Can I call a spade a spade if it looks, sounds, and walks like a duck?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by garrettmarvel, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. garrettmarvel

    garrettmarvel New Friend

    Jan 21, 2009
    so my learning and playing is progressing, and as I'm trying to get a grasp on theory and the Bb tuning of a trumpet... so now knowing that a C on a Bb horn is a "concert Bb", and every note I play in a Bb horn scale is not the same defined note (concert note) that other instruments play, my question is WHY CANT I JUST LEARN THE HORN NOTES THE SAME AS THE OTHER INSTRUMENTS?

    ie. can I just learn the actual notes the horn is playing so when someone asks me to play a "C" I play an actual C, and not have to think Bb horn D = C?

    will I be grossly undereducating and limiting myself if I learn the notes straight up?

    thanks all!

  2. trumpetup

    trumpetup Piano User

    Jan 12, 2009
    Godley, Texas
    You could play the concert note if you played a key of C trumpet. But then you wouldn't be in the same key as the rest of the trumpet players. You couldn't play the same sheet of music that the others played. Some symphonic music is written for C trumpet. Some people playing church music like to play a C trumpet so they can play from the same hymn book as the piano player. I plan to get one in the future. It really isn't hard to transpose one step (2 Half Steps) higher than the concert pitch note. Think of the french horn player with a horn in the key of F. It is just one of those things we all have to learn to work with. If I can do it anyone can. Good Luck!
  3. garrettmarvel

    garrettmarvel New Friend

    Jan 21, 2009
    but couldn't i just memorize the notes played on the trumpet as concert notes and not steps up or down? i don't read music, so that isn't an issue, plus i'm not playing w other trumpet players either (yet?).

    i'm just wondering if i'd be screwing myself if I memorized a Bb "D" note as a C and forget the translation... there is no reality, only perception, right?

  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Which instruments? Clarinet is in Bb (except when in Eb) saxophones are in Eb, Bb (and some rare ones in F and C), English horn is in F, etc. Back in the glory days of trumpet playing, the lowest note on a natural trumpet was notated as a c. That convention was kept when valves were added.

    If we were to re-write all the music in the world us old folk would have to adjust! It is much easier to force younger players to transpose--about the only way we have to keep them humble!
  5. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    If you ever want to read trumpet music or play with others then yes, you'll be screwing yourself up. If you're just going to be playing with yourself then it doesn't matter...
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    actually, the consummate trumpet learns BOTH fingerings. In Germany there are 2 schools for trumpet, the standard wind orchestra like in the states, there the Bb fingerings are learned. The second school is with the Posaunenchöre which are the church brass ensembles. They learn C fingerings.

    It really does not matter what you learn, what matters is can you function in an ensemble if you don't use "their" fingerings. For the first couple of years I would say, probably not.

    The ball is in your court. Playing basketball, football or baseball with a golfball is potentially dangerous and probably not as much fun.
  7. ExtraTeeth

    ExtraTeeth Pianissimo User

    Nov 13, 2008
    Perth, Western Australia
    Playing the Bb trumpet in C was something I did for years. Being, at first, self taught and coming from the non-transposing trombone it seemed the natural thing to do. I pressed down a valve and got a note and I called it what it was on the piano.
    This worked well for playing from hymn books and other piano music which left other more conventionally trained trumpeters struggling.
    However, it did leave me unable to effectively sight read Bb trumpet music and left me completely flummoxed when it came to playing the D/Eb trumpet.
    The historians amongst us could better explain the origins of the transposing instrument convention.
  8. chet fan

    chet fan Piano User

    Jul 3, 2009
    unless he is into jazz, from what I experienced all jazz musicians from the combo look into same fake/real book and it is always in the key of C
  9. oljackboy

    oljackboy Pianissimo User

    Feb 26, 2009
    Falls Church, Virginia
    It's an interesting question. I've often wondered why trumpet(and all other "transposing" instruments aren't simply taught in concert pitch.
    Anyway, bottom line is that you need to learn the Bb trumpet in Bb, then learn to transpose.
    By the way, fake books are available in Bb and Eb in addition to C.
  10. Bachstul

    Bachstul Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 25, 2009
    Doesn't this answer go back to the sixteenth century?

    It's been this Bb way forever, illogical yes, but understandable when the limitations of the construction of the horn are understood, when in the early days, how much more of the horn was not in range. It was a means to meet intonation, somehow.."google it", I would say, for more........

    Any more from me I ask, "Why is the abbreviation for pound, "lb.", when neither of the two letters are in the word?

    Why, if the "K" is silent, must we spell "knife" with a k?

    And, even more so, why wasn't I ever given the opportunity to ask Catharine Zeta Jones to marry me before she went ahead and married an old fart?

Share This Page