Transposition as a Practice Technique

Transposing a passage into neighbouring keys is a very useful practice device for the left hand. Rather than practicing the same difficult passages over and over, we can create some useful variety by transposing them into neighbouring keys. This serves to reinforce our technical mastery while at the same time, it stops us from getting bored with endless identical repetitions.

This idea works especially well for passages in thumbposition because these can normally be transposed into many different keys all over the fingerboard without anything really changing for our hands. Only the finger spacings change, but very gradually, as we go up and down the fingerboard. At some point for every passage the distances between the notes will become too large as we go down into the Neck Region and we will not be able to go any further. Various arrangements of this piece can be found in the Traditional Fiddle Tunes section.

This idea can also be used for practicing passages that lie normally in the Neck and Intermediate Regions, but only for passages that do not require any open strings. We might think initially that it is not possible to transpose passages which use natural harmonics, but in fact this is not entirely true. Those natural harmonic notes will just need to be stopped in the transposed versions, but this doesn’t do us any harm at all. On the contrary in fact: when we have to stop all the notes, this reinforces our positional sense even more than when we use the harmonics.