing a transposing instrument. And that was over twenty years ago. If you have the music for an Eb instrument you need to think of it as two notes up and with three extra flats (or three fewer sharps) in the key signature. The shifting two notes isn't too hard-- just think of the music as being on the next line (0r space) up.

 

I don't actually transpose on a regular basis, so this may be all wrong-- try it and see if it works.

 

Cross posted with Jody. Nice to have confirmation from someone who knows!

Edited by Larry Stout
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I can remember playing Christmas carols with a beginning sax player who didn't realize he was playing a transposing instrument. And that was over twenty years ago. If you have the music for an Eb instrument you need to think of it as two notes up and with three extra flats (or three fewer sharps) in the key signature. The shifting two notes isn't too hard-- just think of the music as being on the next line (0r space) up.

 

I don't actually transpose on a regular basis, so this may be all wrong-- try it and see if it works.

 

Cross posted with Jody. Nice to have confirmation from someone who knows!

Oh Larry, you said it in so many fewer words than I did, bravo!

Edited by Jody Kruskal
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Another solution to this if the person reads bass clef: Change the key signature as described above and read the music in the bass clef but up an octave. This is also easier than it sounds...if you're comfortable with bass clef. BTW the Bari Sax is actually playing an octave and a sixth lower than written. So, in the example above of playing the C in the third space of the treble staff the sounding note is actually the Eb in the third space of the bass staff.

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Is there any software that can recognise a tune as played and then convert the sounds to the appropriate dots?

If so does it have to be on a midi type instrument?

 

Kautilya mentions this on Alan day's Snowflakes thread

 

http://www.akoff.com/music-recognition.html

 

Looks promising to single note concertina players by ear

Edited by michael sam wild
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Is there any software that can recognise a tune as played and then convert the sounds to the appropriate dots?

If so does it have to be on a midi type instrument?

 

Kautilya mentions this on Alan day's Snowflakes thread

 

http://www.akoff.com/music-recognition.html

 

Looks promising to single note concertina players by ear

 

Don't waste your time. The site you mentioned claims "systems of music recognition work with 60-70% accuracy but only for a single voice melody (one note at a time). For polyphonic music the accuracy is even lower."

 

That is to say, whatever files you created with this software would need lots of correction to be an accurate representation of your intent.

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Instead of looking for a machine to solve your problem, look within and learn the skills you require. For example, check out this painting: http://www.samuelrothbort.com/skater.JPG

 

Here are skaters in the Bronx, NY 1944 by Samuel Rothbort. Look closely, this is not a photograph. Those people look nothing like people. How could a machine or software understand? Yet our minds get it. The movement and chaos of the swirling forms brings a greater understanding than any photograph could ever do. The same with music recognition software which will never get our intentions until we also learn to play music like machines.

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Can you side-step the whole issue?

 

Given that it's carols which are usually straight forward and often well known; would it not be simplest for whichever is the most practiced of the 2 of you to just follow the lead of the other player, who uses the music?

 

In effect play by ear as though in a group? I think I'd rather do that than go through the mental gymnastics of transposing from written music, at least for playing a bare melody line, if that's what you ere thinking of?

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The (well, a) trick to transposing at sight is to combine these two skills:

 

1. To be able to look at notation and to "hear" the melody in your head

 

2. To be able to convert internal "sounds in your head" accurately into button presses, without needing to explore the instrument for each note. This is (I think) pretty much what "playing by ear" is.

 

That might take a while though :)

 

Another way would be like Jody/Larry suggests - except rather than doing it in your head, scan the music into a computer, draw (using an image editing program) an extra line below each stave, and erase the top line from each stave. That will shift each note up a 3rd. You'll need to adjust the key signature too, of course.

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Wow! Thank you for your responses. The information about adding flats is great and I am wrapping my mind around that. The thought about moving the stave line down is great too. The movement of the stave line brings up another thought which is, since the English concertina has the left side = lines and right side = spaces, couldn't I merely shift my fingering away from me by one set of buttons and play as normal - just move my Doh note and make the adjustments to the outside rows as needed to correct the key sig? Or at least would this work for the collaboration with an Eb instrument? Thank you again for all your help.

Best, Eric in Montana.

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couldn't I merely shift my fingering away from me by one set of buttons and play as normal - just move my Doh note and make the adjustments to the outside rows as needed to correct the key sig?

 

Close. Moving away by one set of buttons will take you up two lines ("a fifth"). What you have to do is go up half a set, and mirror everything from bottom to top, if that makes sense. Moving up one set will take you all the way from Doh to Soh, but you only want to go up from Doh to Mi.

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A little magic: I converted a baritone-treble to a tenor-treble in F by exchanging the F and F# reeds. It now plays with normal fingering ( one row down ) a fifth lower, which is a brilliant range for a concertina! I love to play this instument! I also turned a 56 key extended treble into a tenor-treble in G by exchanging the B and Bflat reeds. It now plays with normal figering ( one row up ) a forth higher. Not quite as useful a range... Useful is, however, that now I have three keys available with my one favourite fingering, which is great to pay along with or learn tunes form recordings.

 

Second option: I use the program Capella to write music. It comes with scan-software, which works quite well. So if I want to transpose, I scan the original music, convert it to Capella-format and then use Capella to transpose it to any key I want..

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Instead of looking for a machine to solve your problem, look within and learn the skills you require. For example, check out this painting: http://www.samuelrot....com/skater.JPG

 

Here are skaters in the Bronx, NY 1944 by Samuel Rothbort. Look closely, this is not a photograph. Those people look nothing like people. How could a machine or software understand? Yet our minds get it. The movement and chaos of the swirling forms brings a greater understanding than any photograph could ever do. The same with music recognition software which will never get our intentions until we also learn to play music like machines.

 

 

Nice point Jody , those figures bear the same resemblance to reality as dots on a stave do to music. But the artist has conveyed a lot more about skating than a photo I think.

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