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Re: relative pitch with song sections

From: Carlo Vanoni
Subject: Re: relative pitch with song sections
Date: Fri, 16 May 2014 09:20:33 +0100 (BST)

Man, what a flame I'm ingited :)

I've read all your answers with real interest.
First of all, I'm not in classical music. I play pop-rock-jazz. So I played in big bands, but don't know the orchestral world.
As an electric bass player, I know that I play a transposing instrument, but as you said it seems that it's the "standard" to not have the "8" under the clef (I asked the question because I've never seen it...). Well, if I get a bass score, I already know that it is transposed for my instrument; same if there is a part of the score where I have to play higher notes and the treble clef is used.
On the other hand, of course, here is no harm in writing the "8" under the score. It is indeed more correct, and after understanding what it is, the bass player can forget about it. As long as he than doesn't start playing a "standard" score without the "8" an octave up, that is.

As for me, since I'm transcribing songs for my students, that are used to read scores from transcription books, that are (as far as I know) always without the "8", I think I will omit it.
It is instead more useful in an orchestrea/big band scenario, mostly for the director score (I don't know the right term... the one with all the instruments), so the real relative pitch is displayed. But, again, if there is a "Bass" name before the staff, it is known that it's referred to a lower octave.

Il Venerdì 16 Maggio 2014 4:28, David Kastrup <address@hidden> ha scritto:

Matthew Collett <address@hidden> writes:

> On 16/05/2014, at 10:08 am, Simon Albrecht <address@hidden> wrote:
>> At first I was also inclined towards saying that it’s correct to add
>> the 8 and it doesn’t hurt anyone, so why not just leave it where
>> Lily puts it by default.
>> Then I thought of a counter-example: some orchestra instruments
>> (most notably double basses, but also contrabassoons and maybe
>> others) to sound an octave lower than written, and the very best of
>> hand-engraved scores all don’t have a clef modifier (i.e. an "8"
>> below – or above – the clef).
> One could reasonably argue that contrabass instruments are transposing
> instruments -- transposing by an octave.  That is, the fact that they
> sound an octave lower than written is a well-known property of the
> instrument (not of the score), and is implied by the fact that the
> part is marked as being for that instrument, in exactly the same way
> that marking a part as for a (B-flat) trumpet implies that it sounds a
> tone lower than written.

With a contrabass there is the situation that they quite often just
double the cello parts (is that why they are called "double bass"?) one
octave lower.  Obviously, the cello parts don't have an 8 on the clef.

> I would be less persuaded by the same argument made for a guitar.

Well, the guitars rarely double the ukulele parts...

At any rate, I am not convinced by the "best engravings are from one
century ago" rationale for anything but the arrangement of note glyphs
since practice and expectations change faster than that.

I don't employ the orthography of the German classics period in my
communication, nor do I use Shakespearean English when conversing with
my contemporaries.

But many people writing math these days use TeX's default "Computer
Modern" fonts which are very close replicas of the Monotype Modern 8A
type from the early 20th century used for typesetting the original
hand-typeset "The Art of Computer Programming" volumes in the 1960s.

David Kastrup

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