Beginner: Is a C keyed trumpet ok

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by staleyja, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. hup_d_dup

    hup_d_dup Piano User

    May 28, 2009
    Tewksbury, NJ, USA
    I haven't seen one but you can quickly make your own. Find a chart for standard Bb fingerings. Here is one:

    Note that the standard fingering for low C (one ledger line below the staff) is 0. Now move two measures to the right and note that the fingering for D is 1-3. If you see a C in your music, but play with fingering 1-3, you are playing your Bb instrument in C.

    Consequently, you can create a fingering chart for your Bb instrument to play in C by moving all the fingerings on the chart by two measures to the left. C# becomes 2-3, D becomes 1-2, etc.

    Using these fingerings you can play with piano or organ without transposing (you really are transposing, but you don't have to think about it). But the down side is you can't play a duet with another trumpet, unless you transpose down a step or he transposes up a step.
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    When you decide on the horn, come back and post. We will give you the chart.
  3. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    That is a good idea. When starting out I bought a Bb horn and learned the pitches with A=440. It did create a problem when I tried to find a teacher, because evidently serious players only know Bb and can't transpose. However I can read piano lead sheets no problem, and my teacher sucked anyway(my C was higher than his C). You will probably have this problem with a C horn, however I think you will be better off since you could find an inexpensive Bb horn for lessons. You will eventually have to read some Bb sheet music, if you want to get any trumpet practice sheets, so be prepared to transpose one way or another. In the end you will want to read sheets for voice, because piano sheets are horrible, but they are both in C so.
  4. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    "are there practice charts for these fingerings?"

    To play concert key music with a Bb trumpet, read in the clef of C 3rd line and add 2 sharps to the armature. To play music written for Bb trumpet with a C horn, read in the clef of C 4th line and add 2 flats to the armature. Sounds simple enough. I don't claim to be able to do it. I use a C trumpet in church with the sheets for voice, so it dispenses me from the more challenging brain work (which I just started to touch, humbling experience).
  5. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    I have been playing a Bb trumpet or cornet direct from the hymnal in '(C), concert pitch for over 65 years. It is simple. Up one tone, adding two sharps or subtracting two flats. I practice from a hymn book primarily and thus, can do that transposition on the fly.

  6. hup_d_dup

    hup_d_dup Piano User

    May 28, 2009
    Tewksbury, NJ, USA
    You mean the OP should learn the instrument using Bb fingerings he will never need, and at the same time learn to transpose to C? Rowuk suggested a simpler system: learn the fingerings in C.

    For a beginner learning the instrument, this method is absurdly complicated.
  7. staleyja

    staleyja New Friend

    Oct 12, 2011
    Thanks all for your help and advice! I think I will buy Bb horn have my wife transpose on yamaha piano or write out my music in muscore computer program.
  8. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    I agree and I'm not suggesting that's what he should do. In fact, I was mentioning these methods to reinforce the idea that it does not make sense to learn the instrument from scratch while having to transpose. It's hard enough learning the physical process and proper body use to reach good sound production. If one is already an accomplished reader, then perhaps it wouldn't be such a problem, but it is still an added burden to an initial learning that is not especially easy.

    Reading in C 3rd with 2 sharps added is essentially the same thing as what Oldlou described, it's all playing one tone higher than what's written in the clef of G 2nd line. You can describe it with any set of words or use any method to do it, the final result is the same (or should be; it will be quickly noticed if it isn't :-)

    Instead staleyja chose to have the transposition done in advance and written down specifically for Bb horn, and that's fine too if it is possible to do. That will certainly give him a wider choice of good quality horns to pick from.

    BTW staleyja, there are programs that will print the hymn transposed for pretty much any instrument out there, the church where I go has one of these. They used to print me a Bb sheet before I started to use a C horn. The C trumpet has made everything easier, as there was only one person who knew well how to print the transposed version and I tend to arrive really close to the start of rehearsal time.
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    In the same learning time it would take for a C trumpet, it is my opinion that you could rabidly learn to transpose from the C instrument music in hymnal and for piano tothat required for a Bb trumpet, as I've now been doing since 1944 (I'm 75 now).
    To do this is simply raise the note two semi-tones (half steps) and add two sharps to whatever exists in the key signature for the hymnal / piano music, each sharp cancelling a flat if such prior exists. For me, now I sight read this tranposition to Bb directly from the C music. As an example, the third space C raised two semi-tones becomes what is visually a D on the fourth line ala C, C#, D. Thus, learning to play a Bb trumpet broadens your versatility far beyond the niche of church or piano music. This same applys to other orchestra instruments such as the clarinet, tenor saxophone, tenor trombone etc. and I don't believe that many players of these have not learned this easy transposition from C type music.
  10. nieuwguyski

    nieuwguyski Forte User

    Aug 9, 2004
    Santa Cruz County, CA
    Learning to read C music on Bb, as a beginner, isn't transposing, and it's no harder than learning to read Bb music. You simply learn, from the get-go, that a written Bb is concert Bb -- played no valves down. A written C below the staff is a concert C -- fingered 1 and 3. You don't change the key signature. You just learn to play the Bb trumpet as a non-transposing instrument.

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