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#159931 - 05/18/07 08:41 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
BEBOP Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/02/00
Posts: 3778
Loc: San Jose, California
I played Bb horns as well as piano most of my early life consequently I always had to mentally transpose when working with a piano player. I did this almost automatically. I continued to do the mental transposing during the years I played piano bars in the LA/Hollywood area while going to college.
I played Organ for several years also but when keyboards came out with the transposer button, I quit making the effort. The timing was great because as you get older it seems to be harder to read music in one key and play it in another for a vocalist.
Bebop
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#159932 - 05/18/07 09:27 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
I hear you, Bebop.... As a classical trombonist, you are not only expected to be fluent in four different C clefs (bass, tenor, alto AND treble) but as a jazz trombonist, expected to read very high parts in bass cleff, with stuff so high sometimes you NEVER get off the ledger lines!

Now add in the fact that as an English brass band player, the trombones (except for bass T-bone) play in Bb pitch, treble clef transposed (like a tenor sax player) it makes for some VERY difficult times. And forget any kind of transpose button.

I still, to this day, tend to think in Bb pitch, despite years in C (your first few years are the formative ones) and have to mentally transpose when I play the bone for a solo, and then go back to the keyboards. Every now and again, it makes for an interesting moment or two!

But sometimes, the ability to put yourself into another key can help you play some pretty fierce outside stuff simply by shifting your mental key center, despite the song not changing. Give it a try, you'd be amazed at how 'outside' you can get, and still stay relevant to the song!

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#159933 - 05/18/07 10:27 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
renig Offline
Member

Registered: 02/20/00
Posts: 643
Loc: Canada
See, Irving Berlin could play only in the key of F#, KeithB's friend "appears to play everything with the most black keys", and earlier in this thread I mentioned my pal who prefers keys like C#, Eb, F#, etc. How DOES this work?

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#159934 - 05/18/07 11:04 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
Well, if you listen to many of Irving Berlin's songs, you'll see that although he starts in his favorite key (transposed to whatever the singer needed), he often has bridges or sections in other keys, so it's not like he COULDN'T play any other key... And his songs certainly had some sophisticated changes, so again, he was FAR advanced beyond simple 'one key' mentality.

But it does show that genius, when faced with a challenge, finds some way to cope... So what if he only played in F#, he still wrote some of the world's most enduring standards. And analyze any (or many) of his tunes and you realize that harmonically there is no way you can play them if you are limited to one key. He liked to simply start in F#.....

Now there MAY be the odd genius here at SZ, but personally, I think if you DON'T consider yourself a genius, your efforts might still be better used learning to play in as many keys as you can. If you study long enough, and practice hard enough, you MIGHT eventually almost get as good as old Irving....

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#159935 - 05/18/07 11:26 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Wis Offline
Member

Registered: 04/23/01
Posts: 295
The easiest way is to paint all the keys white or black and there is no difference any longer.

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#159936 - 05/18/07 11:54 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
bruno123 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 4328
Loc: West Palm Beach, FL 33417
Select a song –then play the same song in many different keys. You will learn a great deal about chord progressions, which will help you play without music. If you hum or whistle the melody you can find the melody on the keyboard, But---- not so with chord progressions, you must learn and understand about chord progressions.
Years back when the song More came out I looked at the music and found the main part f the song had the Heart and soul chord progression. The release was a run down in E minor. I no longer needed the music.

No genius, just a knowledge of chord progressins.

John C.

PS, Heart and soul – Silhouettes – Blue moon – and many, many others use the same chord progression. (In part)
More – My funny Valentine --- Feelings – How deep is the ocean – all use a minor run-downs.

When improvising I look for key centers, that’s when the chords become different in a song. There’ll never be another you is in the key of Eb, the second chord Dm7 which puts me into the key of C major. When I am in the key of Eb I am thinking the Eb scale. When I see the chord Dm7 I am using mostly white keys, the key of C major.

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#159937 - 05/19/07 12:10 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
Nashville's number system is an excellent way to start thinking about changes. At it's basic you get a simple blues progression looking like;

1 1 1 1
4 4 1 1
5 4 1 5

Now, I can't put in superscript here, so forget the sevenths, etc. for now. But you can see that same chart can be used for blues in any key. Start thinking in relational terms, rather than absolute ones (Bb, F#, etc.) and the job of transposing any tune becomes almost trivial.

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#159938 - 05/19/07 12:35 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
FAEbGBD Offline
Member

Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 847
Loc: Nashvville TN
If keyboard is your main instrument, then I'd submit you should be fluent in at least half the keys, and reasonable in all keys.

Just because I can throw a frozen pizza in the oven, or fry a hamburger patty, or boil noodles, doesn't mean I can call myself a cook. If I have a few definite great specialties, and can reasonably prepare a large variety of other things; then I'll call myself a cook.

I think there are a lot of people who are too free using the words Professional Musician", and I know without doubt there are far far too many people in the music biz who refer to themselves as "artists".
Rather elitist? Maybe, but that's how I see it.

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#159939 - 05/19/07 01:13 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Taike Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 2674
Loc: Taiwan-Laos-China
Quote:
Originally posted by FAEbGBD:
If keyboard is your main instrument, then I'd submit you should be fluent in at least half the keys, and reasonable in all keys.

Just because I can throw a frozen pizza in the oven, or fry a hamburger patty, or boil noodles, doesn't mean I can call myself a cook. If I have a few definite great specialties, and can reasonably prepare a large variety of other things; then I'll call myself a cook.

I think there are a lot of people who are too free using the words Professional Musician", and I know without doubt there are far far too many people in the music biz who refer to themselves as "artists".
Rather elitist? Maybe, but that's how I see it.


BINGO!!!
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#159940 - 05/19/07 04:11 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
ianmcnll Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/27/05
Posts: 10597
Loc: Cape Breton Island, Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by FAEbGBD:
If keyboard is your main instrument, then I'd submit you should be fluent in at least half the keys, and reasonable in all keys.

Just because I can throw a frozen pizza in the oven, or fry a hamburger patty, or boil noodles, doesn't mean I can call myself a cook. If I have a few definite great specialties, and can reasonably prepare a large variety of other things; then I'll call myself a cook.

I think there are a lot of people who are too free using the words Professional Musician", and I know without doubt there are far far too many people in the music biz who refer to themselves as "artists".
Rather elitist? Maybe, but that's how I see it.


Well said, Rory, and for another POV I might add that some short order "cooks" can work wonders with very little raw material and it is their "presentation" and passion for what they do that brings their servings to the level of a professional, or artist.

Ian

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