Bb trumpet and transposing

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

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  1. MGTrumpet

    MGTrumpet New Friend

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    Nov 18, 2004
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    Just my two cents worth....

    It seems to me that you should learn the Bb fingerings.

    If, after you've been playing for a while, someone comes along and asks you to play the Eb Cornet in a brass band and hands you an Eb, you'll always be playing in F cornet unless you "transpose". That is, of course, unless they've got a spare Db Cornet laying around.

    If someone were to hand you a D trumpet to play in an ensemble you'd always be playing in E trumpet.

    Anytime you see a written B (third line) you'll want to play it with first and second valve which is not correct for a non-transposed part (the majority of what you'll be playing).

    But that's only my opinion.
     
  2. BigDub

    BigDub Fortissimo User

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    This has brought some new ideas into my head I never gave a thought to in the past. Not that I wasn't aware of transposing, of course I have done that many times and in different ways. But the fingerings to different keys is blowing my mind. I only had been exposed a little bit to baritone players learning different fingerings for bass and treble clef, but all the Bb, C, and so on, not till now. Very interesting.....
     
  3. strad116055

    strad116055 Pianissimo User

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    i agree! its a very interesting subject with an interesting history. before valves, the trumpets and horns added longer and longer crooks to their instruments to change key. of course the instrument played a little different in each key, and by the time you added all the tubes you had, you ended up with a much longer instrument on the same bell, and it was quite a bit different. my wife has done some natural horn playing, and you have to have a degree in plumbing to do a gig on the thing because you have to make sure you put it together right. if you have fast changes, you've got to know which ones to grab. after valves, they were still changing crooks for quite a while, and it took a long time for the notation to catch up, which is why so much classical music is written in different keys for the trumpet and horn. the F trumpet was the standard at the end of the 19th century. brahms was said to have preferred the sound of the old natural instruments, but much of the music during his time would have been unplayable on those trumpets. the playability of the cornet, especially in Bb and A, evidently convinced people gradually to make the change to the Bb trumpet, which is quite a bit closer to the cornet in terms of proportion to cylindrical to conical tubing than the old F trumpets. it also lined up better with the trombones, which were being used more and more, and were built in Bb, altho notated in C. the C trumpet was preferred in france, but the Bb trumpet was pretty much the axe in america, except for the boston symphony, which was heavily french influenced. the C really came into its own in america because adolph herseth, having studied with george mager, the principal in boston, preferred it. mr. herseth, incidentally, used a method of transposition (sometimes called "moveable do") that involved changing clefs rather than changing keys. he was therfore always reading at concert pitch.

    i think the truth of transposition is always being able to hear the pitch in your head. you are not simply memorizing figerings, any more than reading is simply memorizing letters. when a child that is learning to read sees a word he doesn't know, he learns to figure it out. as he gets to be a better reader, he doesn't have to do that anymore for a word he knows. he recognizes the word instantly, along with its sound, and its meaning, in the context of what he's reading. its miraculous, really. when you learn your instrument, whether it is a transposing instrument or not, if you're learning to read music at the same time, you first calculate notes in much the same way. you see the note, recognize it as a fingering and a pitch (sound), and pretty soon, your brain skips that step and off you go. that's one of the reasons we learn to sing what we want to play, hopefully. when you learn to transpose, with enough practice, much the same thing happens. you don't think "third space treble clef written C means: part in D + trumpet in Bb = no valves = E on the horn = concert D", or any part of that, except at the beginning. your brain learns that process and does it faster than you can think. when you really become good at it, your ear even puts it in the context of the music.

    if you're the 2nd trumpet player and the first trumpet players is playing a concert F# above you and the 3rd trumpet is playing a concert A below you also know, besides playing a D, you are playing the root of a D chord in the 2nd inversion. (and you're hoping the lead player isn't playing sharp, because your D, whether on a C trumpet with the first valve or the Bb trumpet open, might be a little low if he is.)

    that's incredibly geeky, i realize, but when you hear great trumpet section playing together, that's what's happening on every note. and that's not all. if those 3 notes are in locked in tune and the resulting harmonics are lined up, that chord being played by 3 trumpets is going to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, and if you heard the trumpets alone, you might actually hear the resultant tone, a D two octaves below your note, actually ring in the room.
     
  4. BigDub

    BigDub Fortissimo User

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    Sometimes the white flag comes up with the large bold letters on it: TMI
    That's just me, now, there's just so much room in this BigDub head for further information......
    Seriously, though, very interesting, as long as there will not be a test!!
     
  5. strad116055

    strad116055 Pianissimo User

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    sory, i tend to do that. TMI stands for "that man's insane."
     
  6. BigDub

    BigDub Fortissimo User

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    That is not so. I just wanted to give you my perspective. There is room for all of us here. Just don't make me repeat everything you said.
    If I may make a baseball analogy, when Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams would meet up and play together in the all star game, Ted Williams would talk hitting to Mickey so much- ad infinitum, that Mickey's head would spin and it would take him a couple of games back to get all those technical hitting thoughts out of his head before he could hit naturally, the way he did it! You're Ted Williams, I'm Mickey, so to speak. See my meaning?
     
  7. strad116055

    strad116055 Pianissimo User

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    of course. believe me, i take no offense. i hear a lot of good natured kidding for it from my wife, as well as my friends from work. as far as other trumpet players go, many of the best ones are mickeys, not teds.
     
  8. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    Transposing is a crutch for those who can't afford trumpets in different keys...:lol:
     
  9. BigDub

    BigDub Fortissimo User

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    I don't know, you could almost say buying all these horns in different keys is the crutch for those who don't want to put in the brain effort?
    Plus, my crutch is a crutch right now, not figuratively.......and I don't have room for more horns. My horn is very jealous and doesn't like any others in my life:cool:
     
  10. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    Yes, you could say that and it would be somewhat true (I was kidding in my previous post). In addition to the reduced brain effort required when playing a horn pitched in the key of the music, in many cases there is the benefit of the timbre of the instrument better matching the music, and easier fingerings, ornaments, etc.
     

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