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#159911 - 05/18/07 07:47 AM Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Dnj Offline
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Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 41882
Surly simplifies the playing process...especially when you transpose down on these new KB's.....unlike the old days when you really had to play in every key imaginable.....thank goodness for Scale practice years ago

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#159912 - 05/18/07 07:56 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
zuki Online   content
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Registered: 09/20/02
Posts: 4353
Loc: Michigan
no way.......play everything in it's original key. Nice to have that variety of different fingerings. I like to challenge myself too.
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#159913 - 05/18/07 08:00 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Nick G Offline
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Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 1042
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Definitely play in different keys!

if you play everything in the same key it all just sounds the same and gets boring. ppl in the crowd start thinking "is this all he can do?"
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#159914 - 05/18/07 10:10 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
trident Offline
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Registered: 08/22/04
Posts: 1457
Loc: Athens, Greece
I play in C and two three other scales that have as less black keys as possible, sorry can't name them

Talking about the one with a Bb
and the one with a F#
and the one with an Eb and a Bb
maybe one or two more

C is God's creation for some of us!

LOL

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#159915 - 05/18/07 10:25 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Diki Offline
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Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
Wasn't it Irving Berlin, or one of the old time songwriters that could only play in a few keys? He had a special Steinway made that moved the entire action sideways, so that it could sound in different keys! Early high-tech transpositional technology...!

Si, I guess the question should be, does it matter, as long as you transpose to different keys? Sonically, it is identical to playing in the perceived key.....

My answer would be... No, not really, but....... most songs involve some transposition within the song. The bridge may go to another, often related (sometimes not!) key, there may be changes from major to minor (sounds like a good lyric there!), and unless you can play fluently in any key, there may be whole sections of many, many songs that you will not be able to play, no matter if you START in 'C'...!

So break out that Hanon, or figure out a nice jazzy cycle of fifths exercise, and start to come to grips with other keys than 'C', or you may HAVE to play country for the rest of your life!

(Just kidding, all you country fans! )

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#159916 - 05/18/07 10:37 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
renig Offline
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Registered: 02/20/00
Posts: 643
Loc: Canada
I'm entirely self-taught and I tend to stick to 'white' key signatures and have no problem in the keys of C, D, E, F, G and A.

Okay, so I know that changes in many songs require that some parts of the song be in other keys (intros, bridges, etc.) and I manage that okay as well, but rarely, if ever, do I start a song in one of the 'black' key signatures.

Now I'm not sure how this works, but a friend of mine, also self-taught, prefers to play in "black" keys: C#, Eb, F#, etc.

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#159917 - 05/18/07 11:17 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Diki Offline
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Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
But don't forget, some of those songs that have weird internal sections, if you start them in a 'black' key (Don Imus, where are you now?! ), the odd section might be in 'C', or another easy key....

And if you CAN now play those sections in the odd key they are in, well, that just goes to show you CAN play in those keys! Now just do it a bit more, and soon enough, you'll have another key under your belt.

I find the best way to learn anything new is repetition, without a change. So if, for instance, you say 'I can play in 'C', but 'Bb' gives me fits', try playing in Bb (and NOTHING else!) for a month. Not one single song in any other key. For a whole month.....

Yes, at first it will suck, but after a while, you'll go 'this isn't so bad' and at the end of the month you'll go 'why did I find this hard at all?'.....

12 keys, 12 months... Coincidence? I think NOT.......!

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#159918 - 05/18/07 11:30 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
renig Offline
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Registered: 02/20/00
Posts: 643
Loc: Canada
Cheers, Diki. What you say is absolutely true - all I need to muster up is the discipline. :-)

BTW: Like yourself, I'm an old Hammond grinder with UK holiday camp experience under my belt on Canvey Island and Isle of Sheppey. Great days!

