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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Irving. Great advice!
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Tpt_Guy
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dstpt wrote:

Right. The "relative info" from the Mahler thread is in response to the notion that transposition was designed for trumpets pitched in those keys, and that Mahler thread pointed out how he freely moved back and forth between the transpositions of F & Bb, where it would never be practical for a player to actually switch between those two insts. So in response to Richard III's statement, the answer would be, "no," and that thread hits on relative support to that response. For those of us who have orchestral training, and not just classical trumpet instruction, we are/were challenged weekly to prepare etudes and orchestral passages that require transposition. For those who've never formally had this training, it can be mind-boggling to figure out where to start...or why transposition is even printed in a book. It has to do with the history of the trumpet (and horn) prior to the invention of valves (1810s) and how music was traditionally written for these two brass instruments. In the brass family, trombones have always been able to play in any key; tuba and euphonium were invented in the 1830s and 1840s, respectively (and even though tubas can be found in different keys, they are not considered transposing instruments...the players just learn "different fingerings!"); but horn and trumpet have a rich history that goes back into antiquity, way before the invention of valves. The reasons for transposition studies has its roots in the history of our instrument and how composers wrote for the instrument. Transposition can be just as much a mystery for players without this training as it is for orchestral players trying to figure out how jazz players ever learn to improv over chord changes...both skill sets require special training and time to learn.


Bass clef instruments are non-transposing as a rule. In college, no one was ever able to tell me why. It isn't limited to low brass. I'm not aware of any exceptions, though I welcome correction on this point. (I used to double on CC tuba in high school because I liked the fingerings better.)

There have been plenty of composers who wrote compositions that were for other pitched instruments and didn't change transposition. For example, Strauss Ein Heldenleben, composed in 1898, is composed for 3 B flat and 2 E flat trumpets, and those transpositions hold throughout the parts. Mahler Symphony No. 1 is written in F transposition throughout. Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 is in Bb for the first movement, and A for the rest. Tchaikovsky and Strauss were contemporaries of Mahler.

I don't believe that Mahler's compositional tendencies is an example that proves any sort of rule, relative or otherwise, that could be applied to other composers. He composed the way he did, others were either similar or different. Sometimes he seemed to follow Wagner's rule to transpose the parts to avoid accidentals, others he didn't. I would argue that during the Late Romantic, brass instrument construction was evolving and composers were following suit in various ways. I believe composers sometimes composed following tradition and sometimes followed expediency. My opinion is Mahler began to choose expediency later on since, as you point out, it is impossible to change instruments in a few beats of rest and his earlier works had fewer changes in transposition. Other composers, such as Tchaikovsky, followed tradition. Wagner was a whole other animal.

But yes, transposed trumpet and horn parts has its origin in earlier orchestral music before the invention of valves and seeing "in B", "in Es", "in H" meant crooks to change the key.

For this reason, I believe the correct answer to Richard III's question is "yes and no" because playing earlier Baroque and Classical era compositions meant instruments in those keys, but later compositions not so much - trumpet players had chromatic instruments and could learn to transpose. Etudes that work on transposition develop the skill needed to play either parts.

Now we have so many keys of instrument available, we can choose what is easiest to get the job done.
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steve0930
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello fellow Trumpet players
Lionel wrote
Quote:
So start practicing OPTIMISM first. Even before you begin these transposition exercises.....Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. And? Don't mess with Mister In-Between

Lionel could have been a speechwriter for Churchill;
Quote:
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

So once more unto the breach dear friends, once more!

cheers and stay safe Steve
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royjohn
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In this discussion about transposition, I have to add a story I was told about William Vacchiano by someone who studied with him at Juilliard. He would bring in his lesson music prepared and start to play. Vacchiano would listen to a few notes and say, "I don't want to hear that, you've practiced that." He would turn to another page and say, "Here, play this in A." My friend would stumble along and feel he'd had a terrible lessons and was at the bottom of the barrel. He soon found out that Vacchiano was doing this to all his students. He was a stickler for learning to transpose because he was told by his teacher to learn to transpose so that he could use the trumpet (Bb, C or whatever) which produced the easiest key and intonation.

One of my friend's fellow students had heard about what Vacchiano did, so he memorized the firsts few pages of all the excerpts to be learned in different keys. At first he was the best student, until Vacchiano evidently figured out what was going on and turned to the back of the excerpt and asked him to play that...which he hadn't practiced.

