Orchestral Transposing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by MitchSiviter, May 1, 2013.

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  1. jimc

    jimc Mezzo Piano User

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    I agree. I don't scan, I type it in (to Lilypond). Then I tell it to transcribe. :-)

    I'm not good enough to do it reliably any other way. Maybe someday, but today I opt for kindness to the audience.
     
  2. AKtrumpet

    AKtrumpet Piano User

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    So this is similar to the OP's topic but I'm a college freshman and I'm lucky enough to be playing trumpet in a few pit orchestras. We'll be playing Carmen, West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie and Phantom of the Opera.

    For Carmen, should I transpose or just pull out my Bb trumpet to be tuned in A? I've only really had experience playing the Carmen orchestral excerpt and am not all too familiar with the intonation.

    Tips/suggestions? Thanks!
     
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Usually played on the Bb, but hope you have a third valve slide long enough for the concert Eb!
     
  4. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    You may or may not center on the A, but a full range of scales will be elusive. Hope you're a great lipper!
     
  5. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Just suck it up and start reading. It is kind of like learning a new language. It is a little nerve racking at first, but after several weeks, it becomes as natural as reading in the original key. Most useful is transposing from a C Instrument part. That is most easiest, as you just read up 1 whole step (after adding 2 sharps). So when you see C natural you read D natural. I play more reading from a C part than a Bb part, that it is now harder for me to read a Bb instrument score.
     
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Word on the street is that composers make us transpose just to make sure we practice.
     
  7. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

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    Up to the mid 1850s the only brass instruments that could be played chromatically were the trombone and slide trumpet (which did not develop). Composers wrote for instruments in the key which the natural harmonic series fitted their chordal structure. After the advent of valves the composers still wrote in the key of the piece and labeled trumpets in that key.

    In the latter part of the 19th century I believe the trumpet was an alto instrument pitched in Eb or F, the higher brass parts played on cornets in Bb or A, ( I may stand corrected on this).

    In Orchestra it is common to play symphonies with each movement for a different keyed trumpet, even changing within the movement. Currently playing R. Vaughn Williams "Wasps Overture" written around 1908 Trumpets in F, we have had some discussion as to wether this was for the Alto F trumpet. Anyone have ideas on this?

    I have seen horn parts for 4 horns, 2 for horns in F and 2 for horns in C, playing different notes but sounding in unison.

    Aint Music fun,

    Regards, Stuart.
     
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Trumpet in F alto but with an octave displacement. Unless the conductor says otherwise, transpose up.
     
  9. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    Here's how I play parts written for trumpet in A...

    [​IMG]
     
  10. jimc

    jimc Mezzo Piano User

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    The first valved trumpets were in F or Eb, halfway in length between today's Bb and a trombone (also Bb), but were not really an alto instrument. That is, the tubing was merely like today's Bb, but longer. You usually played them higher up in the partial series, resulting in a bright (rather than alto-ey) sound, and fertile ground for clams. Think natural trumpet, but with instant valve-driven crooks.

    Cornets were Bb or A, yes. Then somebody got the bright idea of hybridizing a trumpet in the cornet length, and today's instrument was born. I believe it was easier to play, and generally sounded better, especially for the kind of music that was then being written. All weird and wonderful, how things get to be the way they are.

    I have an old orchestral F trumpet, and a much newer F alto, and they do not sound the same.
     

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