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Question on transposing

andrewjohnsson40

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People have said that it is much easier to transpose on a CBA than on a PA. I find this statement to be really wrong.
I asked a CBA player to transpose a song from C into G and it wasn't easy for him. This guy is very good at playing the CBA.
I find that the "CBA is easier" to be a lie. It can be easier for those who are used to the CBA and never liked the PA.
I find that transposing is not that difficult on the piano. Most people are not taught how the patterns work on a piano so they often fail at transposing or never become good at it. This is my opinion. I find that most people who play the CBA are older people. It's true here I live. They just played the CBA because it was more popular in the old days.
Why do nearly all the people (even PA players) on this forum say that the CBA is easier? Isn't it just that PA players need to focus a little extra on finding the patterns? I have had difficulties with transpoing but when I did focus on seeing the patterns in the music and how different keys work transposing became much easier.
Are pianists and PA players thinking too much in keys rather than searching for the patterns? I think this is hat I do but shouldn't. What do you think?
 

Glug

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I'm fairly sure the theory with CBA is that you just start the tune on a different button (both hands) - the fingering remains exactly the same.
That's exactly the same as starting to play PA bass at a different button.

I play PA (badly) but that does sound easier to do.
 

donn

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The theory is qualified. You get free transposition IF your (button)board has enough rows, and the buttons you use for the tune are confined to a narrow enough range of them, that you can reach the destination key. So ...

- If you religiously play on 3 adjacent rows only, and you have 5 rows, then any key is at hand.

- In any case, if the transposition is of some number of minor thirds, it doesn't need extra rows. If your CBA player had transposed from C to A, that would have been a simple matter of starting one button higher (physical) / lower (pitch), no problem as long as one doesn't run off the end.

- If like me you tend to use all four of the rows you have, transposing will come with some spatial patterns that you're used to, and some that you aren't. "Everyone's different", that may naturally be more of a challenge for some than others.
 

andrewjohnsson40

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- If like me you tend to use all four of the rows you have, transposing will come with some spatial patterns that you're used to, and some that you aren't. "Everyone's different", that may naturally be more of a challenge for some than others.
This is why I will never accept that CBA is easier. CBA requires a lot of practice.
 

losthobos

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Personally i wouldn't worry about what other people are playing that's their choice...
Better get on sorting your own struggles out rather than measuring others... πŸ˜‰
All instruments have strengths and weaknesses... Play to the strengths of your own....
I could wind myself up that i can't do glissandos on cba, or drop with gravity from flat3rd to 3rd as on a piano.... Or a b griff cba for that matter.... So I'll just do my best with what i have.. A c system cba...
And everything requires practice... You don't wanna practice then best buy a CD player..... πŸ˜‰
 

andrewjohnsson40

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Personally i wouldn't worry about what other people are playing that's their choice...
Better get on sorting your own struggles out rather than measuring others... πŸ˜‰
All instruments have strengths and weaknesses... Play to the strengths of your own....
I could wind myself up that i can't do glissandos on cba, or drop with gravity from flat3rd to 3rd as on a piano.... Or a b griff cba for that matter.... So I'll just do my best with what i have.. A c system cba...
I was adressing the issue of transposition on the PA.
I was actuallt trying to to say that transposition on a PA does not have to be difficult at all.
 

JeffJetton

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Are pianists and PA players thinking too much in keys rather than searching for the patterns?

Not all, but I'd imagine a lot of them do, yeah.

In the classical tradition, at least (regardless of instrument), I feel like there's a lot of focus on learning/playing the notes, and less (or no) emphasis on understanding the context of the notes, how/why they fit into things, what if any pattern might be going on, etc.

Which is too bad, because digging into a tune's conceptual framework like that not only helps you transpose, but also is an aid to memorization and opens the doorway to improvisation and picking out stuff by ear.
 

debra

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That transposing music on CBA is easy is indeed "the theory". But it depends on two major factors: 1) the player should know how to play the tune using only 3 rows and 2) the player should not become confused by hearing the transposed song.
In case you doubt what 2) means, it has to do with "absolute pitch". I once played accompaniment for a choir and they wanted me to transpose the song up a bit. I was playing on a keyboard or digital piano (they supplied) and someone offered to just turn a knob to transpose the whole keyboard. I had to refuse because when C no longer sounds like C I get confused completely. I can transpose the song in my head and just play it in a different key, but I cannot pretend that a note is not what I hear...
 

pentaprism

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What do you think?
I think I just try my best to play whatever I'm currently playing. I also (am learning how to) play other instruments besides CB accordion.

