Reconciling two note range-naming conventions

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ComeBackKid, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

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    ....I am starting a new thread on this because it seems important as a topic although my observations are stimulated by comments in two other threads (one of them a ‘sticky’) which I have quoted here.
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    As can be seen, the initial difference between the two notations is that according to Rich Wetzel the octaves are ‘F#-based’ while in Rowuk’s method, they are ‘C-based’. Because neither of the methods, as presented, fills in all of the gaps, I have tried to create a table showing all of the notes in the complete spectrum (except for lower pedal notes) based on the note names that are specified or implied in the two systems. (Note: this is rather rudimentary because I tried to do it with text which does not display well in HTML code).

    I have listed the range and note names (going from the top down as it would be shown in music notation) as I understand them to be represented in both Rich Wetzel’s ‘F#-based’ method (including changing the ‘E’ to ‘F’ per Mamba’s suggestion in the other thread) and Rowuk’s ‘C-based’ method. As will be noted, there are significant problems in consistency with either one of them.

    With the F#-based method, the biggest problem is that the ‘break’ in terminology (‘middle’ to ‘high’ for example) occurs between F and F# so that the accidental of F has a different range name than the natural of F. This seems a bit awkward. But, otherwise, the range breaks do see to make some sense because at least the term ‘middle’ does basically cover the staff notes.

    With the ‘C-based method’ using Rowuk’s naming convention, there is one advantage – it avoids the issue of a natural being in one range with the accidental being in a different range. But, at the same time, there are several problems with this method. When comparing the two naming conventions, the ‘C’ notes are the same except for the term ‘3rd space C’ in place of ‘middle C’. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem except that what, then, are the notes just above and just below ‘3rd space C’ called? I have included suggested names based on trying to fill in the pattern that Rowuk suggests but this becomes awkward when we reach G on top of the staff since its name would be ‘5th space G’ but since there is no 5th space, this name would not make sense. Therefore, I have suggested continuing to use ‘middle’ for G, A, and B above the staff.

    But, that is not the biggest problem. If we look downward from ‘3rd space C’, we have no natural method for naming. Rowuk does not address the use of the term ‘pedal’ since he is addressing only the “high” notes, but I would assume that everyone agrees that from at least F below the staff on down, the term ‘pedal’ would apply since there is no natural fingering for those notes. But, what about the notes between ‘Pedal F’ and ‘3rd space C’? The term ‘LOW’ makes sense but since this system is ‘C’-based, that means that we would have to start at ‘C’ below the staff and call it ‘Low C’ and the rest of the notes up to ‘3rd space C’ would be also called ‘Low’ (as I have shown). But, then, what about the G, A, and B notes between ‘Pedal F’ and ‘Low C’? I do not have a suggestion because they represent an incomplete octave. Any term that is applied to these three notes would not be consistent with the rest of the convention used.

    Location..........‘F#-based Name’............................‘C-based Name’
    (space).............Triple D......................................Triple D
    9th ledger line.... Triple C........................................Triple C
    (space)............ Triple B.......................................Double B
    8th ledger line.... Triple A.......................................Double A
    (space).............Triple G.......................................Double G
    7th ledger line.... Double F (but, F# would be “triple F”)...Double F
    (space)............Double E.......................................Double E
    6th ledger line.... Double D........................................Double D
    (space)............ Double C.......................................Double C
    5th ledger line....Double B........................................ High B
    (space)............ Double A.......................................High A
    4th ledger line....Double G........................................ High G
    (space)............ High F (but, F# would be “double F”) High F
    3rd ledger line....High E........................................ High E
    (space)............ High D....................................... High D
    2nd ledger line....High C ........................................ High C
    (space)............ High B....................................... Middle B?
    1st ledger line....High A ........................................ Middle A
    1st ledger space? High G....................................... Middle G?
    Top staff line......Middle F (but, F# would be “High F”)... 5th line F
    (space)............ Middle E....................................... 4th space E
    ---Staff line---....Middle D........................................ 4th line D
    (space)............ Middle C....................................... 3rd space C
    ---Staff line---....Middle B........................................ Low B
    (space)............ Middle A....................................... Low A
    ---Staff line---....Middle G........................................ Low G
    (space)............ Low F (but, F# would be “Middle F”) Low F
    Bottom staff line.... Low E ........................................Low E
    (space)............ Low D....................................... Low D
    ---1st line---.... Low C........................................ Low C
    (space)............ Low B ....................................... ??? B
    ---2nd line----.... Low A........................................??? A
    (space)............ Low G....................................... ??? G
    ---3rd line---.... Pedal F (but, F# would be “Low F”) Pedal F
    (space)............ Pedal E....................................... Pedal E
    ---4th line---.... Pedal D........................................ Pedal D
    (space)............ Pedal C....................................... Pedal C


    So, does anyone else have an idea on how to create complete, logically consistent names in both of these methods?
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    I suppose if all depends on whether you prefer the Twistor theory or String theory.