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#159919 - 05/18/07 12:18 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
cgiles Online   content
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Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6040
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
Somehow, for me anyway, using the transpose button doesn't impart the same feel to a song as playing it in the original key. I'm sure it's the different fingering. I only have problems with odd (seldom used) keys when soloing. Since not a lot of tunes are written in "B", there aren't as many muscle-memory riffs to fall back on as when soloing in the old stand-bys, C,F,G,Bb,Eb (and their minors). Even with comping, there's less mental gymnastics going on with the more familiar keys (ie. when transposing for a singer or solo instrumentalist).

BTW, what do you do with a song that modulates? Hit the transpose button? What about the transition? Not playing the transition would be a dead giveaway that you're an amateur (and sound weird to boot).

Sure, there are occasions when the old transpose button is the way to go, but mostly I like Zuki's views of the subject.

chas
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"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

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#159920 - 05/18/07 12:23 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
cgiles Online   content
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Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6040
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
Quote:
The bridge may go to another, often related (sometimes not!) key, there may be changes from major to minor (sounds like a good lyric there!) [/B]


Yeah, from "Everytime we say goodbye". I assume you knew that and were just being funny.

chas
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"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

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#159921 - 05/18/07 12:25 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
miden Offline
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Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 3353
Loc: The World
you need to be able to play in all keys, transpose button is never an option, mental transposition was something taught and practised when i was learning and it has come in very handy...also some keys just sound so good, Db, Gb beautiful rich harmonics, taking these keys to C, whether by the machine transpose or not, ruins the character of the music written for it.

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#159922 - 05/18/07 02:00 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
ianmcnll Offline
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Registered: 07/27/05
Posts: 10597
Loc: Cape Breton Island, Canada
I sight read pretty good, and play fairly well in all keys, but I love the key of "C" and I love those handy old transpose buttons...some licks are just harder to play in other keys, so the transposer is just another tool to make things work better.

Plus, I'm lazy as hell, and whatever will make my job easier is embraced wholeheartedly.

Ian





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Common misconception...size and weight equal quality and performance. Don't be fooled.
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#159923 - 05/18/07 02:39 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
freddynl Offline
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Registered: 11/17/99
Posts: 1150
Loc: netherlands
I play in the key the singer needs to sing in Never used a transpose button, it just doesn't work for me and I get very confused when an A or a C or an E etc... is suddenly another note.
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#159924 - 05/18/07 03:24 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
bruno123 Online   content
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Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 4319
Loc: West Palm Beach, FL 33417
1-Runs and fill-ins do not have the same feel in different keys. Because of the shape of your hand and your position there is a difference. A blues scale seems so different when I ply different keys.

2-Playing in the same key makes it easier but you lose the ability to modulate in a natural manner. Less automatic stuff gives more of a live realistic sound.

IMHO, John C.

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#159925 - 05/18/07 03:50 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Diki Offline
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Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
Good catch, chas... Love that tune!

There are two different things going on at the same time here... First is the ability to play in any key. A fine goal, and something that any professional should be able to do, and any amateur should work towards...

Next is the issue of muscle memory, and licks that work in one key, but not as well in another. And this is very interrelated to whether you are working with a singer (including yourself!) that can sing the song in the original key, or whether it needs transposing for their voice (no transpose button on that!). So, although I might be able to pull off a familiar song in an unfamiliar key, if it involves some tricky finger work, or glisses that don't work in other keys, or I am SO used to doing it in one key and will only accompany this singer this once, I'll hit the transpose button, no worries.

Just don't let it become a crutch.... Use it for a reason OTHER than you HAVE to because you can only play a few keys.

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#159926 - 05/18/07 03:53 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Taike Offline
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Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 2674
Loc: Taiwan-Laos-China
Pretty much Zuki's way; original key or whatever key the song's written in. Sharps and flats don't bother me. See, those endless scale runs and arpeggios do pay off.

Taike
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#159927 - 05/18/07 04:02 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Vquestor Offline
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Registered: 12/14/00
Posts: 554
[This message has been edited by Vquestor (edited 05-27-2007).]

