easier key to arrange in than Bb Major?

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galantina
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easier key to arrange in than Bb Major?

Post by galantina » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:46 am

There's a piece of music that I'd like to arrange/transcribed to guitar from piano.
It's in the key of B flat major.
I don't have much experience in arranging (this is my second arrangement ever) and I'm not sure if B flat major is a good key for guitar.

Should I just transcribe the piece in its original key or choose another?
Any suggestions to what key I could do it in?

Thanks for reading,
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kdwiklund
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Re: easier key to arrange in than Bb Major?

Post by kdwiklund » Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:08 pm

You are right in that Bb is not the best key for the guitar. I would take it down a half-step to A.
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bert
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Re: easier key to arrange in than Bb Major?

Post by bert » Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:09 pm

It depends on the piece of course. Are you using scoring software? Then I think I would start with A major, as it's very close to the original key. After that probably G, D, F, C and E, not necessarily in that order.

It also depends where your highest and lowest notes in the melody are. As a rule of thumb I wouldn't go above the high e on the first string and stay on the first three strings.
Last edited by bert on Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: easier key to arrange in than Bb Major?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:10 pm

It all depends on the range of the original, and whether any particular features e.g. repeated bass notes, might swing the questions towards a particular key, that might give you that note as an open string.

Best thing is copy it in more or less unchanged into some notation software, then try different keys and see what looks best.
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bert
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Re: easier key to arrange in than Bb Major?

Post by bert » Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:23 pm

Nice thing about A major is that its subdominant and dominant are D and E, so you have these three as open string. Drawback is that it is use a lot on guitar, but don't let that stop you

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Re: easier key to arrange in than Bb Major?

Post by khayes » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:09 am

Once I did an accompaniment arrangement of the Christmas carol Jesu Bambino. I put it in G and tuned the 5th down to G and the 6th down to D. It modulates in the middle section to Bb and having the 5th tuned to G sure made playing in Bb quite easier. It put the Bb bass note at the 3rd position with the rest of the chord. Just a thought....probably won't apply to what you need.
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galantina
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Re: easier key to arrange in than Bb Major?

Post by galantina » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:43 am

khayes wrote:
Stephen Kenyon wrote:
bert wrote:
kdwiklund wrote:
:merci: Thanks for all your answers! They were all very helpful! :bye:
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Paul Janssen
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Re: easier key to arrange in than Bb Major?

Post by Paul Janssen » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:28 pm

Just another thought on this which may or may not work depending on the piece. My daughter plays Bb clarinet. She has only been learning for less than 2 years and is therefore a beginner. I have written a few guitar arrangements so that I can accompany her at her end of year concerts. In each case, I have written the part in G and played it with a capo at the 3rd fret. This means that I am playing in Bb which is the equivalent of her playing in C. Seems to work well enough.

Not sure if you could adopt a similar approach for the pieces you are trying to transcribe?

Kurt Penner
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Re: easier key to arrange in than Bb Major?

Post by Kurt Penner » Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:31 pm

Could try capo at first fret and leave it in Bb Major.

KP

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bert
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Re: easier key to arrange in than Bb Major?

Post by bert » Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:47 pm

Kurt Penner wrote:Could try capo at first fret and leave it in Bb Major.

KP
I think you mean rewrite it to A major and then move it up to Bb Major with capo at 1st. That's a good idea when you are playing together with other instruments that prefer Bb.

I have one book where they have the score without capo (e.g. A major) and with capo (Bb major), but will never use the second score, always the first.

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Re: easier key to arrange in than Bb Major?

Post by Kurt Penner » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:44 am

Bert, when I play with a capo in the first position, I do NOT rewrite the score in transposed key; I just adjust my expectations of the open strings. For example, when I transcribed Satie Gnossienne #1, its original key is F minor. Capo at first fret, open strings are FBbEbAbCF. Well, actually I also have my seventh string tuned to low Bb.

I wanted my transcription to be in the original key, hence the capo. High F on the first string is still at the 13th fret, why would i want to think of it as an E when it neither sounds as E nor is in the fret position of E? Too confusing.

However, if a piece involved many common first position chords, then I could see the advantages of your approach.

kp

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Re: easier key to arrange in than Bb Major?

Post by Bill B » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:15 pm

Transcription from piano will probably (pretty much certainly) involve a lot more than just changing key. You will likely have to alter cord voicing and sometimes the register of a line. Generally I think the best approach is one that will allow you to use open strings in harmony to allow you to play the melody with more agility. If it's a simple piece that pretty much makes a lot of use of the I, IV, And V chords then A or D are obvious choices. But the specific piece may well be such that some other key is much easier.
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