Still confused

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Blind Bruce, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. Blind Bruce

    Blind Bruce Pianissimo User

    Apr 17, 2009
    Winnipeg Canada
    I still cannot fathom the various keys of a trumpet so here is another question.
    If I have only a Bb horn and have music sheets before me, and someone hands me a C trumpet, will the fingering be the same or will it sound awful?:thumbdown:
  2. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

    Sep 13, 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Flutes are in the key of C also, so can play right off piano music without adjustment.
  3. simonstl

    simonstl Pianissimo User

    Nov 25, 2008
    Dryden/Ithaca, NY
    If it's just you playing, the relationships between the notes will all be the same and it will still sound good, even though the pitch will be different.

    If you're playing with a group, and switch from a Bb to a C trumpet (or vice versa) in the middle without changing to music written for the new horn (or transposing on the fly), the pitches your trumpet produces won't harmonize with the rest of the group and it'll sound awful.

    Does that help?
  4. Mamba21500

    Mamba21500 Piano User

    Feb 26, 2009
    The fingering is the same to answer your question, but just because the trumpet is higher doesn't mean it will be easier to play high, it may be slightly easier, but just because you are playing for example a piccolo trumpet in Bb (1 octave higher) doesn't mean that you can get a middle C by playing what feels like a low C on a Bb, it still feels like a middle C, and takes the same to play it.
  5. Blind Bruce

    Blind Bruce Pianissimo User

    Apr 17, 2009
    Winnipeg Canada
    Thanks folks. That clears up a lot of things for me. They didn't teach me these things back in 1946:dontknow:
  6. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Bruce -
    I can relate. When I learned back in the 50's in band class, they simply gave us a fingering chart and had us memorize the scales. I never understood how the fingering related to the structure of the trumpet. I also had never heard of a 'C' trumpet, or an 'Eb' Trumpet or any other key than Bb. I did play a Baritone horn in band for awhile but it was also a Bb instrument so it did not surprise me that the fingering was the same as my trumpet (just played in bass cleff).
    When I started my comeback I talked to some people and found out about the entire world of other brass instruments and started wondering the same thing as you. Thanks to the miracle of the internet, I was able to do some reading and found out a magic relationship that I had never previously understood. That is..."The valves make the notes go lower; your lips make the notes go higher." Since the first scale I learned was the C-major starting at low C and playing up the scale, the fingering seemed totally random and I just had to memorize it. Once I realized that the valves move the air through the tuning slides which increase the length of the tubing - and, thus, make the frequency lower - I started to see the relationship. Then when I realized that the 2nd valve, due to the short tuning slide, causes the tone to drip one semi-tone and the 1st valve, due to the mid-length tuning slide, causes the tone to drop two semi-tones, and the 3rd valve, due to the longest tuning slide, causes the tone to drop three semi-tones, I could see how playing a chromatic scale starting at G on the staff and progressing to low G followed the pattern of the semi-tones (2, 1, 1+2, 3+2, 3+1, 3+1+2). Suddenly, it all became very clear. I looked at photos of every valved instrument that I could find, including trumpets/cornets of all keys, euphonium/baritones, french horns, alto horns, marching trombones, tubas and sousaphones and noticed that in every case, the 2nd valve had the shortest tuning slide, the 1st valve had the middle-length slide, and the 3rd valve had the longest and then I knew that regardless of the horn - or the key for which is was designed - the fingering for notes relative to each other was exactly the same. So, if you play music written for a 'C' trumpet on a 'C' trumpet it will finger the same as you are used to and will be in tune with the rest of the orchestra (or piano accompaniment) and the same with an Eb or D or even low F trumpet or any other instrument. You can even pick up any valved instrument and immediately play a scale using the same fingering as you are used to. It will just not make the same-sounding pitch as another instrument with the same valve combination but since the transposed music is adjusted for the difference in pitch, they all sound correct when played together.
    I hope this is something related to what you were looking for.

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