Music Notation Question

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rdt1959, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. rdt1959

    rdt1959 Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2003
    I am trying to arrange a song for our Church Praise Band (My first attempt at arrangement...the results should be interesting!). I understand that the accidentals should match the key signature. For instance, if writing in the key of Bb, the accidentals should be written as flats, not sharps. However, the song will be concert Bb, which of course puts the trumpet part in C.

    When writing the trumpet part in this particular key, should the accidentals be written as sharps or flats? For example, should it be D# or Eb?

    Last edited: Oct 20, 2006
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I was taught, when in doubt: sharps for ascending lines and flats for decending.
  3. Ari

    Ari New Friend

    Mar 22, 2006
    it depends on the chord. If the note is the 3rd in a B7 chord going to Em it is correct to write it as D#, no matter what - ascending or decending. If its the 7 in a F7 chord, or the third in a Cm chord, it must be notated as Eb.

    For instances, if your writing in G minor (harmonic), you must use F#, not Gb, even though it is a b-key (left from C in the circle of fifths).
  4. brian moon

    brian moon Forte User

    Try to write so that you don't have to use natural signs in the same measure. C -F#- G is better than C -G flat - G natural. Go for the cleanest look possible. Chords are important but enharmonics aren't as critical to a monophonic instrument as they are to a piano.

    Another reason is that it is easier to read half steps if they are written as minor seconds as opposed to augmented unisons.

    WRITE SEPARATE PARTS. Don't write 3 trumpet parts on one line and ask the second player to read the middle notes. Trumpet players are trained to transpose, not to read more than one note at a time.

    When an organist asks me to read the middle notes I always want to ask them (I don't, I just play it) if they are comfortable doing that. Of course they aren't. They are trained to see the whole chord. They don't break it in to pieces.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2006
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Ditto to all of the above, with one addition -- the players of wind instruments prefer the key of Db to C# and Gb to F# and strings (including guitar prefer the sharp keys. As a rule of thumb, when you have the choice of key signature, is to go with the one with the fewest number of accidentals.
  6. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 12, 2005
    Saint Paul, MN
    Actually I prefer sharps myself.
  7. jpetrocelli

    jpetrocelli New Friend

    Mar 6, 2004
    Norfolk, VA
    Everyone seems to have good advice. However, remember that it's YOUR arrangment. There is no Arranging God who will come down and smithe you if you don't do it exactly how it is prescribed in the music theory manual. Just use common sense and you should be fine. Ask yourself before you write the accidental: "Is this how I would want to see it?" If you say yes, then it's fine. If someone complains, tell them to write thier own arrangment.
  8. rdt1959

    rdt1959 Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2003
    Thank you all for your answers. And all were very good answers at that.

    As always, TM members have good advice, and always give a person some other areas to explore. :)

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