    Basically, notes (other than C) are named after the C below them. If we have a C that we decide to name, say, "Twistor C," everything above that in a C major scale would be a "Twistor D," "Twistor E," "Twistor F," "Twistor G," "Twistor A," "Twistor B;" the top of the scale would be named something else, say "String C."

    In Germany, numbers are used--a double C is c5, high C is c4, C in the staff c3, low C is c2, our pedal C, c1, (assuming we are playing a C trumpet.)

    Based on your "C-side" above, the notes marked ??? would all be considered pedals.

    Confusinating enough?
     
  3. Trumpet guy

    Trumpet guy Forte User

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    Well maybe this is because of my limited experience, since I just got out of high school, but I always though of the system (and heard of it) referred to by an F-based system with the middle range referred to without a prefix. This effectively put the low range at the bottom and beneath the staff, middle range in the staff and high range on top and above the staff. Therefore, the term "Low F" was never used, though it refers to the note where both first and third slides are extended all the way and all three valves down, making it a naturally produced note rather than a pedal note, which I envision as an extreme downward bending of the pitch.
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    It is not "my take" on the naming convention. Octaves start on C, that is musical, historic and scientific fact. The fact that myths, rumours and lies do not dissappear and that education is incomplete does not change that.

    The reason that doubles and triples show up here is because the poster has not bothered to read up on this and just perpetrated the myth. Enter "notation" into Wikipedia. There is a lot to learn.
     
  5. Rich Wetzel

    Rich Wetzel Pianissimo User

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    The only myth or inaccuracy being perpetuated is to say the whole trumpet world has used a C centric system like Rowuk describes. Frankly, other than a few posts here, I virtually never hear anyone refer to it this way, certainly none of the serious pros who actually play these notes as part of their living.

    Top pros have used the system I described for decades and still do and that is a fact.

    It is relative to the playing range of the instrument and most importantly is overwhelmingly the accepted nomenclature among the vast majority of professional trumpet players I have ever met or worked with at least here in the US, and definitely in LA and everywhere else I have ever been.

    The correct trumpet terminology for these notes is relative to the playing range of our instrument and more importantly the terminology is common and has been with professional players for many years and still is.

    In the context of trumpet playing:

    Pedals = F below low C on down into double pedals starting at F below pedal C

    Low = Notes bottom space F and below the staff, down to Low F#

    Middle = Notes in the staff G to top space E

    High = Notes top of staff and above to high E

    Doubles = though some people do occasionally say a high F or high G, still lots of history and systematic application by tons of top pros of double for the F and for the G in particular above high C, then the A above high C is pretty universally referred to as double A, then double B, then double C. This generally is accepted for D and E too.

    Triples = Notes starting at F above double C is the common description by many top pro players in my experience.

    Do people occasionally say a high F or high G or high A and mean the same thing, yes, most will clarify it and say yes, double F, double G, double A.

    Are there a few as posted here that have another system more like a keyboard player might call it, yes, but in my personal experience, the vast majority of top professional trumpet players, at least here in the states use the terminology I described above.
     
  6. Rich Wetzel

    Rich Wetzel Pianissimo User

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    When I talk to any number of top name guys that play these notes, about a double A - I guarantee you we all know we are talking about the A above high C, and that is a fact. When we say triple F's and G's we all know we are talking about above double C, and that is also a fact.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009
  7. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

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    To my opinion, trumpeters should NOT have a language of their own!
    Let´s talk in a way that is as close to the way other instrumentalists
    do as possible.

    The beauty of being allowed to call G above High C "Double G" is that it
    sounds higher than it is. Some of us are so eager to be able to play those
    really high notes, that being allowed to finally call something we can play
    "Double" seems so very appealing.

