• Why I Think Every Musician Must Learn How To Transpose

    in Piano

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    In this lesson, I’ll be telling you why I think every musician has to learn how to transpose.

    Attention: I know a lot of people may get me wrong on this. But please, before anything else, make sure you’re done with this lesson and thoroughly have an understanding of what it’s all about.

    We’ll be starting out by reviewing the concept of transposition because from my recent interaction, I figured ouot that a vast majority of musicians don’t know what transposition is all about.

    “What Does It Mean To Transpose?”

    There’s a keyboard function known as the “transpose” and it helps musicians shift from one key to another using + and – buttons. A lot of musicians associate the term transposition with this keyboard function.

    Truth be told, transposition has been a theoretical concept that has been known for several centuries; even before the advent of modern keyboards.

    “Now, Let Me Tell You What Transposition Means…”

    The term transposition literally means TRANSfer of POSITION and it is mental. Once you know and understand this, you’ll never have the common misconception among musicians about the concept of transposition.

    When a musician plays the C major chord:

    …in the key of F major:

    …and is asked to transpose it to the key of B major:

    This simply means that the musician is required to transfer the C major chord from its position in the key of C.

    “That’s Simple To Do If You Have An Idea Of The Number System…”

    The C major chord is the 5-chord in the key of F major and it’s position in the key of B major would also be the 5-chord position.

    The 5-chord in the key of B major is the F# major triad:

    So, the transposition (or the transfer of position) of the C major triad in the key of F major to the key of B major produces the F# major triad.

    “What Aspects Of Music Can Be Transposed?”

    Almost everything is transposable; ranging from notes, to scales, to intervals, to chords, to chord progressions, and songs.

    When you’re moving notes around from key to key, playing the major scale (and other scales) from key to key, moving chords, progressions, and songs from one key to another, you’re transposing.

    Time will fail me to show you different types of transposition — especially tonal and atonal transposition. However, in a lesson in the not-too-distant future, we’ll cover them.

    Why I Think Every Musician Must Learn How To Transpose

    Although it’s possible to transpose electronically using shift buttons you have in digital keyboards, synthesizers, and other modern instruments, there’s still the fundamental meaning of the term transposition and every musician has to learn how to transpose.

    “Music Is Mental”

    Believe it or not, music is mental. The theory of music and all the knowledge about notes, scales, intervals, chords, progressions, songs, etc., are all mental.

    While playing songs, the ideas on a particular key can be transposed to another key or applied just like the everyday “copy and paste” that we do and it takes mental effort to accomplish this.

    Learning how to transpose with your mind develops your ability as a musician versus using shift buttons. So, the more you transpose with your mind, the more you develop your ability as a musician and deepen your understanding of a lot of musical concepts.

    Yes! You may find yourself in performance situations where electronic transposition can save the day. However, because of the mental nature of music, it is highly recommended that you develop your ability to transpose.

    “You Shouldn’t Leave To Shift Buttons What Your Mind Can Handle”

    Mental transposition is not beyond anyone and this is because anyone who can think and associate ideas can transpose.

    A lot of musicians leave to shift buttons what their mind is designed to handle and that’s detrimental to their growth and development because the mental task of transposition is what nourishes and expands the mind of the musician.

    Now you know that mental transposition is ONLY beneficial to you and NOT the keyboard instrument, do you still think it’s a great idea to transpose electronically?

    Yes! You can transpose and your mental ability will keep improving after a while if you don’t give up. So, don’t leave to shift buttons what is designed to help you.

    Final Words

    Now that you’ve understood what transposition is: the mental dimension to it and its numerous benefits, I want to encourage you to do your best to develop the mental ability to transpose.

    This is not to offend or disrespect those who find electronic transposition convenient. The purpose of this lesson is to throw light on the concept of transposition and encourage a lot of people out there to transpose the right way.

    I’ll be looking forward to your response. So, let me know what you think or feel in the comment section.

    All the best!

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    Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku (aka - "Dr. Pokey") is a Nigerian musicologist, pianist, and author. Inspired by his role model (Jermaine Griggs) who has become his mentor, what he started off as teaching musicians in his Aba-Nigeria neighborhood in April 2005 eventually morphed into an international career that has helped hundreds of thousands of musicians all around the world. Onye lives in Dubai and is currently the Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group and the music consultant of the Gospel Music Training Center, all in California, USA.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.



    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 canddy crush soda

    through my friend’s blog I learned a lot and the day my love for the piano gets bigger, you are a motivator for me so much thanks


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