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Tech: Key changes for brass instruments

Les in Chorlton 10 May 11 - 12:43 PM
Bernard 10 May 11 - 01:04 PM
Les in Chorlton 10 May 11 - 01:13 PM
JohnInKansas 10 May 11 - 01:17 PM
Bernard 10 May 11 - 01:20 PM
Les in Chorlton 10 May 11 - 01:27 PM
Bernard 10 May 11 - 01:50 PM
JohnInKansas 10 May 11 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,Grishka 10 May 11 - 05:49 PM
IvanB 10 May 11 - 11:41 PM
Les in Chorlton 11 May 11 - 03:53 AM
GUEST,Grishka 11 May 11 - 04:30 AM
Les in Chorlton 11 May 11 - 04:40 AM
Bernard 11 May 11 - 08:47 AM
Bernard 11 May 11 - 09:07 AM
Jack Campin 11 May 11 - 09:09 AM
Les in Chorlton 11 May 11 - 10:40 AM
Bernard 11 May 11 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,Grishka 11 May 11 - 03:44 PM
IvanB 11 May 11 - 05:04 PM
IvanB 11 May 11 - 05:13 PM
Bernard 11 May 11 - 06:38 PM
catspaw49 11 May 11 - 07:05 PM
Tootler 11 May 11 - 07:29 PM
Jack Campin 11 May 11 - 07:58 PM
Les in Chorlton 12 May 11 - 03:12 AM
Tootler 12 May 11 - 03:27 AM
GUEST,Grishka 12 May 11 - 04:56 AM
Bernard 12 May 11 - 08:32 AM
Les in Chorlton 12 May 11 - 10:16 AM
Bernard 12 May 11 - 10:44 AM
Les in Chorlton 12 May 11 - 11:21 AM
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Subject: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 May 11 - 12:43 PM

We have a tune book for our sessions. Most tunes are in G or D or related minors. A friend has a Bb trombone. If I rewrite - ie transpose the dots down one tone and he plays those dots will they be in the same key as the rest of us?

We will be reading and playing in G, he will be reading in F but it will sound like our G

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Bernard
Date: 10 May 11 - 01:04 PM

No, Les, the trombone sounds Bb when the player reads a C, so to play in D he would have to read in E, and to play in G he would have to read in A.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 May 11 - 01:13 PM

Thanks Bernard - right interval wrong direction?

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 10 May 11 - 01:17 PM

I think you've got it backwards.

If a Bb instrument plays a C it sounds the same pitch as the Bb on a C instrument. To sound like a C, the Bb instrument's music must tell him/her to play a D.

You need to notate the music for the Bb instrument 1 full tone (two semitones) higher than what is shown on the C instruments' music. The key signature for the Bb instrument will have two sharps more (or two flats fewer) than the notation for the C instruments.

If you (C instruments) read and play in G, the Bb instrument must play from music notated in A.

I've never seen a Bb trombone, but won't argue that they don't exist. The "classical" trombone is in C, but plays from dots notated on a Bass Clef. If a "normal" trombone player reads from the treble clef notation for an Eb instrument, but "adds three sharps" and merely changes the treble "Fancy S" sign to the bass "backward C" the notes played will sound the same as C instruments playing from "C instrument notation."

In the 50s it was common to find "Combo Books" with identical tunes in separate books for C, Bb, and Eb instruments, and the usual "solution" to the absence of decent bass clef parts in the C book was to give the 'bone player the Eb book.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Bernard
Date: 10 May 11 - 01:20 PM

John, here in the UK the 'Brass Band' trombone in Bb is the most common!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 May 11 - 01:27 PM

So if I re-write our G tunes into A and the trombone plays that music he will play the same notes as the rest of us?

Les


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Bernard
Date: 10 May 11 - 01:50 PM

Well, there's no guarantee - he might just be hopeless!!

In theory, though, yes!

It is possible to buy a 'crook' to change the pitch of the instrument, depending on the maker. Some trombone players like to be able to swap between Bb and C to suit their surroundings!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 10 May 11 - 03:25 PM

I sort of guessed that Bb trombones would be avalable to make it easier to play with the pipes.

Since it's about the only "fretless" wind instrument around, it should be a great choice for accompanying those "in-between-the-keys" notes so common with some of those sorts of trad instruments.(?)

The use of a "key change slide" on most other wind instruments does have a tendency to throw the note-to-note intonation a little off, but should be perfectly accomodated on a 'bone by anyone with at least a minimal "ear." On the other hand, putting the C tube back on would avoid any need to transpose for the 'bone, although "traditionalists" might then insist the 'bone part should be written on a bass clef.

It might be a good idea to ask your trombone player if (s)he prefers to read treble or bass clef notation(?).

