how long did it take to learn a tune in all twelve keys when you were first starting out?  this includes the amount of time that it took to completely learn the tune inside and out in the original key, and assumes an equal level of familiarity in subsequent keys.
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it takes a few days, but i will forget the details if i don't keep re-visiting the tune over weeks and months. i don't take the time to learn tunes in all 12 keys. i do learn progressions in all 12 keys: blues, rhythm changes, autumn leaves, ii v i, i vi ii v, etc.
that would depend on the tune and the person.  i would think the average player  could play twinkle twinkle in all twelve within a few minutes.

if you do things like jazz+ mentions, then it becomes easier to transpose  in general.
i recall that it took me several days of heavy practice to get autumn leaves in all keys back when i was in college. it was an assignment for our jazz improv class- we would draw out a random key from a hat and play it for a test or whatever.

after years of learning tunes in all keys, i pretty much can play any tune i know in any key.  it's harder to do it from music, though, the transposing thing gets confusing.  knowing how a tune is designed, the numbers behind the chords, really helps me out  (in the key of c, instead of f7 to c7, i would think about it as a 4 to 1)
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is autumn in newyork considered a 'standard progression' as it seems a strong progression tha other tunes have used?
are jazz pianists limited in what keys they can play in? i have been looking for jazz pieces(not including blues pieces) that start in keys other than c major, f major, g major, bb major, eb major, ab major, and db major(which are the most common keys a jazz pianist plays in), and i can't find any.

i know the classical repetoire has pieces that are played in all twelve major keys. how come i don't hear jazz pianists record in all twelve major keys?
some of it has to do with horn players liking eb, ab, and db.
the guitar players i play with like the maj. min. aug. and dim keys.
the bass player is whatever key you want.
the vocalists almost always want a key change to accomdate their range.
is there any jazz pieces at all that were originally played in the keys of a major, b major, f# major, d major, and e major? if there isn't, what a shame on jazz pianists! that's five keys taken away from the twelve major keys!

i've heard that blues and boogie woogie pianists are even more limited. the most common major keys for a boogie woogie pianist are c, g, and f major. then i think blues pianists like to play in e major and a major.

a major: triste, margot  
b major: central park west
f#major: pensativa
d major: wave, bright size life, tones for joan's bones
as far as e major, can't think off of the top of my head, except that i've heard pianists play in it (art tatum playing smoke gets in your eyes). i know i could think of something if i tried but don't really want to have to think about it. many sections of tunes move to e major, like all the things you are, the song is you, prelude to a kiss, i'll remember april.

certain keys get played more by jazz musicians because they are more comfortable on certain instruments; for horn players, flat keys are more comfortable and lay better.

to go back to your classical example, there are almost no violin concertos in ab major. majority are in the sharp keys, just because they are more suited for the instruments.

many pianists play in e major, b major, a major etc; it doesn't matter where the tune was originally recorded. why not be like bill evans and play any standard in those keys, if you like them?

dr. whack taught me to play misty in all 12 keys and i've had trumpet teachers in the past encourage the same.  not only does it help your ears but it helps you learn the form of a song, and not just memorization of chords which can easily be forgotten.

i get a kick from sax players who sit in with us and freak out when i tell them 5 seconds before the start, that we play "respect" in ab and watch their eyes light up as they try to figure out what chords are in the sax break.  :-)  (hint...go up a dimished 5 from the key you start in and that becomes the ii7 of the ii7-v7 progression so in ab it becomes a dmi7-g7 chord change).

regarding favorite keys, i prefer playing in flat keys and their relative minors.  i hate playing songs in b and's probably just a mental thing.
the last few years i've been trying to not think about keys at all- just be able to hear the sound and make it happen. i think theoretically about the chords when i can't "hear them".  it's been difficult at times, but the connection between my ears and my fingers are stronger than ever simply because i kept on trying.
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i think the thing is that if you've truly internalised a tune, you've understood it structurally - iii-vi-ii-v here, well the iii is a kind of i anyway, tritone subs or bits of them sometimes, go to the iv or minor iv at that part, go to the parallel minor at the bridge, modulate up a major 3rd, etc. as long as you know your geography, the key is irrelevant (although you wouldn't just mindlessly transpose the voicings).

working with singers is good training. a couple of things currently on my books for various singers: wee small hours in a, my foolish heart in f, here's that rainy day in db. none bone-crunchingly tricky, but it's amazing how tunes lay differently under your fingers when you're out of your real book comfort zone.  

a dirty little secret tactic (particularly useful for jam sessions): whenever a singer calls a tune in a key that's really horrible for everyone, have a little nudge-wink round the band and play it up a semitone. always go up, not down, because with the adrenaline of performance a singer can find more at the top of their range, particularly if the band is comfortable and swinging.  

random thoughts: daahoud begins with a iii-vi-ii-v in cb (aka b), although the tune is actually in eb. everyone associates giant steps with b (the first chord), although if it's in any key at all, it's in eb. a lot of bossas were originally composed on guitar, so they favour "guitar keys" (the sharp side) rather than "horn keys" (the flat side). some of the michel legrand tunes that bill evans featured make a point of crossing the flat-sharp dateline - eg you must remember spring. good study material.

incidentally - a confession - i never properly got to grips with what's actually going on in round midnight until i had to play it in c minor one night...


