B-flat instruments????
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    There's this learning curve I can't seem to conquer or even approach well, and it woyld be very helpful to my music program if I could be sorted out on this matter.

    We have instrumentalists volunteering all the time. But they all play B-flat instruments. What is that? Why is that? Why can't they just read normal clefs?

    More to the point, do I have to do extra work? If so, what???
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 990
    If you playing from some of the standard GIA/OCP materials, there are B-flat books available.
    If you want (for reasons known only to yourself) to do transpositions, here's a brief article - How to Transpose Music from C to B-flat

    Too annoying. I did work with a trumpet player who could sight-transpose, but I'm not sure how many of those will turn up on your doorstep as volunteers.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    You can scan the original score into Finale, then change the key signature. Finale is rather expensive, and I wouldn't rush out and buy it just for transposing music. As mjballou says, scores are often available for B-flat instruments.
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    I do transpositions where needful.
    But my best occasional trumpeter, who can transpose at sight anyway, has a c trumpet!

    I find odd keys is a great way of keeping certain of the musical products of the Liturgical-Industrial complex OFF MY MUSIC STAND. (yes, I have the b flat books, but I don't make that fact generally known. It's amazing that they have part for all the songs I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole, but not for all the solid content of the Dread Gather)
    Oh, I'm so sorry, I just don't have time to write out a transposition for Send Down the Fire, here's the Tallis Canon.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    Whay I don't get is this: why can't they just read like normal people? ;-)
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    In answer to the original question, Kathy... It has to do with the way that the instrument is constructed. There's a "natural" key for each wind instrument - basically, what note does it play when all its valves are in the normal (unpressed) position. What the valves do is to take the note down by half-steps from there. Really old instruments (like a bugle) didn't even have valves, so they could only hit certain notes (the basic note [tonic?] and its 3rd and 5th).

    But transposing on a wind instrument is a fairly complex mental operation. It's not like on a piano where you can (kinda) shift your fingers left or right.

    If you think about it, there's no great reason why C is the "natural" key on a piano - the only special thing about C is that a major scale doesn't use any black keys. So perhaps the better question is why the piano was designed so that C would be its primary key. Especially since the wind instruments came before the piano.

    The good news: After many years, my brain is finally learning how to transpose on the piano - I'm getting better at it. But it's a slow re-wiring of my neurons.
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    "CommentAuthorKathy CommentTime17 minutes ago
    Whay I don't get is this: why can't they just read like normal people? ;-)"

    Normal? Surely you can't be referring to singers. When were they ever normal? ;-) I don't transpose either. Having only studied piano in college because they made me do it, it is a skill I never picked up. My organ teachers never emphasized it as necessary, so being naturally lazy, I didn't go there. The comment is correct that some of those instruments are much older than the piano. My friend in a symphony tells me that C trumpets have replaced the B-flat trumpets in many orchestras. But in reality, C is no more natural than any other note. It's just the center we are used to working with.
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  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    This is all very helpful.

    Okay, so let's say I'm a trumpet player and I can't sight-transpose. I'm looking at keyboard/ vocal sheet music for eg, Handel's He shall feed his flock.

    The organ is going to play in C. The singer is going to sing in C. But if I play what is on the page, I will be a step flat. Is that right?
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  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    Did I say He shall feed his flock? Better make it an oboe.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    Oboe = good. No transposing. If your trumpet player can't transpose, you will have to write it out for him a step higher than the key in which you are playing. Either that, or you will have to play a step lower to match him. Now you know why I stay away from transposing instruments. It all gives me a headache, and besides, I hated the orchestration course in college.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 990
    Ask the trumpet player to learn the oboe.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431

    Okay, just so I understand:

    Does the clef move up and down on the staff, or something?
  • Kathy, forgive me, some responses have provoked me into the laughing heretic's response. (I use Finale, and generally don't bother with the scanning/retrofitting option, I just enter the part in real time or with key strokes, and then use the simple transpose functions)
    I say: spend tons of money- get MIDI devices (essentially digital mics) that:
    a. Either attach themselves to trumpets, tubas, flutes or contrabass clarinets and which read and digitalize the note frequencies to digital info, then transmit that to a MIDI keyboard, tone generator or sound card software on a PC, and then transpose that from "C" down the whole step to "Bb." It's the world's most expensive capo.
    b. Are already MIDI drivers, such as the AKAI or YAMAHA "sticks" that are keyed like flutes, recorders or saxes, and then plug them into the same keyboards, generators, sound cards and transpose thereby. Your flutist can sound like Wynton Marsalis with a push of one button!

