Transposing at the Octave
We can make a melody sound mostly the same, but higher or lower, if we transpose it by one octave.
This melody begins on the note G – but which G? Is it a high or low register G? The easiest way to explain exactly which G, is to say whether it is above or below middle C, and by how much.
This G is the first G below middle C.
We can change it to the first G above middle C, and write it on the 2nd line of the stave. It’s still the same basic note, but now it is an octave higher in pitch.
Using this as the starting point, we can copy over all the notes of the melody, so that the whole thing is one octave higher:
Notice that we have to change the stem direction on some of the notes.
Being able to transpose by an octave is a useful skill. Let’s say you have a song written for a very high-pitched voice and want to make it singable for someone with a lower voice – you could transpose it one octave down and the problem is solved!
In the Trinity grade 2 exam, you may be asked to transpose a tune so that a different pitched voice can sing it.
Voices are divided into four main groups – two for women, and two for men.
High-pitched women’s voices are called soprano, and low-pitched women’s voices are called alto.
High-pitched men’s voices are called tenor, and low-pitched men’s voices are called bass.