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Re: Transposed Chord name "F flat"

From: Mats Bengtsson
Subject: Re: Transposed Chord name "F flat"
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 2004 12:33:59 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.7.3) Gecko/20040913

You may want to look at the example called
in the Tips and Tricks document of the user documentation.


David Bobroff wrote:
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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        Mats Bengtsson
        Signal Processing
        Signals, Sensors and Systems
        Royal Institute of Technology
        SE-100 44  STOCKHOLM
        Phone: (+46) 8 790 8463                         
        Fax:   (+46) 8 790 7260
        Email: address@hidden

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