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Beginner Transposing from and to Tenor

trevorlingard

New Member
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Lancashire
Is there an easy way to transpose from say piano music to tenor.
For the life in me I just cant grasp it.:confused:
Is there a rule of thumb method or simple charts I can follow?
Regards
 

half diminished

Senior Member
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Yes. Piano is in C (Concert pitch), tenor in Bb (transposing instrument - Bb sounds as C concert pitch).

Just drop by a full tone.

So: C becomes Bb, D to C, Eb to Db, E to D, F to Eb etc etc.
 

trevorlingard

New Member
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Lancashire
Cheers Ian
Sounds simple when you have explained it that way.
Now I shall try and remember.
:thankyou:
 

Mikec

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Buckinghamshire, UK
Well, you're right but it's the other way around. A C played on a tenor sax sounds as concert pitch Bb. To transpose a piece of written music from concert pitch so that when played on tenor sax it sounds the same as the concert pitch piece, you raise each note a whole tone.
 

trevorlingard

New Member
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Lancashire
Hi Mike
Well...now I start to get confused again.
Being Dyslexic,...I find it very confusing.:confused:
But I appreciate your help.
Is there a chart which I might follow better.
The written word does not sink in the same for me.:(
Regards
 

half diminished

Senior Member
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Well, you're right but it's the other way around. A C played on a tenor sax sounds as concert pitch Bb. To transpose a piece of written music from concert pitch so that when played on tenor sax it sounds the same as the concert pitch piece, you raise each note a whole tone.

Doh..... :confused:

I thought I had this. I'll get my coat. :)))
 

Sue

One prosecco, two prosecco, three prosecco - floor
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Table added - hope this helps :)
 

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Linky Lee

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Salisbury, UK
The easiest way to remember this (for me anyway) is:

1. start with the instrument you are transposing from as a reference point.
In this case, Piano in C.

2. Now find out which key your transposing instrument is in. This case tenor sax so Bb.

3. Now find how far away Bb is from C. It's a tone lower.

4. You now change the note by this interval in the opposite direction. i.e up a tone in this case
(2 semi-tones, not a note. i.e E transposes to F sharp, not F).

So if you ever get an alto and want to transpose to that follow the same.

1. C
2. Eb
3. minor third higher (3 semi-tones up)
4. minor 3rd lower. i.e C transposes to A
 

trevorlingard

New Member
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Lancashire
Thank you so much Sue
That table is a great help.
Now Ive got something I can absorb better.
Much appreciated.
Regards
 

trevorlingard

New Member
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Lancashire
Cheers Linky
I think that info is a bit difficult for me so I will stick with the table given by Sue for the time being.
Cheers anyway.
 

Young Col

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I keep a table like Sue's in my sax case. Trying to keep remembering the alto is a minor 3rd different from concert as well. I know what it's like Trevor. I am a minor dyslexic and my son is more so. The learning has to be done throughly and clearly and then it goes in - and never leaves, I find!
 

Pee Dee

Member
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Dorset
The easiest way to remember this (for me anyway) is:

1. start with the instrument you are transposing from as a reference point.
In this case, Piano in C.

2. Now find out which key your transposing instrument is in. This case tenor sax so Bb.

3. Now find how far away Bb is from C. It's a tone lower.

4. You now change the note by this interval in the opposite direction. i.e up a tone in this case
(2 semi-tones, not a note. i.e E transposes to F sharp, not F).

So if you ever get an alto and want to transpose to that follow the same.

1. C
2. Eb
3. minor third higher (3 semi-tones up)
4. minor 3rd lower. i.e C transposes to A

Surely Bb to C is three semitones, or one and a half tones, not one tone as you say??:confused:
 

Mikec

Member
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Buckinghamshire, UK
Surely Bb to C is three semitones, or one and a half tones, not one tone as you say??:confused:

You raise B flat to B, that's a semi-tone, then you raise B to C, another semi-tone. That's two semi-tones equalling one whole tone. If you count it on a keyboard and start with the Bb, it includes three keys, but the intervals are only semi-tones. The convention when counting on a keyboard is to treat the first note as zero, so Bb key is zero, B key is one and C key is 2, again equalling one whole tone.

It sinks in eventually!
 

griff136

Well-Known Member
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I live in Exmouth Devon.
The easiest way to remember this (for me anyway) is:

1. start with the instrument you are transposing from as a reference point.
In this case, Piano in C.

2. Now find out which key your transposing instrument is in. This case tenor sax so Bb.

3. Now find how far away Bb is from C. It's a tone lower.

4. You now change the note by this interval in the opposite direction. i.e up a tone in this case
(2 semi-tones, not a note. i.e E transposes to F sharp, not F).

So if you ever get an alto and want to transpose to that follow the same.

1. C
2. Eb
3. minor third higher (3 semi-tones up)
4. minor 3rd lower. i.e C transposes to A

while I use the same method a Linky to transpose from C to Eb, in fact to get the note you are transposing in the right octave you actually need to transpose up a major 6th.
 

old git

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Trust an ex Royal Marine to bring in Majors. :)


Also reference to YC's remark regarding sticking, when are you going to pay back that pony I loaned to you?
 
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trevorlingard

New Member
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Lancashire
Cheers Young Col
I am going to do exactly the same and keep the table handy.
Like you say.. once learnt (with difficulty) not forgot.
Regards
:thankyou:
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Surely Bb to C is three semitones, or one and a half tones, not one tone as you say??:confused:

He's talking about the alto here, see the sentence just before the second 1,2,3,4. .
 

old git

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He's talking about the alto here, see the sentence just before the second 1,2,3,4. .
Totally lost now.
Kev, him of the appalling Parker pun, seems to be suggesting that there are three semitones between Bb and C when playing an alto but only two when playing tenor.
This means that if you play a C Melody, logically there are two and a half semitones.
MY BRAIN HURTS!
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
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Coulsdon, London/Surrey
Let's get it right chaps! In alto or tenor players' lingo Bb to B is a semitone and B to C is a semitone. Thus Bb to C is a whole tone (in our stylised Western music way of course...).

Interesting, my very precise teacher, whom Griff knows, tells me that transposition from concert C to Eb is a minor 3rd, even though as Griff rightly says, it is actually a major 6th difference for alto sax.

What do you mean trickery and ponies Bill? Or is it a one-trick pony?:))) I thought you were going to ask how I got a table in my sax case. Don't worry, it's a three legged (or columned) one (really).
Colin
 

Linky Lee

Member
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180
Locality
Salisbury, UK
Thanks for clearing that up Young Col.
_________________________________
If you were confused previously, ignore the below! (excluding old gits)

Old git, to be pedantic if there are 2 semi-tones between Bb and C on tenor and 3 on alto then there should be 2.4 on a C mel. Explanation below.

alto in Eb has 3 semi-tones between Bb and C
tenor in Bb has 2 semi-tones between Bb and C

5 semi-tones between tenor (Bb) and alto (Eb), therefore 1 semi-tone difference between Bb and C for every 5 semi-tones difference between instrument keys.

Thus, C melody sax in 'C' between alto and tenor. 2 semi-tones higher than Bb tenor. Therefore 2/5 of a semi-tone. so really it's 2.4 semi-tones between Bb and C on a C melody.

Also working the other way, 3 semi-tones lower than the alto implying 3 - 0.6 = 2.4 QED.

Note: That's why my B is always sharp on the C-mel!
 

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