Ear player puzzling over transposed notation

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

  1. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

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    Feb 20, 2008
    Maybe I'm being obtuse here, but when you say 'playing by ear' what I think is, you hear something, and you play your horn to match the pitch.

    So is your problem that you 1st figure out how to play it in one pitch and then says "play it in F"? I can see where that would be a problem, which is learning to think in intervals and adjusting - or memorizing the transpositions.

    On the other hand, if you are saying I need to learn the tune in the first place, then your ear will lead the way, no?
     
  2. Jay-Eye

    Jay-Eye New Friend

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    Apr 15, 2010
    Sunny Birmingham, UK
    Yes. You are being obtuse. :-) My 'problem' (actually my puzzlement) is purely to do with the manner in which trumpet music is transcribed!
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Jay-Eye,
    the why is pretty much a moot point because it is just the way it is. The horns are built in the popular keys and the sheet music is written for common reading practice.

    The how is another story. Some just learn the concert fingerings and never bother with playing in a wind band with their Bb and Eb parts. Another possibility is to learn the Bb (standard) fingerings and then write out Bb parts to play with the hopes of one day being able to transpose. The second situation is VERY useful.

    This morning I played a church service:
    Prelude: Vivani Sonata mvt 1,4,5 (trumpet part in C)
    first Hymn was in F in the hymnbook but the organist played it in G, so I had to transpose 2 steps up. All my Cs were Es now - I read bass clef and added 4 sharps to the key signature.
    The second hymn was played in the written key so I only transpose up a step
    during communion I played Alan Hovhaness Prayer of St. Gregory with a real Bb part and after that a piece by Jean Langlais with a C trumpet part.
    The final hymn was written in Eb but the organist played it in D because that was the key of the final piece that we played. This required that I transpose up a half step instead of the usual whole step.
    The postlude was the Rondeau by Jean Mouret and written for D trumpet. I played it on the Bb picc and all my Cs were Es again (bass clef).

    The moral of the story is that real life demands flexibility. It is insignificant what you learn first. Common sense says that it should help you with whatever group you intend to play with first.

    Take it one day at a time and above all, have fun. Don't worry about what can come, you always have the opportunity to say "not yet"!

    The consummate trumpeter wants it ALL!
     
  4. Jay-Eye

    Jay-Eye New Friend

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    Apr 15, 2010
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    Yeah, that sounds like a useful summing up, Rowuk. I think I'm going to concentrate on learning to play for now and decide later whether to have one more go at learning to read the dots. I'm sure I can devise a simple notation system to remind me of stuff I'm in the process of working out - a simple abc works for me! ;0) I'm not itching to play in a wind band really and if I do play at my church it'll be as part of a worship group playing contemporary worship songs which I'll be able to play by ear once I know my way round these pesky valves a bit more. I don't really aspire to play any classical stuff so I don't think I'll ever be faced with a Vivani sonata!

    I will attempt to find a local friendly fellow trumpeter however to give me some pointers to good playing, just to make sure I'm not picking up too many bad habits! Thanks everyone for your help and input.
     
  5. brassplayer

    brassplayer Pianissimo User

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    May 6, 2009
    San Gabriel, CA
    PLEASE tell me that the organist gave you a heads up about the keys he was planning on using before you walked into the service! I personally have sight-transposed C parts and Eb parts in performance. But transposing D parts on a Bb during performance???? Wow!
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    The organist NEVER gives you a heads up. Most of the time I find out what key the hymn is in by looking at their feet (The pedal normally ends up on the root note of the chord). This is NOTHING special about this as any ordinary jazz musician can tell you. Easy tunes need to be practiced in all sorts of keys there too. I have recommended tons of easy tunes as part of the daily routine and the Hymnbook is a great source of HUNDREDS of tunes.
     
  7. brassplayer

    brassplayer Pianissimo User

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    May 6, 2009
    San Gabriel, CA
    Ah, the old "Get-the-Key-Signature-From-the-Organ-Pedal" technique. Just hope that the organist isn't inverting the chord! :lol:
     

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