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ukusaurus
02-08-2009, 09:30 PM
So how does everyone do it. I have very little musical knowledge so I cant just see a chord and be like k well down a step is so and so. The only way I've been able to is when I can find a song on Chordie.com and use the transposer tab. Whats the easiest way. Educate me please. :bowdown:

forrrge
02-08-2009, 09:39 PM
Hi I think you've found a quick method using Chordies function. Another good one if the song you have isn't in chordie is http://tabtransposer.com/

FiPfft
02-08-2009, 09:41 PM
With practice you get to recognise how different chords relate to each other in different keys. Recognising "Ah, that's the IV minor" can be really helpful.

I started out by a horribly painful process of counting up or down semitones for each chord included in the song and eliminating any misscounts by playing through (I only heard about the Chordie transposing feature last week!). It's more accurate than sheer trial and error, unless you've got a really good ear, but at first it's very slow.

By far easier though is just learning how different chords fit into different keys relative to each other. You can do it by rote, or gradually pick it up as you go along. I'm in the latter camp and have noticed myself making progress each time I've had to change the key of a song.

Of course often with uke, you can barre all your chords up however far you require and just play with the exact same shapes as the original, without having to be conscious of the names of the chords you are actually playing.

Bassukuguy
02-08-2009, 09:49 PM
Ab-A-Bb-B-C-C#-D-Eb-E-F-F#-G
these the notes

if you have a chord pattern that is say G-Am-F for example and you want to move it up a half step it would Ab-Bbm-F#. a full step would be A-Bm-G

its not too hard. just remember that all of the minors and such stay the same.

Stackabones
02-09-2009, 04:46 AM
There are a couple of steps to get it down, but once you have it you'll always have it and it is the easiest way imo.

Learn the order of sharps and flats and how they relate to keys. There are a couple of mnemonics that you can look up on the web for the order, and then there are a few tricks to memorizing how they relate to the keys. Usually the first chord and the last chord of a song indicate the key. There are exceptions, but it is generally so.

Each major key as seven notes (a scale). For example, the key of C (no sharps, no flats) the major scale is spelled C D E F G A B. Each letter is also a scale degree -- just add numbers.

C D E F G A B
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Let's say you want to transpose a song from the key of C to the key of F.

The chords in the original version are C F G. Turn those letters into numbers: C, 1; F, 4; G, 5. You may have heard folks talk about songs that are in a 1-4-5 progression (often using Roman numerals). A 1-4-5 progression (or 2-5-1 or 2-6-5-1 and so on) tells us what scale degrees and we can just plug those numbers into to any key.

Since your target key is F, spell out the F major scale and add numbers.

F G A Bb C D E
1 2 3 4 5 6 7


In the key of C, the C chord is 1; in the key of F, the 1 is F. Etc.

C F G (1 4 5)
F Bb C (1 4 5)


The chord progression in your transposed key of F is F Bb C.

As I said, there a couple of things you have to get down at first (order of sharps and flats and their relation to keys), but that's the only initial heavy lifting. After that, it's a matter of counting to seven. There are some situations where this doesn't always work (non-diatonic chords), but once you learn the basics you can then learn the exceptions.

dnewton2
02-09-2009, 05:57 AM
Aldrine did a live lesson about transposing, here is the link. (http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/841868)

Some of the other lessons have some transposing application, check these out. (http://ukuleleunderground.com/live-lessons-with-aldrine/)

Ukulele JJ
02-09-2009, 06:08 AM
Well put, Stacka. You're essentially converting the chords into a key-independent form (numbers), then converting them back into letters, only in your desired key. The numbers are acting as a sort of "middleman".

Of course, here in Nashville, many (most?) of the chord charts use numbers in the first place. That is, we start with the middleman, and we don't convert to an actual chord until it's time to play.

It might seem like more work, but really it makes things much easier. If someone wants to do the song in a different key, no problem! There's no need to re-write the chart. Instead, you just say "okay, now G is my one chord, C is the four..." and so on. It doesn't take long to get the hang of it.

This has a nice side-effect of gradually training your ear to "hear" various chords, relative to the key.

