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note substitution formula? #2679476
10/03/17 12:29 PM
10/03/17 12:29 PM
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 731
Melville Saskatchewan
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FrankCox Offline OP
500 Post Club Member
FrankCox  Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 731
Melville Saskatchewan
What is the formula for calculating note substitution?

While I can (with some effort) reach across a full octave, I'm currently playing something that calls for holding a key down and playing two keys that are an octave-plus-a-sharp, and that same octave plus-a-whole-tone, and I simply can't physically do that since it's two keys past what I can reach.

I tried googling for piano note substitution and found some stuff that quickly left me in the weeds since I don't really know any music theory and don't have the background to understand the answers.

But I'm thinking that there must be some sort of a formula along the line of "move up X semitones within the structure of the key signature" or something like that. Is there such a thing, or have I even managed to articulate my question in an understandable manner?


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Re: note substitution formula? [Re: FrankCox] #2679498
10/03/17 02:33 PM
10/03/17 02:33 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,838
Georgia, USA
Sam S Offline

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Posts: 2,838
Georgia, USA
One thing you can do when you have a stretch that you can't reach is to move one of the notes up or down an octave where you can reach it.

Since you are not big on music theory, here is an example of what I am talking about:

In the left hand, if you have a C below middle C and an E above middle C (a tenth), then you could move the E down an octave to the E below middle C, making it a third.

This rearranging does change the way the piece will sound, but if it enables you to play it...

Or you can roll the chord, and hold notes with the pedal while you reposition your hand.

Sam

Re: note substitution formula? [Re: FrankCox] #2679507
10/03/17 03:50 PM
10/03/17 03:50 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,632
Warsaw, Poland
Qazsedcft Offline
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Qazsedcft  Offline
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Warsaw, Poland
You can:

1) Use the pedal instead of holding the note that is an octave apart.
2) Shift one octave like Sam suggested.
3) Arpegiate the chord that you can't reach.


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Re: note substitution formula? [Re: FrankCox] #2679514
10/03/17 04:46 PM
10/03/17 04:46 PM
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 2,368
Sweden
TheodorN Offline
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Sweden
In addition to the suggestions already given, you can also invert the whole interval. If we stick to Sam's example of C to an octave above, which is a tenth, change it to E to C above it, which is an interval of sixth. That way, you get a wider interval, sixth as opposed to a third, if you move the E down an octave.

In my opinion, you should only do this in the bass clef, because if you have for example C4 to E5 in the treble, then E is the highest, thereby the melody note, and crucial to the piece.

That brings us to the subject of voicing. From what I've heard, it's more important to have bigger intervals in the bass, wider sound, than in the treble clef. If the notes you were playing, were part of a chord, you can try to voice them differently.

Remember though, it's usually best to keep the melody note, as it is written. For example a C7 chord can be played with the first and seventh, C and Bb, in the bass, and the third and fifth, E and G, in the treble.

Last edited by TheodorN; 10/03/17 04:47 PM.

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Re: note substitution formula? [Re: FrankCox] #2679520
10/03/17 05:02 PM
10/03/17 05:02 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,632
Warsaw, Poland
Qazsedcft Offline
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Qazsedcft  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,632
Warsaw, Poland
Some more options I left out (I was in a hurry wink )

4) Re-distribute notes between the hands to something more comfortable.
5) Leave out some notes that are less important.
6) Rearange chords to a different voicing/inversion.

5 and 6 require strong theory skills.


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Re: note substitution formula? [Re: FrankCox] #2679540
10/03/17 06:21 PM
10/03/17 06:21 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,628
Richmond, BC, Canada
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Charles Cohen Offline
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Charles Cohen  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,628
Richmond, BC, Canada
Quote
. . .
I tried googling for piano note substitution and found some stuff that quickly left me in the weeds since I don't really know any music theory and don't have the background to understand the answers.


I don't think there's a shortcut. If you want to know:

. . . "I can't play note X -- what can I substitute for it?"

you have to know what _function_ note X serves. So maybe it's time to learn some music theory.


. Charles
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