    We now have 4 name methods to choose between:

    * the C-based method
    * the F#-based method
    * the German number method
    * the once-accented-twice-accented-thrice-accented method

    Let´s make life simple. My suggestion is that we either use the
    method that all the other instrumentalists we play with use, i.e.
    the "accented" metod which is C-based itself, or we use the metod
    that comes the closest to that. This would be the "C-based" metod.

    Every time I hear someone say that he or she can play Double this
    or Double that, I wonder if it´s the note above High C or DHC that
    is spoken about. Usually it proves to be the lower of the two, and
    calling it "Double" may make the player/bragger feel good about
    himself/herself, but the note still isn´t higher than it is, just because
    the name may indicate that.
     
  8. Rich Wetzel

    Rich Wetzel Pianissimo User

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    Sofus, it has nothing to do with making oneself feel better about anything.

    You can call the notes "sweetheart" for all I care.

    It is simply a communication tool that has been used in the manner I described by top pro trumpet players, at least here in the states, for decades.

    I guarantee you neither I nor any of these other guys need to call it anything in particular to feel good about ourselves.

    It is simply a matter of pointing out how these notes have been and are communicated by top first call pro trumpet players, at least here in the states. Every top name guy I know calls them this way and has for decades.

    When we talk about a double A, I guarantee you we all know it is the A above high C, when we say a triple F, I guarantee you we all know it is above double C.

    Does anyone ever say a high A, and mean the same thing, or go on to clarify many times in the same conversation, yes a double A, sure... Anyway I am just telling you the practice as I use it and hear it from top name guys in LA, etc...
     
    Al Innella likes this.
  9. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

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    Rowuk,

    First, I did not say any of this was your “take” on the naming convention. I did refer to (what I call) the ‘C-based’ method as “Rowuk’s Method” but only as a way to distinguish this convention from the “F#-based” method which I designated as “Rich Wetzel’s Method” for the sake of discussion. I did not assume that either one of you invented the notation – only presented it in this forum.

    Second, it seems that referring to my attempt to discuss a question has moved me into the arena of “sacred doctrine” where any questions are interpreted as heresy and branded as “myths”, “rumours” and “lies’. Why is it that a mere question about arcane terminology is so threatening? I did not perpetuate anything here - I simply took two presentations which appear to me to be incomplete, put them side-by-side for comparison, attempted to figure out how to fill in the missing terms, and posted the results for comments by others on this forum. I thought that the purpose of this forum was discussion and dialogue, not vilification and attack.

    Third, I did not initially go to Wikipedia because it is not generally accepted as a scholarly source (schools will not accept it as a bibliographic reference in research papers) so if we are, in fact, dealing with “musical, historical, and scientific fact” then it is not a place to find such information. But, at your request, I did go there and checked under “notation”. There was no meaningful information there related to this question. So, I checked under “Note Names” and found something but it is based on Piano – and also MIDI – terminology and not specifically related to trumpets. But here is what is has as a general reference:

    Octave name… Note Range…frequencyof A (Hz)
    Subsubcontra… C-1 to B-1……… 13.75
    sub-contra…….. C0 – B0………… 27.5
    contra…………. C1 – B1…………. 55
    great………....... C2 – B2…………. 110
    small………….. C3 – B3…………. 220
    one-lined……… C4 – B4…………. 440
    two-lined ……….C5 – B5………… 880
    three-lined……… C6 – B6………. 1760
    four-lined………. C7 – B7……….. 3520
    five-lined……….. C8 – B8………. 7040
    six-lined………… C9 – B9……… 14080

    Since these Octave names are not even close to anything that trumpet players use, I then went to Google and searched for ‘Octave Names’ as that is what we are really trying to identify here. I did not have time to read all 232,000 results that it produced but I did find a couple of references to some ITG proceedings that related to this. Here are a couple of extracts:
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    Harvard Dictionary of Music (14th printing, 1962)
    ...admits the UNFORTUNATE lack of uniform practice in naming octaves (and, presumably, the notes within the octaves)…

