Ear player puzzling over transposed notation

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Jay-Eye, May 2, 2010.

  1. Jay-Eye

    Jay-Eye New Friend

    46
    0
    Apr 15, 2010
    Sunny Birmingham, UK
    I asked this on my newbie intro post but thought I would ask again here to allow it a wider audience.

    My question is this:



    If a mate says let's play "When the Saints" in key of C then I'm with it straight away. I'm thinking C and I'll know where to put my fingers for the scale (not necessarily on the trumpet yet, but you know what I mean) and I know the other chords we'll be using and away we go.

    But what goes through the head of you transposing music readers when you're playing by ear though? Do you think middle C that's 1 & 3 like me? Or do you tell yourself you're playing in D so you play in C? I dunno! Can't imagine really!

    Tedh1951 kindly took the time to reply and said: Mate, I have NO idea - I'm a community player with a bunch of pretty trumpets - I play to support my kids and have fun (I participate on TM for the same reason, to have fun). Ask for middle C and I play open - ask for Bb and I purse my lips and play 1st valve - simple really.

    You will need a MUCH smarter player than me to address this question.

    To which I replied:
    Thanks, Ted. This is why I can't get my head round it. In your case, when asked for a C you're actually playing Bb. OK if you're all playing off the same hymn sheet, so to speak, but I'm wondering about when you're just jamming.

    For some reason I'm unable to edit this once I've typed it so I hope it's clear! Anyway, what's the answer, please????
     
  2. Dupac

    Dupac Fortissimo User

    2,759
    1,589
    Aug 19, 2008
    Bordeaux, France.
    If a piano player (for instance) tells "B flat", I know I have to play C. But if the guy behind the tenor saxophone says "B flat" speaking to me (and not to the pianist !), I know I'll play B flat like him. And if I have to play C, it's always ooo ; and when I'll play B flat, it can't be anything but -oo in my head ! Hope this answer is clear ...
     
  3. Jay-Eye

    Jay-Eye New Friend

    46
    0
    Apr 15, 2010
    Sunny Birmingham, UK
    Thanks, Dupac, I knew it would be something like that........ 8-}
     
  4. Jay-Eye

    Jay-Eye New Friend

    46
    0
    Apr 15, 2010
    Sunny Birmingham, UK
    ... but it sounds awfully complicated to me!
     
  5. Dupac

    Dupac Fortissimo User

    2,759
    1,589
    Aug 19, 2008
    Bordeaux, France.
    You may switch to a C-trumpet : no more headache !
     
  6. amzi

    amzi Forte User

    1,379
    760
    Feb 18, 2010
    Northern California
    When I see a 3rd space "C", I play a "C"--I don't play a concert "Bb"--I don't really care or even think about what anyone else is playing. Trying to do otherwise would simply make things so complicated I would hopelessly confuse myself.
     
  7. Jay-Eye

    Jay-Eye New Friend

    46
    0
    Apr 15, 2010
    Sunny Birmingham, UK
    Are you saying you don't transpose, amzi? Maybe you don't play with other brass players? Or are you saying that you see "C" play prescribed "C" fingering and pay no heed to the fact that you're actually playing Bb?

    If I'm going to attempt to learn to read the dots for trumpet I'd like to know how you deal with this without getting confused.
     
  8. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    I play what's written unless its written in C, D, etc.
    for the most part, its like Dupac said if a trumpeter (or other Bb instrument) says C, its written C, else its concert C. I generally try to be very clear when talking to other keyed instruments what pitch they are talking about - are you transposing for me, or do I need to.
    It is confusing, but only if you worry about it.
     
  9. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    1,869
    210
    Oct 16, 2008
    In general you'll either be playing with fellow trumpet players (so transposition isn't necessary), or with a group of some kind. In the vast majority of group situations that I've been in key changes are called out in concert pitch, so in your example just play the song in D...
     
  10. amzi

    amzi Forte User

    1,379
    760
    Feb 18, 2010
    Northern California
    Are you saying you don't transpose, amzi? Maybe you don't play with other brass players? Or are you saying that you see "C" play prescribed "C" fingering and pay no heed to the fact that you're actually playing Bb?

    If I'm going to attempt to learn to read the dots for trumpet I'd like to know how you deal with this without getting confused.
    __________________
    j.i.


    It sounds to me like you're over thinking things. If you're playing an arrangement with written trumpet parts you simply play what is written--transposition is unnecessary. I frequently play with strings, woodwinds, and other brass instruments; and usually we play from arrangements and everyone plays the notes that are written. I also frequently music written for "C" instruments with other instruments, and that requires I transpose--read what is written up a step and add 2 sharps. Truthfully, once I get started I just kinda do it without thinking about it. Probably has something to do with thousands of hours of scales, but no matter what note I actually see, if I'm playing a third space "C" (concert Bb) and the next note is a step higher I automatically play a 4th line "D" ( concert C).

    Concentrate on learning to read the music first--when it becomes instinctive (just like reading printed words) what you're worrying about will probably work itself out.
     

Share This Page