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#159928 - 05/18/07 04:03 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Taike Offline
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Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 2674
Loc: Taiwan-Laos-China
Diki writes:

Wasn't it Irving Berlin, or one of the old time songwriters that could only play in a few keys? He had a special Steinway made that moved the entire action sideways, so that it could sound in different keys! Early high-tech transpositional technology...!
=============================

Diki, that was indeed Irving Berlin. He could only play in one key, F sharp, essentially only black keys.
_________________________
We STILL live in a time where 90% of people decide what the truth is according to their feelings. Those are the ones who don't bother with the inconvenience of having personal supported explanations for their claims.

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#159929 - 05/18/07 04:13 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Dnj Offline
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Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 41882
Quote:
Originally posted by ianmcnll:
I sight read pretty good, and play fairly well in all keys, but I love the key of "C" and I love those handy old transpose buttons...some licks are just harder to play in other keys, so the transposer is just another tool to make things work better.

Plus, I'm lazy as hell, and whatever will make my job easier is embraced wholeheartedly.

Ian


I love your posts Ian

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#159930 - 05/18/07 06:37 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
KeithB Offline
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Registered: 01/29/03
Posts: 317
Loc: Melbourne AUSTRALIA
I have a friend who alleges he does not read music (though he is a professional keyboard entertainer). He appears to play everything with the most black keys - this saves his rather thick fingers from getting stuck trying to play some white keys!
Keith

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

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#159932 - 05/18/07 09:27 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Diki Offline
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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
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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
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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
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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 Online   content
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Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 4319
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
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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
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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
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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!!!
_________________________
We STILL live in a time where 90% of people decide what the truth is according to their feelings. Those are the ones who don't bother with the inconvenience of having personal supported explanations for their claims.

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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

------------------
Common misconception...size and weight equal quality and performance. Don't be fooled.
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#159941 - 05/19/07 04:55 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Craig_UK Offline
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Registered: 11/23/04
Posts: 914
Loc: UK
I play in any key the music is written in, or if I want to learn a song I simply download the MP3, listen to it and then I can play it back straight away in any key I want to.

When I used to go out with my band we already had our songs set out in the key set for the singers own range, but nowdays I mainly play for the odd sing a long nights which makes more money to be honest. The singers just walk up to you and give me their own music, so I don't want what key it is going to be in advance which makes it a good challenge and keeps you on your toes.
I sight read extremely well and can also tranpose in my head without having to use the keyboards own tranpose button, which quite frankly makes people lazy.

I've heard people and especially organists play in the same key all night. To my ears it gets to sound rather dull and repetitive after a while and the feeling/ambience can be lost on certain songs where they are simply meant to be played in their original set key, but if it gets you work playing in the key of C all night then good for you - go out, earn some money and pay off the bills, that's all what matters and if you and your crowd enjoy it as well, you must be doing something right

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#159942 - 05/19/07 05:01 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
cgiles Online   content
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Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6040
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
And another thing....in my experience, of all the instrumentalist, keyboard players seem to be the least competent at on-the-fly transposing. I wonder why?

chas
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"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

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#159943 - 05/19/07 05:42 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Taike Offline
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Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 2674
Loc: Taiwan-Laos-China
Quote:
Originally posted by cgiles:
And another thing....in my experience, of all the instrumentalist, keyboard players seem to be the least competent at on-the-fly transposing. I wonder why?

chas


Too many sound-like-a-pro-no-matter-you-can-play-or-not gimmicks made many a keyboard player a dull musician.
_________________________
We STILL live in a time where 90% of people decide what the truth is according to their feelings. Those are the ones who don't bother with the inconvenience of having personal supported explanations for their claims.

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#159944 - 05/19/07 08:10 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
All the technique in the world ain't worth a hoot if the player has no feeling.

Some of the nicest players I have heard didn't have a massive amount of technique or a huge quantity of musical knowledge, but they were able to "move" the listener with the way they performed.

