Trombone T.C.

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Leisesturm
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Trombone T.C.

Post by Leisesturm » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:41 pm

Greetings: I have a professional keyboard experience so reading both Bass and Treble Clef is fluent and natural. As I understand it, Trombone and Euphonium are not transposing when written in Bass Clef but are transposing when written in Treble Clef? How does that work? I know I am doing it wrong right now because when I see a part in Treble Clef I just mentally think it down to its octave equivalent in Bass Clef. What am I missing?
pompatus
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Re: Trombone T.C.

Post by pompatus » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:48 pm

Most trombones and euphonia(?) are pitched primarily in Bb, and will sound a whole step lower when playing from a treble clef part written for C instruments, like a keyboard/piano, unless the performer is doing the transpositions mentally. Treble clef parts for Bb low brass are written in a similar manner to Bb trumpet, and usually in the staff for readability, but will sound an octave lower than written when done that way.

Others will certainly chime in with explanations far more concise and understandable than mine.
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JohnL
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Re: Trombone T.C.

Post by JohnL » Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:21 am

There is no transposition when reading concert pitch treble clef music. You see a C, you play a C. That C, not the one an octave below.

But trombone players seldom play off of music notated in concert pitch treble clef. If we see music in treble clef, it's usually in Bb, so a written C is a concert Bb (i.e., play two semitones lower than the written pitch). It's it's identified as a trombone, baritone, or euphonium part, there's also an octave transposition, so a written middle C is played as the second line Bb on the bass clef staff. If it's a trumpet part and you want to play the note the trumpet would play reading the same part, you leave out that octave transposition, so a written middle C becomes the Bb at the top of the bass clef staff.

Please notice that none of this makes any mention of the key of the instrument itself. That's because it's immaterial. A Bb trombone is called a Bb trombone because that's its fundamental pitch in first position.

Most instruments do read music that is notated in the same key that the instrument is built in - but that's not actually a necessity. You'll notice that tubas come in different keys (BBb, CC, F, and Eb), but tuba music is normally notated in concert pitch bass clef (at least outside of British brass bands). They just learn different fingerings for each key of tuba. For orchestral French horn players, it's more complex. They usually play a double horn in Bb and F (different fingerings for each "side" of the horn) and modern music is notated in F. On older music, they read parts in a bunch of different keys (a holdover from the days before valves when they changed crooks to change keys) and transpose. But a French horn player reading a part in C isn't transposing because his/her instrument is in F - they're transposing because they're used to reading music that's notated in F.

In some "families" of instruments (saxophones, for example), having the key of the instrument and the key of music coincide allows someone to move between those instruments without having to learn a new set of fingerings. Of course, they need to recalibrate their ear, but most folks seen to have little trouble with that.
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StephenK
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Re: Trombone T.C.

Post by StephenK » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:35 am

Parts written in transposed treble clef (for b flat instruments) largely derive from British style brass bands for tenor trombones, and it is very common for players to start this way in the UK, (some never move on from it). The notes are written a ninth higher than sounding. So in this notation, a playing 'C' sounds a Bflat a ninth lower. (it's like tenor sax or bass clarinet writing, or Bflat trumpet/clarinet writing but an octave lower). I'll not go in to the reasons, but the player will call the note names by their transposed name, and it is normal in (British style) brass bands. If you are not going to be playing these charts, you can probably forget about treble clef notation, unless you have a need to use transposed parts for some reason.

Otherwise, trombone parts are written at pitch, most often in bass clef, but also can be in tenor or alto clef. Here the notes are named as at pitch. If this is all you need, then just stay with it. Learning to play trombone in treble clef notation first can have some downsides in my experience, even if you play in a brass band.

There are some publishers with parts in transposed (Bflat) Bass clef, mainly Dutch and Belgian; usually a concert pitch part is also provided, so you don't need to learn it. Trombone parts written in concert pitch treble clef are rare, so you can forget about them, though it's a useful skill to play from concert pitch treble clef.
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Re: Trombone T.C.

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:24 pm

Both ways are correct. Some music will be entirely in treble clef, and in that case, 99.99% of the time it'll be transposed just like Bb trumpet.

Oftentimes a trombone solo or orchestra part will have a few measures written in treble clef in the middle of of phrase in otherwise untransposed music -- 99.9999% of the time, that part in treble clef is read at face value, untransposed.
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ExZacLee
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Re: Trombone T.C.

