HBM – Transposition

Why is it necessary to know this – orchestra music, score reading, straight reading is easier, and old band music (E-flat alto horn)

Band directors MUST be able to transpose at light speed – they prefer transposed scores to see what the player sees, but they must be able to determine concert pitch for score study, accuracy of players

The sooner this is taught the better for the student – Richard Keaton

Use very simple material – Sigmund Herring, Robert Getchell; trumpet:  Sachse; Cafarelli

Stay with one key for a while

Maintain tone quality – it must not suffer due to the difficulty of transposing


Most Common Keys:  A, B-flat, H, C,  D, Eb, E- natural, F

Only A is transposed lower from Bb tpt

Question: what is the key of the part and what is the key of the trumpet – the interval difference is the interval of transposition needed

Three means of transposition:  by interval, by clef, and melodic dictation

Horn- See chart on Handouts p21 – old bass clef notation

Trombone – use alto and tenor clefs plus bass clef and treble clef

Euphonium – Concert pitch in bass clef; treble clef for trumpet transfers:  sounds down a major 9th;; plus treble clef in concert pitch and tenor and alto clefs – play horn, trombone, tuba, and trumpet solos

Tuba – always concert pitch, regardless of key of tuba, player must learn new fingering