Bb trumpet and transposing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Usb, Aug 5, 2014.

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  1. tjcombo

    tjcombo Mezzo Forte User

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    ...and practice all 12 scales (major, minor, pentatonic, blues, apegios) especially E, F#, C#. Whether you're playing with or without a sheet, playing with guitarists will involve playing in mongrel keys. Once you know the scales well, you might find it easier when playing without a sheet than with.
     
  2. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

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    Welcome to TM!
    Jim
     
  3. Usb

    Usb New Friend

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    Sweet. Thx for the answers and the greetings :) wasn't expecting them so soon. Looks like i found the right forum :)
     
  4. BigDub

    BigDub Fortissimo User

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    Now let me show you another very valuable tip: Much more eloquently expressed on this Youtube clip by Bob Pixley. You only need to watch the first 1:36 or so to get the full explanation of the Bb Trumpet and the intricacies of transposing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4Z-BQitMuc

    Disclaimer:
    Mind you, this is the humorous side of TM, there will be a lot of this to come. Do not believe everything you see or hear- especially from any number of our posts!
     
  5. strad116055

    strad116055 Pianissimo User

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    welcome to TM. things have come to you a little bit out of order. no harm in that. i am also a string player who learned to play the trumpet. the Bb trumpet is a little more user-friendly than the C trumpet, and so most people learn to play it first. i was like you...i learned to play the Bb trumpet by teaching myself songs, and i read in C and learned the fingerings, altho i was well aware that the instrument was built in Bb. if you have perfect pitch, its a little disturbing to read one things and hear another if you have no previous experience with a transposing instrument. (at least that was my excuse.) there's nothing wrong with that, especially if you have a place to play your trumpet with other people. its even valuable. i don't know how many times i played amateur church jobs with somebody who was struggling to read the hymnal on a Bb trumpet.

    if you wish to study the trumpet, and play it well, practicing the arban book could be the best resource available. you should take into consideration that much of the arban book, covering the types of exercises that all brass players play, were written for the Bb trumpet and are based on the mechanics of that instrument. the point of them is to develop your mechanics as a player using the inherent characteristics of that instrument. it also provides a basis for relating to the other repertoire for the instrument. transposition is usually learned later, not first. that said, you didn't do yourself any harm in coming to it from the other way.

    if you were to study the arban book in C, it would still benefit you, but not as fully as if you studied it in Bb, imo. you also might limit yourself in other playing situations that could happen for you. if you get to play in a situation where "normal" parts are provided, most of the time, the parts will be in Bb. if you get to play in an orchestra, parts will be in many different keys.

    so i say, why limit yourself? learning the trumpet in Bb is not going to take away from anything you're already doing. in fact, you have already developed a skill of reading in C that you'll always have. you can read out of a hymnal, or out of a fake book, or off of a lead sheet in C. you're not going to forget how to do that by studying the trumpet "for real" in Bb from the arban book. you will however, get the full benefit out of the exercises in the arban book and become a better player.

    if you're patient, you can trust your brain to sort this out. it might seem confusing at first, but it won't be for very long. one way of doing it might be to play something like the getchell book. you can start by playing an exercise in the key of C, if that's most comfortable for you. then learn it a step lower, in Bb. your ear will help guide you. the exercises are short, so you may be tempted to play them by ear. try to keep "reading" the notes, even though you already have the tune in your ear. if the exercise is easy for you, after you learn it a step lower, try it a step higher than written. by then you're expanding your range at the same time you're learning to transpose, as well as developing your ear.

    i don't think you can really learn to play the trumpet well by just playing longs. the technical aspects of the instrument have to be isolated and worked out. this is what the arban book will do for you.

    the trumpet is a marvellous instrument to study, because it require daily practice and a systematic approach. "hit or miss" efforts will usually deliver mostly "miss." when i started the trumpet, i had played the violin professionally for more than 10 years. by being a beginner on the trumpet, i learned a great deal that i could apply to my violin playing, as well as other things. i "learned how to learn." since i learned the violin in my childhood and did not study the trumpet til my 30's, the trumpet gave me all kinds of insight into the process of learning, which as i child, i had not paid much attention to.

    please also read the posts by ROWUK on TM about the value of a daily routine, and breathing. good luck and all best to you.
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    If you have playing opportunities in "C", then there is no reason not to start with the C fingerings. One thing to keep in mind, conventions are traditionally based, for most players Bb parts are the most abundant. Playing duets with a trumpeting buddy could be tougher. On the other hand, transposing is not a problem for many players, so just go for it. Take the opportunities as they come and invest time when you need to.
     