My friend never told me that Vacchiano gave them any particular hints on how to do the transpositions, so evidently it was sink or swim and learn to pay what's put in front of you in whatever key is needed...He was a great exponent of practicing "off the horn," mentally.
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dstpt
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tpt_Guy wrote:
dstpt wrote:

Right. The "relative info" from the Mahler thread is in response to the notion that transposition was designed for trumpets pitched in those keys, and that Mahler thread pointed out how he freely moved back and forth between the transpositions of F & Bb, where it would never be practical for a player to actually switch between those two insts. So in response to Richard III's statement, the answer would be, "no," and that thread hits on relative support to that response. For those of us who have orchestral training, and not just classical trumpet instruction, we are/were challenged weekly to prepare etudes and orchestral passages that require transposition. For those who've never formally had this training, it can be mind-boggling to figure out where to start...or why transposition is even printed in a book. It has to do with the history of the trumpet (and horn) prior to the invention of valves (1810s) and how music was traditionally written for these two brass instruments. In the brass family, trombones have always been able to play in any key; tuba and euphonium were invented in the 1830s and 1840s, respectively (and even though tubas can be found in different keys, they are not considered transposing instruments...the players just learn "different fingerings!"); but horn and trumpet have a rich history that goes back into antiquity, way before the invention of valves. The reasons for transposition studies has its roots in the history of our instrument and how composers wrote for the instrument. Transposition can be just as much a mystery for players without this training as it is for orchestral players trying to figure out how jazz players ever learn to improv over chord changes...both skill sets require special training and time to learn.


Bass clef instruments are non-transposing as a rule. In college, no one was ever able to tell me why. It isn't limited to low brass. I'm not aware of any exceptions, though I welcome correction on this point. (I used to double on CC tuba in high school because I liked the fingerings better.)

There have been plenty of composers who wrote compositions that were for other pitched instruments and didn't change transposition. For example, Strauss Ein Heldenleben, composed in 1898, is composed for 3 B flat and 2 E flat trumpets, and those transpositions hold throughout the parts. Mahler Symphony No. 1 is written in F transposition throughout. Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 is in Bb for the first movement, and A for the rest. Tchaikovsky and Strauss were contemporaries of Mahler.

I don't believe that Mahler's compositional tendencies is an example that proves any sort of rule, relative or otherwise, that could be applied to other composers. He composed the way he did, others were either similar or different. Sometimes he seemed to follow Wagner's rule to transpose the parts to avoid accidentals, others he didn't. I would argue that during the Late Romantic, brass instrument construction was evolving and composers were following suit in various ways. I believe composers sometimes composed following tradition and sometimes followed expediency. My opinion is Mahler began to choose expediency later on since, as you point out, it is impossible to change instruments in a few beats of rest and his earlier works had fewer changes in transposition. Other composers, such as Tchaikovsky, followed tradition. Wagner was a whole other animal.

But yes, transposed trumpet and horn parts has its origin in earlier orchestral music before the invention of valves and seeing "in B", "in Es", "in H" meant crooks to change the key.

For this reason, I believe the correct answer to Richard III's question is "yes and no" because playing earlier Baroque and Classical era compositions meant instruments in those keys, but later compositions not so much - trumpet players had chromatic instruments and could learn to transpose. Etudes that work on transposition develop the skill needed to play either parts.

Now we have so many keys of instrument available, we can choose what is easiest to get the job done.

Agreed. Transpositions originally for trumpet date back to the natural (valveless) instrument...same for horn. The player would change crooks or switch to a longer or shorter trumpet to be in the correct key of the written passage.

Notation can vary for certain transposing instruments, like bass clarinet, which is normally written in treble clef, but at times in bass clef...

https://www.jasonalder.com/blog/2020/02/20/a-guide-to-understanding-bass-clarinet-clef-notation/

Starting heavy transposition studies in college, I considered it weird when a tuba player told me that BBb tubas were non-transposing instruments, and that the player just learns different fingerings when switching to tubas in different keys: BBb, CC, Eb, F, down to subcontrabass tubas in BBBb, EEEb, FFF, et al. I really had trouble wrapping my mind around that and why that was…until I learned that the tuba did not have a valveless history, since valves have always been on the tuba & euphonium. This website states that these instruments may have transposed parts…

https://opencurriculum.org/5567/transposing-instruments/

…and there’s quite a bit of info on that website in regard to transposing and non-transposing instruments.