oh, and i believe bill evans' classic rendition of my foolish heart on the live waltz for debby album in played in a.
you must believe in spring (not "remember")
i'll remember april
impromptu, on one hand, as a player i think that your solution to the problem of singers and awkward keys is pretty amusing.  however, i should add that as singer, if i was singing with you, i would catch it.  and then i would be upset.  so i guess the point is, figure out if your singer has perfect pitch before you try something like that.
i'm glad to hear you say that scot.  that's pretty much how i've done it my entire life.  i hear the sounds and i play them, sort of bypassing the cognitive.  i think it just comes with doing it constantly and forever....much like a singer who sings melodies without knowing what notes are actually being sung... sometimes i might remember that such and such tune begins with a iv chord or something ling that to jog my memory, but i certainly do not think about what changes i'm playing once i get started - if i do, i mess up :)
ziggysane, in answer to your original question, when i was starting out in jazz about 4 years ago, to take a song around 12 keys was very time consuming - even having learned my ii v is and scales. twinkle twinkle is one thing, but a song like autumn leaves which contains more changes, that is another thing. it probably would have taken a full day at least and then you really need to go back through all the keys again to consolidate. probably a full weekend all in all. of course it gets easier once you have got through the pain barrier - that happened for me after perhaps a couple of years of practising that way. i didn't start out transposing jazz songs though, i began with simpler, traditional songs, using triads. after a period of practising those and also scales and ii v is i moved onto blues with 7ths, autumn leaves, standards etc. i just play in my spare time, so i guess those people who are studying jazz at college or who are pros would expect to make faster progress.
heh, i laughed when i saw the post about moving a singer's key up or down a halfstep.

i could never figure why a singer would throw a fit if she/he wanted a tune in b but i would tell them, "choose c or bb, it's better for the rest of the band.  it's going to make you sound better that way."

it's not like a singer needs to push keys down or something, it's their voice, they can hit any pitch they want without even thinking about it.

ziggy- can you answer this?  what is the huge problem with some singers when they can't be flexible enough to move 1/2 step up or down in their key to make it easier for the band?
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having tried a bit of singing in the past, i can tell you that a key change can be a big deal - not always, but some tunes just lay better once you find your sweet spot...trouble is that sweet spot can move around on you depending on how well you're feeling.

i've done a lot of unprofessional things for the sake of a good laugh, but i never did that to a singer.  i figured it was a cop out to avoid doing my job:)  i do know a guy who did it to the singer when  she gave him sh** on a gig - heh heh - she'd be rubbin the front of her neck and wondering why she just couldn't hit the notes that evening -heh heh - she'd even ask him; "are you sure that's the right key?" wish i coulda been there:)
first off, i would be upset with the subterfuge on general principal.

second, i am in agreement with whack in that certain keys for certain songs hit the sweet spot in particular voices. lots of variables, i know.  

third, as someone with a lower voice, if the song is high already, a half step up could mean disaster.  yes, singers don't have valves or keys, but the instrument and control of pitch is quite fragile by comparison. i would be much more inclined to accept a suggestion to lower a key rather than raise it, unless the song lays in the middle of a very comfortable range to begin with. again, unless you really want to send a singer a message, i think that asking first is the best policy.  

bearing all that in mind, a half step with advance notice shouldn't be that big a deal.
also, to return to my original topic, i can already transpose things like twinkle and most pop lead sheets pretty easily.
well guys....

very few times have i considered printing out a thread so that i can read it again and again and again.... this is one of them. there is sooooo much valuable information here.... i've just started learning my first tune 'in 12 keys' (round midnight) after listening over and over again to 'several' versions.  

i've started simple, ' melody note in the right hand and 1-7, 1-10 or 1-3 in the left', and after just a few days, for the first time 'ever', i've started to actually understand the 'form' of a tune...  so when i've forgotten how i played it in one key a few days ago it's very little work to figure it out again in that key (very weird if you've only ever been used to trying to remember a chord sequence)  

only thing is, this seems more mechanical than aural as i don't have big ears yet, but i guess that will come
time to talk - i have a mental picture of your ears actually growing as you improve.
lol.. paul b.... i hope to catch up with 'prince charles' one day
perhaps charles has been secretly transposing standards...
ziggysane-"when you saw learn a tune" do you mean play the melody with perhaps rootless voicings or a sophisticated type solo piano arrangement? i suppose the latter would take quite some time, and the former would take acouple of hours (for me at least)
when i think of learning a tune in all 12 keys, based on what i've gathered here over the years, i think that one must be able to...

in all 12 keys:
melody with shell voicings in left hand
melody with rootless chords in left hand
play roots in left hand with chords, rootless or not, in right
play a bass line in the left hand  
play a solo, bare bones 2+2 style head
be able to play a bare bones duo version with bass line and chords
comp behind a soloist in a trio or larger setting
improvise fluently over the tune without getting lost (though i suppose you could say that one must learn all of the above, and thus the tune, before being able to really improvise over it)

i don't know if i missed anything, but those are the basics
what, no basic stride?
what's "bare bones 2+2 style head" mean?

and duo version, does that mean just comping rootless cords in the right hand while doing a bass line in the left?

and, "shell voicings" are what... root, third, seventh?  i think that's right, but i just heard the term the other day.

thanks :)
man:  if you can tranpose to even those keys, give me a break!!!!!!!!
hey larryc - thanks for the honorable mention! sometimes i don't see the entire thread before i chime in (i really should though)  it's always nice to hear if my drivel actually helped someone:)
i know i will be able to play in all keys one day.
but for now, i think that it is more important to play my scales and favourite modes in all keys, as soloing over a b7 or e7 chord (for example) can occur in any key.

also, to get started in all keys i guess triads, major scales and ii-v-i in all keys provide the foundations.
okay, i'm interested, too:

what's "bare bones 2+2 style head" mean?

i believe (?) he is referring to the simple 2 + 2 style of solo playing that randy halberstadt teaches in his book "metaphors...".
in the lh, you play root & 3rd or root & 7th.  in the rh, you play the missing tone (either 3 or 7) and the melody note.  (maybe the 9th, too).  it's a simple and quick way to play a tune and sound decent.
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