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help with keys please


fryer
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Neil Young - Alabama. I have the sheet music from 30 years ago, in the key of F, with 1 flat, B, which is correct. This only gives the lead guitar music. The first three notes / chords are F, G, E. 

The bass mainly follows the chords, and I have those. But in places it does some runs, and I thought I would buy the sheet music with a bass line. Unfortunately, this is in the key of  D flat, with 5 flats. The first note it shows is a G, which with a flat is a G flat, or F sharp. The chord it shows for this is an F, with an F chord diagram, but with a note underneath saying G flat. It also says at the top - Guitar - capo 1.

Could someone please tell me how to transpose to F.

 

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Im by no means a theory expert, but playing an F chord with a capo on 1 would be a Gb. So from a guitarists perspective if i wanted to transpose it I'd just take the capo off and play F in the open position lowering all notes in pitch by 1 semitone. 

 

Edited by GisserD
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No expert, either, but, to me, this is another example of that old trap : the first chord (or note...) is the key of the song (it's not..!). To me, it's in 'C'; the clue is in the chords, which are 'F', 'G', 'C', 'Am','Em7' (Em is relative minor of 'G', so we're still in 'C' as a key...).
Go with playing notes from the C Major scale and you can't go wrong. Looking at a video of the bloke playing it 'live', there's no capo, and it's in 'C'
Hope this helps.

Disclaimer: I'm a drummer; subject to completion, correction and/or contradiction from others. Hope this helps. B|

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Douglas is right. The first sheet music from 1971 has written it out in the wrong key: It's in C not F. All those Bb notes have a natural in front of them.

If you take the second score and play the notes one semitone lower than written you'll end up with the baseline in the original pitch.

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so just to clarify, I choose either of the two music scores which are both different, guess what key it is in 'cos it may or may not be the first note, pick a note to work out, follow the five bar gate thingy to the left to see if it's got a flat or a sharp on it, check the actual note hasn't got another flat or sharp or neutral next to it to change the first one, then play the note one semitone lower.

It's so obvious I don't know why I had to ask.

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1 hour ago, fryer said:

so just to clarify, I choose either of the two music scores which are both different, guess what key it is in 'cos it may or may not be the first note, pick a note to work out, follow the five bar gate thingy to the left to see if it's got a flat or a sharp on it, check the actual note hasn't got another flat or sharp or neutral next to it to change the first one, then play the note one semitone lower.

It's so obvious I don't know why I had to ask.

I understand the confusion; in a perfect world it wouldn't happen. This is a case where reading through the chords, watching a video of the bloke playing the stuff, and fifty years experience helps slightly. I can't say why the partitions are wrong, and it's just bad luck, I reckon, that it just so happens that that's the ones you've chosen to follow. Don't be dis-heartened, though; not all transcriptions are wrong, and kudos for having at least tried to work it out yourself (all the more so as I'm certainly not a Neil Young fan, myself, and don't 'get' the appeal :$ ...).

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my comment was supposed to be funny.

NY has been my favourite since I heard his first album in 1969. I don't like his later stuff.

I have tabbed hundreds of songs, and only use the published stuff as a basis. It's just this one didn't make sense.

Why don't we issue tabs on here ?

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3 hours ago, fryer said:

so just to clarify, I choose either of the two music scores which are both different, guess what key it is in 'cos it may or may not be the first note, pick a note to work out, follow the five bar gate thingy to the left to see if it's got a flat or a sharp on it, check the actual note hasn't got another flat or sharp or neutral next to it to change the first one, then play the note one semitone lower.

It's so obvious I don't know why I had to ask.

I guess if it seems obvious now then it means you've learned how to do it!

1 hour ago, fryer said:

my comment was supposed to be funny.

Unless I missed a joke.... in which case ignore my comment above xD!

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I don't know the song, so I'm going purely from the music.

In the first example, the melody is mostly in C, as proven by the natural sign by every B which will cancel out the flat in the key signature. The chords are also mostly diatonic (in key) to C, with the exceptions of the D and E chords. I'm guessing that the key signature is written as F because that's where they think the tonal centre is, even though C would probably make more sense.

