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Transposing Standards

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by bassinplace, Feb 5, 2016.


  1. bassinplace

    bassinplace

    Dec 1, 2008
    I'm an intermediate level player, with a limited amount of time spent outside the shed as of yet. I'm looking to change that up, and I've connected with a Frank Sinatra cover band. I'm familiar with the tunes of F.S., but I've never attempted to learn any of them. The band is telling me they will give me the key signatures for the tunes they want me to learn. My question is how to transpose it. Say the original is in Ab and the band wants to play it in G, etc. What's the method I should use for doing it? Sorry for my ignorance, any help is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. LeeNunn

    LeeNunn Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2012
    Charlottesville, VA
    How do you usually learn songs?

    If you learn by ear, you might try a loop and slow down software program that allows you to change the key. Transcribe does this, but I'm sure it's a common feature.

    If you read charts, try iReal Pro. Just pull up the chart, change the key, and start playing along with the piano and drums.
     
  3. bassinplace

    bassinplace

    Dec 1, 2008
    I learn everything by ear. I do have Band In A Box that I never use though, so yeah I was thinking that might work. Only problem with that is I don't own any F.S. recordings so I'd have to buy them. Seems like a waste since I'd never listen to them otherwise, lol.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
  4. elgecko

    elgecko

    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    For stuff like standards. it's much quicker and easier to learn to read chord charts (i.e. out of a fake book, iReal Pro, etc. ). In that case, there are two options:

    1. Transpose the chords as you play (more difficult but an important skill to have). You can also write in the transposed chords if you have a hard copy.

    2. Use an app like iReal Pro where can transpose with the push of a button.

    It'd be pretty darn difficult to learn something by ear then transpose it (similar to option 1 without the chord chart) but if you can do it, more power to you!
     
    Oldschool94, pnchad and bassinplace like this.
  5. LeeNunn

    LeeNunn Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2012
    Charlottesville, VA
    I'll bet someone in the band has the MP3 files. Maybe they would send them to you. Or, just open your heart to Frank and buy the music. His music might grow on you.
     
    bassinplace and old spice like this.
  6. You're missing something, because he was one of the great singers. Moreover, the accompaniments were excellent.
     
  7. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Did the BL state they do them in keys different from the original? I would find that odd because standards are usually played in the standard key.
     
    cheechi and bassinplace like this.
  8. elgecko

    elgecko

    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    If you don't want to buy the recordings, use Spotify. It's free with ads.

    To expand, let's take Fly Me to the Moon, which is in the key of C. The first four chords are:

    Am7 / Dm7 / G7 / Cmaj7

    If they wanted to drop it down a whole step to Bb, you would drop those chord prefixes by one whole step (or two half steps). The first four chords would become:

    Gm7 / Cm7 / F7 / Bbmaj7

    If you're learning by ear, you would have to drop every single note a whole step (2 frets).
     
    Oldschool94 and bassinplace like this.
  9. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    +1 on iReal Pro. If you enter the chart correctly, you can have your iPad/whatever play the changes back in the new key. If you zero out the virtual bass, you can use the app as a virtual band to play against. Can also switch between standard chords and Nashville Numbering with one click. Easily share charts or songlists with other people. Slick.
     
    Oldschool94, WBasstrolo, MVE and 3 others like this.
  10. elgecko

    elgecko

    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    ...unless there's a vocalist involved! ;)

    Then it's pretty darn common.
     
  11. Here is "My Way" in D. MY WAY Chords - Frank Sinatra | E-Chords Want it in G. There is a transpose button on the fake chord I gave you. Hit the button and the transposing is done for you. Opps, you have to be a member for it to transpose, no problem.....

    If there is no transpose button on the fake chord sheet music put the D chords in order then put the G chords under them:
    D, Em, F#m, G, A7, Bm, Cdim
    G, Am, Bm,.. C, D7, Em, F#m7b5.

    All D's become G's. Any G becomes a C. Any A7 becomes a D7. Yes any Em becomes an Am, etc. Piece of cake.

    Have fun.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
    Seth Miller and bassinplace like this.
  12. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Your experience is different than mine.
     
  13. bassinplace

    bassinplace

    Dec 1, 2008
    I'm familiar with his stuff. My parents were fans, so I grew up listening to it. I appreciate it, good stuff, I'm just personally not a big fan of his vocal style, but that's just me.
     
    old spice likes this.
  14. bassinplace

    bassinplace

    Dec 1, 2008
    Yeah, the singer said they transpose it for her voice.
     
  15. bassinplace

    bassinplace

    Dec 1, 2008
    Very helpful! Thank you! All the replies have been most helpful! Thank you!
     
  16. And then one day she has a cold and wants it in another key. If your music was transposed to Nashville numbers you do not have a problem as Nashville numbers are in the key of 1. All my bass music is in Nashville numbers. I'll be glad to go into more detail.... if you think you might like to use Nashville numbers.

    If you are not already using Nashville, probably not the time to take on something new.... your call.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
    Seth Miller and bassinplace like this.
  17. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    If the band has a female singer doing Sinatra tunes, they will almost certainly be in different keys than the Sinatra recordings, likely by as much as a fourth or a fifth.
     
    Oldschool94 and bassinplace like this.
  18. MVE

    MVE

    Aug 8, 2010
    +1, or +2 or maybe 3 to IReal... Pretty much been my practice buddy the past few months.
     
    Seth Miller and bassinplace like this.
  19. albertus

    albertus

    Jan 26, 2016
    MADRID, SPAIN
    this is no shortcut, but it will give you good benefits for the future. try to learn some harmony and how to use the roman numbers (this maybe sound strange to you now, but it will come clear when you study). understanding how a tune is built and the realtions between the chords help a lot. is like trying to remember a phrase with the exact words or doing the same undertanding the meaning of those words.
     
  20. Woolber

    Woolber Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2013
    Canada
    Go to the library and borrow the cd's. Copy them to your computer and now you have them.
     
    Leo Smith likes this.

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