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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Another hill to climb (sigh) in the General forums; Time to get serious with learning to play better; the blush is off the rose. So I start searching online ...
  1. #1
    Pianissimo User
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Another hill to climb (sigh)

    Time to get serious with learning to play better; the blush is off the rose.

    So I start searching online for exercises etc. to support what my teacher has shown me and I discover this thing about the trumpet being a 'transposing instrument'.

    Oh, dear.

    I'm from the Land of the Farting Bedposts where a C is a C.

    How do I approach this now?

    I already have before me the daunting task of learning the treble clef (I look at the note and move it down a line in my head and that's the note I play) and now I have to do an additional transposition to play the note written on the chart? My teacher explained this to me and I am sure it is simple for y'all but I don't get it at all. Do I have to slide the note down 2 spaces now to play the right note.

    How do I know if a chart is written in 'trumpet music' or not? I've seen posts on here and fingering charts online, now that I have looked back, that have the note on the 3rd space listed as a C or as a Bb... with no indication as to why...

    Can someone please summarize, share a similar experience, or point me in the direction of a resource so I can get this draconian speed bump behind me?

    Thanks! Ready to get back to playing again!
    The difference between youth and old age is that, in youth one struggles to play the right notes while, as an adult, one works to play the notes right.

  2. #2
    New Friend Needs Practice's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    San Jose CA.

    Re: Another hill to climb (sigh)

    As a former violinist, I'm used to be being the prima donna. So the way I see it - no problem. Just get all the non Bb instruments in the ensemble to transpose their stuff to align with you!

    Just kidding. Seriously, transposition is no biggie with practice. I had a quick look around on the web and there are plenty of resources. For a simple explanation and some useful references I liked the content here:

    How to Transpose Music From C to B Flat: 9 steps (with pictures)

  3. #3
    Utimate User
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Jackson NC

    Re: Another hill to climb (sigh)

    Transposing music from a C instrument, like that for piano which IMO is most of the music available, to that for a Bb instrument is so simple IMO. Simply add two sharps to whatever the key signature is and play the note two semi-tones (half steps) higher. When ones speaks of concert key, that is always music for a C instrument. Each # will negate a b if it appears in the key signature for piano.

    Yes, some confusion occurs. Were you to attempt to play the same tone on a Bb instrument as a C for a piano you do play a Bb. Too, our 4th line space in music for a Bb we still call a C but perhaps you can now discern it is NOT the same tone as a C played on a piano (keyboard).

  4. #4
    Forte User richtom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Re: Another hill to climb (sigh)

    If your part indicates it is written for a Bb trumpet and that is what you have in your hand, it is not necessary to transpose anything. The part is already in the proper key.
    Learn the treble clef as quickly as you can. You are making way more work for yourself.

  5. #5
    Pianissimo User
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Battle Creek, MI

    Re: Another hill to climb (sigh)

    First of all "Land of the Farting Bedpost"! LMAO!!! I actually started laughing almost hysterically during our concert last night when the bassoon came in during the Harry Potter Suite we played.

    But seriously...You're waaaaay too worried about this at this point in time. Learn to get a good sound out of the instrument. You've done that. Learn to read treble clef. Ear training is great, but you seriously need to be able to read the music or you will be hampering and limiting yourself. I played in a band with a guy I had to spoon-feed all the parts to because he couldn't read music. He can improvise, but he couldn't play in a section because of this liability. Once you are comfortable with reading the music and the fingerings and can sight read well, then learn to transpose (one step up from C to Bb). It's not a big deal, but don't try to do it all at once or you will just confuse yourself. Build your foundations, then build the walls and roof. In college, I used to be able to transpose on sight without missing a note. My teacher would have me transpose whole etudes on sight. It is a soft skill that will deteriorate without use, however. I used to be a whiz a transposition, now it just makes me wet myself a little. If I were to put the effort into it again, I could rebuild that skill, though. One step at a time, my friend.
    1932 Conn 2B Special trumpet
    1956 Martin Committee Deluxe cornet
    1964 (ish) Holton Al Hirt Special cornet
    1972 Bach Stradivarus model 37
    Maxtone Flugelhorn

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