Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
Joined
·
5,528 Posts
Yep,

Just take the music down 3 half-steps. And that takes a concert C Major down to A Major.

Here's a cut and paste from my cheat sheet:

Saxophone
Transpose C to Bb instrument = Up 2 half steps or down 10
Transpose C to Eb instrument = Up 9 half steps or down 3
Transpose Bb to Eb instrument = Up 7 half steps or down 5

Bass Clef for Bari Sax = Pretend the bass clef music is written in treble clef and adds three sharps to the key signature.

French Horn
Transpose C to F instrument = Up 7 half steps or down 5

Alto Flute
Transpose C to G instrument = Up 5 half steps or down 7
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
From the concert key to alto (or bari) is up a major sixth or down a minor third (it's the same interval), so Concert F Minor is the alto's D Minor, & Concert D Minor is the alto's B Minor
 

·
The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum
Joined
·
27,650 Posts
Just to be clear, if you are transposing the pitches of a melody (not just getting the name of the key), here's the difference between counting down or counting up.

- - Counting down is quicker for some and it gives you the correct NAME of the note. But this is not the same pitch as the concert pitch from which you are transposing.
- - Counting up is slower for some, but it not only gives you the correct name of the note, it gives you the correct PITCH that is the same as the original concert pitch.

The Eb alto SOUNDS a major sixth up from the original concert pitch.

The Bari is a bit different if you are writing it out. You transpose the Bari up a major sixth from the original concert pitch but then you add another octave. So a concert second-space C in the bass clef written out for Bari, is a treble clef second space A.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
Joined
·
5,528 Posts
Yep,

F minor goes down three half-steps to D minor. For us country folks, take your four flats. Add ya' three sharps that cancel out three of the flats and your left with one flat. The old hands say your then playin' minor with one flat. And that's D minor among "edumacated folk".

PS: Read what Gary wrote. He knows how to do it correctly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
remember: a major sixth up is the sixth step of the major scale starting on a given note so in the case of C, that's:

C-D-E-F-G-A
(1-2-3-4-5-6)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
or you could count nine half-steps, but I think you're better off learning your major scales and going to the sixth scale degree.
I'll show you in a slightly more complex key: D Major:

D-E-F#-G-A-B
(1-2-3 - 4-5-6)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
400 Posts
for a bit more clarity so if i go from C i would count up 6 notes C#,D,D#,E,F,F# Up to an F# correct?
Nope, if you are counting up by every note (1/2 steps) it is 9 half steps (up to the A), it is up a 6th, but 6th means the 6th note in the key, counting the note you are on. To figure out the new key signature, just add 3 sharps to the concert key signature (sharps cancel flats). Conversely, to transpose from a part written in Eb, add 3 flats to the key signature. I find it easier to use Musescore to do my transposing for me, it only takes a few minutes to enter the melody if you can't find it in an electronic format. (sorry, it won't read a pdf) But it is important to know in case you have to play with other musicians and nobody has a transposed sheet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
it's a really important skill to develop and I would recommend that you work at it instead of having a piece of software do that work for you. As tough as it might be at first, it becomes manageable, & you'll be glad you spent the time to learn it.
 

·
SOTW Administrator
Joined
·
26,206 Posts
Hey bluenotes is it the same if it a Minor scale? or is this going to throw another wrench into it?
It's a major 6/minor 3rd and adding three sharps, regardless of the scale.

For example, A (natural) minor has no sharps or flats. The correct transposition for alto sax would be to F# minor, which has three sharps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
ah! this is a slightly more complex question, since there's no such thing as just "a minor scale." if the minor scale has a b6 compared with its parallel major (i.e. harmonic/natural/descending melodic minor), you have to move it up a half-step. But, when you're transposing, think about pitches, not tonalities. Even if what you're trying to do is figure out what a concert A Minor scale is on your horn, pretend it's major for a minute and figure out what pitch the scale begins/ends on.

A-B-C#-D-E-F#
(1-2-3 - 4-5-6)

It's ALWAYS nine half-steps up (or three half-steps down).
Eventually, you'll hear other musicians talk about pitches and you'll transpose on the spot in your head. When I hear pianists/guitarists/bassists/whateverists talk about a C, I'm hearing them talk about an A. You'll get there. Stick with it.


Good luck!!
 

·
Forum Contributor 2017
Joined
·
1,217 Posts
The way I conceptualize it: Concert to Tenor: go one full interval up. Concert to Alto: go one and a half full intervals down, then up an octave. Tenor to alto: go two and a half full intervals down, then up an octave. This keeps the counting to a minimum.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
No problem. Also, not to be a stickler, but the definition of "interval" is "any distance between two pitches." As such, intervals come in all sizes. The standardized unit of measure Fred refers to as an interval is called a "step."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
porc32, just look at enviroguy's cheatsheet on the first response... it doesn't need to get any more complicated than that. Don't even deal with the large intervals there. Count down 3 semi-tones on the piano note to arrive at the same key for your alto.

so from C, B is one semi-tone, Bb is 2 semi-tones, A is 3 semi-tones.
It's that simple... don't bother with going up 6 etc AND it's the same in minor too.

To answer your other question:
Counting the notes is the exact same as counting the key - when you are on C, you're in the key of C.
When you count down 3 semi-tones to A, you are now in the key of A.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top