Depending on experience, many Bb instrument players get pretty good at "mental transposition" in order to play directly from the C instrument scores; but you'd have to get an opinion directly from the player.

You will certainly want to write out the transposed version if several 'bonists are involved, and you'll still need to know which way to go with the treble/bass clef choice to keep the most people happy.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 10 May 11 - 05:49 PM

Trombones are usually notated as they sound, in bass clef. If however the player is used to read Bb sheets (as normally used for Euphonium, Baritone horn etc.), the notation is one octave plus a tone higher, in treble clef.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: IvanB
Date: 10 May 11 - 11:41 PM

Though the fundamental pitch of the tenor trombone is Bb, it is treated as a non-transposing instrument for music writing purposes. So, Les, unless UK practice is different from that in the USA, music written at concert pitch should be fine for the trombonist, as long as it's in the clef he prefers. As a trombone and later a tuba player, when the band was warming up, the "true" Bb instruments (clarinets, cornets, trumpets, etc.) would play a C scale while the trombones, baritones and tubas played a Bb scale. The result would be a scale with all instruments in tune with one another, but at concert pitch of Bb.

What I'm trying to say in all this is that I doubt your trombonist needs any transposition - it's clarinets, trumpets and the like that need it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 May 11 - 03:53 AM

So I have put me G tunes into A - 3 sharpes and Ds into E even more sharpes - looks a bit scarry - have I done good?

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 11 May 11 - 04:30 AM

Les, please read my previous post, and/or IvanB's, whichever you understand best. Ask your player which clef he is used to. If it's treble, you have probably "done good".

Reading E major should not be a problem for any amateur musician.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 May 11 - 04:40 AM

Thanks Mr/Ms Grishka. we have been playing off treble so things should work. Thanks for all good advice

Les


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Bernard
Date: 11 May 11 - 08:47 AM

Sorry to have to disagree, but a Bb trombone is NOT the same as the 'orchestral' C trombone. Both are often referred to as a 'tenor trombone', which perhaps confuses the issue a little for the uninitiated - but no more so than having clarinets in different pitches (C, Bb, A etc.)...

'Bb/C' trombones are available, usually with a rotary valve to permit the player to switch pitch - see this old Conn/Wurlitzer model dating back to 1914!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Bernard
Date: 11 May 11 - 09:07 AM

Don't misunderstand my above post - I am well aware that a trombone is normally not considered to be a transposing instrument, and that its lowest note is a Bb when reading from bass clef. As has already been said, when reading from treble clef it effectively becomes a transposing instrument.

However, there is such a thing as a Bb trombone, so it is wrong to say there isn't! That's all I was saying!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 May 11 - 09:09 AM

See the description of the "Preacher Model" trombone on this site (changing from C to B flat at the flick of a switch):

http://www.yeodoug.com/articles/trombone_gallery/trombone_gallery.html

The mind boggles at the intended use for it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 May 11 - 10:40 AM

I went to a ceilidh last saturday night. Great little bang, accordian, melodeon, mondolin and guitar. Then they played the Bear Dance with accordian, guitar and 2 yes 2 trombones - sounded brilliant!

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Bernard
Date: 11 May 11 - 12:12 PM

I bet it did! Have you heard any New Victory Band recordings? Pete Coe and Co...! You can hear the Rochdale Coconut Dance played the right way around!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 11 May 11 - 03:44 PM

Glad you are happy, Les.

BTW, Grishka is a male first name (like Ivan).

The trombone used in orchestras, big bands, etc., is physically tuned in Bb (usually with a valve changing it to F), but its players have to read sheet music in C, and they learn nothing else (well, they learn the bass, tenor, and alto clef). In some brass bands, however, sheet music in Bb is used for the very same instruments, sometimes pragmatically interchanging with bariton/tenor horns. The reasons for this are "historical".


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: IvanB
Date: 11 May 11 - 05:04 PM

Bernard, yes, there is a Bb trombone, in fact it's probably the most prevalent of all trombones. I miswrote when referring to clarinets, trumpets, etc., as "true" Bb instruments. The Bb trombone and BBb tuba are just as truly Bb instruments. The difference is that music for clarinet et al is transposed up a full tone whereas that for trombone and tuba is not.

Now, to reading sheet music: if a trombonist were reading treble clef music written for clarinet or trumpet, s/he would need to transpose an octave plus one full tone down. But if reading treble clef music for flute or oboe, no transposition would be needed other than the octave shift.

As to the key of sheet music. It's written in whatever key the composer intended and to refer to sheet music written at concert pitch as in "C" is incorrect. It may be in C,D,E or whatever, but when a non-transposing instrument plays from such music, the pitch comes out as written.