I remember a saying I heard somewhere..."don't let your technique get in the way of your playing".

Ian

------------------
Common misconception...size and weight equal quality and performance. Don't be fooled.
_________________________
Yamaha Tyros4, Yamaha MS-60S Powered Monitors(2), Yamaha CS-01, Yamaha TQ-5, Yamaha PSR-S775.

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#159945 - 05/19/07 12:45 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
cgiles Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6040
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
Quote:
Originally posted by ianmcnll:
All the technique in the world ain't worth a hoot if the player has no feeling.




True, but so is the reverse. All the feeling in the world ain't worth a hoot if the player doesn't have the technique to put it on display.

However, technique can be taught, feeling (soul?) can't.

chas
_________________________
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

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#159946 - 05/19/07 02:57 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
miden Offline
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Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 3353
Loc: The World
chas, its easy on a guitar to transpose chords, just play a bar chord, and all you have to do is slide up or down the correct number of frets(each fret= 1 semitone) with the chord shape remaining the same...although to be fair, transposing open chords and melodies probably has the same degree of difficulty as the keyboard..
dennis..
PS on the subject of technique/feeling i remember an academy awards night many years ago and the entertainment came and went, big production numbers, performers with flashing lights and the whole nine yards, and then sammy davis jnr came on with just a pianist and himself and a single spotlight, i forget the tune now, might have been something from sweet charity or similar,BUT he absolutely brought the house down with that simple, but heartfelt performance...standing ovation that lasted about 5 minutes...to me that was a pure example of "feeling" a song as against "playing" a song....dunno if that story is relevant, but i thought id put it out there anyway..
cya
dennis

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#159947 - 05/19/07 08:56 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
Quote:
Originally posted by Taike:
Too many sound-like-a-pro-no-matter-you-can-play-or-not gimmicks made many a keyboard player a dull musician.


Careful, Taike, you'll wake up the lurkers....

I have to confess, SZ is one of the strangest music forums I read. There is SUCH a mix of top flight professionals, talented amateurs, and one-finger wannabes and newbies just trying to get some information, and unfortunately a few utter 'fakers', and it is VERY hard to tell sometimes who is who....

It's a shame that more people aren't up-front about their ability (or lack!) because there is such a pool of knowledge and experience here, so much could be learned and taught. But ego and pride often make some post as if they are experts, and when they finally slip up and post some absurd remark, or worse, post their tunes ( ) it is hard to take them seriously any more...

There's no shame in only playing in 'C'.... as long as you admit it, and try to get help to rectify it. Or at least, when you post a tune, admit to using the transpose button! I hate trying to figure out how someone fingered a tricky passage in an awkward key, only to find out they transposed...!

[This message has been edited by Diki (edited 05-19-2007).]

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#159948 - 05/23/07 07:08 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
keysvocalssax Offline
Member

Registered: 03/12/06
Posts: 845
Loc: Miami FL nov-may/Lakeville CT ...
music is not an athletic event.
music is not a merit system for technical prowess.
the idea is to be able to play what's in your head and heart-not easy, but you need only enough technique for that-unless you aspire to be a studio musician or have
to be an excellent reader on band gigs.

I can read music but play sax by ear. I can play in any
key without thinking for one second about transposition.
I can play single notes in the right hand on kb in any
key without thinking for one second about transposition.
since i am trained as a single-note player, I cannot play the chord voicings without thinking about transposition.

I can understand some advantages re hand position
choices that those with traditional piano training using all
keys enjoy. To me, at this point, I do not have the time or
the discipline to accomplish that without sacrificing the
here and now of performance. My goal was to get to the
same level of unconscious flow with 2 hands on kb as i
have on sax and single-notes in rh on kb. To that end,
I decided that since i was not a pianist and did not have
the inclination or chops for fully weighted keys, I would
concentrate on getting as good as I could in C, and use
the transpose button. I don't have a big problem with the
occasional chord and key anomolies within tunes, and
it seems Berlin didn't have that either. He just knew
being a concert or studio pianist was not his goal, and he
chose to use F#, where he was already most fluent.

