Posts Tagged ‘transpose’

The Church Pianist: Transposing Hymns: The Easy Method

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Transposing can be easy when moving a half step
higher or lower from the original key.

(This may be common knowledge to most of
you all but here’s to those who’ve never heard.)

First…you’ll need the music in front of you: preferrably the hymnal.

All you have to do is play the same notes, but in a different key.

For example:

A hymn in D major (two sharps) can be changed
to D flat major (five flats).

You’re reading the same notes but having to flat
certain ones instead of sharping them.

A hymn in A major (three sharps) can be changed
to A flat major (four flats).

Notice a numeric pattern? The sum of each key
change equals seven.

Also take note that each key maintains the same
letter name but moves from sharps to flats or vice
versa…depending on which direction you want to

This is one of the easiest ways to transpose!

The Church Pianist: How I Learned to Transpose

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Transposing can be learned by the
church pianist but requires frequent
application to acquire confidence.

I do play by ear but my parents had me start
lessons at a young age so I would know how to
read music. Thank the Lord for that!

As a teenager I began to play for my dad to sing.
Prior to this, I had learned all the major scales
and played comfortably from the hymnal.

My dad is a bass so therefore I had to transpose
everything he sang!

Transposing a melody was easier if I already knew
how to play the song. The notes of the melody would
be the same distance apart but I would have to re-
member what was black.

Here was my thinking process:

Say, for example, the song was in G Major and
my dad wanted it in E flat Major.

E (flat) is three notes lower than G. I would just
think three notes lower for each melody note and
remember to flat the notes: E, A and B.

I always thought by chord numbers to transpose
for the left hand.

For example, the D chord in the key of G is the V (five)
chord because D is the fifth note in the key of G.
So, in the key of E flat….B flat is the fifth note….so
I would use the B flat chord in the new key.

Learning to transpose was a slow process at first but
I steadily grew more comfortable with constant practice.

See, I had no choice…I was my dad’s only pianist at
the time and had to learn.

Being forced into a situation does wonders for the learn-
ing process!

Challenge to the church pianist: Try transposing
a simple melody to several different keys.
Gradually add the left hand once you have a feel
for the melody in the new keys.

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