The second chart in D Flat is a Piano/Vocal/Guitar score, with a capo on the first fret of the guitar. You obviously can't capo a piano, so the music is written in the 'correct' key. The guitar will play the chord shapes shown(which are the same as in the first chart) and because of the capo the two parts will be the  in the same key. As a bass player, when this happens you should follow the piano chords instead of the guitar chords.

The interesting thing about the second chart, is if you take it down a semitone/remove the capo, it will now be in the same key as the first chart, only this time it will be written in the key of C, which as we said earlier, makes sense.

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12 hours ago, fryer said:

my comment was supposed to be funny.

It was. I laughed aloud when I read it. I've been going through a similar battle and it can get really frustrating . 

Tabs do a job and if the job they do i.e. get you playing a song you want to play, then there is nothing wrong with them at all. 

However... I have begun to study this whole music theory thing (very late in life, but there it is) and while others can explain it better than me, I'm going to take a stab at it. 

If I follow a tab I am essentially following a trail of breadcrumbs through a forest. Wearing blinkers. Me that is , not the breadcrumbs.

So can I start at the entrance to the trees and emerge at the appropriate exit? Yes. But all I will see is the trail of breadcrumbs. 

What I don't know is why they follow that path. Nor what any of the trees are called, nor how other paths intersect with the one I'm following. I either follow the breadcrumbs or memorise the path they take. At the end I know nothing else about the forest. 

If I learn to read music then I am learning to read a map and history of the entire forest. I learn how the person who laid the breadcrumbs knew where to put them. I learn what happens if I want to take a detour, or make my own path. Which trees I can climb, which I can duck under, which ones are hollow which drop their leaves and obscure certain paths and ultimately how the whole wooded wonder of the forest works the way it does. 

So if I want to enter the wood at A and leave at B I can do so looking around me understanding where I am and why certain paths get me there in different ways. Certain common paths begin to become recognisable at a glance and I can trip merrily along them while planning ahead for the complicated bit where I have to cross a tricky stream and not fall in. 

Nothing wrong with following the breadcrumbs. But look at all I'd be missing. 

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On 09/08/2020 at 11:11, Dad3353 said:

No expert, either, but, to me, ...............To me, it's in 'C'; the clue is in the chords, which are 'F', 'G', 'C', 'Am','Em7' (Em is relative minor of 'G', so we're still in 'C' as a key...).
Go with playing notes from the C Major scale .....................

 

On 09/08/2020 at 11:29, pete.young said:

Douglas is right. The first sheet music from 1971 has written it out in the wrong key: It's in C not F. All those Bb notes have a natural in front of them.

If you take the second score and play the notes one semitone lower than written you'll end up with the baseline in the original pitch.

Looking briefly at the sheet music for each, this springs to mind:

* They are a semitone apart
* BUT weirdly, the first has 1 flat, the 2nd has 5 flats. If they really were the same but a semitone apart, you'd expect 5 flats' worth of difference.

I'd say its actually an example of phrygian mode, which has no sharps/flats (E phrygian); or 5 flats (F phrygian). The first one, with one flat, has been wrongly written probably because they assumed the first chord (F major) was the key, but clearly* its not.

*There IS an argument that it is in F lydian, but its nearly 11pm.

 

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I would point folks interested in this debate to this delicate little site ...

Lydian mode: famous examples of the Lydian major scale throughout the music history ...

... then continue the debate, bearing in mind that we're talking Neil Young, here, with a bunch of 'cowboy chords' that he threw together to support the lyrics he'd written. I doubt he spent more than a couple of hours composing this. He probably wasted spent more time adjusting the fuzz box than much else. Saint-Saëns he is not. -_-

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A-ha. So it was you who threw them in the darkness. At least it wasn't Jimmy nails. It's madness and bad manners to stand in the shadows of your savage garden doing a massive attack and creating sparks with your garbage. You're as mental as anything. I got doctor and the medics to cure me after calling the police, and now I'm in heaven 17.

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