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Interesting approach and entertaining, well produced video. But I'm not convinced all those cute mnemonic devices will work when sight transposing 16ths notes with lots of accidentals at 180BPM. I mean, when you're sight reading straight, without transposing, do you ever actually stop and think "Every Good Boy Does Fine" every time you read a note? Now add the complexity of a mnemonic for every single note, and that's a massive amount of mental gymnastics to do in real time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Interesting approach and entertaining, well produced video. But I'm not convinced all those cute mnemonic devices will work when sight transposing 16ths notes with lots of accidentals at 180BPM. I mean, when you're sight reading straight, without transposing, do you ever actually stop and think "Every Good Boy Does Fine" every time you read a note? Now add the complexity of a mnemonic for every single note, and that's a massive amount of mental gymnastics to do in real time.
A lot of sax players can't even transpose Three Blind Mice on paper super slow. This gets people well on the road to sight transposing as it gives them the knowledge and confidence with some easy ways of remembering.

This leads to note recognition in a split second very soon after first learning it, and from there with practice, it becomes instinctive. I do have a technique of taking people through the fingering with these mnemonics too to nail it.

There's not a long saying or need to count up like Every Good Boy so it's a way quicker. thought process. Ok, you may not be able to do it as fast right away by diving right into the deep end as you suggest, but then most people new to transposing would - or should - start off simpler and slower.

Feedback from musicians looking at my mnemonics content are amazed when after looking at/reading it just once, they can remember so much of it without even trying to. Learning without trying is the best way and it ain't a hard slog. It can be fun. Even kids get this.
 

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If this is supposed to be serious, then I guess I appreciate all the effort to come up with it. I usually play tenor, so I’m used to transposing for Bb, but I play bari in a community band where the conductor will often ask for concert pitches or scales, and I have to think. So I was a perfect candidate for such a crutch. But honestly those mnemonics do not fit my learning style, and rather than spend the time to learn them, I think I’ll focus on learning the thing they are supposed to keep me from needing to know.

On another “note”, if I ever need to feed a frog I will now remember they like donuts. (Who knew?)
 

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Keilwerth saxes (S/A/T), Selmer clarinets (S/B), Altus Azumi flute
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When I first started having to transpose on alto (many, many years ago), I had already learned my major and minor scales. So my "trick" for transposing from concert key was simply to think of the relative minor (e.g., C major/concert --> A minor/alto). So the OP could also pitch this as a method for memorizing major/relative minor relationships (which would have wider applicability).

However, I agree with @lydian that this seems pretty impractical as a solution for actually reading music in real time.
 

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Wouldn't it be easier to say G becomes a as in a-minor. I mean who wants to memorize all these mnemonics but if you don't know the corresponding minor to your major scale you are kind of lost anyway. So all you need is strip the "minor" and you have your alto transposition. Like in F becomes D
Instead of flat elephants are getting pumped up at circuses ....

While I was typing @mmichel was typing faster
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
But honestly those mnemonics do not fit my learning style, and rather than spend the time to learn them, I think I’ll focus on learning the thing they are supposed to keep me from needing to know.
People have different preferred learning techniques, but you know, most people, even with rubbish memories, do not have to spend a ton of effort to remember these mnemonics as they just go in and are retained. That includes kids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
When I first started having to transpose on alto (many, many years ago), I had already learned my major and minor scales. So my "trick" for transposing from concert key was simply to think of the relative minor (e.g., C major/concert --> A minor/alto). So the OP could also pitch this as a method for memorizing major/relative minor relationships (which would have wider applicability).

However, I agree with @lydian that this seems pretty impractical as a solution for actually reading music in real time.
Yes absolutely it is the relative minor, but a lot of people do not know their theory, or they do not know it well. I have created a separate video for the major/minors relationship as obviously, that is applicable to other musicians too.

People have to start somewhere with learning about transposing. Like everything, you don't just shove them right in the deep end - or shouldn't. I will have follow up videos about applying this with other simple but advanced memory techniques so you get the muscle memory to transpose music fast in real time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
>Wouldn't it be easier to say G becomes a as in a-minor.
Yes and no. if you can remember it easy that is fine, but a lot of people struggle because that way, it is just letters in their brain and very similar to all the other letters. Put pictures and stories behind that letter, and people WILL remember each one easier. Furthermore, some people overthink and they get muddled when playing in a major key that they are transposing to a minor to still play in a major key.

>I mean who wants to memorize all these mnemonics
You don't need to work hard to memorize them. In my experience, a lot of the knowledge is retained even without trying. That's the beauty of it. It is natural learning.

>but if you don't know the corresponding minor to your major scale you are kind of lost anyway.
You won't be lost if you don't know theory or the scales with these. Ideally, you should know theory but a hell a lot of people don't know it well and don't really want to learn much. Not until they become jazzers anyway. Some even with the theory in their minds struggle recalling quickly enough and applying it to their fingers.
 

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Yes and no. if you can remember it easy that is fine, but a lot of people struggle because that way, it is just letters in their brain and very similar to all the other letters. Put pictures and stories behind that letter, and people WILL remember each one easier. Furthermore, some people overthink and they get muddled when playing in a major key that they are transposing to a minor to still play in a major key.



