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Why don't churches let keyboard players change key with the push of a button on the keyboard?

Discussion in 'Worship Ministry' started by justme6272, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. justme6272

    justme6272 Newbie

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    A church insists their contemporary keyboard players be able to play in any key. Why not just change keys with the push of a button?

    Most modern keyboards today have a key change function, and churches are using expensive state-of-the-art keyboards like the Nord Stage series. I've never used one or read the owner's manual, but I'm assuming that surely you can push a button over and over and page thru different keys to automatically transpose to the key you want, since this is a known feature of keyboards today, the same way you can transpose in music software with the click of a mouse. So why can't a person who has learned all their chords in their favorite key let the keyboard do the work for them?

    The only reason I can think of is cause the keyboard might break and the transpose function not be available. But the same can be said for any aspect of the keyboard in general, so you need a backup plan to swap out the keyboard anyway if any part of it breaks.

    It should be clarified that reading music is not a requirement. The church is trying to develop people in such a way that the church can get around having to transpose lead sheets, then print and pass them out if a different singer needs it in a different key. They want to print out the lyrics one time with numbers above the words, announce which key they're doing it in, and you play the progression in that key using the Nashville number system, which is just a variance on Roman numerals used in music theory classes.
     
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  2. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Hide The Pain Supporter

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    I think you'd have to ask the particular church.
     
  3. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Agreed. Every congregation I have attended in the last 30 years has allowed that.
     
  4. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Hide The Pain Supporter

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    If it were me, as long as you arrive at the right place, I don't care how you get there. I try to provide my musicians with what they need in terms of material. We don't use chord charts because I think their information is way too limited. So we either use sheet music or lead sheets. If you prefer to use the Nashville system then I would leave it up to you to take the music I give you and apply the Nashville numbering system to it. I wouldn't do it for you, though.
     
  5. Monk Brendan

    Monk Brendan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When a friend of mine studied organ over 50 years ago, he was expected to be able to sight-transpose hymns. There are no transposition buttons on pipe organs even today.

    Going up a a step or half-step on the last stanza of a hymn was a standard practice in even mainline Protestant churches.
     
  6. justme6272

    justme6272 Newbie

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    What's the difference between a chord chart and a lead sheet? I think of either as having symbols like Am7 or Gsus4 or C/E above the lyrics. I've never known a church guitar player to use anything but such sheets, and maybe a capo, to get the key/notes they want, even with the ability to read music and a full-fledged guitar arrangement under the chord diagrams that's telling them exactly which notes to play. And up until know, I've always presumed that keyboardists have used the same sheets. I've just assumed they can play whatever chords are on the sheet, which eliminates even having to make their brains transfer a number to a chord. They just play that chord. Of course, this is what I call the 'hard coded' method, and needing to play the song in a different key renders the sheet useless unless you can transpose in your head or have the keyboard do it automatically.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  7. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Hide The Pain Supporter

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    A lead sheet has more information than a chord chart. Lead sheets detail the melody line and also include lines and stanzas so that you can have an understanding of the timing.
     
  8. Kenny'sID

    Kenny'sID Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There's an app for that.

    At least I would think so, that is unless they don't want them using that either. Seems to me, a bit over the top to throw out good players for that reason alone, especially since they can probably provide the transposition as quickly as a few taps on a screen.
     
  9. usexpat97

    usexpat97 kewlness

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    That sure was a lifesaver for me when my guitar player forgot to put on his capo.
     
  10. WoshipWarrior

    WoshipWarrior Well-Known Member

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    Wow, several things:

    The App: OnSong. There are others, but that's what I moved our team to.

    NN System: Probably the move to that is so the leader doesn't have to keep track of who's playing in what key. For example, if you have several guitarists, they need to be playing octaves or it'll sound muddy, so knowing what Chord they are playing ( the 6m, 4, 5, 1, etc) is easier.

    Your skill: The Bible says we should be skilled. That means always practicing, finding ways to get better, learning to provide all that you can with the talents He has given you. Challenge yourself to play in those keys, don't depend on a key shift or a button to "fix" the keyboard so you are in your favorite key. You will be a better musician for it, and will be able to provide more in the way of flow and transition. Keys are a PERFECT song trasitition instrument, especially electronic (Nord, Korg, whatever you have) keys with pads and such.

    Anyway, learn to transpose, learn the NN system, learn to challenge yourself if the calling God has placed you. Remember, He doesn't always call the equipped, sometimes - often times - He equips the called.

    LW.
     
  11. HouseCat71

    HouseCat71 .

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    As hard as it is to find dedicated musician and your church pulls that? WOW!

    I am our church's pianist and I play a Yamaha digital piano. I use the transpose whenever I need to; especially if our guitarist can't play in a particular key that our worship leader needs to sing in. If anything, that rule should apply to guitarists, not keyboardists.

    I could understand the need for the rule, IF you had a standard, backup piano and your church lost power a lot! Otherwise...that seems unnecessary.
     
  12. Karin12414

    Karin12414 Nothing is impossible for my God!

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    I play Keyboard for my Church and can only play in C and G. I just transpose it electronically. I agree with the others, I think it is just dependent on the Worship Leader.

    All though, I feel like there is a problem if the Worship Leader is not willing to be flexible.. but that's just my personal opinion. God doesn't seem to care what Key I play in, just as long as I make a joyful noise, why should it matter?
     
  13. FenderTL5

    FenderTL5 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When I played, I liked using lead sheets. I'm not a fan of 'chord charts'.
    Although, we used Nashville Number Charts even more often, which made things like key changes very simple.
    ie Instead of a chord chart with: C G Am F over the lyric, it'd be: 1 5 6m 4 which can work for any key.
     
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  14. faroukfarouk

    faroukfarouk Fading curmudgeon

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    Some local churches actually prefer plainsong...! :)
     
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