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brass instrument music


John Wild
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I have some music for brass instruments. The first two parts appear to be written in C major, but are marked as for trumpet in B flat. Can anyone tell me do I need to transpose these up a tone to play them on the concertina? then what would happen with the other parts? The third part appears to be written in F and is described as for horn in F. the 4th part is for trombone, and appears to be written in B flat on the bass clef. The 5th part is for tuba and is also written in B flat on the bass clef.

 

As a secondary issue, I have these as PDF files on a disc. My music program is Print Music, and does not seem able to import a PDF file format. I do not want to manually enter the score in order to transpose if there is a quicker way. Any ideas on what to do would be appreciated.

 

with thanks,

 

John Wild

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Hi John

 

If it were me, I would spend some time searching for a MIDI file of the music. Chances are it's already out there somewhere. Then use software to transpose it for me. What is the name of the songs?

 

Thanks

Leo

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I have some music for brass instruments. The first two parts appear to be written in C major, but are marked as for trumpet in B flat. Can anyone tell me do I need to transpose these up a tone to play them on the concertina?

 

I hope I can explain this the right way round, but I think you are spot on with the trumpet score.

 

When I play C on a cornet (same as trumpet) the "real" sound is Bb a whole tone lower. So if I wish to play cornet with other instruments playing in G major I have to play in A major on the cornet. I've been playing brass for over thirty years and sometimes get this the wrong way round ... :blink:

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Or if you are playing a non-transposing (i.e. "normal") instrument while reading Bb brass music, when you see a written C it should come out a Bb. Bb brass sound a whole step lower than written. F horn sounds a fifth lower than written. And so on. Fun, aint' it? :wacko:

 

Ken

 

edited to add: yes, as those after me note, I'm only talking about treble clef instruments - I play trumpet and (so-called French) horn. Indeed, bass clef parts are generally written as played.

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I have some music for brass instruments. The first two parts appear to be written in C major, but are marked as for trumpet in B flat. Can anyone tell me do I need to transpose these up a tone to play them on the concertina? then what would happen with the other parts? The third part appears to be written in F and is described as for horn in F. the 4th part is for trombone, and appears to be written in B flat on the bass clef. The 5th part is for tuba and is also written in B flat on the bass clef.

 

As a secondary issue, I have these as PDF files on a disc. My music program is Print Music, and does not seem able to import a PDF file format. I do not want to manually enter the score in order to transpose if there is a quicker way. Any ideas on what to do would be appreciated.

with thanks,

John Wild

The trombone and tuba parts, in Bb and bass clef, will play as written (if you can find a concertina player who will play in a flat key, and who reads bass clef -- don't hold your breath). The trumpet and horn parts will need transposing to concert pitch (true pitch).

 

Now, there are tranposing concertinas, made in flat keys, intended for use with wind instruments. You hear of Bb/F Anglos and Bb Crane Duets. Even Db/Ab Anglo. Again, don't expect these to come up on eBay very often :(

 

Since your score files are just PDF (purely visual) and not in a format that some music program can read, you would have to transpose them by hand, either writing on paper or typing/mousing into a music editing program. Lots of work either way.

 

I agree with the person who advised you to hunt for MIDI files, which can be worked over by many programs.

--Mike K.

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As a secondary issue, I have these as PDF files on a disc. My music program is Print Music, and does not seem able to import a PDF file format. I do not want to manually enter the score in order to transpose if there is a quicker way. Any ideas on what to do would be appreciated.

 

John,

I have PrintMusic! too, though I haven't worked with it yet. But it does seem to offer the capability of importing a TIFF fiel of a score. So if you print out the PDF and scan it as a TIFF, you should be able to process it in PrintMusic!

As I say, I haven't tried it yet, but menu items are ther under "FIle -> MIDISCAN".

 

By the way, the old Ab/Eb anglos made for the Salvation Army were precisely for the purpose of playing in "band keys", which are all "flat" keys, because the "home keys" of cornets, euphoniums and the like have flats in them, and wind players find it easier to add flats (whereas string players prefer to add sharps. That's why people who play their Anglos with fiddlers and guitarists sometimes have their Ab/Eb instruments retuned to G/D).

 

The trombone part is written as it sounds - perhaps because it was, for a long time, the only fully chromatic brass (or even wind) instrument, and was used with orchestras from the Renaissance through the Baroque and Classical eras, and the composers just used the same notation conventions as for the other instruments and the voices, i.e. absolute pitch.

