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Beginner Transposing has scrambled my brain!

SallySax

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I have purchased the score for 'Mess Around' by Ray Charles, and have managed to tie myself in knots over the sax part.

The sax parts are written in Bass Clef, in the original Eb key. I play Alto, and if I've understood correctly, Eb for the rest of the band, means I play in C. I read somewhere that if the notation is in Bass clef, then one needs to adjust the key signature, swap the Bass clef for a Treble clef, and play the notes as written. Right so far?

The confusion arises when the sax part reverts to Treble clef at bar 60. How do I deal with that? :confused: Should I drop the flats to adjust the key and transpose from there, or play as written?

I've spent so much time puzzling over this that my tiny brain has scrambled. I've been asked to play along with a group for an event, and would dearly love to get my first public performance right.

Can anyone help me please?

Thank-you.
 

Pete Thomas

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The sax parts are written in Bass Clef, in the original Eb key. I play Alto, and if I've understood correctly, Eb for the rest of the band, means I play in C. I read somewhere that if the notation is in Bass clef, then one needs to adjust the key signature, swap the Bass clef for a Treble clef, and play the notes as written. Right so far?
Kind of, but no saxophone part should be in bass clef or partially in bass clef. can you provide an image of the music?

My brain would also be scrambled.
 

SallySax

Member
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75
Wow, that was quick - thank-you!

I do have a PDF I could email if that would be helpful? I think it's the original arrangement by Ahmet Ertegun.
 
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Pete Thomas

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The best thing is to do a screen shot of just the opening clef and where it changes. You can then upload that here as a jpg file Uploading the entire part would probably contravene copyright law.

From what I understand, the music is untransposed, so it all needs transposing up one octave and a major 6th into treble clef for alto (this would be the key of C as you say.

The old trick of reading bass clef as if it's transposed would only really work for most people if the whole thing is in bass clef, otherwise you will get confused when it switches to treble clef which needs transposing. If you are good at sight transposing for alto, then it would be less of a problem, but it's not so easy from treble as it is from bass clef.
 

SallySax

Member
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75
Thanks for that Jim, but having listened to a Ray Charles recording, there are saxes playing from quite early on in the song.

I think I've figured out the notation for the early parts, and was feeling quite confident until I spotted the change of clef! Perhaps I'm just over-thinking...
 

Pete Thomas

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Thanks for that Jim, but having listened to a Ray Charles recording, there are saxes playing from quite early on in the song.

I think I've figured out the notation for the early parts, and was feeling quite confident until I spotted the change of clef! Perhaps I'm just over-thinking...
The thing here is that this isn't a saxophone part, it's basically a score to give someone (who isn't [playing the saxophone) an idea of what's going on. In that case it makes sense for the parts to be written in concert pitch, on whatever clef makes most sense at the time.

In any playing context, a score such as this would not be given to a saxophone player.

Unless you are really quick at transposing and switching clefs while doing so, the best thing is to copy out a transposed part in Eb.
 

SallySax

Member
Messages
75
The thing here is that this isn't a saxophone part, it's basically a score to give someone (who isn't [playing the saxophone) an idea of what's going on. In that case it makes sense for the parts to be written in concert pitch, on whatever clef makes most sense at the time.

Unless you are really quick at transposing and switching clefs while doing so, the best thing is to copy out a transposed part in Eb.
Ahh...that makes perfect sense! I'll write it out and file the rest, and that should be an end to the confusion...unless of course, the guys I'm playing with decide to change the key!

Thank-you so much for your clear and concise reply :)
 
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