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#2171294 - 10/24/13 01:58 PM Transpose or transpose button?
RonL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 181
Just curious...doing a bunch of gigs with a female vocalist so the keys are all strange wondering what the consensus is.

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Piano & Music Accessories
#2171322 - 10/24/13 02:59 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 414
Loc: California
Depends on time constraints. If you can't learn all the needed keys in time to work with her, then obviously the transpose button.
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Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/

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#2171478 - 10/24/13 08:10 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 662
Loc: Leicester, UK
RonL,

Just depends if you want the gig to be a learning experience (or not) and if you have a bass player who will be watching your LH.

There's nothing wrong with using the transpose button especially if you're the only instrument accompanying the vocalist. Convenience and ease ARE good things! On the other hand, some prefer to learn the tunes in different keys because it's good skill and can teach you lot in the doing of it. When you transpose you'll generally hear things a little differently and course your fingers will definitely feel the difference if they're used to the tune in the original key

It comes down to learning is learning and gig survival (and making the vocalist comfortable) is always the prime directive!

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#2171705 - 10/25/13 08:26 AM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3200
Loc: Virginia, USA
I lean towards the transpose button, because this is a gig, and gigs are about pleasing the customer rather than learning new skills or showing off.

But I can see it both ways.
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#2171744 - 10/25/13 10:17 AM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
foster12 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/04/13
Posts: 99
Loc: Italy
In my opinion trasposing exercises are very powerful!

For example I like very much "Stardust" H.Carmichael in Db instead in Cmaj maj.

I think anyway that trasposing a Chopin Etude or a Jelly Roll Morton's Stride Piece, is very time expensive and (perhaps) tends to mechanize the trasposition.

Instead, learning trasposition at first in a little piece (like Misty or Over the Rainbow), allow you to catch the meaning of all kind of armony and chords logic...

Enrico
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#2175558 - 11/01/13 08:23 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
There is different schools of thoughts on this. Some of my teachers have told me you need to learn around 500 standards and be able to play in any keys, but other teachers can't really do that either. Some of my teachers would be furious at the thought of using sheet music in vocalist's key, let alone using the transpose button. They think you are not really doing your job as a musician unless you learn all those new songs in singer's key by ear. Of course that may be extreme, but then again, they became A-list players because they are willing to do the homework.

Then again, we don't really live in a time where musicians get the chance to play standard gigs 5 nights a week, which is how these people learned to do that. If you are new to accompanying vocalist, learning 2 sets of music by ear, or learning it in their key is pretty daunting task.

So it really depends on your expectations, your goals as a musician and what kind of work you want to be getting.

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#2176168 - 11/02/13 09:48 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: etcetra]
Hidden son of Teddy Wilson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/09
Posts: 111
Originally Posted By: etcetra
There is different schools of thoughts on this. Some of my teachers have told me you need to learn around 500 standards and be able to play in any keys, but other teachers can't really do that either. Some of my teachers would be furious at the thought of using sheet music in vocalist's key, let alone using the transpose button. They think you are not really doing your job as a musician unless you learn all those new songs in singer's key by ear. Of course that may be extreme, but then again, they became A-list players because they are willing to do the homework.


That, above, is absolutely what we should be striving for. But in the meantime you have to do the gig. So, it's ok to read lead sheets for those songs you don't know so well, and it's ok to have them in the singer's key, as long as you keep working at memorizing and transposing them. The idea is that six months from now, you should be able to play them from memory in different keys. For that you have to have discipline, work at it systematically, and once you've got a song memorized, you never take the sheet to your gig again.

The good news is, the more you do it the easier it gets.

The transpose button, meh. First of all it often sounds weird because it forces chords inversions that don't sound good. Also, what do you do if your next gig has an acoustic piano? (Yeah, there are still some of those around for some reason...)

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#2176178 - 11/02/13 09:58 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: Hidden son of Teddy Wilson]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Originally Posted By: Hidden son of Teddy Wilson

That, above, is absolutely what we should be striving for. But in the meantime you have to do the gig. So, it's ok to read lead sheets for those songs you don't know so well, and it's ok to have them in the singer's key, as long as you keep working at memorizing and transposing them.


A friend of mine had a lesson with a really well known jazz musician in the LA area. He told my friend the first lesson is free but he will have to bring a real book. The first thing he did was tear his real book apart and told him never to use it again. For him, if you have to rely on sheets, then you don't know the tune well enough and you are not ready to take the gig in the first place.