To further muddy the waters, we can throw in "oddball" clefs. While most of us are familiar with the G (treble) and F (bass) clefs, there is also the C clef, which is particularly familiar to viola players. The G clef places the G above middle C on the second line (from the bottom) of the staff by centering the body of a stylized G on that line. Likewise the bass clef consists of a stylized F with the crossbars (the two dots) centered on the fourth line of the staff (F below middle C). The C clef is a stylized C with its center usually placing middle C on the middle line of the staff. All these clefs can move up and down on the staff to give notes different positions but, in practice, the C clef is placed differently far more frequently than the other two.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: IvanB
Date: 11 May 11 - 05:13 PM

Regarding transposing instruments, there was a proposal floated about in the 1960's and 70's to treat F recorders as transposing instruments so that elementary school students would only need learn one set of fingerings and the sheet music would be transposed to take care of the pitch difference. The proposal never really went anywhere, probably because recorder players quite routinely play music line written for the voice immediately above or below their instrument's, so transposing on the spot could have become a problem.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Bernard
Date: 11 May 11 - 06:38 PM

Yup - I remember that! One argument put forward against the change was the way the recorder family mimics the 'registers' of the clarinet, theoretically making it a less painful transition. I'm not so sure it's really such a valid argument, as the instruments are so vastly different, particularly the Boehm System clarinet as opposed to the Simple System! Then there's the Boehm flute and saxophone, not forgetting the rather odd oboe 'conservatory' system (Boehm didn't really make the transition although some exist)... where does the recorder fit in there?! The fingering differences (in particular around B, C and D) vary quite wildly!

What often puzzles me is why many recorder players seem so set against the tin whistle/flageolet, which relates to flutes and saxophones much more readily. I often use flute 'cross-fingerings' to play the higher notes on a whistle!

But I digress... sorry, Les!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 May 11 - 07:05 PM

I was going to discuss the C clef called Tenor Clef as I used to read that a lot as a bassoonist. There are some other variations and when I went to find some pictures I saw Wiki's listing.   For Wiki, a very credible job!

Probably more than you want to know about clefs


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Tootler
Date: 11 May 11 - 07:29 PM

What often puzzles me is why many recorder players seem so set against the tin whistle/flageolet

In one word - snobbery. You'd be amazed at just how much snobbery there is in certain quarters of the recorder world. The recorder is a wonderful instrument and just as demanding as any other instrument, but some people seem to have an inferiority complex about it which I put down to its image as something you teach to children till they are big enough to learn a "proper instrument".

There is also the factor of fingerings being nearly the same. When I first picked up the tin whistle I often found myself using recorder fingerings for F# and Cnat. You can just about get away with it for C if it's a quick passing note but not for F#. The problem is the fingerings are nearly but not quite the same. The same applies to the wooden flute and the Boehm system flute. Interestingly I never found the same confusion between fingerings when learning the wooden flute - I put it down to the different positions you hold the two instruments. I took the easy way out and now rarely play the whistle though I have a few in different keys.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 May 11 - 07:58 PM

You get just as much snobbery against the recorder from Irish whistle players. If anything, nastier.

The more woodwind instruments you play the more similarities you see in them.

I suppose the only opportunity there is for such sectarianism in the brass world would be alphorns vs. orchestral brass.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 May 11 - 03:12 AM

Well, Shelley played the clarinet well with the 'transposed' dots but Andrew with the trombone was poorly and couldn't make it - still 25 others did with fiddles -3, guitars - 5, percussion 3, banjos - 2, squeezers - 4, mandolins - 3, whistles - 2, 'cello, uke, Guitaron one each.

Much fun was had. Songs will mostly be played next week and tunes the week after and so we roll along songs tunes songs tunes - Ceildh etc

Thanks for all help!

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Tootler
Date: 12 May 11 - 03:27 AM

Very true, Jack. You only have to look on the Chiff and Fipple forum. It seems to be worse among "Irishmen" who don't actually live in Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 12 May 11 - 04:56 AM

Les, a trombone will never be a fiddle (nor vice versa), even if given sheet music transposed correctly; it's much slower even in the hands of professional players. Since you have guitars etc., you are probably using chord accompaniment; let your trombonist play the base notes of the chords or some other notes occuring in them. Same with 'cellos.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Bernard
Date: 12 May 11 - 08:32 AM

That would work!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 May 11 - 10:16 AM

I merely offer guidance in the right key. Ged takes us in and Ken takes is out. What happens in the middle sounds amazing and I can't believe people come and play such wonderful music and have so much fun.

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Bernard
Date: 12 May 11 - 10:44 AM

Exactly what it's all about, Les! Keep up the good work!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Key changes for brass instruments
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 May 11 - 11:21 AM

Thanks Bernard - always room for another!

L in C#


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