Tutorials

Beginner Transposing from and to Tenor

trevorlingard

New Member
Messages
10
Location
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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1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
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.
 

Mikec

Member
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201
Location
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.
 
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trevorlingard

New Member
Messages
10
Location
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
Messages
1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
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. :)))
 

Linky Lee

Member
Messages
182
Location
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
 
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trevorlingard

New Member
Messages
10
Location
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

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,421
Location
Coulsdon, London/Surrey
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
Messages
425
Location
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
Messages
201
Location
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
Messages
1,030
Location
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.
 
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trevorlingard

New Member
Messages
10
Location
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:
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
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
Messages
2,421
Location
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
Messages
182
Location
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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