He didn't seem to miss the creativity of having different
hand positions that lead to different ideas. I think it was
because he was of my philosophy..you should try to be
able to play what's in your head, not have your hand
position or your technique decide what you should play.
What i can offer myself as a singer and other singers is
a consistency of performance from key to key..something
only the very best pianists can do, because they do not
use a transposer. It is not boring if what is in your head
is not boring. And every singer has a "best" key for every
tune..even if they have a wonderfully flexible vocal range.
Sometimes that key is B, or F#, or E, a key outside the
realm of what 99% of pianists can play fluently as another.

So i'm not knocking the traditional wisdom, I'm just not
buying into it lock, stock, and barrel as some others.
There were no transpose buttons back in the day. The
rules keep changing. It's what comes out that counts.
I couldn't care less if somebody "fools" me playing a
difficult passage by transposing to an easier-fingering
key. Music is not a merit system for technical prowess.


------------------
Miami Mo
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#159949 - 05/23/07 07:34 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
mikeathome1 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 1208
Loc: Syracuse NY
I agree with Mo some of the trained guys that scream the loudest about technique are the same guys that can't play Kansas City without the chart in front of them.
Some of these super educated guys that I've run into can't play an original thought or sing a song and not make it sound mechanical. But they feel superior because of their technique and are resentful that the less educated but more talented guys get the jobs.

Mozart heard the music in his head and expressed it, he didn't read it off a paper somebody else wrote. I don't mean to imply he didn't have technique just that he had the talent to back it up.
IMHO
Technique without talent ?
or
talent without technique ? I don't know ... A little of both I guess



[This message has been edited by mikeathome1 (edited 05-23-2007).]
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#159950 - 05/23/07 08:40 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
Actually, Mozart's training was as rigorous, or more, than anyone's nowadays. Mozart received extensive training form some of Europe's top 'educators' of the time, and he had a harsh, disciplinarian father who made sure he played his exercises!

The genius of someone like Mozart comes from retaining ones imagination and creativity AT THE SAME TIME as developing prodigious technical skills.

Some of us here I'm sure, have problems playing music he wrote before he was 10!

And yes, while there may be some trained players here that can't 'feel' their way out of a paper bag, there are probably many more untrained players that have exactly the same problem. They simply have an 'excuse'! It's no good hearing it your head if you lack the skills to do it on the keyboard, and losing the fear of taking a tune into a different key or mode is one of the ways to be a better 'instinctive' player. If your heart wants to perform a tune's bridge in F#, but your finger's can't do it, you end up following your fingers, NOT your heart.

Technique in the service of creativity and originality.... now THERE'S a thought.

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#159951 - 05/23/07 10:19 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
keysvocalssax Offline
Member

Registered: 03/12/06
Posts: 845
Loc: Miami FL nov-may/Lakeville CT ...
Diki, i don't want to start a feud here, but again you choose
to ignore the essential points of others' arguments, and to
sidestep and tapdance to promote the notions you began with. you fail to address the points with accuracy others are making and that is what is offensive, not the fact you may
disagree.
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#159952 - 05/23/07 12:25 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
Quote:
Originally posted by keysvocalssax:
I can read music but play sax by ear. I can play in any key without thinking for one second about transposition.
I can play single notes in the right hand on kb in any key without thinking for one second about transposition. since i am trained as a single-note player, I cannot play the chord voicings without thinking about transposition.
So i'm not knocking the traditional wisdom, I'm just not buying into it lock, stock, and barrel as some others. There were no transpose buttons back in the day. The rules keep changing. It's what comes out that counts. I couldn't care less if somebody "fools" me playing a
difficult passage by transposing to an easier-fingering
key. Music is not a merit system for technical prowess.
-------------------------
Diki, i don't want to start a feud here, but again you choose to ignore the essential points of others' arguments, and to sidestep and tapdance to promote the notions you began with. you fail to address the points with accuracy others are making and that is what is offensive, not the fact you may disagree.