 

Hope this helps,

Cheers,

John

Edited by Anglo-Irishman
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As a secondary issue, I have these as PDF files on a disc. My music program is Print Music, and does not seem able to import a PDF file format. I do not want to manually enter the score in order to transpose if there is a quicker way. Any ideas on what to do would be appreciated.

 

John,

I have PrintMusic! too, though I haven't worked with it yet. But it does seem to offer the capability of importing a TIFF fiel of a score. So if you print out the PDF and scan it as a TIFF, you should be able to process it in PrintMusic!

As I say, I haven't tried it yet, but menu items are ther under "FIle -> MIDISCAN".

 

By the way, the old Ab/Eb anglos made for the Salvation Army were precisely for the purpose of playing in "band keys", which are all "flat" keys, because the "home keys" of cornets, euphoniums and the like have flats in them, and wind players find it easier to add flats (whereas string players prefer to add sharps. That's why people who play their Anglos with fiddlers and guitarists sometimes have their Ab/Eb instruments retuned to G/D).

 

The trombone part is written as it sounds - perhaps because it was, for a long time, the only fully chromatic brass (or even wind) instrument, and was used with orchestras from the Renaissance through the Baroque and Classical eras, and the composers just used the same notation conventions as for the other instruments and the voices, i.e. absolute pitch.

 

Hope this helps,

Cheers,

John

 

Excuse me if this is a daft question but surely now that sharps and flats are essentially the same, i.e., G# = Ab (unlike in the old days when they differed), then this won't matter. Or have I gone astray somewhat in my attempts to understand music, which looks easy but is not.

 

I am working through 'How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony' and am amazed to discover that tuning is all smoke and mirrors just like most other science when one looks hard enough.

 

Ian

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By the way, the old Ab/Eb anglos made for the Salvation Army were precisely for the purpose of playing in "band keys", which are all "flat" keys, because the "home keys" of cornets, euphoniums and the like have flats in them, and wind players find it easier to add flats (whereas string players prefer to add sharps. That's why people who play their Anglos with fiddlers and guitarists sometimes have their Ab/Eb instruments retuned to G/D).

 

Excuse me if this is a daft question but surely now that sharps and flats are essentially the same, i.e., G# = Ab (unlike in the old days when they differed), then this won't matter. Or have I gone astray somewhat in my attempts to understand music, which looks easy but is not.

 

Not a daft question at all, but one that impinges on the way that instruments are made and the way that some keys are easier than others on many instruments.

 

Consider, if you will, the triumph of economical design and beautiful simplicity that is the tin whistle. A standard tin whistle has a 'natural scale ' of D, in that if you put all your fingers down the note is D, lift the bottom finger and you play an E, and so on. The scale of, and therefore tunes in, G is/are pretty straightforward as the fingering for a C natural is easy and fits into the general pattern of movement. Likewise A, and arguably C. Ooh, and the relative minors, so Em, Bm, Am.

 

The further you get from the whistle's 'home' key the more complicated the fingerings, and the harder the transition from one fingering to another, gets, until you reach, oh I don't know, Ab, at which point even I as a pretty competent whistleist either pick up my EC or, if it really is Ab, I probably can't do Ab on EC either so I go to the bar and get a round in.

 

Ignoring capos and non-standard tunings, the very way that guitars and fiddles are tuned predisposes them to keys with sharps in - fiddlers love A because the higher open strings are tuned to A and E, so they can get lovely ringing open notes and give their fingers a momentary rest. Similarly brass instruments' 'home' keys are around Bb or Eb, and while they are theoretically chromatic, in practise the further you get from the 'home' key the tougher things get.

 

Things are even harder for many instruments, anglo concertinas being a perfect example, because they just don't have all the notes they need to play a fully chromatic scale, and so certain keys are forever denied to them. So if you're spending all your time hanging around with fiddlers and guitarists, not to mention melodeon players who are tied to G/D, then even if you've got all the notes somewhere on the keyboard you're going to be going to enormous contortions to hit them if your instrument's 'home' key is Bb or Eb.

 

Hence, incidentally, the popularity amongst English folk musicians of the C melody saxophone.

 

So to sum up and shut up, it's not a matter of whether (Ab = G#) or not - it's whether you can get to the note whatever you choose to call it!

 

Glad you're enjoying Duffin's book BTW.

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Glad you're enjoying Duffin's book BTW.

 

Thanks for that.

 

I don't know that I'm actually enjoying the book but I think it is important to stretch the little grey cells occasionally and it certainly does that. It is amusing though but I gave up arithmetic (and mathematics) when I gave up engineering and was glad to do so. Art is so much more to my liking than science.

