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Re: Concert Pitch (a second try)

From: Paul Scott
Subject: Re: Concert Pitch (a second try)
Date: Sun, 05 Apr 2009 22:44:27 -0700
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Ian Hulin wrote:
Hi all,
O.K here goes, I've pruned some bits out where we were getting into acoustics, and tweaked a few bits.

Ian Hulin

Transposing instruments are named according to the fundamental (known on some brass instruments as the pedal) note.

On a woodwind instrument this is normally the note obtained with all holes covered without over-blowing or use of speaker keys. On a brass instrument it the note obtained with most relaxed embouchure and the slide extended fully
That should be not extended at all for trombone (1st position).
or all valves open.

For woodwinds this description is not at all practical partly for the extension reason you mentioned below. Not counting the B foot on a flute or the low A on many baritone saxes the only woodwind I know of that has a C for its full length is the flute. Saxes and oboes start at Bb. Clarinets in their lower register (no over-blowing or speaker key) start at written E or Eb. A better might be a certain equivalent seven finger on each of these instruments except for bassoon which could be considered an F instrument (similar to an F recorder).

Individual instruments vary this principle by having extensions at bottom end of the instrument, but a simple case like the tenor recorder shows the basic principle.

I agree that C recorder is an excellent place to start but most of the normal woodwinds have more notes at the bottom than a C recorder. I would suggest leaving the fingerings or the physics out of this with the possible exception of the seven finger C mentioned above but even that is probably too complicated.

To make matters more complex, some instruments are transposing instruments, but their players actually play from parts written at concert pitch. Orchestral trombone and tuba players do this, while trombone players in brass bands treat their parts as if written for a true transposing instrument in Bb.

There are also orchestral bass clarinet parts written in bass clef so that the transposition is a second rather than a ninth.

Paul Scott

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