UK BrassBand pitch is confusing me, help!!

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ellenruthmiller
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UK BrassBand pitch is confusing me, help!!

Post by ellenruthmiller » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:54 pm

I am self-teaching in Lancashire, UK. I want to get good enough to join a brass band.

I've got various books and concluded that trombone parts could be written in treble or bass clef so made sure i practised so i could read both.

Then when i rocked up at training band with all the 10 year olds (I'm 48) i find out i'm the only one in concert pitch - everyone else thinks first position is a C not (as it really is) a B flat. So i'm playing the bass trombone part which is ok for now. I am eventually going to also teach myself all the positions again, so i can play UK brass band parts but in the meantime (as i still need to just get better at actually playing) i'd like to transpose parts.

SO can i just check my musical maths out here... i have been given a Euphonium part in G so i think i need to take it up a semitone to be in actual pitch?

Or if i'm still way of confused can someone help me? It was so much easier when i played the oboe.... but sounded like a duck being strangled........ loving my oompahs!
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BGuttman
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Re: UK BrassBand pitch is confusing me, help!!

Post by BGuttman » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:25 pm

Closed position is Bb in concert pitch, but in transposed treble clef (like a trumpet) it's called C. Still sounds Bb.

Are you trying to read treble clef in concert pitch? That's WRONG. When Brass Banders read treble clef it's transposed. So if the part is in G you should be in Concert Pitch F.

A treble clef D (4th line) is bass clef C, 1 line above the staff.

Hope this helps.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
hyperbolica
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Re: UK BrassBand pitch is confusing me, help!!

Post by hyperbolica » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:45 pm

I 've also got a question about this type of transposition. If reading a brass band score and you see treble clef parts in 2 flats and 3 flats, do you read all the notes the same? I'm assuming these were Bb cornet and some Eb instrument. Would a top line F (concert) be the same for all instruments?
Doug Elliott
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Re: UK BrassBand pitch is confusing me, help!!

Post by Doug Elliott » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:54 pm

An actual concert pitch F would written as a G for Bb instruments and a D for Eb instruments.

Use tenor clef to read Bb treble parts, and bass clef to read Eb treble parts. That takes care of the transposition, and you only need to change the key signature and be careful with any accidentals.
Kbiggs
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Re: UK BrassBand pitch is confusing me, help!!

Post by Kbiggs » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:56 pm

Doug’s suggestion is the way to go. If you don’t know how to read tenor clef, there are a few books out there, like Ralph Sauer’s and Reginald Fink’s. Fink’s book has a section devoted to reading treble clef.
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.
—Mark Twain (attributed)
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JohnL
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Re: UK BrassBand pitch is confusing me, help!!

Post by JohnL » Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:17 pm

ellenruthmiller wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:54 pm
SO can i just check my musical maths out here... i have been given a Euphonium part in G so i think i need to take it up a semitone to be in actual pitch?
For the actual pitches played, it's down an octave plus two semitones. You will also need to add two flats to the key signature, so one sharp (G) becomes one flat (F). So a written middle C on that euphonium part is actually a second-line Bb in bass clef.

If you already know how to read tenor clef, doing it the way Doug Elliott suggested is usually the easiest. Then you just have to worry about key signatures.

As for Eb parts? If it's a tuba part, you just read it as if it were bass clef and add three flats. Keeping in the same key as the euph part you mentioned, the Eb tuba part's key signature would be D; adding three flats puts it in F. If it's an Eb tenor horn part, you do the same thing, but play everything up an octave. If it's an Eb soprano cornet part, someone needs to have their head examined because they handed a trombone player an Eb soproano cornet part.
davebb
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Re: UK BrassBand pitch is confusing me, help!!

Post by davebb » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:15 am

Try writing out the parts, transposing them to bass clef concert pitch. You'll soon find that you'll be able to read bb treble well enough to not bother transposing them.
ellenruthmiller
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Re: UK BrassBand pitch is confusing me, help!!

Post by ellenruthmiller » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:30 pm

Thankyou everyone. I'm going to build up my moral strength to relearn what-I-call-each-slide-position after Christmas.... for now i'm going to do some manual transposing so I can keep joining in at Training Brass Band (me and the 8 year olds!) So i'm going to transpose the parts I've got up a tone (eg from G to A) and see what happens... I can read bass and treble clefs at actual pitch - none of the parts at band for trombone seem to be in tenor so i'm told I need to relearn what I call everything and then i'll be ok in a UK brass band. Please tell me before Xmas if this is wrong!!
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BGuttman
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Re: UK BrassBand pitch is confusing me, help!!

Post by BGuttman » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:51 pm

Brass Band trombone parts (except for bass trombone) are written exactly as you would write trumpet parts. And the pitches are named as written. So you see a C (one line below treble staff), you call it C, but you play Bb (2nd line of bass staff).

If you keep working on it, you will get the hang of it.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
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