Learning to transpose on the trumpet is very important when it comes to orchestral and pre-valved trumpets.

Here’s one tip that may not have been shared: For some transpositions, you can just change the clef to bass clef and create the necessary key signature in your mind. By using this method, you never have to transpose more than a third! (This does not help those who are unaccustomed to reading bass clef.) For instance:

Transpose to F
Playing a C tpt

Instead of transposing up a perfect 4th (what most common orch’l rep would require), read a written C, for instance, as an E in bass clef and transpose up a step to an F. Again, you have to apply a key signature, which can be awkward at first, but it saves the mind from thinking a P4 up from what is written.
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mafields627
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Here’s one tip that may not have been shared: For some transpositions, you can just change the clef to bass clef and create the necessary key signature in your mind.


This also works with Alto Sax & Trombone/Baritone and Bari Sax & Tuba!
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LaTrompeta
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My trumpet teacher in high school had me learn E trumpet on Bb. That's a tri-tone transposition. It was fun. You know what else is fun? Dipping your head into a shark tank.
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blbaumgarn
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2021 8:45 pm    Post subject: Most terrifying words Reply with quote

I never got close to a shark tank, but was almost talked into bobbing for french fries once. That could have been bad, too, LOL
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Tpt_Guy
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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2021 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dstpt wrote:

Agreed. Transpositions originally for trumpet date back to the natural (valveless) instrument...same for horn. The player would change crooks or switch to a longer or shorter trumpet to be in the correct key of the written passage.

Notation can vary for certain transposing instruments, like bass clarinet, which is normally written in treble clef, but at times in bass clef...

https://www.jasonalder.com/blog/2020/02/20/a-guide-to-understanding-bass-clarinet-clef-notation/

Starting heavy transposition studies in college, I considered it weird when a tuba player told me that BBb tubas were non-transposing instruments, and that the player just learns different fingerings when switching to tubas in different keys: BBb, CC, Eb, F, down to subcontrabass tubas in BBBb, EEEb, FFF, et al. I really had trouble wrapping my mind around that and why that was…until I learned that the tuba did not have a valveless history, since valves have always been on the tuba & euphonium. This website states that these instruments may have transposed parts…

https://opencurriculum.org/5567/transposing-instruments/

…and there’s quite a bit of info on that website in regard to transposing and non-transposing instruments.

Learning to transpose on the trumpet is very important when it comes to orchestral and pre-valved trumpets.

Here’s one tip that may not have been shared: For some transpositions, you can just change the clef to bass clef and create the necessary key signature in your mind. By using this method, you never have to transpose more than a third! (This does not help those who are unaccustomed to reading bass clef.) For instance:

Transpose to F
Playing a C tpt

Instead of transposing up a perfect 4th (what most common orch’l rep would require), read a written C, for instance, as an E in bass clef and transpose up a step to an F. Again, you have to apply a key signature, which can be awkward at first, but it saves the mind from thinking a P4 up from what is written.


Thanks for those links. I suppose as a trumpet player we rarely have to get into the transpositions of other instruments. That bass clarinet link sure made my brain creak.

I'd only heard about tubas with transposed parts in brass bands where everyone reads treble clef...except bass trombone.

I wasn't aware of tubas not being transposed because of their history. Is there anything I can read about this? When I studied in college the going line was that bass clef instruments are never transposed and that's just the way it is.

I do agree with using clefs for transposition. Below is my first post in this thread:

Quote:
Learn to read various clefs and adjust the accidentals.

Bass clef can be used to read parts up a major or minor third. Arban in bass clef or the Rochut etudes would be good for learning this clef.

Alto clef can be used to read parts up a whole (or half) step.

Tenor clef can be used to read parts down a whole (or half) step.

Reginald Fink wrote two books, Introducing the Tenor Clef and Introducing the Alto Clef. Those are good, simple books recommended to me by a local college professor (probably the best trombonist I've ever heard). He recommended those because they are smoother gradient than Blazhevich and more melody-oriented.

Soprano clef can be used to read parts down a third.

I found a set of etudes in soprano clef but they don't seem to be online anymore. PM me your email and I can forward them to you.

There are also mezzo-soprano and baritone clefs, but I haven't been able to locate any material in these clefs.


I'm still working on them. It's tough after so many years of using intervals. Old habits die hard, I suppose.