Post by ExZacLee » Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:07 pm

To add to what's been written...

Contrary to british practice, most composers write trombone parts (regardless of the flavor of trombone) in C. While the Bb trombone and bass trombone are most common, there are of course altos in Eb (and rarely F), soprano usually in Bb, Contras in F and BBb and the rare C trombone (usually valved) like Juan Tizol used. All of these are generally notated in C, with rare exceptions.

Bb T.C. trombone parts tend to be primarily found in British music only - rarely outside of that, although I do see the occasional wind ensemble piece with optional Bb T.C. parts for trombone.

American wind ensemble and military band composiitons often include Bb T.C. parts in addition to C bass clef for euphonium and/or baritone (in case they were transfers from trumpet instead of trombone, for example.)

It is rare, but non-transposing T.C. parts are occasionally included in big band parts - usually this only occurs in the case of high range solo parts, almost never in section parts. This practice is primarily observed in the essentially ellington transcriptions, following a practice seldom used for high range solo parts. I often put my parts in treble so i can fit more staves on a page, but for publication or sale i'll usually put the part back into bass clef. Much more common are treble clef lead sheets in C.
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torobone
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Re: Trombone T.C.

Post by torobone » Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:01 pm

Trombonists need to transpose occasionally and be able to read in all clefs.

Bass clef - in C, arguably the most common. In Bb, I have seen this mistake once or twice. Put it down to a publisher's error.

Tenor clef - in C, used in orchestras and older band parts. It's common enough to learn it, and it is the same as reading Bb treble clef. Add 2 flats to the treble clef part.

Alto Clef - Sometimes in first trombone orchestra parts, depending on the country and period. Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Prokofiev and others wrote alto clef.

Treble clef - Bb is used for 1st and 2nd trombone parts. This allows people to move freely between instruments using the same technique throughout. C is common in fake books; if you play in a combo or wedding band, then you might find yourself reading the melody from a piano part or a lead line. Eb is needed if you read bari sax parts - read like bass clef and add 3 flats. F horn - transpose down a 4th (this is the only thing I have not personally done.)
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Digidog
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Re: Trombone T.C.

Post by Digidog » Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:56 am

I read treble in C, alto, tenor and bass clefs - but I absolutely loathe playing treble clef in Bb on any trombone. On trumpet; fine! Not on a trombone.

Firstly, I can't wrap my head around the sheer execution of playing a ninth down from what I read. Secondly, I just can't get away from the pointlessness of transposing, when there is no need for it, other than some lazy trumpeters that didn't manage to relearn their reading.

Well, well.... My opinion is that music for trombone in Bb treble clef is an abomination, and should be abolished once and for all. :clever:
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Re: Trombone T.C.

Post by BGuttman » Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:22 am

Digidog wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:56 am
...
Well, well.... My opinion is that music for trombone in Bb treble clef is an abomination, and should be abolished once and for all. :clever:
The real abomination is music written in transposed bass clef (so-called "World Parts"). I know Richard Strauss used this for his Tenor Tuba parts but that still doesn't make it right.
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Re: Trombone T.C.

Post by RoscoTrombone » Mon Dec 24, 2018 10:34 am

We know beforehand that playing Bb treble sounds lower than written so why complicate it by thinking down the 9th. When I taught myself it I initially worked in a tone so my F was Bb G before just reading it for what it is & losing the bass clef association altogether.

It does make life easier for brass banders as players will frequently swap instruments. So if someone is lucky enough to move to trombone from say tenor horn then they only have to worry about the slide and not the clef as well. Although you should try a Bb treble bass bone part....they're VERY special!!

That isn't an excuse for refusing to learn bass clef if they want to expand their musical experiences though.

Don't get me started on the "world" parts Bruce...still can't figure it out!!

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Re: Trombone T.C.

Post by Digidog » Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:22 am

BGuttman wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:22 am
Digidog wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:56 am
...
Well, well.... My opinion is that music for trombone in Bb treble clef is an abomination, and should be abolished once and for all. :clever:
The real abomination is music written in transposed bass clef (so-called "World Parts"). I know Richard Strauss used this for his Tenor Tuba parts but that still doesn't make it right.
But I considered that reading extinct and already banished. If I remember correctly both Stravinskij and Wagner have written for transposed bass clef, but I can't recall what as I write this.
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timothy42b
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Re: Trombone T.C.