You don't need to work hard to memorize them. In my experience, a lot of the knowledge is retained even without trying. That's the beauty of it. It is natural learning.



You won't be lost if you don't know theory or the scales with these. Ideally, you should know theory but a hell a lot of people don't know it well and don't really want to learn much. Not until they become jazzers anyway. Some even with the theory in their minds struggle recalling quickly enough and applying it to their fingers.
I don't know too many musicians who have not at least dabbled a bit on guitar or piano and if you did that, the translation from Major to minor becomes pretty much second nature, so there is not really anything to memorize. If you don't know that am corresponds to C and em to G then you are missing out in the very basics and it probably won't matter whether you can transpose or not.

But yes, there will always be those who overthink problems and there are others who learn naturally. But that brings us back to the old discussion of why we should even learn notes or keys? And the old answer that we want to find an easy way to communicate to others what we are doing. And if we are at a level where we don't want to communicate, and just play things our way, then we don't need to transpose in the first place.

Don't get me wrong, the video was very cute as in a solution looking for a problem :rolleyes:
 

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Abstract symbolic systems do not help me play music. I've learned just enough theory to write a chord chart or communicate ideas to fellow musicians, but in the privacy of my own mind I perceive tones as pure sound (plus synesthetic quasi-visual impressions).

To me, translating a tone into a step of a scale, or a named pitch, feels like a cumbersome extraneous task -- as if one were required to assign a serial number to each noodle before slurping down a plate of spaghetti. Altho I play Bb & Eb saxes & gig with C-instrument players, I'm actually key-agnostic. Start playing a tune & I'll join in without needing to know the key, the title, or even how the melody goes. I get all that info contextually in real time, as pure sound.

It works for me, I don't get in people's faces about it, & 99.9% of the time nobody kicks me off the bandstand. Some other players are wired like this too -- perhaps you even know a few without realizing it. We don't ask for special accommodation. In fact, it's we who are accommodating the rest of you.
 

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Abstract symbolic systems do not help me play music. I've learned just enough theory to write a chord chart or communicate ideas to fellow musicians, but in the privacy of my own mind I perceive tones as pure sound (plus synesthetic quasi-visual impressions).

To me, translating a tone into a step of a scale, or a named pitch, feels like a cumbersome extraneous task -- as if one were required to assign a serial number to each noodle before slurping down a plate of spaghetti. Altho I play Bb & Eb saxes & gig with C-instrument players, I'm actually key-agnostic. Start playing a tune & I'll join in without needing to know the key, the title, or even how the melody goes. I get all that info contextually in real time, as pure sound.

It works for me, I don't get in people's faces about it, & 99.9% of the time nobody kicks me off the bandstand. Some other players are wired like this too -- perhaps you even know a few without realizing it. We don't ask for special accommodation. In fact, it's we who are accommodating the rest of you.
The probably best piano / keyboard player in the area here told me a few months ago that he can't read sheet music at all. I was, er, surprised to say the least.

Here is a clip from one of his solo performances from a few years ago at The Piano Warehouse in COS

 

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The probably best piano / keyboard player in the area here told me a few months ago that he can't read sheet music at all. I was, er, surprised to say the least.

Here is a clip from one of his solo performances from a few years ago at The Piano Warehouse in COS

Nice.

That reminds me of someone I knew 15 years ago: he was a professional pianist and organ player (organ with pipes) and had retired from that to sell pianos and keyboards in a music shop, which is where I met him. After many months I learned he could not read music at all - he said he was dyslexic.

One day I mentioned to him that my coworkers and I went to lunch where they had a jukebox and played 60’s tunes like Light My Fire. At the mention of that, he went over to a piano, tapped out a few notes here and there, and then proceeded to give me a flawless solo of the song for the next several minutes. It was astounding. I was amazed that at the mere mention of it, he could recall and play something on the spot that he probably hadn’t played in decades. I asked him how he did it and the only thing he said was “patterns - it’s all patterns.”
 
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Nice.

That reminds me of someone I knew 15 years ago: he was a professional pianist and organ player (organ with pipes) and had retired from that to sell pianos and keyboards in a music shop, which is where I met him. After many months I learned he could not read music at all - he said he was dyslexic.

One day I mentioned to him that my coworkers and I went to lunch where they had a jukebox and played 60’s tunes like Light My Fire. At the mention of that, he went over to a piano, tapped out a few notes here and there, and then proceeded to give me a flawless solo of the song for the next several minutes. It was astounding. I was amazed that at the mere mention of it, he could recall and play something on the spot that he probably hadn’t played in decades. I asked him how he did it and the only thing he said was “patterns - it’s all patterns.”
My dad was like that, he had a severe case of polio at the age of 5 and was paralyzed on his left side from the waist down so he concentrated on work and music. He could not read sheet music at all but he made a living during school and grad school playing piano in the silent movie theaters. I remember one day playing a cassette in the car with "Beggar's Opera's" version of MacArthur's Park and we got back home and he sat down at the piano and and just played it after listening to it once.
Thank god, I got some of his genes :)
 

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It would take me longer to memorize the mnemonics than it would to just think a minor third down.
 
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