Transpose Music – Where to Write Dynamics?


Transpose Music – Where to Write Dynamics When Transposing?

When we transpose music up or down in the Treble Clef or in the Bass Clef, transposing dynamic markings are pretty straightforward.

You just copy them in the same spot, right?

But what happens when you have to transpose a melody from the Treble Clef into the Bass Clef, or a melody from the Bass Clef into the Treble Clef?

Now the dynamic confusion begins!

When we transpose music from a single staff to a single staff, there are 2 Simple Rules for copying the dynamics. Here's are the rules and why...

Transpose Music Rule #1 – Dynamics are written below the single Treble Staff.

transpose music - dynamics
Transpose Music Rule #2 – Dynamics are written above the single Bass Staff.

Dynamics 2
WHY? Here’s the cool trick:  Dynamics are written below the Treble Staff and above the Bass Staff so you get a Grand Staff and the dynamics match in the middle.  See?

Dynamics 3
Isn’t that neat! If your students get confused as to whether they write the dynamics above or below the single staff when they transpose music, ask them to picture the single staff as part of the Grand Staff. If they are placing the dynamics incorrectly, they will end up with something that looks like this:

Dynamics 4
Hmm – that doesn’t look correct does it? If your student puts the dynamics above the single Treble Staff and below the single Bass Staff, they sure do look silly when you put them together into a Grand Staff!

Dynamics are written below the Treble Staff and above the Bass Staff so that if you had a Grand Staff, the dynamics would be right smack dab in the middle.

Have you checked out the FREE Music Theory Worksheets yet?
We have two sizes of:

  • Treble Staff Worksheets
  • Bass Staff Worksheets
  • Grand Staff Worksheets
  • Keyboard and Single Staff Worksheets
  • Keyboard and Grand Staff Worksheets
  • Circle of Fifth Worksheets

Explore! Enjoy! Print them off and have fun!

P.S.  Join the Conversation. When they transpose music as part of a theory examination, is there anything else that your students get “kerfuffled” about (mixed up, confused….)? Let me know and we will look in our bag of UMT Tips and Tricks for you.


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Keep on Learning... With a Smile and a Song!

Shelagh McKibbon-U'Ren


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