Post by timothy42b » Tue Dec 25, 2018 7:47 am

Digidog wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:56 am

Well, well.... My opinion is that music for trombone in Bb treble clef is an abomination, and should be abolished once and for all. :clever:
Agree.

And I would go one step further. Abolish all the other clefs we read in, and write everything on the piano great staff (you can print one staff if that's all that's needed - a third part might go no higher than middle C, I'll allow one ledger line; a first part might not go below that note.) Very few of us can play usable notes above the F at the top of the treble clef - certainly not me! Rarely do I venture below the bass clef. Now I don't have to count ledger lines or remember if it's alto or tenor clef, etc.
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Re: Trombone T.C.

Post by LeTromboniste » Tue Dec 25, 2018 5:55 pm

timothy42b wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 7:47 am
Digidog wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:56 am

Well, well.... My opinion is that music for trombone in Bb treble clef is an abomination, and should be abolished once and for all. :clever:
Agree.

And I would go one step further. Abolish all the other clefs we read in, and write everything on the piano great staff (you can print one staff if that's all that's needed - a third part might go no higher than middle C, I'll allow one ledger line; a first part might not go below that note.) Very few of us can play usable notes above the F at the top of the treble clef - certainly not me! Rarely do I venture below the bass clef. Now I don't have to count ledger lines or remember if it's alto or tenor clef, etc.
Or we can just learn that any 5 line staff with any clef from F4 to G2 is in fact really just a grand staff with 11 line with 6 lines hidden part of the time. I think modern music education does a very poor job at teaching clefs, by teaching them independently from one another and having students learn them often by memorizing what pitch class (note name / letter) lies on every line instead of having students learn the whole gamut and seeing the clefs as simply showing which 5 are shown of the 11 lines that are really always there. If anything, I think everyone should be fluent in more clefs, not fewer. Fluency in clefs is super practical for transposing, plus it opens the door to being able to sight read or play through music that you otherwise wouldn't explore.
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Re: Trombone T.C.

Post by Kbiggs » Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:31 am

Digidog wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:56 am
I read treble in C, alto, tenor and bass clefs - but I absolutely loathe playing treble clef in Bb on any trombone. On trumpet; fine! Not on a trombone.

Firstly, I can't wrap my head around the sheer execution of playing a ninth down from what I read. Secondly, I just can't get away from the pointlessness of transposing, when there is no need for it, other than some lazy trumpeters that didn't manage to relearn their reading.

Well, well.... My opinion is that music for trombone in Bb treble clef is an abomination, and should be abolished once and for all. :clever:
There’s an easier way to read Bb treble clef, especially when you already read tenor clef: Ignore the treble clef, imagine a tenor clef sign, and add two flats to the key signature. Be careful of the B’s and E’s. Trombone and euphonium/baritone parts will be played in the proper octave. Trumpet parts will sound down an octave. MUCH easier than reading down a ninth.
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Re: Trombone T.C.

Post by Mikebmiller » Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:13 am

Kbiggs wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:31 am
Digidog wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:56 am


There’s an easier way to read Bb treble clef, especially when you already read tenor clef: Ignore the treble clef, imagine a tenor clef sign, and add two flats to the key signature. Be careful of the B’s and E’s. Trombone and euphonium/baritone parts will be played in the proper octave. Trumpet parts will sound down an octave. MUCH easier than reading down a ninth.
That works great for me - until I get a bunch of below the staff notes in sharp keys. Then my brain goes bonkers. I am covering a bunch of third trumpet parts in a pit band this week and it is driving me nuts.
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Re: Trombone T.C.

Post by Kbiggs » Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:51 am

Mikebmiller wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:13 am

That works great for me - until I get a bunch of below the staff notes in sharp keys. Then my brain goes bonkers. I am covering a bunch of third trumpet parts in a pit band this week and it is driving me nuts.
Play it on a valve trombone. That’ll make it easier! :wink:

Seriously, though, as easy as it is to transpose using a different clef, it’s still difficult when the notes are above the staff a lot, below the staff a lot, or in remote keys. I was once told that the only way to improve my transpositions is to practice them. :clever:
I have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.
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torobone
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Re: Trombone T.C.

Post by torobone » Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:48 pm

Having played Bb Treble trombone parts for 30 years in a brass band, it's not hard at all. I would never want a simple mechanical exercise get between me and good music. :good:
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