Of course that is pretty extreme case... but again, he is at the top of the food chain for a reason. Again, it really depends on what your expectations are and how much you are willing to practice for it. Doing it this way may help you learn quicker in the long run, bu it takes a lot of investment up front.


Edited by etcetra (11/02/13 10:00 PM)

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#2176623 - 11/03/13 07:14 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: etcetra]
Hidden son of Teddy Wilson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/09
Posts: 111
Originally Posted By: etcetra

The first thing he did was tear his real book apart and told him never to use it again.


Well there you go... that sounds about right!! Ha ha.
I suppose he'd also destroy any "transpose button" with a flame thrower.

I read this in some book: a musician in Art Blakey's band was playing a tune from a lead sheet. Art said out loud: "oh, Xxx, he's not playing, he's reading"

That said, as I noted earlier, you still have to get through the gig. But everytime you're reading something, you should know in the back of your mind, that it's WICKED AND WRONG!


Edited by Hidden son of Teddy Wilson (11/03/13 07:19 PM)
Edit Reason: made it really pretty

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#2176662 - 11/03/13 09:48 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
RonL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 181
Well got through the gig with the transpose button, though I did start one tune in the wrong key because I forgot to turn the transpose off, opps.

Perhaps I should start another thread because I would be interested to hear opinions on learning sings in all keys, seems excessive to me.

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#2178009 - 11/06/13 01:42 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 414
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: RonL

Perhaps I should start another thread because I would be interested to hear opinions on learning sings in all keys, seems excessive to me.


If you mean learning *every* song in all keys, then yeah that's excessive. (Better to learn in the standard key and a couple of related keys)

But if you mean should you be proficient in all 12 keys, then yes this is the correct goal to have.
_________________________
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#2178158 - 11/06/13 07:26 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 662
Loc: Leicester, UK
Ron,

The question of how many keys to learn something in is always lurking about. So Michael's comment to 12-key proficiency is exactly what you want. 12-key proficiency is the grail.

That said, how to get to that - it comes down to how to sequence the learning process. Everyone learns a little bit differently. (That "mileage may vary thingy").

I just downloaded a new instructional thingy from Dave Liebman, Bob Mintzer, and Bob Shepperd. They're all talking about playing in 12 keys.

There's another version of the same from an interview with Harold Danko on my blog.

http://www.polishookstudio.com/2013/10/online-jazz-piano-harold-danko-interview.html

Harold talks about 12-key practicing in one of the articles he let me post with the interview. Here's the article.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1989...e%20Masters.pdf

Here's what he said:

“ … I often tell my students that cost-effectiveness is key - that is, just go ahead and practice everything in all keys. That way you won’t have to pay another teacher to tell you the same thing some other time. The greatest players have all traveled this same trail in some manner …”

Do 2 or 3 keys a day and then in a week all 12 keys always get covered. But that's just one way to do it (one learning sequence). Again, there's no one sequence for everyone. (I know you know that already .... smile

Hope this helps!

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#2181080 - 11/12/13 01:21 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Originally Posted By: RonL
Well got through the gig with the transpose button, though I did start one tune in the wrong key because I forgot to turn the transpose off, opps.

Perhaps I should start another thread because I would be interested to hear opinions on learning songs in all keys, seems excessive to me.


Well, according to some of my teachers, the ability to be able to play 300-500 songs by memory and being able to do them in different keys is necessary. It's what you have to do if you want to work as a musician.

Of course, you do have to take these things with grain of salt... because most of us don't get the opportunity play jazz gigs 5 nights a week and make a living on it like they did 20-30 years ago, and it's a skill they've acquired over years and years of playing. Personally I think it's good(even necessary) long term goal to have. It's also important to keep in mind that these things do get a log easier the more you do it. It's not unusual for people to learn the changes to a tune as the band is playing... and I've seen people learn the tune in matter of 1-2 choruses... if you get to that point, learning a new tune is pretty fast process.


Edited by etcetra (11/12/13 01:22 PM)

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#2181094 - 11/12/13 01:59 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
RonL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 181
I guess it goes hand in hand with really understanding the harmonic structure of a tune - something I have beard Bill Evans talk about and he has a lot of arrangements where there are key shifts. If you understand Take The A Train as I,II+, iim,V7 I then transposition and tune memorization is easier - I guess.

