Transposing In the Key Editor

Testing other on-scale shifts using C Major scale (Ionian mode) and I would be grateful if someone would take the time to check this (for modes see here:

C-D (Dorian, 2 s/t) - ok
C-E (Phrygian, 4 s/t) - BUGGY (results in E-F-G-A-B-D-D-E, see previous posts here)
C-F (Lydian, 5 s/t) - BUGGY (results in F-G-A-A-C-D-E-F)
C-G (Myxolydian, 7 s/t) - ok
C-A (Aeolian, 9 s/t) - BUGGY (results in A-B-C-D-E-G-G-A)
C-B (Locrian, 11 s/t) - BUGGY (results in B-C-D-E-F-A-A-B) but works if you do the Aeolian wrong!

This is a nonsensical way of working! In checking to see if the C-A required a different number of semitones to work properly I tried 10 and got a perfect Locrian scale (i.e. all the white notes starting on B) when the scale set in Transpose is Aeolian. The Locrian fails when you do it right. ¡¡¡Madre mía!!!

Right… (deep breath, let it out slowly and calmly, C)

I know what I’m doing here, I understand modes, keys, how to count semitones, I’ve been doing music for over 40 years and I am finding it hard going. All these settings are highly specific and inter-dependent, yet I have to make three manual adjustments (and perform mental arithmetic) to make even basic harmonies work. There is no room for error. I think I know what’s going on - someone wanted to design the ultimate Transpose tool. Fine. That’s a good idea, there are bound to be occasions. But judging by the number of times I’ve had to explain the difference between key-shift and on-scale transposition, there’s a lot of folk out there who simply don’t understand musical theory at this level. I don’t blame them - why should they? They are practical musicians and just want to make music. This is too complicated. Even for the developers it would seem (and they really are intelligent).

This feature desperately needs some shortcuts, namely two tickboxes: #1 Stay On Scale, #2 Keep Original.

Please, get this sorted out or I’ll have you beaten on penalties…one day (hopefully very soon, i.e. Thursday :mrgreen: ).

Thank you, I feel better now.

i don’t understand… if you do have a melody and want add a counterline ( derived from this melody ) say a harmony of a third up, that you should use than “transpose to scale” option in Cubase ?
Suppose it is not scale related the melody, than “transpose to scale” don’t work here.
Only when melody is constructed out of a scale notes (notes belonging to the same key), than you can use “transpose to scale” option
Example you start with a C major melody and transpose to scale F maj ( one flat sign)
Note: as you know Cmajor and F major do have he same “scale formulae”

So if you do have a Cmajor melody and tranpose to scale Maj F than there is a distance of 4 semitones

Do i miss something?..or do i have to studty the subject again :slight_smile:

Yes. I would guess that you haven’t read the thread from the beginning. But, in short, transpose to scale is buggy and we’re not talking about key changes.

(just trying to help janamdo through the language barrier :wink: )…
In theory, yes, “Transpose to Scale” should work (but doesn’t, because of the bug just discovered). Crotchety offered an alternative method (as a workaround), using different scale modes, but this too seems to have run into the same bug (Have I got it right there, Crotchety?).

yes, that language barrier … :wink: i started with this

I hope someone can point me in the correct direction. I want to transpose a section in the key editor by major scale note rather than by semitones. For example in the key of D major:
D E F# G A B C# D
I want to transpose it up two notes, not two semitones, to get this:
F# G A B C# D E F#
I am finding that no matter what settings I have in the Transpose Setup one or more of the notes are off after the transpose.

Any ideas if there are settings that will allow for this type of transposition?


D E F# G A B C# D is the Dmajor scale and From this to F# G A B C# D E F# ( this is not the F# major scale with 6 # )
D-> F# is 4 semitones ( 2 whole notes)
E -> G ( must be G# than it belongs to the F# major scale) is 3 semi tones ( not 4 ! )

How must Cubase be able to do this when D E F# G A B C# D and F# G A B C# D E F# are not key related
From Dmaj to F# major gives 2 whole notes distance
Or do i miss something and must study this subject again?

Wouldn’t it be easier to just play in the notes you wanted?

I don’t think the scale modes is a workaround, Vic, I think that’s how it’s intended to work, hence my remarks about the thing being unnecessarily complicated (the length of this thread being proof-positive).

Jan, sorry if you’re struggling with the language but it’s not easy to explain to English-speakers either (due to the complexity of the theory, not because anyone’s stupid) so perhaps you’re not struggling as much as you think. Let me try to explain again:

The important thing to understand is this is not key-shift, which is a simple matter of moving everything up by the same number of semitones. But D E F# G A B C# D and F# G A B C# D E F# are related, in the sense that they are the same major scale but starting and finishing on different notes. Another way of saying this is that they are different keys in different modes. This is very confusing for anyone who hasn’t heard of modes - anyone, in the sense of most people. But this is the way Steinberg must have chosen to implement it because when I explained to them what I had tried and why (and sent them the project) they didn’t tell me I was doing it wrong, even though I suggested this might be the case. They said it was a bug. They still don’t know how much of one.

Modes are simply step-patterns. The major scale we are all familiar with is a mode (Ionian) and has a step pattern T-T-S-T-T-T-S. Other modes have different patterns. The example above, beginning on F#, is the Phrygian mode (in the key of F#). Another way of saying this is that it is a D major starting and finishing on the third. Like I said, it’s all a bit arcane and unnecessarily complicated for what ought to be such a simple function - gimme a harmony a third up, which is what the OP was trying to do, the poor bastard.