 

Ian

Edited by Hereward
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The nightmare of transposing instruments! I've had it over the years with B flat cornet, harmonicas, melodeon and now Anglo.

 

Much English folk music is played in G or D, but many of the written versions are in other keys. With an instrument limited to one or two (main) keys you often end up transposing and never learn to associate "this" line or space with "that" note.

 

As for B flat instruments: What looks like a C on the page, and is called a C by the brass player sounds like a B flat to everyone else. That way madness lies.

 

To add to the fun, some brass parts may be written for E flat instruments.

 

It may be better to transpose it by hand into the key you need, then play from the "correct" score - but that's a long winded approach. Alternatively, you could try ABC notation. There are emany programs (including one linked to this site) which will play the melody for you in whatever key you nominate and you could then learn by ear.

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thanks for all the replies:

 

Leo: the pieces I would like to tackle first are Elgar's Nimrod and Sousa's Washington post.

As described in my original post, Nimrod has the appearance of Cmajor for the 1st 2 parts, but labelled as for Trumpet in Bflat. Washington Post has the appearance of being

written in Gmajor for the same instruments.

 

Peter: thank you for your clear statement, but my brain might still be getting it the wrong way round. where your "real" sound is a whole tone lower, do I transpose the written notes

up a whole tone to play on the concertina? Or down to match the actual expected sound of the brass instrument?

 

Ken: The horn in f sounds a 5th lower, i.e. a 'C' as written sounds like an F. does this part need to be transposed down a fifth to harmonise with the other parts on concertina?

Possibly an interval of a 5th might harmonise anyway, but it might be a different harmony to the original.

John (Anglo Irishman):Thank you for your tip about scanning. I will try that.

 

 

For information, I am looking at these pieces in the context of a small group with trebles, one baritone and one bass concertina.

 

thank you all.

 

John

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The nightmare of transposing instruments! I've had it over the years with B flat cornet, harmonicas, melodeon and now Anglo.

 

Much English folk music is played in G or D, but many of the written versions are in other keys. With an instrument limited to one or two (main) keys you often end up transposing and never learn to associate "this" line or space with "that" note.

 

As for B flat instruments: What looks like a C on the page, and is called a C by the brass player sounds like a B flat to everyone else. That way madness lies.

 

To add to the fun, some brass parts may be written for E flat instruments.

 

It may be better to transpose it by hand into the key you need, then play from the "correct" score - but that's a long winded approach. Alternatively, you could try ABC notation. There are emany programs (including one linked to this site) which will play the melody for you in whatever key you nominate and you could then learn by ear.

 

my little brother told me about about this one band at a very elite college, which played everything on C trumpets. since everyone was at such a high caliber, someone wanted to show off how good of a trumpet player they were, so they got a trumpet in C and transposed their part on the fly. soon, everyone else followed suit, and they all just ended up playing on C trumpets, no one being able to one up the other.

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my little brother told me about about this one band at a very elite college, which played everything on C trumpets. since everyone was at such a high caliber, someone wanted to show off how good of a trumpet player they were, so they got a trumpet in C and transposed their part on the fly. soon, everyone else followed suit, and they all just ended up playing on C trumpets, no one being able to one up the other.

 

Not just college...In my high school in Pasadena, California, we had a very strong music program in my youth (alas, since emasculated by the vanishing of public revenues). My friend Bob was trading trumpets. He found one he really liked, but it happened to be in C, so he was in the habit of transposing all the Bb parts to different (than conventionally taught trumpet) fingering. One day the director asked Bob to play an Oboe part (which of course sounds as written). He could hardly do it, and he and we all laughed. Normally that would be the easiest way to play a C trumpet, but he had been transposing Bb parts in his head for too long!

 

Bob attended the University of Southern California music school and now plays trumpet in the Houston (Texas) Symphony.

 

Right now the community Orchestra I'm in has me playing the following written parts on F horn at rehearsals: Beethoven's Eroica Symphony (horn in Eb, a whole step transposition and elsewhere horn in C basso, a perfect fourth), The Thieving Magpie (horn in E, the easy-to-fool-me, harder than it looks semitone transposition), and the Mendelssohn Violin concerto (also horn in E). :wacko: (Should be a fun concert, y'all come on March 14 in Pittsburgh!) I did this a lot years ago so I am getting it back - relearning to do it is easier than writing out parts, once you know your instrument pretty well. Sort of very practical/applied use of theory.

 

BTW there is a published folio of marches already arranged for concertinas; Rich Morse used to sell it, worth checking before you reinvent the wheel, John.

 

G'luck whatever you play,

Ken

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