If you've ever looked at the Bordogni 24 Vocalises, you may have noticed in the book there is a table of clefs to use and how to modify the key signatures for the various transpositions (12 of them) when holding a Bb or a C trumpet. It covers seven clefs: Treble, Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, and Bass.

And I did some more digging and found those soprano clef etudes.

http://www.wwjdo.com/_sites/sheetmusic/A_Transposition.pdf
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dstpt
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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2021 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tpt_Guy wrote:
I wasn't aware of tubas not being transposed because of their history. Is there anything I can read about this?

I just did a google search for:

“why are different-pitched tubas non-transposing”…and found this:

https://www.nhme.org/trs-inst.html

…where the writer states:

“Why aren’t tubas transposing? The short answer is tradition, and no instrument that plays in bass clef is transposing.* Music notation for tubas represents the concert pitch, not the finger/valve positions.”

BUT the writer corrects him/her-self in a footnote…

“* Update: Whoops, there's always exceptions to the rule! The Wagner Tuba is indeed a transposing instrument that plays in the bass clef. (It's not really a tuba though. Richard Wagner invented a special type of horn for his operas.) A tenor Wagner Tuba in Bb sounds a major second lower than written, and a bass Wagner Tuba pitched in the key of F plays a whole fifth lower than what's notated on the bass clef staff. Regular horn players will usually double on the Wagner Tuba when required.”

This is like me finding that one website above, where there are times that the bass clarinet is surprisingly notated in bass clef. (Actually, I had talked to a woodwind doubler in the pit years ago and had vaguely recalled this from that conversation.) So I guess we are finding that there are frequently exceptions to the rule.

Now, back to that writer’s short answer, “tradition.” (And suddenly my mind is flooded with echos of Tevye crying out that word in Fiddler on the Roof…"nah, nah, nah, na!")

So if tradition is the main reason for tubas being non-transposing, then we could ask what the difference is between it and horn or trumpet, which are considered transposing (except for C trumpet, of course). And that’s what I did; I started pondering years ago why this was, and this is the only thing that made sense, that it has to do with the fact that they do not have a history of transposition, since they have always had valves. Composers have just put their part in bass clef, and if the player wants to play the passage/piece on a different-sized tuba with the fundamental for the Open series being something other than a C, then they can just figure that out for themselves! (So goes the voice of the composer in my head.) Tpts and hns have a rich historical link to their valveless “forefathers,” but the tuba (and euphonium) do not. They have always had valves. AND this also concurs with the prevailing practice of bass clef instruments in general being non-transposing instruments, so I guess out of courtesy to said prevailing notational practice, we should throw that into the “rationale” mix.

Now back to your question:

Tpt_Guy wrote:
I wasn't aware of tubas not being transposed because of their history. Is there anything I can read about this?


To be truthful, this TH thread may be the only written record on the Internet (or anywhere else for that matter) of that being offered as part of the reason for tubas being non-transposing…since moi [je] came up with this reasoning years ago, just trying to justify why all of this is! I know. Crazy, right! Well, I can assure you, I won’t be writing a DMA document on it, so if some lurking graduate tubist wants to tackle the topic, then go for it!

Re: the soprano clef. This is one clef that I never learned, and it was not part of the teaching strategy from any of my teachers…but if someone learns this from the start, it would definitely make reading more complicated passages with tons of accidentals a lot easier (although most of the orchestral rep does not require that). For me at this stage, I am already locked into reading the A tpt parts down a minor third! (As you said, old habits die hard.)


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spitvalve
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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2021 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A great book I used in college to learn transposition is Borgdoni 24 Vocalises. Each etude changes the trumpet it's written for at random and you have to transpose on the fly using the trumpet in your hand. So you're grooving along where it says "trumpet in Bb" and suddenly it changes to "trumpet in F" and you have to figure out where you are and keep it sounding musical. It goes through all "trumpet in __" keys (Bb, C, D, Eb, E, F, G, A) and the first few times through it can make your brain pack up and take a vacation. I worked hard at it and in one semester got through all of it on the Bb trumpet and then went through it again using a C trumpet and had no transposition issues after that when I was playing in the orchestra.

I don't know if the book is still in print; I bought mine from LeDuc 40 yers ago.
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2021 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spitvalve wrote:
A great book I used in college to learn transposition is Borgdoni 24 Vocalises.

I don't know if the book is still in print; I bought mine from LeDuc 40 yers ago.

https://qpress.ca/product/vingt-quatre-vocalises-bordogni/
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