Hello people of Musicians Talk.

I recently started working on my abilities to transpose a piece on the spot. I'm having quite a bit of difficulty though. I can't seem to think the notes in the right spot. My question is how should I be thinking as I transpose?

Should I think "Okay it's a C#, move up to a D#"? Or should I be thinking of the notes on the page elsewhere? Should I actually see that C# as a D#?

EDIT: I forget to ask this as well, should I use a metronome as I practice this? I always use a metronome when I practice, but I am thinking because I am just started to do this, maybe I shouldn't.
Last edited by NoOne0507 at Oct 18, 2009,
just think it as a D#.
It's like learning to read in another cleff, you're always gonna be relating it back to what you already know at the start.

although, if you're going up a tone, it'd be a bit strange to see a Bb and think C.

I have to do it for clarinet alot, and I got used to it. You can too. Just practise all your easy pieces.

although if this is just transposing guitar music up, to still play on guitar, maybe you could think less of what note it is but more on just playing it in a different spot.
I don't like thinking about frets. I never think about them when I play, I just know where to move my fingers.

Thinking it in another clef would probably work, I'm just so engrained with bass clef its a bit hard to move out of it. I just don't want tio learn to do it wrong.
I think of it in notes. If the key moves up 3 steps, all the notes move up three steps. Right?
Transposing is easiest if you know your keys inside out.

If you already know them, then this is how you should be transposing (well this is an easy way):

1) Find what key it's in and transpose the key. So if the original is in C then a major 2nd up would be D. Then think in this key.

2) When you see a note with no accidental in front, think of it's relation to the tonic. Eg. if you see a E think third, if you see a A think 6th. Then play the third/sixth etc. of the new key. Eg. 3rd of D, F#, 6th of D, B.

3)If you see an acidental relate it to a diatonic note. Eg. an F# in C is the 4th sharpened, so find the fourth of D (G) and sharpen it.

It might seem easier just to add a major 2nd every time but once you get a m6 down or aug4 up, this way we be much easier. It is easier if you know your keys because then you don't have to think major third, minor 6th, you can just think 3rd, 6th.

Also, treat it like sightreading (or any reading from notation for that matter) and look ahead. Look at the bar, or half bar, memorise it then look at the next bar/half bar as you play the previous one.

to the edit, it's good to practise without a metronome most of the time, as you want to be able to play in time by yourself when you don't have that click to guide you, but use a metronome when you feel you are getting out of time.
Last edited by 12345abcd3 at Oct 19, 2009,