    This will stimulate the economy, by the way. I've noticed that in the UK (Via the St. Gregory Society website) that MIDI seems to be pro forma over the pond. We in the colonies should just get with the program and retrofit our trackers so that we can have E. Power Biggs' digitally play Widor postludes with a hologrammed image projected on the console bench!

    Where's my Xanex?
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    Hologrammed images? More electronics at mass? Don't mention any of that at the next NPM convention. They will think it's wonderful and send out agents to implement it in every parish. The dancing nuns will love it!
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  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    The world's most expensive capo...

    What really gets me is, what, is there some multi-national all-powerful Hornblowers Guild that gets its own personal music notation? I mean, they play notes, right? The notes could be written in their special horn way or in a normal way. So why not let's all read the same way?

    All it would take is one generation starting in the sixth grade, right?
  • darth_linux
    Posts: 120
    "All it would take is one generation starting in the sixth grade, right?"

    no, it would take all the instrument manufacturers retooling their instruments to sound a concert C rather than concert Bb, Eb or F.

    The tuning of the instruments developed over a long period of time, and I imagine there is a lot of math involved in determining what the ideal length of a tube is and where exactly all the little holes go, and how to make levers that actuate the hole covers so that every pitch on the instrument is (almost) perfectly in tune throughout it's entire range. It just so happens that for many instruments, the ideal length results in a blown Bb, Eb or F.

    the flute is tuned in C, and the fingerings for it are substantially more difficult to play than a clarinet or a saxophone because of the awkward combinations of keys you have to press to sound the flat notes (that was my experience at least when learning them - I'm a double bassist by trade). By pitching the instruments lower, they end up being easier to play.

    transposing for these instruments really isn't that hard - you would only need to practice on a couple of concert band scores, rewriting the parts into C pitch and then back to the transposed key, and you'd get it.

    Like CharlesW said, Bb instruments have their notes written one step higher. F instruments have their notes written a fourth lower. Eb instruments are a major sixth lower or a minor third higher.

    For further study I recommend "arranging for the concert band" by Frank Erikson.

  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    I'm obviously missing something basic and important.

    Is it true that the lowest space of a treble staff sometimes represents an E-flat? How does that make it easier to press the keys and cover the holes?
  • Darth, my undergrad BA was double bass and flute! (The latter easier to lug around.) I didn't experience the trouble with learning flute fingerings as opposed to clarinet, as the attraction to the flute was in equal measure to the attraction to my flute major girl friends throughout college. There are significantly more volumes of flute duets to audition than flute/string bass. Ahem.
    Luckily I married the soprano of sopranos after all. (And not Tony, btw.) Transposing for band/orchestral instruments has proven much easier, tho' less rewarding than the transpositions made to keep our marriage a symphony for 35 years!
    Kathy, it really isn't too difficult, and Darth's resource is spot on. But I do still like capos. Besides, I thought we were about chanting and moveable do's, eh? ;-)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    I don't mind doing the work, but I really don't get it. Do's are supposed to move!

    (In college I couldn't do my calculus homework because I don't believe in the calculus.)
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  • Blaise
    Posts: 439
    Well, here is what little I know from basic music theory:

    "See a C, sound the key (of the instrument)."

    Meaning, a piece of music written for B flat instruments (B flat trumpet, not a C trumpet, a B flat clarinet, etc.) which had a C printed on the page of music would sound like a B flat as produced by a piano, C intrument etc.

    From band, I know a B flat instrument's concert B flat (a B flat for piano, flute, etc.) would be notated a C for B flat trumpet, clarinet, etc., a concert F is notated as G for B flat trumpet, etc., a concert E is notated as F sharp....

    (I used to play B flat tenor saxophone. For the record, an F sharp on an alto saxophone is a concert A.)

    Anyone even more confused?

