Ear player puzzling over transposed notation

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

  1. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    8,040
    2,035
    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    First, if you are playing alone it won't much matter if you are playing from a C piano score on a Bb trumpet. However, if you are being accompanied by the pianist you must transpose that C piano score by adding 2 sharps to key signature and playing two semi-tones (half steps) higher. Vis a vis, 2 flats on a C piano score would become no flats or sharps for a Bb trumpet. Indeed, clarinets and tenor saxaophones and other instruments also are Bb instruments.
     
  2. brassplayer

    brassplayer Pianissimo User

    104
    3
    May 6, 2009
    San Gabriel, CA
    Since you learned how to play trumpet by ear, but are cognizant of the fact that many other wind instruments (including trumpets) are actually playing in transposed keys, then I would suggest the following:

    When you talk to other musicians about specific notes, get into the habit of saying Concert Bb or Concert C or Concert **INSERT WHATEVER NOTE NAME HERE**. That way, the other person will know that you are talking about concert pitch and should make the necessary adjustment for their specific instrument.
     
  3. chet fan

    chet fan Piano User

    284
    16
    Jul 3, 2009
    Im with jay-eye hee. As a piano player myseld for about 25 years and a trumpet player for last 3 yrs. I find it complete and utter idiocy. Its like writing in greek but reading latin
     
  4. chet fan

    chet fan Piano User

    284
    16
    Jul 3, 2009
    Yes it will, different minor and major scales all have a different feel to them. I find tunes sound acqward when transposed one step higher.
     
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    8,040
    2,035
    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    When you're a beginner ... play anything. When the fingering is right and the sound is right for whatever you're playing, you're OK.

    Otherwise, in a more advanced circumstance, you're right ... when you change concert keys manys songs sound awkward. Somewhere I've a collection where I played excerpts of the same song in all the keys, and the results were varied from so so to horrible other than the key the composer chose. I often selected little known and nondescript songs for this exercise and then asked others which was the key the composer chose. What really surprised me is that professionals and 4th year students were about equal in selection accuracy. My summation was that many professionals do not have such a developed ear any better than a student. One song that comes to mind is Walter Donaldson's Carolina In the Morning. The piano score is in concert C. Yet, I found it to also be OK in concert D Major played on Bb trumpet (as transposed). One that did not work well in key change was Kenneth J. Alford's Colonel Bogey.

    A similar test I put forth when notes were played by several instruments simultaneously. Some were perfectly pitched (unison) and others were discordant where one or more instruments were purposely played sharp or flat. Again professionals were no better than students in discerning pitch ... except when such was played only with the specific instrument(s) played by that professional.

    Yes, I feel certain that very few trumpeters can correctly identify the pitches of a full chromatic scale from middle C (midway between G glef and Bass (f) clef to Bb (second space above G clef) as sounded on precision tuning forks , when they are not sounded sequentially. I know darn well I can't! Note: tuning forks also are concert C instruments.
     
  6. Jay-Eye

    Jay-Eye New Friend

    46
    0
    Apr 15, 2010
    Sunny Birmingham, UK
    Well, thanks for your replies. I certainly have a strong resistance to playing concert C, that my ears tell me is a concert C, but teaching myself to treat is as a (notated) D. It's just another hurdle I'll need to overcome if I want to make another attempt to learn to read the dots. Maybe I'm already looking for excuses not to bother, I don't like failure!

    So, for now, I'll carry on having fun learning to play the trumpet and I'll be doing it by ear. It's not so bad. It's how I've learned every other instrument I play. And I've got Louis Armstrong, Humphrey Lyttelton and Scott Black as my current teachers!
     
  7. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    8,040
    2,035
    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    What your ears are telling you is a concert C, on a Bb instrument is a Bb, on a F instrument is an F. Such would be likewise with instruments pitched in other keys. They will alll sound the same to your ears, vis such would be in unison. "Satchmo" may have started playing by ear, but read his bio and you'll find he had accredited training later.
     
  8. brassplayer

    brassplayer Pianissimo User

    104
    3
    May 6, 2009
    San Gabriel, CA
    Oops. Actually, a concert C is a D on a Bb instrument, and a G on a F instrument.

    I think you meant to write:
    A written C on a Bb instrument is a Bb, on a F instrument is an F.
     
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    8,040
    2,035
    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Thanks, I stand corrected. Yes, as I transpose for Bb trumpet from C piano music, and I do this a lot as such sheet music is more prolific on the open market, I add 2 sharps to key signature and raise the note two semi-tones (half steps), vis a C on piano does become a D on Bb trumpet. One semi-tone raise would be to C#, and the second then would be to D on a Bb trumpet. Somewhere I've a simple chart for this as includes instruments in other pitches as well.
     
  10. Jay-Eye

    Jay-Eye New Friend

    46
    0
    Apr 15, 2010
    Sunny Birmingham, UK
    Well, as I think you say in your next post, Ed, what my ears tell me is a concert C is a concert C no matter what instrument it's being played on.

    I'm pretty sure Satchmo would've found training in reading the dots invaluable so he could work on arrangements for his band. It'd be a great incentive wouldn't it? Maybe that's the idea, get some increased incentive - you could all sponsor me. I'm thinking money, booze or shiny trumpets!! ROFL
     

Share This Page