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 Transposing Question
Author: Cindyr 
Date:   2007-09-06 13:11

I played my first transposed (by hand) pieces with our group of three (clarinet, violin, and keyboard) last night. Sounded pretty good, but I wanted to make sure I'm transposing correctly.

Following the rule of the circle of fifths, when a song is in the key of C: example, Danny Boy: I transposed up one whole note, and add two sharps, F and C. When it's in the key of F major, with one flat, b, I again go up one whole note, erase the flat, and add one sharp, F.

I'm not an on-site transposer, at least not yet. When we play new music, I play the soparno recorder when them until I can get the music transposed.

If there is a program that I can get to do the transposing for me, someone please clue me in.

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 Re: Transposing Question
Author: ChrisArcand 
Date:   2007-09-06 13:24

It's really simple. (This is only for Bb remember) You just play one whole step up. (Because the clarinet plays one whole step down...) So, when you have a piece written in D for the group, you should play it in key of E (you just added 2 sharps, as you say). All your notes are one note higher than they look.

Really the main reason why I post is to tell you NOT to get a program to do it - clicking a few points on a computer teaches you nothing.


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 Re: Transposing Question
Author: jendereedknife 
Date:   2007-09-06 21:32

I agree with Chris - Transposing is a requirement for playing the clarinet - especially in an orchestral setting. It is something that will start very slowly, but with enough experience, you will eventually be able to transpose on sight.

The first piece I ever had to trasnpose was the Bartered Bride Overture in college. I actually wrote it all out, and by the end, there were several mistakes, and some missing measures. I began transposing after that. Practice very slowly at first......


Tom Blodgett
Jende Industries, LLC

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 Re: Transposing Question
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2007-09-06 22:10

You've got it sussed, Cindy. From a concert pitch part to Bb clarinet you go up a whole tone and you either remove two flats or add two sharps to get the key signature right. This will become instinctive after practice doing sight transposition, and worthwhile doing.

But in extreme keys, such as B major (and there are composers that write in this key), you will be better to go into Db major (which has 5 flats) instead of C# major (which has 7 sharps) when played on a Bb clarinet.

Though if the piece is in concert D, I'd instinctively transpose it up a minor 3rd into F and play it on an A clarinet. Concert B major would therefore become concert D on an A clarinet - as an A clarinet sounds a minor 3rd lower than concert pitch, the music has to be written a minor 3rd higher to compensate.

Even so, some pieces in flat keys are much easier played on an A clarinet - take the key of Db major again with it's 5 flats. On a Bb clarinet it'll be Eb major (3 flats) which will mean hissy throat Bbs if it's not feasable to use the side Bb key if the piece is fairly diatonic, and there's the C to Eb conundrum.

But on an A clarinet Db major becomes E major - 4 sharps - no throat Bbs and what would be C-Eb on a B clarinet now becomes C#-E, so there's no getting the pinkies mixed up if, like me, your brain isn't quick enough.


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 Re: Transposing Question
Author: Cindyr 
Date:   2007-09-07 02:39

Thank you all. Chris P, the only A clarinet I have is a JTL Albert system circa 1880. I don't think I'll try transposing on it, learning the differences in the fingerings is enough of a challenge!

I'll try to practice transposing so that it becomes faster.

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