Beginner: Is a C keyed trumpet ok

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

  1. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    You've only accomplished half of what is necessary. In addition to the plus or minus 2 sharps depending on which instrument you are playing and whiich music you are playing from, It's either up two semi-tones (half steps) or down two semi-tones, also being the difference between Bb and C. While I notice no other on this forum using the terms semi-tones or half steps this is the way I learned it and teach it to give recognition to a sharp or flat as may be interposed. Yes, to play a low concert C (C music) on the ledger line below the staff on a Bb trumpet / cornet the fingering is 1 & 3, the same as if it would visually be a D in the space above were it to be written in Bb music.

    Yes, I've listened to many Bb trumpet solos in churches and the first thing I've often noticed is that they are playing such in a different key of the music as sometimes works and sometimes does not, and never if accompanied by organ if piano, and surely they are still playing such directly from the C music from piano without transposition.
  2. vern

    vern Piano User

    Mar 4, 2008
    I think learning the B-flat trumpet with "C" fingerings is an option (as suggested above). I play the C trumpet extensively and, for me, find that it is much less "forgiving" than the B-flat trumpet. I also suspect that it is a lot easier to find a good B-flat trumpet in the modest price range than it is to find a C trumpet. Another thought: if you decide to move on (playing in brass groups, bands), a B-flat trumpet is much more versatile than a C trumpet.
  3. Chuck Cox

    Chuck Cox Forte User

    Oct 3, 2008
    Cary NC
    I put a 1964 King Liberty on eBay this afternoon. It is a Bb trumpet that can change over to a C trumpet by removing half of the tuning slide to raise the tone 1 whole step to C. You can tell by the pictures I took what section comes out. Tonight was the first time I ever played a C trumpet when I took that section out of the King. I kind of like it but I can never see the need for me. I'm just a Bb sort of guy. I transpose when needed. It's an option though. I'm not pushing my eBay listing. I have spent all day answering questions about the horns that I have listed. BTW the Connstellation is by far the record holder 100 views in the first 24 hours......400 views now after 4 days...much better than the Mendez.
  4. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    Ed, you did not read my post attentively enough. In addition to adding 2 sharps or 2 flats (or cancelling already existing sharps), you're also reading in a different clef, so a note written on a given line or space takes a different name (and should be played accordingly). There is a nunber of C clefs (1st line, 2nd line, 3rd line, 4th line), that were traditionally used for transposition or writing music for various voices and instruments. In fact, there exists enough clefs in all (7) that a given note written on the staff can wear any name depending on what clef is applied (F 3rd line, F 4th line, G 2nd, C 1st, C 2nd, C 3rd, C 4th). Interestingly, there is no real "shift" when going from G 2nd to F 4th because the line on which the F applies is the 4th ledger line below the staff when reading in G 2nd (whaaat??!!!?). However, when plainly reading a staff governed by a F 4th clef, one does not really bother with that, as he is presented with a staff and notes on it to read (but some do actually bother with it, since the F clef is used for low sounds and is therefore to be used in the context of the "grand staff").

    Now you might say, this raises the question: what's in a name (a note's name, that is)? Well, it's all relative (nothing to do with family, though). But a sound at a given frequency is what is, is it not? Well,yeah, it certainly isn't what it's not, right?

    A sound at a given frequency can be given any name, although for the sake of clarity (there is such a thing in music theory) it should be given a name that fits within the frame of the grand staff, except for those of us (transposing instruments) for whom it will be given a different name, or a different sound will be given its name; that makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

    If one uses the clef of C 3rd (line), the 3rd space note takes the name "D." Therefore, the scale from the 1st ledger line below the staff to the 3rd space is a D scale in that clef. Conversely, when reading in the clef of C 4th line, the 3rd space note becomes a B.

    There is a variety of ways one can transpose. When we read music written for Bb instruments but in the clef of G 2nd line, playing a Bb instrument, we're actually reading like a pianist would if he had to produce the same sounds: in the clef of C 4th with 2 more flats on the armature, but they're not written down because they are a function of the instrument and of the succession of intervals in the scale (as long as we play diatonic). Just so that we don't have to read in an unfamiliar clef (isn't that nice?). By now, the pianist is wondering why anyone would bother with anything but the clefs of G 2nd and F 4th and shaking his head. The composer, however, is displaying a wrily grin of a smile...

    Look at it this way: playing a C scale on a Bb horn looking at the notes on the staff, starting from low C, you see a C scale, but you play a concert Bb scale, with 2 flats. Yet your written scale obviously has no alterations on the armature (obviously, right?)

    When one plays as you described, one full tone higher than written on every note, the flats go away, and the notes' names take their proper place for the pianist, but the name of a different note for one used to play on a Bb horn, and some of them are altered (Whaaaaaaat???!!).

    Normally, the confusion should be complete by now; I know that mine is, and deepening with every passing word/line/note. Let me know if it yours still needs polishing and I'll add a few comments on which voices the clef of C 2nd could be be traditionally used for :-)

    Btw, as you may have construed, I love music theory. I 'm going to read about counterpoint next, I swear :D

    Now I want to ask Vulgano Brother about that Eb flat scale when playing a picc in A with an organ and the natural vs equal temperament question:shock:
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2011
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    To an extent, the C note set on the ledger line below the G clef is identical to the C note that is indicated by the center of the C clef brace and it is true that the C clef shifts up and down in relation to the voice of an instrument or the human voice and carrys with it all other named notes in relation to it. but assuredly when I wrote last I was considering the G clef within the lower range of both a C trumpet and the Bb trumpet / cornet with a C note. Otherwise, the position of this C note I mention appears on the first ledger line above the F clef staff and is within range of most bass instruments. However, in a common present day instrumental orchestra, the only instrument as may be playing in the C clef is a viola with the subject C note on the 3rd line of that clef centered as if midway between the G and F clefs.

    Counterpoint is indeed interesting as it may be applicable in the composition or a re-arrangement of some songs, but for single performance on any of the brass instruments of little needed attention beyond syncopation and rhythmn with other instrumentalists whenever present. As such, it could be considered in some improvisation, but if I were conducting, I best have pre-approved such or any improvisation before it was played , or the player would be walking, irregardless of how well it was performed. Such was a big F for another player in a college course I had (which I did not conduct) and his appeal was denied by the college administration. He had the audacity to do such in a public concert! Never heard from or of him again. I concurred with his banishment, not that I had any participation in the consequence. Not sayin' he couldn't play! He just did it his way at the wrong time and place without permission. Lots to be learned in theory, but practical application excels.
  6. AKtrumpet

    AKtrumpet Piano User

    Jun 4, 2010
    Pro: You don't have to transcribe.
    Con: You don't have to transcribe.
  7. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Re: Above
    Pro: You'll never attain a college music degree, but may find happiness in some other pursuit of endeavor.
    Con: You'll NOT be able to play most of the music now written for brass instruments, or play with most other brass instrumentalists.

    Yep, only one's self can create the desire to achieve, others are prohibited to utilize the force necessary to get one to achieve, the latter as seldom works effectively anyway.

    Not sayin' a C trumpet doesn't sound well when performed on by a competent player of it, but I'm not sayin' the player is competent if he/she cannot or will not transpose from ALL music.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2011
  8. staleyja

    staleyja New Friend

    Oct 12, 2011
    I put a 1964 King Liberty on eBay this afternoon

    I went to EBay and look at this. She sure is a beauty but I'm sure she will sell out of my price range.

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