    We all understand Low G or Low C. (Even though it does not follow the other naming schemes.)
    We all also understand High C (above the staff).
    That leaves us with the notes starting on 2nd line G up to B below High C. Unfortunately the notes from G on the second line up to B below High C have NO common name. Middle C (3rd space) is the exception.
    The register normally changes at the Cs. But since we already call the G below the staff Low G that leaves no name for the 2nd line G. (People often refer to middle C but not middle D, E, F, G, A or B. That is because we broke a rule in naming Low G).
    Therefore we say 2nd line G, G on top of the staff, 4th space E etc.
    ‘High’ from High C (2nd ledger line above the staff) up to High B (5th ledger line above the staff)
    ‘Double’ from Double High C (on top of the 5th ledger line above the staff)
    The ITG voted and adopted this standard. It is the biggest group of trumpet players in the world and is supported by colleges. The college community adopted that standard shortly after.
    --------------------------------------------

    Low C (C’ or C-prime) is 1 ledger line below the staff.
    Middle C (C’’) is in the third space of the staff.
    High C (C’’’) is 2 ledger lines above the staff.
    Double High C (C’’’’) is on top of the 5th ledger line above the staff.
    Triple High C (C’’’’’) is 9 ledger lines above the staff.
    Quadruple High C (C’’’’’’) is on top of the 12th ledger line above the staff.
    These are the names that trumpet players and groups like the International Trumpet Guild have given these notes.
    ---------------------------------

    The ITG Journal uses HD#1 where middle C is "one-line C" or C'
    So for trumpet:
    Low C is C' (1 line below the staff)
    Middle C is C'' (3rd space on the staff)
    High C is C''' (2 lines above the staff)
    Double high C is C'''' - sometimes also called ‘Super C’. That is 1 octave over high c.
    Triple high C is C''''' (9 lines above the staff)
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


    So, to the extent that the ITG is considered to be an authoritative source for trumpet-related issues and terminology, it does appear that the ‘C-based’ octave-naming scheme is the one that has been officially adopted (it does not say what year this was but my guess is that there are still many players whose exposure pre-dates this event and, thus, still use the “F#-based” terminology discussed by Rich Wetzel). But, at the same time, you will see ‘the reason that doubles and triples show up here” is not that I am perpetuating a myth but those are the terms adopted by the ITG and if you are going to appeal to that source for the ‘C-based’ naming convention, then you need to accept their other terms as well – including the use of ‘Middle C’ for ‘3rd space C’, doubles, triples, etc In fact, you used the term 'double' so I do not know why you are objecting to it.

    I recognize from these excerpts that ITG did not attempt to address the naming of notes other than ‘C’ so my attempt was simply my own effort to come up with something that I could use. Since it appears that there is no movement to create names for notes other than the ‘C’s we are all on our own to adopt whatever we want. The problem is that such actions still do not foster improved communications between players. In fact, I mentioned this issue to my instructor at my lesson this evening. He was not aware of the ITG naming convention and had his own names for the notes which were different than mine so we wound up pointing at the written notes on the page in order to discuss them – a rather unfortunate development in this age of computers and (supposedly) precise methods of identifying things. But, why should trumpet players try to become up-to-date? After all, we want to maintain the mystique and any attempt to examine that mystique is verbotten – right?
     
  10. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

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    Well, Rich, the fact that very few players can play an A above DHC etc. may have something to do with it.

    Not even now have all the variations of name giving been covered, since there are also those who call High C "Double C". I´m sure that there can be conventions or habits among the professional players as well as among students and others, but then; who´s habits shall we give in to? The pros/others who use the F# method? The pros/others who use the C method?

    I think it´s time that we come to an agreement! This agreement should preferably be based on reason. Maybe reason tells us to use a method that makes us stay reasonably close to how other instrumentalists give notes thier names?


    These are just my own thoughts, and I´m not saying that those who think differently are wrong. The problem, however, is a bit like the one that we´ve had here in Sweden regarding the notes "B" and Bb. For many years, while I was working as a music teacher, the older teachers wanted the note B to be called H and the note Bb to be called B, like they always had been, The younger teachers recently educated wanted the note B to be called B and the note Bb to be called Bb. Today they ARE called B and Bb in modern education, but it took a LONG time and LONG discussions for this to happen. In the "old days" when things were called H and B, problems always occurred when talking to Americans/others or reading english literature.

    This discussion feels a bit like the B-Bb discussion, where habits make the F# method stick. Maybe it´s time for all musicians to speak the (more or less) same language?
    Or maybe this is impossible? Other instruments will have other notes than F# as their lowest, and maybe they will insist on dividing octaves according to THEIR lowest note?

    Is there no hope for humanity?:-(
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009

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