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Re: Concert Pitch (a second try)

From: Simon Bailey
Subject: Re: Concert Pitch (a second try)
Date: Mon, 6 Apr 2009 12:33:35 +0200


On 6 Apr 2009, at 12:23, Anthony W. Youngman wrote:
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.


What do you mean by an "open" valve? To me it means the valve is depressed and the associated tubing is brought into play, which it shouldn't be. It's probably best said as something like "with the instrument in its shortest configuration, eg the slide in 1st position or the valves not depressed".

the fundamental note of a brass instrument is the lowest note of the overtone series which is produced at the shortest configuration. however, middle C is notated as the first overtone, which sounds an octave higher.

The other point that should be made is that the octave above the pedal note is notated as middle C in the treble clef. I was unaware, however, that the bass clarinet transposed in bass clef! And I seem to remember some American parts that appeared to have the trombone part transposed in bass clef too - that piece rapidly got ditched so I know precious little about it. That might be an American convention ...

this happens in dutch symphonic wind music a lot as well. the trombone parts are supplied in Bb treble-clef (transposed), Bb bass-clef (transposed) and C bass-clef (concert pitch). i've only ever seen it in dutch published music, i'm not sure exactly where it comes from, but it's horribly confusing when the librarian doesn't know the difference... ;)

a useful fact for Bb transposing instruments usually notated in bass clef (trombones, euphonia, etc.) is that the treble-clef transposed part can be read almost exactly as if it were notated in concert-pitch tenor-clef (add 2 flats and pay careful attention to the accidentals). fairly random piece of information, but it helps me whenever i run across treble-clef b-flat parts.

Simon Bailey
Devoted bass trombonist
+43 699 190 631 25

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