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Re: wrong transposition of horn

From: D Josiah Boothby
Subject: Re: wrong transposition of horn
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2004 22:00:03 -0700 (PDT)

"Old notation" bass clef has a certain logical place in a context (such as Strauss's Don 
Quixote) in which a low horn is traversing a range which makes the use of treble or bass clefs 
awkward. Rather than learn three clefs (tenor clef would be a pretty close replacement for old 
notation bass clef), we hornists have to learn two clefs, but one of them twice. There is nothing 
inherently correct about old notation, and as for examples of "new" notation being used, 
I seem to recall that Stravinsky favored it. Most composers in the 20th century favored having a 
consistent transposition between clefs, but it is a good idea to indicate the composer's preference 
if there is any ambiguity. (In Beethoven, or similar, ambiguity is irrelevant as there were very 
few pitches playable in a low enough register to make any mistakes about which octave is intended).

Besides, isn't it as simple as indicating somthing like \clef bass \transpose c c' { ... 
} to make something old notation? In any event, I doubt this belongs in the 
"bug" thread as it has more to do with composer/publisher/performer preferences 
as anything else.



Message: 4
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2004 23:30:35 +0200 (CEST)
From: Werner LEMBERG <address@hidden>
Subject: Re: wrong transposition of horn
To: address@hidden
Cc: address@hidden
Message-ID: <address@hidden>
Content-Type: Text/Plain; charset=us-ascii

The purpose of using bass clef is making parts easier to read by
eliminating ledger-lines.  "Old notation" defeats the purpose.
Sadly, this bad practice is even perpetuated by some notation
handbooks who advocate it on the grounds of being "unambiguous".

(thus spoke the typographically inclined hornplayer :-)

Well, I've *never* seen a full score with horns in F (or other keys)
which transposes down if in bass clef.  It's always up a fourth.  Do
you have an example?

BTW, there are other instruments also which need special
transpositions.  IIRC, a bass clarinet in B sounds a ninth lower if
notated in treble clef, but it sounds only a second lower if notated
in bass clef.  Similar things happen for Wagner tuba.


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