Here's what a "numbers" chart looks like (sorry it's so small):

http://www.nashvillenumbers.com/images/Realworld1sm.GIF

JJ

Stackabones
02-09-2009, 06:30 AM
Well put, Stacka. You're essentially converting the chords into a key-independent form (numbers), then converting them back into letters, only in your desired key. The numbers are acting as a sort of "middleman".

Thanks! I think that's a good way of putting it. I usually read from fake books, so the keys are set and I've got hire the middleman to help me get the song in my singing key.

I learned theory in high school and college, and we always used the Roman numerals -- trad theory and some jazz theory does the same. I've always liked the Nashville Numbering System with it's use of "-" for minor chords rather than the lower-case Roman numerals. Both have their uses, but I just like the way the NNS is laid out.

Question ... do Nashville players always get a numbers sheet? Or do they get a lyric sheet and transform it into a numbers sheet? Or is someone specifically called upon/hired to do that?

Ukulele JJ
02-09-2009, 07:51 AM
Question ... do Nashville players always get a numbers sheet? Or do they get a lyric sheet and transform it into a numbers sheet? Or is someone specifically called upon/hired to do that?


For your average Nashville live gig, you'd either get a numbers chart, or a recording of the song (from which you are expected to either create your own chart or just memorize the song outright). Studio sessions will almost always have numbers charts.

Of course, for jazz gigs, we're using normal leadsheets like everybody else. The Nashville Number System works best with simpler harmonies. It's far less successful at more complicated music like jazz/showtunes/etc., which tend to move through several "keys of the moment".

JJ

ukantor
02-09-2009, 08:45 AM
I use the transposing wheel, downloaded from the Tikki King site. When I found that, it changed my life. Highly recommended.

Ukantor.

MissJess
02-09-2009, 08:53 AM
Well put, Stacka.

Here's what a "numbers" chart looks like

JJ

Agreed, kudos to Stacka for the logical explanation.

JJ, isn't there a whole method for writing numbered charts, using upper case for major chords and lower case for minor chords, and other such coding?

My brother mentioned some of those little things and it seemed genius to me, but he doesn't know how to do it, just that it is done. It sounds like it's that Nashville style you're talking about.

Stackabones
02-09-2009, 09:02 AM
For your average Nashville live gig, you'd either get a numbers chart, or a recording of the song (from which you are expected to either create your own chart or just memorize the song outright). Studio sessions will almost always have numbers charts.

Of course, for jazz gigs, we're using normal leadsheets like everybody else. The Nashville Number System works best with simpler harmonies. It's far less successful at more complicated music like jazz/showtunes/etc., which tend to move through several "keys of the moment".

JJ

Cool! Thanks for the info! :)

Stackabones
02-09-2009, 09:02 AM
Agreed, kudos to Stacka for the logical explanation.



Thank you!

FANaddic(t)
02-09-2009, 10:49 AM
So how does everyone do it. I have very little musical knowledge so I cant just see a chord and be like k well down a step is so and so. The only way I've been able to is when I can find a song on Chordie.com and use the transposer tab. Whats the easiest way. Educate me please. :bowdown:

Howlin' Hobbit has a great "Cliff Notes (http://howlinhobbit.com/ukulele.php)" for some very basic music theory.

khrome
02-09-2009, 11:43 AM
This thread rocks. Thanks for all the good info!

Ukulele JJ
02-09-2009, 12:30 PM
JJ, isn't there a whole method for writing numbered charts, using upper case for major chords and lower case for minor chords, and other such coding?

There's a more traditional & academic method of harmonic analysis that uses uppercase Roman numerals for major and lowercase Roman numerals for minor.

So this:

C Am Dm G


Would be analyzed as:

I iv ii V


Whereas the Nashville system would show the same thing as:

1 6- 2- 5


Back in school, we used a cross between the two when analyzing jazz. All uppercase roman numerals, but with minus signs indicating minor:

I IV- II- V

We also used little underline-brackety thingies to show a relative II- to V7 progression, and an arching arrow to show a relative V7 to I progression. You can see an example of this kind of harmonic analysis here (http://davidvaldez.blogspot.com/2006/04/berklee-jazz-harmony-1-4.html), at the beginning of the book 2.


JJ