You have to pick your battles I suppose. There is that great quote from Dizzy that goes something like: every day I pick up the trumpet and practice. Some days I win, other days the trumpet wins. One day I am not gong to be around to pick up the trumpet anymore and the trumpet is going to wn forever. Point is I think that we only have a limited amount of time to work on things that we could work on forever - technique, ear training, learnng tunes, transcription, chord voicings, bass lines, improv, writting tunes, playing fast, transposition, the list goes on and on.

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#2181143 - 11/12/13 03:45 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2993
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
I had a trumpet. Let me tell you, it did not win ...

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#2181492 - 11/13/13 09:51 AM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
RonL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 181
ROTFLMAO

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#2181619 - 11/13/13 01:30 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 414
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: etcetra


Well, according to some of my teachers, the ability to be able to play 300-500 songs by memory and being able to do them in different keys is necessary. It's what you have to do if you want to work as a musician.


Your teachers are wrong to say that you "can't work as a musican if you don't know 300 song". It entirely depends on context. It probably should be your goal, but you can definitely work and get paid long before you get to that point. The "knowing 300 songs by memory in all keys" is like the gold standard, but it doesn't preclude you from getting out there first.

Quote:


It's also important to keep in mind that these things do get a log easier the more you do it. It's not unusual for people to learn the changes to a tune as the band is playing... and I've seen people learn the tune in matter of 1-2 choruses... if you get to that point, learning a new tune is pretty fast process.


Most definitely true. This is why at the beginning of my book, I say pick one song, learn it thoroughly with all the reharmonizations, improvisations, etc.. ,then repeat with the next song. By three or four songs later, you'll find the whole process becomes more natural. The things you learn in rehamonizing one song, apply to many different tunes.

Originally Posted By: RonL
I guess it goes hand in hand with really understanding the harmonic structure of a tune


In my opinion this is obvious and necessary. This is where the "Roman numeral system" comes into play as an instructional tool. This makes it easier to transpose and it makes it easier to understand how things revolve around a tonal center. As I say in one of my video lessons, learn a tune, then learn it in the neighboring key on the left on the circle of fifths, then on the neighboring key on the right - in other words, the original key, then adding or subtracting a sharp or flat. Get accustomed to that process for each tune you learn. As your tune repertoire grows, so does your familiarity with all 12 keys.
_________________________
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http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/

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#2182102 - 11/14/13 04:35 AM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: Michael Martinez]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Originally Posted By: Michael Martinez



Your teachers are wrong to say that you "can't work as a musican if you don't know 300 song". It entirely depends on context. It probably should be your goal, but you can definitely work and get paid long before you get to that point. The "knowing 300 songs by memory in all keys" is like the gold standard, but it doesn't preclude you from getting out there first.



No my teachers didn't say you can't work as a musician "at alll" if you don't know 300+ songs in all keys. You are twisting what I said. Of course you can get some gigs without knowing that much,but your ability to get gigs will be limited.

What they actually meant is that if you are serious about being a working jazz musician as a career, in a place as competitive as LA, that kind of ability is pretty much necessary.

There are plenty of jam sessions where people won't give you respect as a player if you are reading charts. They see that as sign that you haven't paid proper due as a player. I've also heard stories from them about being a young up and coming player, and older players will deliberately kick their butt, put them in their place by starting a standard and transposing half a step up every chorus.




Edited by etcetra (11/14/13 12:34 PM)

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#2182475 - 11/14/13 08:23 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: etcetra]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 414
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: etcetra
I've also heard stories from them about being a young up and coming player, and older players will deliberately kick their butt, put them in their place by starting a standard and transposing half a step up every chorus.




So back to RonL: if you want to play with these guys etcetra is talking about, then you'd better learn all 12 keys. But if you want to keep playing with the folks you've been with, then the transpose button is sufficient.
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#2182589 - 11/15/13 12:26 AM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: Michael Martinez]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Originally Posted By: Michael Martinez
Originally Posted By: etcetra
I've also heard stories from them about being a young up and coming player, and older players will deliberately kick their butt, put them in their place by starting a standard and transposing half a step up every chorus.




So back to RonL: if you want to play with these guys etcetra is talking about, then you'd better learn all 12 keys. But if you want to keep playing with the folks you've been with, then the transpose button is sufficient.


That's why I've repeatedly said it depends on what your expectations are. I've also said in this thread many times that their views may be extreme and you do have to take it with grain of salt too. But at the same time, this is a common attitude/work ethic most top players have about their own craft, and it's probably something the OP should know too. The OP asked whether it's excessive, and my teacher's answer is no, especially if this is something you want to do as a career.