    Basically, you got to know what the key of a transposing instrument is, then apply the formula above:

    "See a C, sound the key."
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  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    Yeah, you're missing something, Kathy. If you see something on the page that looks like a treble clef, then the lines are E-G-B-D-F, no matter what instrument you're playing. The problem is that when you pick up a trumpet, for example, and play what you think of as a "C", the third space on the treble clef, what actually pops out of the horn is a B flat on a piano.

    Now you could just as easily declare that the trumpet is right and the piano is wrong, since it's all arbitrary anyway. But most people would think that the piano is going to be declared "right", that being tuned in the key of C is "normal", and everything else is therefore assumed to be abnormal or wrong.

    There ARE different clefs, though. Most people know bass and treble clefs, but there are others. The clef sign is what tells you whether it's E-G-B-D-F or G-B-D-F-A or something different. It's really the same thing as the chant clef sign moving around from one line to another, but instead they just use a whole different symbol. Oh, and the treble or bass clef also indicates what octave you're in, although there are notations that shift the octave up or down as well.

    My brain hurts.
  • It is all a matter of finger patterns. You learn the finger patterns on the piano for a C scale and every time you play that pattern on the piano starting on C, you get that scale.

    With brass and winds, the finger patterns work just the same way BUT the scale you get is based upon the fundamental note of the instrument.

    So, when you play a C major scale on a C trumpet, it comes out as a C scale.

    But, play it on a Bb trumpet, the same scale fingering results in it coming out as a Bb scale.

    The Organ does the same thing. Put on a 2' stop and play a C scale starting on low C. It comes out C.
    Replace the 2' with a Quint or Nazard 2 2/3' and play the exact same scale. It comes out a G scale.
    Then replace the 2 2/3' with a 1 1/3' Tierce and it comes out an E scale.


    Because organs used to have 10 2/3' stops so that the organ could play in organ pitch or chortone...which was off by a fourth. So although this simple transposing method was abandoned, the organ still has fractional (2/3' for example) stops to present harmonics from the scale...in the registrations.


    But the real answer to this all is that trumpets come in all the following keys: F, C, D, E♭, E, F, G and A. Each one has a different tone, The C trumpet is smaller than the Bb trumpet and for that reason has a BRIGHTER TONE. So composers who write for Bb trumpet want its fuller tone, the C trumpet a brighter one.

    The good news is that once you learn to play any trumpet, ALL THE OTHERS are playable without adapting at all. The composer just has to indicate what trumpet they want to hear and make sure that the part shows the notes that must be played to get the notes he wants to hear.

    If he wants to hear a C on a C trumpet, he writes C. C on a Bb trumpet, he writes D. Trumpeter does not have to adapt at all, that's the reason they are called transposing instruments, The instrument itself transposes for the player, who plays the same fingerpattern.

    The piano is not a transposing instrument so the pianist has to learn new finger patterns for every key, major, minor and harmonic minor. Pity the pianist
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    The instrument itself transposes for the player, who plays the same fingerpattern.

    Oh! Got it! Thanks, Noel.
  • Brass players and wind players have it easy...and I have to admit this did not come straight off the top of my head, but took 12 hours of thought and a bit of research and as a result I now know that the C trumpet is smaller...and brighter.

    Organ pipes are the same, the thinner the column of air, the richer the harmonic series. Flutes tend to be wide in tone because they are wide in bore. Principal or Diapason pipes are thinner bore and richer in tone. But Strings, which are nothing by Principal pipes with a tin bore are the most harmonic and richest. Get up to close to them and you will hear a disconcerting buzz, the "edge-tone" that gives them their stringyness.

    Oh, and while we are at it: If your organist uses a string or flute celeste stop to give pitch for the choir, you are in trouble. Yes, these are soft stops, but they actually play two pitches at once...for example: A-440 and A-442....so you will hear three pitches - 440, 442 and 2. 2 you cannot hear as a pitch, but you can definitely hear the wave as the celeste beats twice a second. The beat rate will vary, but it will always be there.