I don't care how other instruments are played; I care even less about how other people play other instruments.

Each different instrument is different. Each different player is different even more.

I switched from PA to CBA because (1) I can't learn both of them at the same time, (2) CBA is easier to understand (more "logical" if you will) for me, and (3) CBA is more compact (I have 3 octaves with my FR-1Xb vs 2 octaves with an FR-1X). Other people may have different reasons to go with PA or with CBA. I don't argue about personal choices.
 

Ventura

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because when C no longer sounds like C I get confused completely. I can transpose the song in my head and just play it in a different key, but I cannot pretend that a note is not what I hear...
totally agree !

i cannot use a transpose function and once argued with some Roland people
who were pushing their "supernatural" philosophy by pressing this point

of course i cannot use Cruise Control in my car either because it "feels" so strange ...
 

pentaprism

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I play woodwinds, so of course I'm used to the whole idea.
My hat off to you, donn, and to all woodwind players. When I was playing guitar in for a choir, the man next to me played clarinet. It was a small amateur choir so we had to transpose a lot. I always had trouble transposing on the fly and he kept playing as if nothing had happened.
 

oldbayan

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It's not necessarily "easier" to transpose on a CBA than on a PA, it's different, and possibly a bit more intuitive but it depends where you play on the keyboard! On a 3-row CBA it can be a pain.
 

donn

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I didn't mean to say that I have any easy time with "real" transposition, the point was just that woodwind music assumes a "transposing instrument" - so if the music says "A" you might hear a Bb come out of your instrument (clarinet, tenor sax), C (alto sax) or A (flute, oboe.) Trumpet/cornet and French horn likewise.

I also used to play recorders, and now play tuba, instruments that play to concert pitch (at least in the US) regardless of the key of instrument. That's really confusing to some people with musical background in band - it's hard for them to separate those two notions, but particularly brass instruments really do have an (tonal) key, whether or not their parts are written to that (transposition) key. Woodwinds are less intrinsically tied to a tonal key - it's more a question of standard fingerings, so it holds up until you get to something like the bassoon that doesn't relate much to that standard (to the extent it does, I'd say it's in "F"), or the clarinet family where the two main registers are in different keys.

In addition to the tuba, I learned to play lower woodwinds (clarinet and saxophone family) in concert pitch bass clef just because that's very useful, but these days the only thing I wrestle with is Bb and Eb tubas. In a sense that's like transposition, but it's sort of the inverse - the notes are the same, I just have use different valve combinations depending on the tuba.
 

Giovanni

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Thank you Paul De Bra and Ventura ...You have cheered me up. I thought i was the only one who struggled playing my Acoustic midi accordion c/w accomps module and using the transpose button to change the Key ...obviously in this situation ...you must not play the acoustic accordion because it will play out of tune with the module .
I certainly do not make any claim to have perfect pitch ..but for example a tune such as "you raise me up" has 3 key changes which really make the tune ! starting in D then E and finally F a friend said you only need to learn it in the Key of D and incorporate the key transpose changes via the module registration buttons..and keep bellows closed . Easy .......I don't think so , because my inbuilt hearing seems to know immediately that the keyboard note I'm playing is not the note that the keyboard should be playing ...all very confusing .......Solution easy to learn the 3 key changes ..... strangely ...however I have no problem driving my car on cruise control .......ha ha ha ........
 

Chrisrayner

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One man’s meat.... I like the CBA, but if you prefer the PA bully for you. There are no absolutes in life, I find, least of all in music.
 

TomBR

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It's not necessarily "easier" to transpose on a CBA than on a PA, it's different, and possibly a bit more intuitive but it depends where you play on the keyboard! On a 3-row CBA it can be a pain.
Three fingering patterns that cover all 12 keys - I'm not expecting a lot of sympathy from players of other instruments! ;)
 

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