It would help if you actually read what I've said instead of being so quick to dis on what other teachers are saying. You seem to be doing that quite often here and you've done similar things Dave Frank's video posts too.

Btw my teachers are kind of people who are getting called to play gigs with Clayton Brothers, Natalie Cole, Nancy Wilson, and all the A-list players. So ya, if you want to play with these guys I am talking about, you better know your tunes in different keys.


Edited by etcetra (11/15/13 12:45 AM)

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#2182900 - 11/15/13 03:27 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3450
Loc: Western Canada
I never knew there "was" a transpose button!!!
Every piano I every played never had that button! grin

Okay, so hit the button. What's the worst that can happen? Why are all pieces/songs written in every key imaginable? I would rather play in the flats if I had my choice but every guitar player I know would rather "not"! So we compromise. He ... compromises! I go home and re-write the whole song out in the key they want.

Guitar players!!! Gotta love them! grin


Edited by Diane... (11/15/13 03:27 PM)
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#2183066 - 11/15/13 08:45 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 414
Loc: California
I don't know why you're getting all in a huff. I agree with most of what you're saying.
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Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/

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#2183078 - 11/15/13 09:14 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: etcetra]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1314
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: etcetra
. . .
A friend of mine had a lesson with a really well known jazz musician in the LA area. He told my friend the first lesson is free but he will have to bring a real book. The first thing he did was tear his real book apart and told him never to use it again. . . . .


He got that out of a kung fu movie, I bet!<g>

It sounds like good Zen instruction. And it's undoubtedly correct.

. . . But it doesn't help you get through the next gig!

. Charles

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#2183137 - 11/15/13 11:34 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: Michael Martinez]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Originally Posted By: Michael Martinez
I don't know why you're getting all in a huff. I agree with most of what you're saying.


I just thought your disagreement with my teachers were a little bit of a straw-man argument smile

Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen



He got that out of a kung fu movie, I bet!<g>

It sounds like good Zen instruction. And it's undoubtedly correct.

. . . But it doesn't help you get through the next gig!

. Charles


Ya, some tough life lessons. I've also been put in my place at jam sessions when I didn't know the tunes too. They will look at me funny and they will play anyways, telling you to follow by ear. Most guys who were hosting these jam session are able to play most songs a singer will call out, and there are at least half a dozen guys who can do that, so if you can't do that, you probably won't be getting called to do a gig anytime soon with a vocalist.

Like others have said, you do have to pick your battles and I understand that you have to get through the gig. These people have exceptional abilities and spend incredible amount of time being the musicians they are, and not everyone can do what they do. You are talking about people who practiced 8+hrs everyday. A friend of mine lived on 4 hours of sleep, went to school, worked a part time job and still managed to practice 4+hours a day.

It's pretty daunting but that's the kind of competition you are up against, and I can see why some teachers have pretty hard-core attitude about it if you are their students. A bass player friend of mine told me he had to do at least 1 page of transcription and play it by memory with the recording every single week. Most people couldn't handle it, but the ones who did, well they are playing with people like kurt elling now. I've been also told to learn an entire oscar peterson CD by ear, and learn to play it note-to-note with the recording... I've managed to do about 1/3 of that and it's been put on hold ever since.


Edited by etcetra (11/15/13 11:43 PM)

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#2183913 - 11/17/13 12:43 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
daviel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 933
Loc: Waxahachie, Texas
Never use a transpose button!
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#2184160 - 11/17/13 08:25 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1521
Muy macho ...

Transpose button is cool. Hardest part is remembering to turn it back off when needed...

200 standards and you are quite good (300- 500 is extreme, human jukebox types).

Memorize chords and melodies by the numbers and then you will be able to play fake in other keys without having to practice them in other keys.

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#2184582 - 11/18/13 02:21 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: rintincop]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 414
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: rintincop
Muy macho ...

Transpose button is cool. Hardest part is remembering to turn it back off when needed...

200 standards and you are quite good (300- 500 is extreme, human jukebox types).

Memorize chords and melodies by the numbers and then you will be able to play fake in other keys without having to practice them in other keys.


thumbs up on this post
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Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/

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#2184587 - 11/18/13 02:26 PM Re: Transpose or transpose button? [Re: RonL]
Michael Martinez Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 414
Loc: California
The uber-competitive stuff is a turnoff. What music really is, is self-expression, self-enjoyment and entertaining others. You don't have to be a studio musician. If you have even just a little musical ability, get out there and play.
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