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Re: Transposed Chord name "F flat"

From: David Bobroff
Subject: Re: Transposed Chord name "F flat"
Date: 28 Oct 2004 08:22:57 +0000

On Thu, 2004-10-28 at 07:46, Matthias Neeracher wrote:
> On Oct 28, 2004, at 12:27 AM, David Bobroff wrote:
> > I'm not a developer, but this looks right to me.  In your example you
> > have a chord which is a diminished step above the tonic of the key.
> > When you transpose this down one whole step it remains the same 
> > relative
> > to the key.
> Thanks for explaining this logic. My music theory is not overly sound, 
> so I'm perfectly willing to accept that there is a sound theoretical 
> justification for this. Nevertheless, I'd still argue that on a 
> practical level, "E" might be preferable here.

It may indeed be more convenient to read 'e' than 'fes', but LilyPond is
simply maintaining an internal consistency.

> > f ges
> >
> > es fes
> >
> > If you were to do:
> >
> > \transpose f' dis'
> >
> > You would likely get 'e' instead of 'fes' and this would be consistent
> > with the above logic.
> Sure, but Jazz pianists tend to take a dim view of singers showing up 
> with a lead sheet transposed into D sharp major :-)

I'm sure they do, and I'm certainly not suggesting that you do this.

> However, I could (and probably will) transpose the song into D or E 
> instead.
> > Likewise, if you had written a fis chord, it would have come out as an 
> > e
> > chord after your transposition.
> Yes, but it seems somewhat counterintuitive that in order to avoid 
> "weird" chord names in chords with flats, I have to transpose into a 
> key with sharps, and vice versa.

It could be argued that a ges chord in f major is already a "weird"
chord for the key.  Yes, I do understand that jazz uses a lot of altered

As a further example, I recently did a transposition of an orchestral
part.  It was written in bass clef and transposing, sounding a whole
step lower than written.  This is a somewhat archaic German/Austrian
practice.  The part needed to be written a step lower.  I did it using
LilyPond.  I entered the part as written and then used \transpose.  At
one point there was a 'fes' in the original.  In the transposition it
came out as 'ees'.  In a hand-written copy of the transposed part this
had been rendered as 'd'.  I eventually found my copy of an engraved
transposed part and it was rendered as 'ees' --- the same as LilyPond.

The developers of LilyPond strive to recreate the look of European
engraving of the 19th century.  This pre-dates jazz notation.  To deal
with things like your 'ges' chord in 'f' becoming a 'fes' chord in 'es',
you will probably have to call it 'fis' in your input file to get what
you want (i.e. 'e' in 'es').  I see this not as a shortcoming of
LilyPond, but a difference between the two practices.


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