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Topic: Transposing Composer Pieces  (Read 1493 times)

Offline adodd81802

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Transposing Composer Pieces
on: September 13, 2017, 10:53:23 AM
More a theoretical question than a practical one.

What's the consensus on this? Singers regularly transpose a piece to meet their voice.

If a composers piece was easier to play in another key, is this OK?

While there is no voice-range issue for a pianist, I wonder if there are transpositions that make certain fingerings easier.
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Offline philolog

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Re: Transposing Composer Pieces
Reply #1 on: September 13, 2017, 12:02:47 PM
I suppose one argument for not transposing a piece to another key would be the assertion that each key has an individual character that was selected by the composer just for that reason. Personally, I don’t see any reason not to transpose, especially if it makes it easier to play the music. Godowsky famously transposed the original Chopin Etudes in writing some of his 53 studies, perhaps for that reason. I imagine the ultimate in transposing to reduce difficulty would be to use a Janko (or similar) keyboard, which eliminates certain seemingly innately keyboard problems----octaves, and such. But then you’d have to learn an entirely new way of playing…

Offline visitor

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Re: Transposing Composer Pieces
Reply #2 on: September 13, 2017, 01:39:05 PM
Publishers have done it in the past, I believe most famously that Schubert Impromtu in g flat, they published one version I n g major thinking to would be easier to read or perceived easier to play and this sell more, it didn't, it was just odd.
I'm just meh, part of the learning and study process is figuring out the work,fingering given the key etc, i dont see the point or much benefit i n transposing.  However I have seen it a Lot in church music ie hymns, they frequently get written into more commo keys or keys w flats vs sharps, ad it's thought to be easier for the church pianists to play them

Offline dogperson

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Re: Transposing Composer Pieces
Reply #3 on: September 13, 2017, 05:37:16 PM
I'm with visitor on this one: if apiece was written in a particular key, I would want to play it in that key and not play a transposed score:   Not only am I assuming that the composers had some intent in the key that he chose, I am probably in the minority opinion that each key has its own flavor.    I have been learning Albeniz' Evocacion  and I have been cussing a lot, just thinking how much easier it would be if it were transposed but I would not learn a transposed version  even if I could find it

Offline j_tour

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Re: Transposing Composer Pieces
Reply #4 on: September 13, 2017, 06:42:55 PM
Heh.  I'm still amused by the idea of transposing the WTC C-sharp major fugue into Db major.  The fugue presents few technical challenges, but it is so unpleasant to sight read in the sharp key.

Occasionally I toy around with putting a simple fugue like the e minor from WTC1 into another key by ear, but it's kind of pointless, and I never get around to perfecting it's basically an ear-training parlor trick.
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Offline themeandvariation

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Re: Transposing Composer Pieces
Reply #5 on: September 13, 2017, 07:55:53 PM
If the sole reason is to make it easier - (justifiable if a beginner) - one could get a piano like Irving Berlin's - where there is a transposing  lever on the piano - which moves the alignment of the hammers up or down …so the He was always able to play in C -- (though  sounding otherwise).. It seems to me that some themes could be appropriated, but with contrapuntal voices, it could prove problematic - possibly, as it all needs to 'sit' in a certain range..

ps… many WTC editions provide the Db as well as the C#..
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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Transposing Composer Pieces
Reply #6 on: September 13, 2017, 08:04:04 PM
It is quite possible that certain transpositions would make fingering easier.. but also harder in some cases. As it happens, Earl Wild used to transpose down some Chopin etudes because he preferred the sound in lower keys. There were videos on youtube at one point but I couldn't find any. Personally, I think it can be useful and an interesting exercise to play your repertoire pieces up a semitone on sight. I will, however, be impressed if someone can play the last movement of Beethoven's op 2 no 3, a tempo, in Db.
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Offline themeandvariation

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Re: Transposing Composer Pieces
Reply #7 on: September 13, 2017, 08:30:46 PM
Yes, Ronde - those rapidly rising 1st inversion chord runs (more difficult to play)- and modulations (more difficult to figure) - like at bar 44, etc… could bring one reaching for more brains cells :)
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Offline j_tour

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Re: Transposing Composer Pieces
Reply #8 on: September 14, 2017, 03:27:05 AM
ps… many WTC editions provide the Db as well as the C#..

Interesting.  Never came across that.  TBH, it's not that big deal to read it in C-sharp, but it's a nice fugue and one of those I enjoy reading through from time to time......C-sharp just unreasonably angers me, especially when Db is so nice and familiar.

Oh, I seem to remember Irving Berlins piano was set up to play in F#/Gb for some reason.  What a strange little instrument he devised for transposing, but hey, nothing wrong with that, if it made his life a little easier.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.
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