    Next time you are near the organ ask to hear A on a celeste stop and then a principal 8 and flute 8....decide which one will give the best pitch for your choir.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    What I've understood out of this is the following: If I buzz my lips into a Bb trumpet at 440 Hz, the resultant pitch will be a B. If I produce the same pitch into a French horn, the pitch will be a D. Am I understanding this correctly?
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  • See: http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/jw/brassacoustics.html#lips

    But be advised, there will be a snap quiz posted in the am.
  • darth_linux
    Posts: 120
    possibly . . . sometimes the horn will do what it wants. It's best practice to buzz your lips at the pitch you want to play, but you can certainly buzz one frequency and get another out of the horn, because it's not only about lip frequency, but also about air speed, and where the player is focusing the column of air into the mouth piece. It's quite complicated. My Brass Tech instructor told me my trombone tone was "boxy" - I was trying to do all the right things but it takes a lot of work (just like singing or any other musical endeavor).
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,021
    The simplest instruments to demonstrate are the penny-whistle and the bagpipe chanter. These have only holes for your fingers to cover, and are only a diatonic scale, just over an octave. The lowest note possible is played with all fingers in contact with the instrument, covering all of the holes. The pitch is therefore determined by the total length (and volume) of the tube. Now, if you want all the 1/2-step intervals, you have to add keys. When you press a key it OPENS up a hole rather than covering one. But that opened key only works properly with its accompanying keys closed. Now try to play a melody on this chromatic instrument. Then try to play every scale on it. Then try to play arpeggios in every key on it. You will find out VERY QUICKLY why there are so many different sized instruments within the same family!

    Also, buzzing your lips at A=440 in the open air is one thing. Generating a pitch through a brass tube of a fixed length is quite something different. If that length is not a part of the A harmonic series (Theory 101), your lips will not buzz at 440.

    Nor do reeds vibrate at a single pitch when you blow. Its pitch is determined by the length of the instrument, qualified by your note fingerings, and possibly your embouchure and lung pressure.

    Also consider that these instruments have fixed fingerings - each finger has dedicated keys. Your fingers on a piano (organ) keyboard do just about anything, all up and down the keyboard, sometimes even playing more than one note. It's a totally different world!
  • tommy_q
    Posts: 6
    I have never understood why it's so difficult for Bb instrumentalists to play with a normal score of music. I started on piano/organ and picked up the euphonium in high school. It took me about 3 weeks to get used to the instrument. Perhaps my experience with music theory and transposing on the keyboard made the transition to euphonium transpositions conceptually easier. But I still can't figure out why people struggle so much with this. The first tip in mjballou's link says "practice makes perfect." Perhaps they never practiced?
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    Here's something I made for my students. Probably "TMI" (too much information), but perhaps it'll help.

    I'll add only that the practice of having transposing instruments allows players to read music which is largely within the staff (i.e., not reading ledger lines), and allows them to play in key signatures which are a bit more idiosyncratically comfortable (to some extent) for each instrument.

    AND I should hasten to add that one of the reasons I love this forum is that I get to escape the "band" world — for a while!

    Long story short: To write a line of music for a B-flat instrument (say, a trumpet), write it up a whole step from the actual pitch you want to hear. Transpose the key signature, too. So, a melody in F major on the piano or organ is written as a melody in G for a trumpet.
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  • Blaise
    Posts: 439
    Uh, yeah, Gavin, at least the first part is correct.

    I don't know anything about French horns.

    440 Hz=A (on piano, other C instruments)=B on B falt trumpet, etc.

    If you want to tune the entire wind ensemble (I don't know much about strings) using an A (440 Hz) on piano, you say, "Concert A."

    Now, for band, usually start with tuning with a concert F for the entire ensemble (make sure they warm up first, usually it is the Remington exercises or something of the sort---I was last in college band 6 years ago). Then sections: saxophones, use their F sharp (not concert F sharp). But note: if you have a B flat tenor saxophone in your group, you will have to tune him/her separately from the other saxophonists, since a tenor's F sharp (concert E) is not the same as an alto's F sharp (concert A).

    You may already know (more about) all this stuff, so ignore it if you do.

    For B flat trumpet, they usually tune G (their G, concert F), A, B, C (hold for a bit). I think this is the same for all brass---start with concert F, G, A, B flat (hold), and probably all winds. For french horns, I think there are two tuning slides which you have to tinker with. Idk.

