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 Conversion
Author: GoddessKali 
Date:   2008-08-18 09:27

Does anyone know how I would go about locating a simple way to convert music written for trombone to that for a B-flat Clarinet? It's been years since I required this particular skill, but I need it now, as I have had laid in my hands a rather stunning original piece that I am DYING to play. Problem being - as stated above - it is written for Tenor Trombone. Help???

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 Re: Conversion
Author: John25 
Date:   2008-08-18 12:56

I assume that the tenor trombone part is written in the tenor clef. If it is, all you do for a simple conversion is to put a treble clef instead of the tenor clef. The fourth line D in the treble clef is concert C, so by playing a fourth line D in the treble clef you will produce C an octave higher (on a Bb clarinet). You also need to add 2 sharps to the key signature or take away 2 flats. Accidentals will need to be adjusted also.

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 Re: Conversion
Author: NorbertTheParrot 
Date:   2008-08-18 13:48

John25 wrote:

"I assume that the tenor trombone part is written in the tenor clef."

It might be, but most trombone music isn't. In fact tenor trombone players need to know four clefs:

1. Treble clef is used for British brass band parts, which sound a major ninth lower than written - like a tenor sax or bass clarinet. So concert middle C is on the fourth line counting upwards.

2. Alto clef is used for some nineteenth century orchestral parts, typically those originally written for alto trombone but often now played on tenor. This sounds at concert pitch, so concert middle C is on the middle line.

3. Tenor clef is used for the higher reaches of many orchestral parts.This sounds at concert pitch, so concert middle C is on the fourth line. Therefore tenor clef has the notes in the same place as transposed treble clef, but with a different key signature.

4. Bass clef is used for most orchestral parts, and for almost all jazz and concert band parts. This sounds at concert pitch, so concert middle C is on the first leger line above the stave.

(In addition, very occasionally, treble clef may be used at concert pitch, for very high parts in virtuoso music.)

John's method of transposition is correct for tenor clef, assuming you want the music to sound an octave higher than it would on trombone - or at the same pitch if you are using a bass clarinet.

For transposed treble clef, no transposition is required, just play what you see.

For alto clef (very unlikely if this is a modern piece) then you need to play chalumeau D when you see the middle line, so as to get concert C. This can be done by pretending that the music is written Bb-transposed in bass clef, and adding two sharps. Easy if you can read bass clef.

For bass clef, which is the most likely, then you need to play chalumeau E when you see the middle line, so as to get concert D. And you need to add two sharps. This transposition is a pig. However, it is worth learning how to do it, because it is the same transposition needed to play a (bass-clef) bassoon part on bass clarinet. For the notes from middle line downwards, you can get this transposition by fingering the clarinet as though you were playing a sax, but this method fails for higher notes.

You need to check the range of the piece. I'll assume you are playing to sound an octave higher than written (or at the same pitch on bass clarinet).

High notes should not be a problem; most trombone music stops at about C an octave above middle C, which is only low-altissimo D on the clarinet. Even a virtuoso part shouldn't be impossibly high.

Low notes may be a problem. The lowest "normal" note on a valveless tenor trombone is E just below the bass stave, corresponding to low F# on the clarinet. There is then a gap, below which the instrument will sound low Bb quite easily, then the notes down to E below that with increasing difficulty. These "pedal" notes have no equivalent on the clarinet; even if you are using a low-C bass clarinet then concert Bb is as low as you can go. Many/most tenor trombone players use an instrument with a valve, which fills in the gap (except the low Bnat, which remains problematic) and gives even lower pedal notes, in theory at least.

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 Re: Conversion
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2008-08-18 15:09

I like the way the solo trombone part for 'Getting Sentimental Over You' is written out - in concert pitch bass clef, but at pitch and all on ledger lines!

Looks like a load of telegraph poles.

Chris.

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 Re: Conversion
Author: GoddessKali 
Date:   2008-08-18 18:03

Oh hell. Now I'm confused!

I know the piece is written in bass clef, but a few points have me stuck -

(then you need to play chalumeau E when you see the middle line)

&

(fingering the clarinet as though you were playing a sax)


It has been a VERY long time since I needed to know what anything is called. Technical terms have fallen by the wayside. I usually just scan through a piece and then play, correcting myself as I go. However, everything I've played in the past has been written out for clarinet already!