Well, to me that first post of yours does exactly the same. Or is it just me?

Firstly, my post is in reply to mikeathome's post (not yours), perhaps we might wait to see if HE is as offended as you that I might have a contrary position to what you obviously consider the IMPORTANT one (yours!)....

Secondly, as you know if you have already read my previous posts, I have no problem with anyone doing whatever the heck they feel like, in fact, I posted that I use the transpose button myself occasionally! You may be confusing me with the 'purists' on this thread that eschew transposition for ANY reason....

But to PROMOTE the idea, over more traditional paths to musical fluency is, IMO, not in the best interest of anyone that WANTS to learn and grow, You have very particular talents and requirements, and come from a very specific musical place and background (that few others here share). And are very comfortable there. To which I say 'No worries, do your own thing!'. You want to play everything in C (or F#!), go ahead, it's no skin off my nose...

BUT, despite that, claim that you CAN 'play in any key without thinking for one second about transposition', the very thing this topic got started about by people who couldn't (or didn't want to). So who's side-stepping the issue here?

Many on this thread posted that they have NO skills at all in many keys. You are FAR beyond that, claiming fluency in any key for single notes, and acceptable chord skills too (otherwise you couldn't play many songs with out of key sections). So who is ignoring who?

Look, maybe if you don't WANT a feud, you might also (as I try to do) not attack the poster for a contrary opinion, just try to state yours in a clearer way (which you have). After all, what is the point of this thread? If it just to say 'I do it THIS way, and that's all that matters', fair enough. But to say to others that this is a good path to being a better musician is not doing them a service. It IS one path towards better playing, but at the cost of what MANY (including myself) on this thread feel to be a necessary skill.

Or are we ALL wrong (or ignoring your points)?

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#159953 - 05/23/07 12:30 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
keysvocalssax Offline
Member

Registered: 03/12/06
Posts: 845
Loc: Miami FL nov-may/Lakeville CT ...
techniques are developed and refined in all crafts, including music, as a necessity. as time goes by, techniques change and adapt to newer forms and technologies, for better or worse.

something is always lost, something else gained.
from ragtime to early jazz to Armstrong to swing to bebop to Trane and beyond, old disciplines disappear. if someone today can't play stride piano or boogie-woogie but can do Bill Evans and Monk and Oscar Peterson, nobody says he is deficient, as would have been the case 60-80 years ago.
technology today has made music different. no sense saying that certain technical proficiencies are a must anymore when they can be done in some fashion electronically. something is lost, for sure, but something
is gained, too. It's always hard on people who have
invested in certain techniques and technologies when
those are substituted and superceded. fans of the horse
had a lot of good arguments way back when the auto
first appeared on the scene. Armstrong killed off group
improvisation. Parker killed off jazz as dance music.

but thank goodness nobody has killed off music..not that
they aren't trying real hard to do that now...just beats and
babble..has its own artistic merit i guess, but it aint music
to these ears. just rhythm, no melody or harmony is not
my idea of music..but i do like the rhythms of hiphop so
much more than I liked rock or disco..whatever other
merits those musics have, the incessant boring loud
smack of the backbeat can't compare to the sophistication
of hiphop rhythm..

------------------
Miami Mo
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#159954 - 05/23/07 01:49 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
All good points, Mo.

But, especially in light of the fact that this forum is mostly populated by players interested in those older (older than hiphop, anyway!) styles of music, that DO need a certain degree of fluency in any key (to play the bridge, if not the whole piece), unfortunately the transpose button is still not the answer.

The list of standards (not just jazz, but rock, pop and alternative) that have bridges, transitional sections and whole verses in keys other than what you start in is HUGE. You aren't suggesting that the transpose button be adjusted DURING the song, are you? That would be confusing, at best (and a train-wreck at worst!)....

