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Step 4: Be Careful with Accidentals

22 July, 2019 - 10:18
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Most notes can simply be moved the correct number of lines and spaces. Whether the interval is minor, major, or perfect will take care of itself if the correct key signature has been chosen. But some care must be taken to correctly transpose accidentals. Put the note on the line or space where it would fall if it were not an accidental, and then either lower or raise it from your new key signature. For example, an accidental B natural in the key of E flat major has been raised a half step from the note in the key (which is B flat). In transposing down to the key of D major, you need to raise the A natural in the key up a half step, to A sharp. If this is confusing, keep in mind that the interval between the old and new (transposed) notes (B natural and A sharp) must be one half step, just as it is for the notes in the key.

Note: If you need to raise a note which is already sharp in the key, or lower a note that is already flat, use double sharps or double flats (Figure 1.17)
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Figure 6.16 Transposing Accidentals
Flats don't necessarily transpose as flats, or sharps as sharps. For example, if the accidental originally raised the note one half step out of the key, by turning a flat note into a natural, the new accidental may raise the note one half step out of the key by turning a natural into a sharp. 

Exercise 6.2:

The best practice for transposing is to transpose a piece you know well into a new key.