Also, I am unclear on what is meant by "as though you were playing a sax". I realize it is obviously different from clarinet fingerings, but how? Could you please elaborate?

This piece appears very pretty, but neither myself nor the composer knows how it sounds, as he never played it himself. He has entrusted it to me to play for the first time, and I insist on doing it justice.

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 Re: Conversion
Author: pewd 
Date:   2008-08-18 18:11


>(then you need to play chalumeau E when you see the middle line)

The middle line in bass cleff is a D. Which is an E for the clarinet.
Chalumeau E - first line E in Treble cleff

The simplest way would be to write it out by hand with a pencil (transposing as you go) on a piece of staff paper.

Did the composer use a computer program to write it? If so it can be converted quite simply.

- Paul
private teacher - Dallas, Texas


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 Re: Conversion
Author: NorbertTheParrot 
Date:   2008-08-18 18:35

OK, it's bass clef, you aren't too good at technical terms, and you don't play the sax. With that information, let's try again.

Middle line of the bass stave is concert D. To play in the correct key, but an octave higher, you need to play bottom-line E on the clarinet - that's thumb and first finger.

Lowest "normal" note in tenor trombone music is concert E, on the first leger line below the bass stave. To play that, you need to play low F# on the clarinet.

If you are going to write it out, then the rules are:

1) Move everything down two lines or two spaces (so bass-clef-middle-line D becomes treble-clef-bottom-line E, and so on).

2) Add two sharps to, or subtract two flats from, the key signature.

If you use a notation program, then you can just input it to the computer as written for the trombone, and the program will transpose it for you. Well, any decent program will. Some of the free ones may not.

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 Re: Conversion
Author: GoddessKali 
Date:   2008-08-18 20:43

Thanks everyone! That helps a lot! Wish me luck!

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 Re: Conversion
Author: GoddessKali 
Date:   2008-08-19 00:31

OK, so I'm going to try Vivali PlayAlong. Anyone know if A) it's any good and B) will it do what I need it to?

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 Re: Conversion
Author: NorbertTheParrot 
Date:   2008-08-19 09:08

I think you mean Vivaldi PlayAlong, not "Vivali". I'd never heard of it. The website says it will transpose, presumably that includes transposing across clefs. You may find you have to do the transposition in two steps, say up a fifth and then up another fifth.

The best known programs are Finale and Sibelius. Finale has a free version, not sure about Sibelius. Both are expensive for the full version.

I use Mozart, which will certainly do what you require but is no longer very cheap.

Some people recommend Noteworthy, which is quite cheap. I didn't like it when I tried it. It has a free "evaluation" edition, but you may find that this won't print out or something, I can't remember.

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 Re: Conversion
Author: blazian 
Date:   2008-08-19 21:10

I use Noteworthy, though I also have Finale Notepad.

The free evaluation of Noteworthy is exactly like the non-evaluation version of the program EXCEPT when you print the music out, above every line is in microscopic print, "Unregistered Noteworthy Print". It can be annoying, but most of the time it's inconsequential or embarrassing because people ask you what it means.

To transpose on Noteworthy, you tell it to transpose a certain number of semitones up or down. It's really easy, and if you need to you can import the MIDI file in and then transpose. I figured out everything without reading the manual.

- Martin

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 Re: Conversion
Author: GoddessKali 
Date:   2008-08-21 22:33

OK, new problem. Vivaldi composes for piano. Is this a problem, or is it possible to change it? I can't seem to locate an option for another instrument.

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 Re: Conversion
Author: Jack Kissinger 
Date:   2008-08-22 04:36

"Does anyone know how I would go about locating a simple way to convert music written for trombone to that for a B-flat Clarinet?"

Ask the composer to transpose it? (That wouldn't seem like asking too much of someone who wants to hear his music performed.)

Or hire a music major from a local college or a local music teacher?

That sounds a lot easier than some of these other suggestions. (And depending on the length of the piece, it could have been done by now.)

Best regards,
jnk

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