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Jazz Sax Lessons: Transposing to Bb

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So know here is the B flat
version of my transposition lesson.
The last lesson we dealt with E flat or
same thing would apply, obviously,
if you were playing bari sax.
But now, we're gonna transpose to B flat.
One of our pet peeves as saxophone
players is that we're just about the only
instrument players that have to play
different instruments in different keys.
When a trumpet player plays trumpet and
he switches and doubles on flugelhorn.
It's all in B flat, so
they don't have to transpose two different
times with two different instruments.
And if we double on flute, it's a third
one if we play piano or whatever.
So us, saxophone players are working
extra hard, but you know what?
It takes a little extra brain power
to be us saxophone players, so
it's a good thing.
So I mentioned that for E flat
instruments that the actual transposition
is up a major sixth, but
when we actually look at the music,
we're transposing in our
heads down a minor third.
It's a different octave, it's not
the prime unison as if you were playing.
Again, prime unison means that
you're playing in the same octave,
the same note and the same octave.
So that's a transposition for
E flat, literally up a major six.
But in reality,
we're reading down to minor third.
For a tenor, the literal transposition
is up just a major second.
So, it's much closer.
It's interesting, it becomes
a matter of what you're used to.
When I was in college, I played more
alto to be honest than I did play tenor.
I played a fair amount tenor I
actually played a lot of soprano.
But for whatever reason,
whenever I would go to a jam session or
I'd be reading out of a real book or
whatever, I have my alto with me.
And so even though the E flat
transposition is a wider interval,
it actually became easier,
because it became something I was use to.
In the E flat transposition lesson,
I mentioned the fact that when I was
at the Berkeley School of Music,
we didn't have transposed real books.
There was just a real book,
one fake book that everybody had.
There wasn't the E flat version or the D
flat version that we just had the one.
So it was either a matter of transposing
or I would go back to my dorm room and
pout, because I couldn't
play with my buddies.
So as for transposing this,
the sheet I'm providing you for
this lesson now is the E flat
version of all the things you are.
Intentionally, because number one,
now it's going to be a key
that I'm less familiar with personally and
what we wanna do when we practice.
What I want you to do when you're
practicing is follow the rules of
It's again, like I said on the E flat
part, there's no real big secret.
It's kind of one of those things
where you gain the knowledge of what
the distance of transposition is,what
the intervallic relationship is between
what you're transposing from and
transposing to and simply do it.
So the way to go through that process
is to first, without your horn,
just look at the chart and
know that again,
not only are the notes going up the whole
step, but so is the key signature.
So the key signature of the E flat part of
All The Things You Are is in the key of
F major.
So now, we're gonna go up a whole step and
a whole step above F major is G.
Exactly, very good.
I could hear you from here and so
the same thing is gonna apply on
the chord changes obviously as well.
That's pretty clear in
that you're looking at
the quality of the chords aren't changing,
fortunately, just the note and
so the interval goes up.
So that first chord when we're
transposing to B flat, if we're looking
at this as a concert part, that first
chord would be up to E minor from D minor.
The next chord would be
A minor from G minor and
the next chord would be up
to D7 from C7 and so forth.
So if I were just starting out
transposing and I just know now from
watching this lesson that my
transposition is just up one step,
it would really be smart just to
kinda go for the whole thing and
just say what the new notes are, so
that first new note is the transposed
note for B flat is gonna be G.
The next note is going to be C natural.
The next note is gonna be G.
The next notes are gonna be F sharps,
because we're going up a whole step.
Always be thinking about the key
signature, did we talk about that?
So yeah, we did.
That was my big test for you.
So now, we've gone from the key of F or
one flat up to the key of G or
one sharp and that one sharp is F sharps.
So and that's why these guys,
these Es are now transposed to F sharp and
so forth.
So, and then just play through it nice and
slow and it just happens.
I mentioned also in that E
flat lesson that I have so
often played gigs,
done recording sessions or
whatever and pretty major ones at that.
Where I show up on the session not knowing
what the music was going to be and
the artist says, okay,
here's the tune we're gonna do and
they hand me a concert part.
And if I had trouble transposing,
I'd have trouble doing the record or
the gig or whatever it was.
I wouldn't have pretty major trouble,
So this is really important,
especially at the point where
you should be playing right now.
This is a very important ability
to have in your musicianship.
So make sure that this is something that
you're working on, you're transposing.
So I'm gonna take my tenor,
I take my cap off.
Don't forget that when you're not playing,
you wanna make sure your cap is
always on to protect your reed,
to protect your mouthpiece and
make sure your reed stays nice and wet.
Not to drift too far afield, but
that's always a good reminder to have.
So again,
I'm gonna be playing the key of G and
so as I play through this melody,
I'm gonna play it and transpose it as if
this were a concert part, so.
So that's the process, we begin doing
that slowly, a piece at a time.
But also making sure
that as you're playing,
making sure that you never
get ahead of yourself.
Don't guess that you think
the next note is right.
Make sure you go for the process in
your head that you're transposing and
you know the next note
that's gonna happen.
And if not, if you don't, because if
you guess, you have a 50, 50 chance.
Actually, you have less than a 50,
50 chance,
because there's only 1 right note and
there's 11 other possible wrong ones.
So [LAUGH] you have way less of a 50,
50 chance of getting the right note.
So but the more you do this,
the more it'll become second nature and
it'll be easy.
Again, if you're an alto and
tenor playing doubler.
Yep, you gotta put in
there's no real shortcut.
I think you get an idea of how to
do it and just by that process,
it becomes easier.
If one is a little bit more,
if you're primarily a tenor player or
you're primarily an alto player,
that transposition that you're primarily
used to is gonna become your main one.
But then the whole, just the process
of transposing isn't gonna become,
that much easier.
So hey, I did it.
I learned it really quickly in school and
if I can do it, you can do it for sure.
So if you wanna shoot me
a video of working on this,
it's kinda one of those
in progress things.
But if you have any questions about it,
I was gonna say any other
shortcuts that I can give you, but
it's kinda one of those things.
I gave you the key to the box,
but you have to open the box and
work with what's inside.
So have fun with transposing and
we'll see you on the next lesson.