    For any instrument, if sharp, pull out. If flat, push in (on brass, tuning slides; on woodwinds, mouthpieces.) To make life easier, use a tuner. These days, I've never actually seen someone use a tuning fork to tune a band. Chiefly brass, but a little woodwinds, too---make sure their embouchure is set well, otherwise for saxophones and clarinets, you will get a loud squeak and for brass you will get the wrong note. Going on, if a saxophone/clarinet is squeaking, it means that their embouchure is a little loose. Get them to firm up at the mouth, and don't let them puff their cheeks, in order to get a firmer sound. They might also have to put more air into the instrument. However, putting in more air does not necessarily guarantee a firm sound if the embouchure is lousy. It is like a leaky hose: if there is a hole in the hose, then not much water will get out of the hose no matter how much is put in. (That being said, if they don't put any air into the instrument, it is guaranteed that nothing will come out.)

    Don't forget to tune the timpani (if you have any in a church group). :) And I hope you don't use these in church, but bass drums need to be muffled using a towel or something.
  • darth_linux
    Posts: 120
    @ tommy_q

    Tom, for a challenge, grab your euphonium (you play baritone BC parts right?), grab a score for a baritone saxophone and go. All you have to do is pretend you are looking at a bass clef symbol instead of a treble clef symbol and the notes will be the same, just be extra careful with any sharps/flats in the key and/or accidentals because those will be trickier to convert on the fly. This is the actual technique I learned in instrumental methods class in college by a band director with 40 years experience and who has been awarded numerous teacher of the year awards by Washington MENC and other groups.

    If your brain summarily melts during this exercise, you will then understand why it's so difficult for transposing instrumentalists to read a concert score . . .

    good luck and have fun!
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 990
    Every evening I thank God for all the good things He has given me, including Sibelius software.
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    So many interesting aspects to this!

    Gavin - if you're buzzing at 440 Hz, it's the same as A=440 on the piano. The problem with brass instruments is that you can't buzz your lips at one frequency and then use the FINGERING for another note, unless it's a harmonic. A great way to demonstrate this is to take a length of tubing - a section of garden hose or random pipe can work fine - and see if it's possible to produce any old note you want to just by buzzing your lips at different frequencies. You can't.

    Same principle as a pipe organ. Wouldn't it be great if you only needed one pipe? But no, the frequency of the note is determined by the size of the pipe. A particular pipe will just refuse to play anything else, as my Physics professor demonstrated quite nicely when I was in college.

    String instruments are similar, except that the length of the tube is replaced by the length of the string. A string of a certain length will play the same note no matter how you try to pluck or bow it. Well, you can get harmonics out, but they don't sound that good.

    Paul Viola, French Horns are F instruments.

    Tommy_q, I think the reason why people don't learn to transpose is quite simple: they don't have to. If all your music is written out in the key you're supposed to play, why bother learning anything else? It wasn't until college that I first came into contact with someone who wanted me to be able to transpose the French Horn. Needless to say, I flunked THAT test, because I had never had a reason over the past 9 years to learn it.
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439
    Carl D,

    Thanks, I just remembered that last night!

    And I was a little wrong on the clarinet/sax comment: if they are squeaking, that most likely means they are biting too hard.
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,021
    . . . or they are using too hard a reed, or the reed was not soaked enough before playing.
  • tomboysuzetomboysuze
    Posts: 289
    I love this forum. I can disconnect for months when doing other things (like cycling in France or around the East coast of the US) then search for something I need to know now - like what will work for the trumpet player at a big, fancy wedding I'm directing next weekend - and find more answers than I can actually process. Thank you GOD for this collection of interesting, smart, funny, kind, weirdos! I always feel right at home on this forum. ;)
  • Kathy,

    Here's the basic plan when writing for a B-flat trumpet: transpose the entire line up a whole step, so that the poor dear trumpeter can play in the right key as the rest of the instruments.

    Some years ago, I wrote a transcription of Wachet Auf for flute, guitar and b-flat trumpet. (Please don't ask which part was which, for it should be self-evident.) It really wasn't that hard, in part because the score I was reading from for the transcription presented the chorale melody using a C-clef.
  • Hire (French) horn players. They should be able to sight-transpose with no problem. In fact, a great deal of orchestral music for horns begins with the instruction to transpose.

