What are you "thinking" when you transpose.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jdostie, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    An option (that I don't use, but some like it) is to think in clefs
    Transposing up a 3rd = playing in bass clef, etc.

    I usually just play the notes in appropriate key, notes moved accordingly
  2. frankmike

    frankmike Piano User

    Dec 5, 2008
    yeh, thats quite an enigma for me too. teachers told me stuff like

    -it is because trumpet is transposing instrument
    -it is because it is easier to write notes in Bb for trumpet
    -it is tradition

    and BS like that

    for me bB is an idiocy. utter idiocy.
  3. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    Its wrong, according to my instructor, but I only have one name for each note, and I sort of arbitrarily picked as I learned the note.

    So F has a Bb, Bb has a Bb and and Eb, Eb has Bb, Eb, Ab, and Ab has Bb, Eb, Ab, and C#.

    I am trying to get so that I can actually think of the E in the key of B as Fb but I am not quite there yet.

    I guess I don't like having multiple redundant names for things.
  4. EricF

    EricF New Friend

    Nov 7, 2010
    Good post and info, thanks. Given I am a comeback player after a 30 year hiatus, when transposing I mostly think "aaaahhh shit!". I'll go back to practicing my scales now...
  5. kcmt01

    kcmt01 Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 25, 2009
    Polson, MT
    I'm usually thinking, "I wonder which words I'm going to miss this time?" Playing is no problem, singing trips me up at least once a night.
  6. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    Sorry if I did not make myself clear -- when I refer to playing "not knowing the notes" I did not really mean I wouldn't know them if I thought more about them, but rather that I would play the tune relative to whatever key I might have first come across it. The "transposition" bit comes into this when I might "change key" to match up with whoever I am playing with. Another example: Chan Chan -- I started playing the trumpet part of this in Em but when it came to playing with somebody else recently I had to change the key down a semitone to Ebm. In both cases I hadn't seen the score written down.

    That sounds like a lot of work! But it does remind me of the time I played Euphonium and had to read the bass clef - it took a while for this to become automatic.

    If I had to do this for an exam then I think I would take the time to write out the part in the new key first, particularly if it were not the melody part (e.g. third trumpet) - and would practice that.

    I think it was precisely because I started playing a lot more jazz music (though not the truly alternative/esoteric stuff!) I learned to stop worrying about the more "difficult" keys, and started thinking about my playing more in terms of singing than reading instructions from a page. (though this is reeaally oversimplifying it)

  7. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

    Feb 20, 2008
    Clearly, when playing I don't think each note, my mind sees it, and knows what comes next unless there is something unusual, key signature etc.

    As to naming notes and e#/f or e/fb type of things, I don't have the scales/key signatures memorized, but one thing I am doing to help that along is whn going through Clarke's I'll say the key out loud to myself and say for example E major c# minor, four sharps, c,d,f,g, I should probably say f,c,g,d to make things consistent now that I think about it. But I kind of cut it short after four sharps or flats, and switch it around, B major, everything is sharp except b and e.

    As to transposing, well, that's why I posed the question.
  8. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    Your question was (if I recall correctly) --

    Looking closer at this I think perhaps you intended to mean what do people think when transposing from a "concert pitch" score to play on your Bb trumpet, rather than shifting keys for some other purpose (e.g. because your singer can't otherwise sing through a high passage and needs to drop the key by 3 semitones).

    For me, such a simple repeatable transposition (i.e. up a tone) would be automatic - I just wouldn't think hard about it. Some exceptions would be those fast, tricky passages where I have to commit a phrase to "muscle memory" (used to happen more frequently when playing competition brass band music).

  9. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

    Feb 20, 2008
    Right, well specifically for ssomething written for a "c" instrument for the moment more generally as well because the first is just a specific case of the later... So I want to approach this as a foundation to build on.
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I usually think, I need to add 2 sharps, and read up to the next line if the written note is on the space and to the next space if the written note is on the line. Give this perspective a try as it is actually a rather simple perspective to take on transposing a C part. AND this is particularly easy for me now that I am over 50 and notes on the page are becoming a blur between lines and spaces anyway.

    I have read from C books playing a Bb instrument almost exclusively since the early 1990s. In fact it's so ingrained, that when someone gives me a Bb part, I more often than not, play it transposed. Being over 50 also leads to senility. Did I mention that? What is this thread about by the way?

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