Transposition Challenge

Discussion in 'Orchestra / Solo / Chamber Music' started by Derek Reaban, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. Derek Reaban

    Derek Reaban Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 16, 2005
    Tempe, Arizona
    At my lesson yesterday I brought the Rochut Volume 1 etude book to begin with some simple lyrical melodies. My instructor and I traded every other line, both of us playing on C trumpets. After we had done 3 or 4 of these etudes, he said, "In memory of Bill Vacchiano, lets read this next one for trumpet in Bb or D, your choice". It was Number 28 in E major. I quickly said, "Let’s read it in Bb", to keep away from playing in F# major (I imagine Vacchiano won't have given me a choice).

    I figured that with Bb being one of my best transpositions, this simple piece in D major shouldn’t be too difficult. Well, I discovered that while I read fairly well in bass clef, I have never in my life transposed while reading bass clef.

    I played my first line with no difficulties, and then he followed with his line. As the third line approached, my mind just went blank, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what my first note was in time for my next entrance. We both just laughed.

    When we finished, my instructor said, "I think I smell something burning". It was, of course, my brain running out my ears.

    Man, I can only imagine how well prepared the Vacchiano students must have been after studying with him for four years. My brain hurts just thinking about it!

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