Melodeon.net Forums

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Welcome to the new melodeon.net forum

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Transcription advice needed...  (Read 425 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Roger Hare

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 534
  • Urmston, Lancs., U.K.
Transcription advice needed...
« on: February 24, 2020, 07:00:43 AM »

I guess this is the right place to post this...

I'm currently compiling a small 'personal tune book' of tunes which appeal to me.
Largely, I'm doing this by trawling through old ABC files listening to the tunes (I use
EasyABC to do this). Basically, I'm looking at tunes in the keys of G and D. However,
I am finding quite a few tunes in keys which are not 'easy' to transfer direct to G/D
concertina (my main instrument).

Question(s):
  • Am I 'allowed' to transpose to 'easier' keys?
  • Is there a general approach to this which says "If the tune to be transposed is in C,
    transpose it to (say) D by default", or are there other more subtle 'rules' which decide
    which is the best key to transpose into?

Thank you.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 07:34:27 AM by Roger Hare »
Logged
Roger Hare, Urmston, Lancs., U.K. (rjhare at outlook dot com)   Manchester Morris Men   Beech Band
Music Packages (ABC/PDF/MIDI)    Thompson's Compleat Tutor for Fife (c.1765)

Steve_freereeder

  • Grumpy old git (sometimes)
  • Content Manager
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6706
  • MAD is inevitable. Keep Calm and Carry On
    • Lizzie Dripping
Re: Transcription advice needed...
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2020, 07:58:33 AM »

Am I 'allowed' to transpose to 'easier' keys?

Yes of course, especially if the tune is out there in the public domain. There may be a few purists who might occasionally harrumph, but if by transposing the tune into a playable key for you then go ahead - it means the tune gets played rather than not.

The only real objection I know about is from composer and musician Dave Shepherd of Blowzabella. He wrote the tune William Taylor's Table Top Hornpipe in the key of G minor and objects to D/G melodeon players playing it in E minor (although the genie is now out of the bottle, as they say). There was a discussion about the transcription of this tune previously on this forum here.

Quote
Is there a general approach to this which says "If the tune to be transposed is in C, transpose it to (say) D by default", or are there other more subtle 'rules' which decide which is the best key to transpose into?

At first it might seem that transposing from C into D is a logical choice and sometimes it is, but it also depends on the instrument you are playing. A tune in C sometimes fits better transposed into G and played centred on the G-row of a D/G melodeon or G/D anglo concertina. You generally have more choice of chords and maybe the fingering is more friendly too.

Try it both ways: in D and in G, and see which you like best.
Logged
Steve
Sheffield, UK.
www.lizziedripping.org.uk

Thrupenny Bit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5137
  • happily squeezing away in Devon
Re: Transcription advice needed...
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2020, 08:22:21 AM »

I often will choose to make two copies of a tune and transpose one to D and the other to G to see how they fit on the stave.
I.e. to make sure they sit where I have notes on the melodeon, not too high and not below low G.

As Steve says, there are often easy jumps, a tune in C often easily sits in D or F goes to up to G etc. but in my book you can do what you want in order to play it.
Q
« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 08:44:35 AM by Thrupenny Bit »
Logged
Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Marje

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 484
Re: Transcription advice needed...
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2020, 08:29:48 AM »

It's interesting that this question arises at all. When it comes to folk and traditional songs,  singers need to sing in a key that is comfortable for their voices, and have no qualms at all about changing the key (even mid-song, sometimes!) . Even when the song has a known, living composer, there is not normally any attempt to stick to the original key.  I have noted my preferred keys for each song but may nudge them up or down a tone or two, depending on the state of my voice and whether there is to be any accompaniment.

With tunes, the original key may be impossible to determine, and even if we look at the earliest written version of a tune, it will probably have been scored for the instrument(s) favoured at that time or by that scribe. Pipe tunes, fiddle tunes, tunes for early instruments, tunes for brass, all have their favoured keys.  Even piano or accordion will prefer keys without too many black notes, while whistles and pipes have a limited range and need to set the tune to fit.  I can see nothing wrong at all with melodeon players playing or writing down a tune in the keys suitable for their instrument (which are also very accessible keys for many other instruments). 
Logged
Marje

Julian S

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 780
  • D/G Pastourelle 2, Dony, Pokerwork, G/C Pariselle
Re: Transcription advice needed...
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2020, 09:03:00 AM »

Being pretty much a musical ignoramus, I do wonder whether some tunes just sound better in one key or another, and in transcribing some characteristics of the tune can change. It's not just the melody, but the chord options etc. Doubtless someone will enlighten me !
I certainly have been guilty of playing William Taylor's as a galumphing border morris musician - it's not just the wrong notes, it's the overall style of the tune which has morphed, for better - or certainly worse I suspect in the view of the composer. And so often it's those tricky passages of tunes which really make the difference and simplifying to make it work on our instrument (or just easier to play) is tempting but problematic. However I also argue with myself that the overall result is the goal, not the stringent adherence to the dots or recording (which may themselves be different from the original version, in whatever key or arrangement).
I haven't listened to Mr Shepherds playing of WTTH of late, but I also wonder how much his own version might have changed over the years. After all once a tune is composed it escapes control and who knows where it will end up.
And thanks Steve for the link to the'proper' version of WTTH. The problem will be getting other people to play it as such in session... ::)

J
Logged
Old Bones Dance Band, Blists Hill Morris Gang

Thrupenny Bit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5137
  • happily squeezing away in Devon
Re: Transcription advice needed...
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2020, 09:18:14 AM »

I am happy to tweak the notes to enable me to play it on my melodeon, but do try to keep the style and essence of the tune.
I think that's important.
I realise the tune doesn't mind, but hate it when a tune gets mangled and taken totally out of context from its' original setting.
....but others will disagree I'm sure!
Q
Logged
Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Roger Hare

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 534
  • Urmston, Lancs., U.K.
Re: Transcription advice needed...
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2020, 09:27:27 AM »

Folks, thank you for those speedy and insightful replies!

