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Old 04-06-2012, 10:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Transposing sheet music

I picked up a saxophone yesterday, and I'm starting to learn it as well as reading sheet music. I decided on a song I wanted to learn as a teaching aid. I found the sheet music, and it is written in G Major. I know the alto sax is an E Flat transposed instrument, so what I see as a C is actually E Flat. I assume that means I need the sheet music transposed down 3 half steps. Instead of the G Major, do I need to transpose it to E?

This all seems crazy, who came up with this transposing thing? If I ever find a time machine, screw Hitler, I'm going for this guy.
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The reason instruments transpose is so that a player can easily switch between instruments of the same family. A clarinetist, and an oboe player, for example, can use the same fingerings and techniques and read the sheet music the exact same way, while still producing the correct pitches.

If the music wasn't transposed, then an oboe player who was playing a clarinet part would have to transpose on the fly instead of just playing the sheet music in front of them.
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi there,

Well it might be difficult, but not impossible. First find the current key of the song. You can do this by looking at the key signature. This is an area at the beginning of the staff lines that shows which notes are sharp (#) or flat (b). If you don't see any sharps or flats, the song is in the key of C/A minor. One sharp is the key of G/Em, two is D/Bm, three is A/F#m, four is E/C#m, five is B/G#m, six is F#/D#m and seven sharps is C#/A#m. If you see one flat, the key is F/Dm, two is Bb/Gm, three is Eb/Cm, four is Ab/Fm, five is Db/Bbm, six is Gb/Ebm and seven flats is Cb/Abm.
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