"Could You Transpose This
Down To G?

I Have A Cold."

   OOOPS!  TRANSPOSE???  Are you in trouble now?

   Well, take a few minutes to read this tutorial. Then practice the material.  You will in short order be known as a great accompanist and be "first call" on every singer's contact list.  It's easy when you know how :)

Transpose Guitar/Piano, How-To - First Step:

   FIRSTLY - Learn your basic note relationships in, for convenience, the key of C:

  Ok… Now did you know that the “lingua franca” of Jazz and Pop is ROMAN NUMERALS? Yep.. Why? So you can change keys instantly!

  Lets start with THE BLUES.. Just about all Pop and Jazz musicians refer to this as a “1–4–5 progression” or rather “I-IV-V”. In the key of C, this would be C-F-G, of course. [We’re just discussing the ROOT of the chord, only, at this point.]

  SO… What’s a “Blues in G”? — G-C-D!

  Ok, so far? Cool.

  SO, what you should do is get your note relationships in C, as above, down COLD. And then learn them in all keys. This will exercise your ear into the faculty of ‘RELATIVE PITCH’

  Hint: MOST [not all] Pop music conventionally anchors itself to the TONIC, or ‘root’, and eventually winds up there. Now we are getting into music theory, but you can listen to almost any Pop song and hear what the root is.

  Another hint: Once you get C down cold, or at least very well, take “G” as the next key to study - why? Because you already know a lot of it from “C” {OR F -- see my hint below*]

  Another hint: There are keys which are common in Pop. [C# is NOT one of them… So don't worry too much about tackling that right away.. :) ]

  In other words - Learn your scales/chord tones/scale degrees in a rough order of difficulty. And on PIANO at least, the “go to” scheme is THIS.

Transpose Guitar/Piano, How-To - Second Step:

   THE CYCLE OF FIFTHS! [*OR, you can go the other way and study it by FOURTHS.. WHY?

   *ANOTHER hint: going counter-clockwise - fourths - winds you up in "Pop, Jazz and Horn Land". Going CLOCKWISE puts you into "ROCK and GUITAR Land".

   Why?

   ’Cause horns play predominantly in those “flat” keys and, of course, guitars favor keys which correspond to those notes in the clockwise direction.. That’s how the strings are tuned on a guitar. And SO many singer-songwriters write great songs using basic guitar chords. That's probably that’s the Beatles' fault  :)

   See how a guitarist thinks?

   The above is a general rule of thumb, but you’ll find it useful

   So -- Learn to recognize RELATIVE pitches in a song. Then you will be able to transpose that song, or any song -- at will!

   Parting words.. In NASHVILLE, they famously don’t use “charts” as such -- [This is the renowned "Nashville System"]  They write the RELATIVE chords in Arabic Numerals on the back of an envelope!  Why?  Because they might have to transpose it when the actual singer shows up, or when they do a different version for a different singer.

   Like so: [“V” = verse, “C” = chorus, and so on:]

   So, to wrap up.. Learn your scale degrees and then chord types, etc.. Transpose them. and then you’ll NEVER again be stymied by the singer asking: “Hey, can we take this down about two steps?”

   Good luck!


  Here's an interesting related resource for you to follow up on:

   How Music Really Works - Wayne O. Chase

   I'm NOT linking to Mr. Chase's product page on Amazon, which has the same book for almost three times the price as on the author's website.  AND some of the reviews mention that there is some "irrelevant" background material therein.
   That being said, I definitely recommend going to the above site and downloading the six free chapters.  Hey, "free" is a good thing.  :)


David Grisman [above] uses "The Original" Cowling System:

Hand Strengthening Exercises for Musicians -


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[These testimonials are actual and unsolicited:]

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FROM A VIOLINIST:

"The Cowling System © is a set of 12 exercises designed to increase the flexibility and strength of the hand, wrist, and fingers.

"I bought the course in 1978 and have found them to be invaluable.

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~ Richard Barton posted on VIOLINIST.COM

-----------------

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‎"My fingers actually DO what my brain tells them to do, WITHOUT getting confused."

~ Anthony Jerome Smith, 35-year veteran bass player.

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FROM A PIANIST:

"In 1976, my teacher gave me his copy of all the exercises, whereupon I made xeroxed pages to put in a binder.

"My teacher was amazed at my progress that in a year I could play, for example, the prelude #17 of Chopin!

~ "RPN58" (from a pianists' discussion board in England, 2006)

-----------------

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-----------------

FROM A VIOLINIST:

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"Recently, I became very depressed about my playing and almost decided to give it up, but now I feel it's a pleasure, thanks to the Cowling System. ©"

~ "THE VIOLINIST" Magazine, December, 1924


I'd love to see YOUR testimonial on this list! If you really do "THE ORIGINAL" COWLING SYSTEM © of Hand Strengthening Exercises", you CAN master and truly enjoy your music!


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