Manual de instrucciones - Pizzicato 3.6 ES450 - Revisión del 20/06/2013

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Transposition

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Transposition [Light] [Principiante] [Profesional] [Escritura] [Composición Light] [Composición Pro] [Percusión] [Guitarra] [Coro] [Teclado] [Solista]

The idea is to modify a melody or a whole passage of a musical work in order to play it higher or lower in the sound scale. In the lesson on key signatures, we had listened to a melody starting with C and then to the same melody starting with E. It is an example of transposition. The melody was transposed two notes higher.

It is frequent to use transposition when composing a musical work. You can transpose a whole melody or some notes. It is a current composition tool because you can express several times the same thing while adding a change to it.

The simplest transposition is an octave change. For example, all notes are played one octave higher. They keep the same name. Open Ex027. The first two measures contain a small melody which is transposed one octave higher in the next two measures:

Listen to the sound difference. The second melody is easily recognized as being the same one as the first, but it is played higher.

Intervals [Light] [Principiante] [Profesional] [Escritura] [Composición Light] [Composición Pro] [Percusión] [Guitarra] [Coro] [Teclado] [Solista]

To specify a transposition, intervals are defined. The example above is a transposition of one octave, because there are 8 notes on the patch from the original melody to the transposed melody (C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C). Here are the names of intervals with the number of notes contained in each:

Unison 1 note
Second 2 notes
Third 3 notes
Fourth 4 notes
Fifth 5 notes
Sixth 6 notes
Seventh 7 notes
Octave 8 notes
Ninth 9 notes
Tenth 10 notes
Eleventh 11 notes

Speaking about a third for example, one counts the note names contained in the interval, without taking into account the number of half tones. C and E form a third, because there are three notes in the interval: C, D and E. By counting the black and white keys, there are 4 half tones:

Similarly, D and F form a third, but by counting the half tones on the keyboard, there are only three:

To qualify the exact content of an interval, an adjective is added to it. They are specific for each interval. Here is a table showing the interval names, the adjectives qualifying them and the half tones contained in them:

  Diminished Minor Major Perfect Augmented
Second 0 1 2 - 3
Third 2 3 4 - 5
Fourth 4 - - 5 6
Fifth 6 - - 7 8
Sixth 7 8 9 - 10
Seventh 9 10 11 - 12
Octave 11 - - 12 13

A minus sign "-" shows that the adjective is not used for this interval. The underlined numbers are the intervals separating the first degree of a major scale from each other degree. They are either major (as the scale) either perfect.

The interval separating C and E has 3 notes and contains 4 half tones, it is thus a major third. The interval separating D and F has 3 notes and contains 3 half tones, it is thus a minor third.

You can precisely name an interval starting from this table. What is the interval separating C sharp from B flat ?

By counting the notes, C #, D, E, F, G, A, B flat, it is a seventh. On the keyboard, you will count 9 half tones. According to the table, it is thus a diminished seventh.

Diatonic and chromatic transposition [Light] [Principiante] [Profesional] [Escritura] [Composición Light] [Composición Pro] [Percusión] [Guitarra] [Coro] [Teclado] [Solista]

Chromatic transposition respects the exact number of half tones for each transposed note. The melody thus keeps its original colour. Accidentals must sometimes be added to notes so that the intervals of the melody remain the same.

To characterize a chromatic transposition, an interval must be given with its content as well as the direction of transposition (higher or lower). Open the Ex028 file. It contains a small melody on 2 measures which is transposed a major third higher in the next 2 measures:

Considering the first 2 notes of the melody (C and E), they are separated by an interval of 4 half tones. By going up a third, you obtain E and G but between these two notes there is only 3 half tones. A sharp is placed in front of G to correct the interval, adding the missing half tone.

Diatonic transposition only considers the number of the interval notes and not its real content. To specify it, the direction and the interval name are sufficient, no capacity adjective is needed. Open the Ex029 file which contains the same example as above, but transposed a third higher in a diatonic way:

It is even simpler to do, because the intervals do not need to be corrected. The two sharps were not added. Listen to this example. In the last two measures, the melody has a different colour. It is sadder and more resigned than the first.

Diatonic transposition modifies the melody colour. This aspect can be used to create for example a second voice which will accompany the main melody. Open the Ex030 file now and listen to the effect obtained. It gives you an example of this same melody which is accompanied by a second voice transposed a sixth higher in a diatonic way :

The diatonic transposition respects the original tonality. This melody written in C major remains in C major even when transposed, because no accidental is added. This was not the case with the chromatic transposition example.


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