Transposing “In the Moment”

Transposition is a basic fundamental for all church accompanists. I am often asked to transpose a song to better fit a singer’s range. Usually, though, I have time to practice the chords or even write the chords on the music. Every now and then I have to transpose on the spot, which is what happened in this morning’s service.

During the invitation, I started playing the song using the key in the hymnbook. My song leader started to sing the first verse. The song was “Great is Thy Faithfulness” which does get somewhat high for a solo. Coming to the end of the verse, he motioned for me to transpose the song to a lower key. My mind frantically scrambled to think of what key I would go to and what chords I would need to use to get there. Thankfully, the pastor said a few words in between verses which allowed me to transition the song to the lower key.

I will confess that I did not play the song perfect in the new key. But I kept the bass notes correct, played the melody in the right hand, and just kept going. At least my song leader did not have to strain to sing the rest of the song!

Have you had any “in the moment” experiences? I would love to hear them!


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