Why is trumpet music transposed??

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by oldlips48, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. Rezamozaffarinia

    Rezamozaffarinia New Friend

    Jun 21, 2008
    I think its the Piano that is transposed a step up, we're good ;-)
  2. Bach219

    Bach219 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 25, 2008
    Well, I play Guitar, not too good and Drum, which I'm pretty good at.
  3. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    The diatonic scale w/o flats or sharps - do,re,mi,fa,sol,la,ti,do, is taught (or used to be) in early elementary school music class where it is sung. This scale is easy because its key signature has no pitch modifying characters. This is where learning to read music begins for most of us.
    Toss in the trumpet. For various reasons previously referred to, the modern day orchestral/band trumpet is a Bb instrument. Since most folks come to the trumpet from having learned music in a singing class, that approach to learning in an empty key signature environment is made possible on the Bb trumpet by transposing the music up a whole step to get the same uncomplicated diatonic scale beginning on "C".
    This approach is commonly applied to most other instruments which don't have concert C as their native key. And this approach is adopted by almost all western music publishers, where ensemble parts are extracted and transposed so the players won't have to do it. Once again this is essentially a practice in the music education environment - concert bands, youth and HS orchestras, quartets and quintets and the other "tets", and the like.
    Once a musician moves into the institutions of higher learning and the professional world which follows, he or she will quite often encounter music written in concert key and will be expected to do their own transposition.
  4. Patric_Bernard

    Patric_Bernard Forte User

    Oct 25, 2007
    Definatley. We are playing the correct pitch, as well as clarinets and Tenor sax's, Everyone else is off.
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    As Vulgano Brother said, the roots are based in early music for trumpet. The trumpeters guilds (like unions) had an iron grip on the working conditions and trumpet parts were transposed. During the baroque period, the trumpet players practically NEVER had to look at a key signature other than C. If the piece was in D you needed a D trumpet. The unions died off after the baroque era and then it was time for the composers to get even. Take Mendelssohn for instance, his charts are written for trumpet in Bb, B, D, D, Eb and E. Trumpet players did not bring cases of instruments to those gigs - they just had to transpose.
    In any case, the brass band tradition maintained the Bb notation and that is what we live with today, although trumpet players are starting to bring collections of instruments to every gig again. See how what goes around comes around?
  6. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Hey, I resemble that remark!:duh:

    That's why I own trumpets pitched in A, Bb, C, D, and Eb. Why transpose when you don't have to? I can do it (just did it on a sight-read piece in church this past Sunday), but I don't like to think that hard if I don't have to.:lol:

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