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Beginner Transposing

charlie

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Can anyone help me, my husband has got a transposing chart in the back of one of his music books and is trying to transpose a clarinet piece into alto sax, but when he plays it doesn't sound right. Does anyone have any tips for why this might be
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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Umm... He's doing it wrong?

Sorry.

Assuming the piece is written for Bb clarinet then he needs to add 1 sharp, or subtract 1 flat from the key signature (depending on which key it's in). Then he needs to transpose each note up a 5th. For instance a C becomes a G, a D becomes an A, etc. It may be a good idea to write out the original scale with the transposed one under it for reference, like so:

Say it's in F major

old scale: F G A BbC D E
new scale: C D E F G A B

or if it's in A

A B C# D E F# G#
E F#G# A B C# D#


Of course, if the melody is way down the bottom end of the clarinet then he may have to add an octave as well to put it in the range of the alto.
 
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37
The piece is written for b flat clarinet. And as my wife charlie said i tried using a transposing chart. Ive never tried it before, but thought id give it a go. Thanks for the advice it is appreciated very much.

Rory
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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The good thing about Nick's method is that you can use the same chart for all keys - just adjust the key signature the way he said, expand the chart above to inlucde all the sharps/flats, and away you go. Nice to have a husband and wife team here!
 
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37
Thanks kev. My wife doesnt play she just enjoys listening to it. She does play guitar and drums tho. She is very useful when it comes to working out tunes.

Rory
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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I'm lucky that way as well, my wife's a much better musician than me. She helps me a lot, when I let her, but I'm a stubborn so and so who often needs (wants ???) to work things out myself, my way.
 

BigMartin

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3,904
Umm... He's doing it wrong?

Of course, if the melody is way down the bottom end of the clarinet then he may have to add an octave as well to put it in the range of the alto.
Minor quibble: If I'm not totally confused (always a possibility ;}) alto sax goes dow to concert D flat, as compared with the clarinet's D. You probably have more problems at the clarinet's top end, which is pretty stratospheric.

Martin
 

Sue

If at first you don't succeed try try try a Gin
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I thought the clarinet had a bigger range than alto? Thought it went down to E below middle C. Might be wrong - it has been known :)
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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Minor quibble: If I'm not totally confused (always a possibility ;}) alto sax goes dow to concert D flat, as compared with the clarinet's D. You probably have more problems at the clarinet's top end, which is pretty stratospheric.

Martin
Oh alright, you win. The bottom note on a clarinet is a written E which equates to a bottom B on an alto. I should have said 'comfortable range'. Bottom notes on a clarinet are somewhat easier than those on a sax. You're right about the top end too.:blush:

Sue's point about the range is sort of correct too. The easy range of a clarinet is greater than that of an alto. But ultimately range is rather dependent on the player. For instance my comfortable playing range on baritone sax is greater than that on clarinet.
 
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37
Hey guys hopefully you will be pleased to know i have found a better transposing chart on the internet and am no longer destroying songs. Thanks for all the advice, it is appreciated very much.

Regards

Rory
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Please share the URL, then we can all benefit.:welldone
 
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Der Wikinger

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180
Lets work it backwards. "Concert" key is the key for all non transposing instruments. Therefore: If the key for clarinet is D for example, the concert key would be C or a second down. Now that we have the concert key, we can calculate for an Eb instrument which is a minor third down: I. E. the key of "A." If you follow this formula it will work for ANY key.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Lets work it backwards. "Concert" key is the key for all non transposing instruments. Therefore: If the key for clarinet is D for example, the concert key would be C or a second down. Now that we have the concert key, we can calculate for an Eb instrument which is a minor third down: I. E. the key of "A." If you follow this formula it will work for ANY key.
Assuming the clarinet is in Bb... And the D you mention above is the written key of the piece. Sorry to be pedantic, but it's so easy to get confused with this stuff. And 'the key of the clarinet is D' implies an odd beast - a clarinet in D.....
 

Der Wikinger

Member
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180
The clarinet is tuned in Bb I know that. I was talking about the music being in D, not the clarinet. The clarinet does have a bigger range than an alto sax. But if you are transposing you have to make octave adjustments. I thought the goal was to make an alto sax part out of a clarinet one? Did I miss something?
 

kevgermany

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There are many clarinets that aren't in Bb - C and Eb for instance.

But what I was really doing was trying to make it clear what you were saying - as what you said could be read in different ways, not just the way you intended.
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
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3,013
There is also a clarinet in D. However it would be safe to assume that we are talking about Bb clarinets unless otherwise stated. Der Wikinger couldn't have been clearer. The trouble is that this stuff does our heads in until we get it. If I have sheet music for a Bb instrument that I want to write out for an Eb sax, I take it up a fifth. Up two lines or up two spaces with the key signature altered to suit.

A tune written in C would transpose to D for a Bb clarinet and A for an Eb sax.

Jim.
 
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