Transposition

Mechanical Transposition

  • A study of the guitar fingerboard is a study of patterns.
  • These patterns can be organized as scales, melodies or chords.
  • These patterns can normally be made movable, either up and down the neck, or across the neck.

Up and Down the Neck

  • These patterns can be moved up and down the neck of the guitar, to create the same musical effect at a higher or lower pitch.
  • If the chord uses open strings, a finger must be used to replace the nut, and in effect move the nut. This is usually called using a bar.
  • This movement of the pattern is called transposition.
  • The transposition can be described in terms of musical distance, intervals. The number of frets moved gives the size in terms of tones and semi-tones.

Across the Neck

  • These patterns can be moved across the neck, from low strings to high, or vice-versa, with a bit of ingenuity
  • When moving across the neck, any note that was previously on string 3 (G) and now is on string 2 (B), must be made one fret higher to preserve the relative pitch.
  • When moving across the neck, any note that was previously on string 2 (B) and now is on string 3 (G), must be made one fret lower to preserve the relative pitch.
  • When moving across the neck from low string to high strings, the note that ends up on string 1 (high E) should be duplicated two octaves lower on string 6 (low E)
  • When moving across the neck from high strings to low string, the note that ends up on string 6 (low E) should be duplicated two octaves higher on string 1 (high E)
  • Sometimes, this movement is infeasible because of the limitations of the human hand, but it could always be done with more fingers, until you reach the ends of the fingerboard.
  • The transposition can be described in terms of musical distance, intervals.
  • Moving from low to high by one set of strings, with the adjustment for the 2nd string, and the replication on the E string, is an ascending perfect 4th in standard tuning.
  • Moving from high to low by one set of strings, with adjustments for the 3rd string, and the replication on the E string, is an ascending perfect 5th in standard tuning.