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Slowly transposing classical music

t - r - a - n - s - p - o - s - a - n - d - i - o - s - o --- Al -- T - r - e -- M - a - g - g - i - o - r - e
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(+8, -2)
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Hum any short, well-known tune; for example, "Happy Birthday." Now, hum it again from the beginning, but this time, gradually raise the pitch of your voice over the whole thing, so that by the time you get to the end, you are now higher than when you started, by a major third.

Not so easy! It's difficult to modulate your voice little by little with no sudden out-of-tune jumps but still have it add up to a total of three notes higher.

Yet, when playing contemporary classical music on a violin, wind instrument, or singing, and you see the instruction "Transposandioso Al Tre Maggiore" in the sheet music, that is what the composer is instructing you to do.

I've never seen this done, and I look forward to watching the performers master it. Contemporary classical music composers like to find new ways to express themselves and this would be an imposing challenge.

P.S. Today's computers with their dials make this an easy task, but that's not real performing.

phundug, Apr 27 2009

Happy Birthday TATM http://tinyurl.com/cqw2zy
Happy Birthday slowly transposed up a major third [csea, Apr 28 2009]

Bach the master baker http://www.youtube....meo&feature=related
[Ling, May 01 2009]


       Can you clarify the idea? It appears you are trying to invent modulation.
tatterdemalion, Apr 27 2009

       Portamento Largississimo... +   

       Oddly, I've spent several hours today counteracting the effects of a similar if lesser (unintentional) modulation by a group I recorded recently. (1/2 step over ~3 minutes.)   

       I'ts actually not that hard to encourage a well-trained singing group to go flat or sharp over a longer time (minutes.) Getting them to arrive at a predetermined pitch is another matter!
csea, Apr 27 2009

       Is this transposition only in pitch, or do the performers have to speed-up as well? If the latter, the effect could be achieved by placing the orchestra on a very large record player and switching it from 33&1/3 to 45rpm partway through the performance.
zen_tom, Apr 27 2009

       I am totally uninformed in musical matters : are you saying that composers added instructions to their works that demand the impossible? or is it simply very hard? and what, exactly, is the idea, here?
loonquawl, Apr 27 2009

       many 15-16c polyphonic vocal scores end phrases in a different pitch than they start, then there's a sign to optionally retune for the next phrase.   

       Indian music does quarter-tones (Western only half)   

       I imagine it would be easier on a violin than a voice.   

       ... you forgot to post the idea part though.
FlyingToaster, Apr 27 2009

       Doing this on a keyed/valved instrument would be an achievement.
sninctown, Apr 28 2009

       could someone explain the idea for the musical-theory-deprived?
loonquawl, Apr 28 2009

       Listen to an example at [link]. (n.b. Not real performing.)
csea, Apr 28 2009

       //Transposition of a perfect 5th up or dowen on most string instruments is relatively easy... just go up/down a string//
>>But you have to do it s l o w l y, over a period of 10 or 15 bars. That's the challenge.
phundug, Apr 28 2009

       This sounds like something Penderecki would do.
Laughs Last, Apr 28 2009

danman, Apr 28 2009

       Thanks for the link, [csea] - that's neat!
phundug, Apr 28 2009

       I just toss croissants at bakers like phundug...
po, Apr 28 2009

       This is clever but pointless. What is the point of it?   

       If you do this in the way it's been done in your linked "Happy birthday", then it's just discordant: any long notes have a perceptible pitch-bend within them. Moreover, the sequential relationship of notes (effectively, harmonies played over time rather than parallel voices) is mutilated.   

       If, instead, you do it by means of some cleverly-concealed discrete, discreet steps, then this is of course exactly what many composers have always done. In many pieces, a theme seems to repeat itself but, mysteriously, has become transposed by some musical sleght-of-hand.   

       So, I'm boning this. You might as well invent musical instructions such as "Play whilst standing on one leg" or "Make the sound of a duck"; possibly challenging but not useful.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 28 2009

       "Canardo ma non troppo"   

       (italian word for 'duck' is Anatra, but I like "Canardo" better.)
phundug, Apr 28 2009

       [MB] //pointless// //not useful// = Halfbaked?
Cultivating the ability to do this would be simply an additional area of study of "ear training" as has been practiced by musicians, professional and amateur, for centuries.

       sp. sleight-of-hand   

       //discordant: any long notes have a perceptible pitch-bend within them.//
So, you dislike trombone glissandi? Or barbershop Tags?

       //this is of course exactly what many composers have always done//
Actually, they have done what is called "modulation" which differs substantially from transposition.

       //invent musical instructions //
There's lots of precedent. Beethoven was among the first to use metronome markings.
csea, Apr 30 2009

       Barbershop tags, including those with slow glissandi, are about extending and delaying the final resolution with intricate layers of precise dissonance. There is a definite harmonic goal, namely regaining the tonic. The moving part(s) create tension relative to the static ones. I've messed around with the concept discussed here (computer assisted) and the result usually seems turgid, arbitrary, and non musical.
spidermother, May 02 2009


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