    The horn is in F (sort of -- actually, half of it is in B flat, but that's a different story and you need not worry about it because the player will deal with it). So if the music says 'horn in D' then the horn player will transpose down a minor third. Etc. So in your case, tell them to play 'in C'. (The transposition is relative to the fundamental pitch of the instrument; you don't tell them to play in the key in which the music is written. If what is on the page 'sounds right on a piano' then tell them to play in C.)

    This practice (for horns) is a relic from the days when horns had no valves and they changed keys by swapping slides ('crooks') in and out of the instrument (and before that they just had different instruments for different keys).

    Some trumpets come with (or can be made to work with) slides that handle at least some transpositions -- C is the most common, I think.

    Anyway, if you are working with these players regularly, you should encourage them to learn to transpose. It isn't very hard and they'll be better (and more versatile) players for it.

    (I'm biased. In a previous life I was a professional horn player.)

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  • Torculus
    Posts: 44
    Professional trumpet players should be able to transpose, too, for all the same reasons that professional horn players do. Every orchestral trumpet player I ever worked with (I play trombone) could transpose. Before the invention of valves, trumpets used crooks, too, just like horns. Modern trumpeters who don't carry around a set of twelve different trumpets and who play standard orchestral repertoire need to know how to transpose. Anyone who aspires to play orchestral trumpet professionally absolutely must be able to do this.

    On another note, if you know the movable C clefs, transposing for a B-flat instrument isn't hard. Just read it in tenor clef. (The fourth line of the tenor clef staff is C. The fourth line in treble clef is D. To transpose for a B-flat instrument, write D when you want to hear C.) I played many a trumpet part (or baritone TC, or tenor sax) part on trombone just by reading it in tenor clef (you have to watch the accidentals, though).

    Transposition is also easy if you are fluent in solfege.
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  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    I was a non-professional French Horn player, Michael, but my "career" came to an abrupt end when my audition for the university orchestra demonstrated that I hadn't learned to transpose. I was crushed, but they were right.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    Most professional musicians can at least do a basic transposition that they are constantly stuck with doing anyway, like when someone decided to only write a score only in "concert pitch" so that the director can figure out what notes the instrumentalists are playing - or worse, because they don't understand the basics of the instruments that they are writing for and just like each one's sound (also how you end up with parts having notes written that aren't and never have been able to be played on the specified instrument).

    Just because a director can think of the "real" note they want doesn't mean that they are knowledgable enough to ask for it in a way that corresponds to the instrument they want to have play it. Instrumentalists play exactly what they see on paper. They read it and play it just like you would. The difference is that if you are reading music for a Bb instrument, but playing it on a C instrument (piano, flute, oboe, violin, etc) then YOU are wrong even though you are playing what you "see."

    It might be just as easy to have them write out the transposition if it is too confusing. There is a plethora of information on how to transpose, though.

    Also, having a transposition notecard in a director's folder/binder may help to keep anyone from looking/feeling the fool when put on the spot because they didn't have a transposition ready for their guest player. If you can at least give them the starting pitch, on their instrument, that you want, it could save a lot of time.
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439
    May I remind everyone that there was a 6 year hiatus between Steve Collins' remark and tomboysuze's? I do not know if the OP is still here or not.
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  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    It isn't entirely irrelevant, though, as MDs do sometimes like to have instrumental descants, etc. played along with hymns and such.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,078
    Historically, brass instruments were made in various 'keys'. You had trumpets in Bb, A, C, D, F, etc. This was before valves. You also had clarinets in differing keys. If a piece of music is written with transposed clefs, that musician can play the Bb part, the C part, etc. without having to relearn the instrument. Note: this usually only happens on the treble clef. Bass clef instruments are not usually transposing (exception is the bass clarinet.)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    Rumors of the OP's demise are currently premature.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    I do hope that you've learned about transposing instruments in the intervening six years.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    Well, I'm more of a words girl now.

    Plus, there's no clarinet in chant.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,367
    "there's no clarinet in chant"

    Just parts of one: c-a--n-t
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,938
    But, but, but ... you C A N' T do that!!! Or C A N' T you do it after all?
  • Such cant !

    Wait. Isn't that what Peter asked James and John to do after the miraculous draught of fish? Clarinet?
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen CharlesW