  7. Churchman

    Churchman Mezzo Piano User

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    Advice will be contradictory here on this one - because we all did different things, and they (sort of) worked for us.

    For me, I would suggest getting a 'c' as well - the fingerings are then all the same. Whichever you pick up, for whatever (practice (Bb), band (Bb), or your group (C)), you can just play what is on the paper - same note on paper, same fingerings. This deals with the different fingering issue. There is a problem with this though... the pitch IS different, which can then cause other issues (especially if you try and play both in one sitting - I find that can be mind-blowing if I'm a bit asleep).:-?
     
  8. BigDub

    BigDub Fortissimo User

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    The only slight problem could be a financial one there. C trumpets usually are a bit more expensive than Bbs, simply because of supply where not as many of them are out there. He may not have the funds is what I am getting at; and it isn't too terribly hard to read up a step once you get used to it.
     
  9. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

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    Concerning the OP's questions, I suggest he learn to play the Bb trumpet as it is supposed to be played, avoid unnecessary mental rubbish at this stage of his development, and work on his transposing skills. When he can afford it, a decent C trumpet might be a good investment. Careful shopping can lead to obtaining a C fairly economically. My late 1990s Strad C180SL229W30 was purchased used in excellent condition for $1500.

    Jim
     
  10. strad116055

    strad116055 Pianissimo User

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    a story about the nature of opportunity: i was asked to play 2nd trpt to a very good professional player for a wedding on short notice. (read: somebody cancelled at the last minute.) i didn't know what was going to be played, but i felt comfortable knowing that the very solid 1st player would be there, so i accepted it. i took a C trumpet, because i knew the 1st player primarily played C trumpet, my piccolo, not really expecting to use it, and my Bb. there was a xerox of sheet music for a pop tune on the stand with no indication of what we were going to play, among other typical wedding stuff. the contractor, who was a violinist who booked all the musicians for the wedding and the reception, told us that the pop tune was a special request from the bride, and contained a trumpet solo. sure enough, in the bridge of the instrumental section of the tune, there were cue notes with a little piccolo trumpet line. i don't remember the tune, but it was not "penny lane". it wasn't terribly high, and it wasn't terribly hard, but i didn't worry about it, because i was there to play 2nd trumpet, not solos. the first player said to me, after the contractor left, that he really was used to playing his piccolo trumpet in A, reading parts written in D. never mind if that doesn't make a lot of sense to you. its a very common transposition-the one you use for prince of denmark and masterpiece theater, etc. and he did not want to play that solo. i was a little surprised, but said i'd be glad to play it. i did not have time to learn it at home. my orchestral transposition what not very good at the time. i did not have anything to write it out with. but since i learned the Bb trumpet with the "wrong" fingerings, i played it from the concert key sheet music on my Bb pic without any problem.

    here is the point. whether you are trying to make a living on the trumpet or not (and i was not) opportunities to play things come up and people don't generally know much about your instrument. they will say, "could you play this?" if you like to take advantage of those opportunities, if you can say yes, you might get to have some fun. if you say, "well, that's really not written for this horn", or, "i'd have to take that home and look at it", that opportunity is going to pass you by. so, learning certain skills = more fun, potentially.

    in my other email, i didn't mean to imply that you needed to be a "real" trumpet player in some sense, to enjoy playing. this trumpet came your way, and you are probably a talented guy if you can pick it up and make some sense of it like you have. it is not so likely that a C trumpet will appear in your life quite the same way. C trumpets tend to be pro level horns. the R and D that goes into them tends to make them useful to orchestral players. that said, i know quite a few professionals who play C trumpet for their livlihood who practice on the Bb trumpet every day to hone their trumpet skills. not all of them, but quite a few. you're playing your Bb trumpet in C for now and having a good time, and i say good for you. you can certainly keep doing that. if you want to expand on your skills, or if you want to explore other opportunities in the future with the trumpet you have, learn it in Bb. it will build your confidence so you can take your trumpet out and have fun with others, and that's what its all about.
     

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