I’m now going for a lie-down…(Please don’t be afraid to ask for clarification, though)

Only inasmuch as, to get an “in key” transposition, you have to change key and mode. (where the object of the exercise is to remain in key. :wink:

Yeah, okay, I see what you mean, Vic. Cheers, dude :wink:

Not necessarily. There might be a lot of them and you might want the timing in both parts to be exactly the same. And I don’t want to give Steinberg an excuse not to fix this… :wink:

Yes if you take the Dorian mode on D==>WRONG a made a mistake , i mean D major and the phrygian mode start on F#…than the first note of the 2 scales do have a major third distance, but for the rest of notes of the 2 scales it is not said that they have a major triad distance between them, when you make a one to one correspondence between the 2 scales notes.

If you ask a major third distance from the Dmajor and the F#major for every note, than you must use the F# major scale ( 6 # )…this is a transpose of the source notes under the the given circumstance that it is a D major scale.

It seems to me that Cubase must handle all sorts of key chances in the staff :wink:

You’re beginning to confuse me now. And you’re not using terms correctly. A major third is an interval, not a triad. A triad may contain a major third but they are completely different things. Forget triads.

The Dorian mode is a minor mode and has nothing to do with this discussion.

In summary, I’m sorry but I don’t understand what you’re saying.

Sorry…i can imagine that you are confused … i correct it and correct me if i am wrong.
I must be D major (and not D dorian… i made a mistake here :blush:) that’s the key where this thread started with, and i use a interval notation because it is 2 whole notes on the major scale …the major triad(WRONG)=> i mean major third :blush:

If you want make a harmony line of a major third than the distance (interval) between the notes is 4 semi tones= 2 whole notes ( cannot be a minor third ? …because some two note combinations are dissonant…rules for counterpoint?)

Thanks for taking that better than I deserved - it was a trying afternoon, my apologies, this stuff is not easy or obvious. Please don’t be embarrassed. And I do occasionally live up to my name!

It’s unfortunate that the original post used D major as an example because it’s much easier to understand in C - the white notes. There is an easy way of seeing what this is about. Go find a keyboard (a real one), and go up and down the white notes with your fingers 2 white notes apart. It will sound nice. If you count the semitones between your fingers, taking into account the black notes (sometimes 1, sometimes 2), you will see that the interval varies. This what we are trying get Cubase to do. Cubase is supposed to be able to handle this by defining the shift in terms of modes (which I’m nor going to explain again cos it’s late and I’m a bit drunk) but it has not only confused everyone here but itself too, which is why is doesn’t work.

The harmonies we are discussing are on-scale (varying the interval), which is why they sound nice. If you key-shift to create a harmony (maintaining the interval) you will give everyone bad dreams. Try it. It really works, e.g. police sirens and “Battle in the Air” by William Walton (from the Battle of Britain film).

By the way, I think you’ll find counterpoint is something else again - an interweaving melody - so not under discussion here. It would be unfair to expect Cubase to work that out! :wink:

I am interested in counterpoint, because now with the expression map feature it is possible to compose classical music and counterpoint is a important subject there.
So add harmony to 2 melodic lines depends on the source note …not every source note sounds good with a target note with major third as interval as i now understand ?

Interesting for me how Cubase can help me ( or not :slight_smile: ) with constructing of counterline

I am sorry, but it seems that i made again a mistake with the conversion
But this transpose tool is not doing what i ask for and has a wrong input
Transpose is not the case from Dmajor to Fphrygian ( not neccessary )
The range of the target key is only important

F4? That’s odder than I’ve seen yet. I’d like to try that. Can you post back with the scale you began with and the settings you used in the Transpose section? Cheers.

I cannot reproduce this anymore… probably i was wrong …it seems that the transpose tool is not working…
It is converting one scale into a another scale in our case and it is not transposing, that is why it is not working
Cheers too

Thanks for posting the results of your research, Jan. It all helps.

I’ve let support know about the new discoveries and will post back when I get an answer. Now, I really must get on with some work…

Cheers, all,

Well This is an old post, but I though Id add my bit, using Cubase 8 pro. I am currently putting all the examples in Mark Levines brilliant “The Jazz Theory Book” into midi. The need to transpose " within the key" or modally is common. So the example given at the start of this post was a modal transposition from Ionian to Phrygian as pointed out.

So to recap, in the key of C major the scale is CDEGFABC ( all white notes on the piano) This structure is known as the Ionian mode. To move to Phrygian we start two notes up on E so the notes are EFGABCDE. Still all white notes but with a totally different sound. This is now the E phrygian mode and has a total different sound ( often used in Spanish Flamenco). However, because we are still using the white notes we are still effectively in the KEY of C major and not the KEY of E major.

Can Cubase do this now? Yes it can.

put a scale of C into the key editor CDEFGABC. Then select it and copy across to a new bar. Then select these notes and open the transpose setup.Click Midi/Transpose Setup from main menu bar. So we want to move these notes diatonically up to E phrygian. E is 4 semitones above C so we click 4 semitones into the transpose box. The current scale is C major so we choose that, and we then want to change the relevant notes to E Phrygian so we choose that in the new scale boxes. Press OK and all the notes will be moved up correctly and notice they are all still on the white notes which is what we want.

The original question was effectively asking how to do this but the example was in the key of D major rather than C major. But follows exactly the same process substituting the key as appropriate.

This works for all the modes as outlined above so hope it helps. There are also options for loads of other scales in the preset dropdown)

ps: some DAWS make this easier where you just specify in the key editor which key you wish to remain in and then any notes you drag will be forced to sit in the scale of that key - I think Ableton is one example.

Anyway hope this helps a few folk