If your goal is to play any tune that you want to, rather than ONLY any tune that doesn't have an out-of-key section, there doesn't seem to be any way around the necessity of coming to grips with different keys than you already know..

Technology has 'advanced' to the point that you don't have to play anything at all to be considered a musician (or so most hiphop DJs would have you believe!), but unless being one of these is a goal of yours, just keep up the study...

As I said, '12 months, 12 keys.... Coincidence? I think NOT!'

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#159955 - 05/23/07 02:42 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
cgiles Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6040
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
Boy, what I wouldn't give to hear you two guys on a live set. Read into that what you may.

chas
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#159956 - 05/23/07 02:53 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
keysvocalssax Offline
Member

Registered: 03/12/06
Posts: 845
Loc: Miami FL nov-may/Lakeville CT ...
a friend of mine who is a much more skilled and trained
kb player than i often sits in on my gigs, and i love him to
play for any singers sitting in, so i get a chance to blow
some sax. recently he has started to ask me how to use
the transpose button, something he never used before.
it seems when a singer calls a tune in a key he is not
accustomed to playing that tune in, he sees the wisdom
of just using the transpose key instead of straining his
brain and his chops to figure out how to do it in another
key. i see nothing wrong with that, in fact i applaud his
open-mindedness and lack of false ego about it.

also re the sections of tunes that don't stay in the key:
it's easier to learn to do that than to learn a full 12-key
technique for every tune. again, i don't knock the benefits
of doing it the traditional way..i wish i could..but i feel
i'm trading off for other benefits. tradeoffs are personal.
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Miami Mo

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#159957 - 05/23/07 08:57 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
Once again, I point out that I DO use the transpose button myself, for that very reason (familiarity with a song in one key, needed in another). But if you can't play in certain keys at all (as some here profess), you can't play certain songs, no matter WHAT key you start in.

That's all I've been trying to say. Transpose button is fine, but there are way too many songs with outside key sections that defy it's use. FAR better to be able to play in any key when needed, than to miss out on so many songs because you can only play a few keys and use the transpose button on simple songs rather than knuckle down and learn each key.....

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#159958 - 05/24/07 06:09 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Starkeeper Offline
Member

Registered: 09/16/02
Posts: 1704
Loc: Toronto
I play in the key of the music I'm reading, because I'm too lazy to transpose it. I use the transpose key only if I'm trying to sing along with the song and the key is too high.
Starkeeper
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#159959 - 05/24/07 08:49 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
squeak_D Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/08/00
Posts: 4662
Loc: West Virginia
The transpose buttons are there for a reason.... Do not fear them. It's quite handy to have. If you can transpose on the fly without the buttons, all the power to you. Still don't make you a better player though.

I knew players who could transpose at the drop of a hat, but their playing skills in general sucked. You could be well versed in music theory and still suck donkey balls when it comes to actually applying it.

Squeak

[This message has been edited by squeak_D (edited 05-24-2007).]
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#159960 - 05/24/07 09:03 AM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
captain Russ Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 6858
Loc: Lexington, Ky, USA
As in other discussions about arranger features, I think the key here is to use the feature, but don't abuse it.

It's my approach to play as much of what comes out of the speakers as I can, and use features to "fill in the blanks".

That works for me, but I'd never say that is the right approach for everyone.

Good luck to all, however you approach the task of playing/performing.


R.

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#159961 - 05/26/07 07:27 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Dnj Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 41882
So what about a guitarist that uses a Capo?

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#159962 - 05/26/07 08:10 PM Re: Who Plays Everything in the Key of "C" ?
Uncle Dave Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 11943
Loc: Philadelphia Pa, USA
The capo is very nessisary to play certain fingerings of chords that use open strings. It's not a cheat, it a facilitator !
Man ... too much wasted energy on these topics for me. Have nice Memorial Day, my Stateside friends !
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Every instrument, every voice, every sound in nature ... these are are all my private tutors ... 24/7 for free, and all I have to do is listen.

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