Double C and trumpet note naming conventions

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Rich Wetzel, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. Rich Wetzel

    Rich Wetzel Pianissimo User

    Dec 27, 2003
    Tacoma, WA
    Note naming conventions for various instruments has been relative to those instruments playing ranges and not always taken verbatim out of a piano theory book.

    What we look at and call a low C ( below the staff ) is relative to our instrument. On a piano you would look at that and call it a middle C.

    No doubt there are a few people who insist it change on the C's but the overwhelming majority of the professional trumpet world has for decades, done it relative to the playing range of the instrument.

    When talking to other top pro trumpet players, in my experience, and in my part of the world, when someone refers to a low A, we all know that is below the staff, when someone says a middle A, we all know that is in the staff, when someone says a high A, we all know that is above the staff, and when someone says a double A - I guarantee you we are all speaking of the A above high C, not double C.


    In the context of trumpet playing, here is how I have commonly heard it referred to by top guys for years:

    Pedals = F below low C on down into double pedals starting at F below pedal C

    Low = Notes bottom line and below the staff, down to Low F#

    Middle = Notes in the staff F to top space E ( hence in the middle )

    High = Notes top of staff and above to high E

    Doubles = though some people do occasionally say a high F or high G, still lots of history and systematic application by tons of top pros of double for the F and for the G in particular above high C, then the A above high C pretty universally referred to as double A, then double B, then double C. This generally is accepted for D and E too.

    Triples = Notes starting at F above double C is the common description by most top pro players in my experience.

    This latter system is by far the most common used by top commercial trumpet players in my experience. It's not even close. That's a fact despite the permanent sticky by someone with a different opinion.

    *If I say a double A to Lynn Nicholson, Wayne Bergeron, Walt Johnson, etc, I guarantee you we all know we are talking about the A above high C.
    Al Innella likes this.
  2. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    Yes, this seems to be the normal jargon. What is the point?
  3. CHAMP

    CHAMP Piano User

    Nov 16, 2005
  4. CHAMP

    CHAMP Piano User

    Nov 16, 2005
    p.s. i don't know what "top pro trumpet players" you are hanging out with, but the guys I know get together and talk about their favorite beers or what their kids are doing or their bathroom renovation...

    discussions aboutthe dubba C rarely come about unless someone is getting made fun of...
  5. Rich Wetzel

    Rich Wetzel Pianissimo User

    Dec 27, 2003
    Tacoma, WA
    Well, the point was in reference to the permanent sticky, CHAMP... sorry if it offended your sensibilities, LOL
  6. CHAMP

    CHAMP Piano User

    Nov 16, 2005
    i can't wait to sit back and laugh at the next 14 pages of this thread with people arguing about what to call high notes that most people can't play and almost no one can play well...

    it's gonna be swell...
  7. Zeé

    Zeé Pianissimo User

    Aug 22, 2010
    Like Rich said, confusion on high G vs double G is common. That makes the sticky a good thing; it gives rules that are easy to remember and definite for use on this forum, since advice on high notes is generally useless enough without having an octave disconnect between the asker & askee. ;)

    When you're face-to-face with someone, and/or have better context on a scenario, you can know your audience better & use whatever words work to get your point across.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    This has truly been beaten to death. Fact is, the real pros don't talk about it, they just do it. Sometimes there is a brief clarification whether or not to take something up an octave or not. The arrangers NEVER talk trumpet slang - unless they are trumpeters - they talk piano octaves.

    My personal preference is education. Octaves traditionally start with C and I have never met a trumpet player that can't understand that when they want to.

    The problem doesn't exist in Germany though. Double C is called C4 and the A below it A3 - universally. I guess the education here starts earlier.

    Octave Police anybody?
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  9. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    I agree with Rich. The only place I see this argument, is on the internet. All the pro's I know, and have worked with, name the notes like Rich stated. No trumpeters I know, call C below the staff middle C,it's low C, middle C is third space in the staff.Double A is the one above high C,triple A is above double C. This is from the people who can and do play in this register.

    This is the reason why so many young players mistakenly call C above the staff double C, and not high C. They think if middle C is below the staff, then high C is the one in the staff ,then double C must be the one an octave higher, the C only two ledger lines above the staff. It's one thing to label notes C1,C2,etc. the confusion starts when you call notes middle or high and not C1,C2,or C3. The problem is if naming the different registers all start on C,the why is there a skip of an octave between the C in the staff and the C above ? Either call EVERY NOTE C1,C2,C3,or C4,or use low,middle,high or double, but don't mix them together.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  10. SteveB

    SteveB Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 15, 2008
    Prescott Valley, AZ

    Or, we just sit around drinking a refreshing breakfast drink . . .


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