What are you "thinking" when you transpose.

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

  1. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    What if you get on the gig and have to unexpectedly do it?
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I usually carry my C, Bb and pic to gigs where I sight read, and can go down a step, up a step, up a minor and major third and up a fourth with ease. However, if dealing with a highly chromatic piece written in E and only have a Bb with me, I also carry a pencil with me as well.
  3. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Use the ascending circle of fourths/fifths to remember the order of flats/sharps. If you can simply remember that Bb or F# is the first one you should be golden.

    Mnemonic devices are great, but there is a wonderful (mathematical) order which presides in music.

    Oh, and Turtle:

    Instead of thinking up a step/add two sharps, you could still be thinking. "1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4..."
  4. whathefayla

    whathefayla New Friend

    Jan 15, 2009
    Burbank, CA
    Interesting thread. I wonder, does anyone treat transposition as a set of alternate fingerings, rather than actually converting the notes in your mind. Obviously it's not practical to have alternate fingerings for all the possible transpositions, but specifically for playing concert pitch on a Bb.

    Just wondering. I haven't tried it myself, but I'm tempted.
  5. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    Personally I find I focus more on the tuning of my buzz than relying on the trumpet "dragging" my pitch to the fingered note. I suspect that if I were to try "transposing" as you suggest I would mis-pitch a lot of notes (or rather, some notes would just drop out).

  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    A mantra is repeated throughout the MT site: Practice. This thread is no exception.

    There is memory in our fingers. Rehearsing by reading charts in C then playing on a Bb instrument requires a step-up adjustment. This basically means there is a need to use an alternate fingering. One can try to translate the process to conceive of the actual note to be played, but this requires integrative thinking, after which the brain sends a signal down to the hand to use fingers for THAT alternative note. This complicates a response by adding another pathway to the thought process. Just practice that when reading a D in the key of C, the fingers press valves 1 and 2, the note is immaterial to THIS thought process.

    Do this repetitatively and often (this is called practicing) then you will have created finger memory for songs written in the key of C.

    Testimonial: The tenor sax player in our jazz quintet had a brain warp and would painstakingly use pencil and paper to rewrite parts. I told him to try the above approach, and within 2 weeks, he was transposing from C to Bb proficiently. He now most often reads from C books at this stage in his musical career from working with rhythm sections using C instruments, that he says it is habit now to automatically transpose, without thinking (instinctively from memory in the fingers). He now complains that in the big band when he is given charts in Bb he often begins playing the part up one step, instinctively.
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    This is the approach tuba players use, but the written music is at the sounding pitch.

    The stuff we play (unless in C) isn't.
  8. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010


    That's just it ... that's the beauty of drumming .... I DON'T think. Certainly no counting ever occurs. Numbers in general are a curse to the musician IMO.

  9. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010

    That's exactly what I'm doing (just to play concert pitch on the Bb). If it had been up to me, the fingerings would all be for concert pitch. Of course, the C trumpet achieves this, but who wants to play a C trumpet for jazz and R&B??? .:dontknow:

    It's obviously a classical conspiracy. As far as I can tell, the only people who benefit from the present system are:

    1. Classical musicians

    2. Trumpet manufacturers

    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
  10. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    My wife learned in JinPu. It is a number system for notation used in China.

    She can transpose just about anyway. Basically the song is written in numbers 1=root 2=whole step above, 3=major third, 4=fourth .... etc.

    1' is the root an octave below...

    All the songs look like 1111 2-2 the dash is a tied is two eight notes.

    Pretty easy to transpose really.

Share This Page