...There may be a few purists who might occasionally harrumph, but if by transposing the tune into a playable key
for you then go ahead - it means the tune gets played rather than not.

...There was a discussion about the transcription of this tune previously on this forum here.

...At first it might seem that transposing from C into D is a logical choice and sometimes it is, but it also depends
on the instrument you are playing. A tune in C sometimes fits better transposed into G and played centred on the
G-row of a D/G melodeon or G/D anglo concertina. You generally have more choice of chords and maybe the
fingering is more friendly too.

Try it both ways: in D and in G, and see which you like best.

Yup! I think it's good that tunes get played...

That's an interesting thread - I will look at that tune (which I hdn't come across before) with a view to trying it - in
E-minor...

You then put your finger on exactly the practical point which was bothering me - will it be more practicable to play
the bugger in G or D. I do intend to try both, as you (and ThruppenyBit) suggest...

It's interesting that this question arises at all...singers need to sing in a key that is comfortable for their voices, and
have no qualms at all about changing the key (even mid-song, sometimes!)...

...I can see nothing wrong at all with melodeon players playing or writing down a tune in the keys suitable for their
instrument (which are also very accessible keys for many other instruments).

I guess I'm talking about 'tunes' rather than 'songs', but yes. When singers do that, I call that 'virtuosity'...

Aye, I'm mainly a 'tina player, but I know a man who transposed a lot of Playford tunes for the D/G melodeon, and
published a book of 'em - they said it couldn't be done...

Being pretty much a musical ignoramus, I do wonder whether some tunes just sound better in one key or another,
and in transcribing some characteristics of the tune can change. It's not just the melody, but the chord options etc.
Doubtless someone will enlighten me !

...a galumphing border morris musician...

Moi aussi! It was just that sort of concern which prompted the question in the first place...

Incidentally, I play with a 'conventional' Morris side, but I just love the 'galumphing' Border style.

Thank you all for those very helpful comments - I'm now a much happier 🐇 than I was three hours ago...
« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 09:59:48 AM by Roger Hare »
Logged
Roger Hare, Urmston, Lancs., U.K. (rjhare at outlook dot com)   Manchester Morris Men   Beech Band
Music Packages (ABC/PDF/MIDI)    Thompson's Compleat Tutor for Fife (c.1765)

Thrupenny Bit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5137
  • happily squeezing away in Devon
Re: Transcription advice needed...
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2020, 09:44:24 AM »

I tend to go to abcexplorer as my preferred abc editor, and find transposing so easy.
As said I copy and paste it three times: keep an original in case I make an error, one for a D version and one for G and see how it all fits. I find it good fun and it means a previously unplayable tune gets played.
Q
Logged
Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Steve_freereeder

  • Grumpy old git (sometimes)
  • Content Manager
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6706
  • MAD is inevitable. Keep Calm and Carry On
    • Lizzie Dripping
Re: Transcription advice needed...
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2020, 10:03:03 AM »

...but I know a man who transposed a lot of Playford tunes for the D/G melodeon, and
published a book of 'em - they said it couldn't be done...
Indeed - Tony Battilana's book 'Push Pull Playford' - and very good it is too. I often refer to it.  (:)
Logged
Steve
Sheffield, UK.
www.lizziedripping.org.uk

Roger Hare

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 534
  • Urmston, Lancs., U.K.
Re: Transcription advice needed...
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2020, 10:05:50 AM »

...but I know a man who transposed a lot of Playford tunes for the D/G melodeon, and
published a book of 'em - they said it couldn't be done...
Indeed - Tony Battilana's book 'Push Pull Playford' - and very good it is too. I often refer to it.  (:)
Spotted! I'll tell him you said so on Thursday!
Logged
Roger Hare, Urmston, Lancs., U.K. (rjhare at outlook dot com)   Manchester Morris Men   Beech Band
Music Packages (ABC/PDF/MIDI)    Thompson's Compleat Tutor for Fife (c.1765)

Gary Chapin

  • L'Accordéonaire
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1507
  • Melodeons are good for humans.
    • l'Accordéonaire blog
Re: Transcription advice needed...
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2020, 10:15:31 AM »

I tend to transpose everything to C or G for easier reading, and then they become "inside row" or "outside row" tunes depending on what sounds good to me for chords. The pitch that emerges depends on the box of the moment.
Logged
Read the l'Accordéonaire French music blog:
http://accordeonaire.com/

oggiesnr

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 986
  • Dino BPII, Alfred Arnold Bandoneon, Loffet G/C
Re: Transcription advice needed...
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2020, 04:20:11 PM »

In his tune book John Kirkpatrick often gives two versions of a tune, the first as played on the accompanying CD (often in C if played on a concertina) and the second in a "session friendly key" usually G or D. I have assorted boxes in various keys but, when playing by myself, rarely move from the basic fingering I've learnt and just play the tune in whatever key the box is in.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
 


Melodeon.net - (c) Theo Gibb; Clive Williams 2010. The access and use of this website and forum featuring these terms and conditions constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal