Are there any tips and tricks for reading non-C instruments ?

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
Palestr1na
KVRer
Topic Starter
22 posts since 6 Apr, 2021

Post Sat Jan 22, 2022 9:27 am

I find reading transposing instruments a pesky matter, and one that requires heavy practice. As someone whose mental capacity goes mostly into 'mapping' them in my head into the pitch of C, I'm thinking someone must have come up with some tricks of the trade which might ease your load. I don't know many, except I might mark the non-C parts with roman numerals (degrees), and perhaps throw in some markers for intervals which I think are salient? (Such as the harmonic tritone, which usually implicates a dominant function of some sort, and the minor sixth, which is present in some sixth chords.)

Reading transposing instruments is slightly facilitated by such a case, where the instrument is in the same pitch as the piece itself, ie. a D horn in a D major symphony, but that's about it.

jancivil
KVRAF
23958 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from gonesville

Post Sat Jan 22, 2022 9:38 am

I'm not seeing it. I learned to do it on my own at 11, most sheets I was going to get at the store were for C instruments, and here's a problem.
I'd say get used to it more or less like we get used to a new clef. Conditioning.

Palestr1na
KVRer
Topic Starter
22 posts since 6 Apr, 2021

Post Sat Jan 22, 2022 6:36 pm

When I look at the notes, maybe the trick is to make the lines (staves) disappear in my head, and try to just see the intervals. What about minor key, jancivil? Would you consider minor key music easier to read than major key with transposing instruments, since the added accidentals sort of keep you better on the map (ie. the harmonic and melodic minors keep you rooted in the tonality of the piece, regardless of what pitch the instrument is in)?

jancivil
KVRAF
23958 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from gonesville

Post Sun Jan 23, 2022 6:37 pm

Uhm, no. I'm not so much following your reasoning there. It's more than learning a clef because you have to see one key and play in the transposition.
Although, my experience wasn't quite a pure Bb instrument mentality, I'd looked at music for 'regular' C instruments maybe first. I can imagine a Bb instrument orientation where your horn's key is second nature, like thinking in a foreign language as opposed to translating in your head.

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BertKoor
KVRAF
13636 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Sun Jan 23, 2022 11:25 pm

Why not transpose your own instrument as well? :shrug:
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Palestr1na
KVRer
Topic Starter
22 posts since 6 Apr, 2021

Post Tue Jan 25, 2022 7:07 am

BertKoor wrote: Sun Jan 23, 2022 11:25 pm Why not transpose your own instrument as well? :shrug:
I don't know what you mean. Like if you have C instruments (e. g. flute, oboe, the string section) and one Bb instrument (e. g. clarinet), you should attempt to translate those C instruments into Bb, instead of the other way around?

Playing would make the 'easy' part. It's silent reading that I'm currently struggling with.

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BertKoor
KVRAF
13636 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Tue Jan 25, 2022 7:46 am

Ah. It was not clear at all (at least to me) from your first post you had one sheet (or several) with all the parts.
I find reading transposing instruments a pesky matter, and one that requires heavy practice.
True that...
We are the KVR collective. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Image
My MusicCalc is served over https!!

jancivil
KVRAF
23958 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from gonesville

Post Tue Jan 25, 2022 9:47 am

Palestr1na wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 6:36 pm Would you consider minor key music easier to read than major key with transposing instruments, since the added accidentals sort of keep you better on the map
If the concert pitch score is written in eg., C minor, you're writing D minor for a Bb instrument (2 fewer flats); A minor for an Eb instrument (3 fewer flats); G minor for an F instrument... w. a harmonic C#, G#, F# respectively etc. So no advantage really.

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effie
KVRer
9 posts since 20 Sep, 2018 from Long Island, NY

Post Tue Jan 25, 2022 10:48 am

well if I'm playing a bassoon part on bari sax - ignore the clef and add 3 #s. I know - not helpful

jancivil
KVRAF
23958 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from gonesville

Post Tue Jan 25, 2022 11:08 am

OTOH, you have a piece in keys with many sharps, maybe it's time to call that A clarinetist. IE: C# major reads as E major.

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