View Full Version : Transposing Advice Needed

02-20-2009, 10:22 PM
I play baritone tc and would like to know how to transpose bc to tc and vice-versa... also from BBb tuba to baritone bc... i looked over the bass clef... and correct if im wrong but from baritone bc to tc i have to go up a major 3rd... to play tuba music on bari. bc i have to go up an octive... tuba to bari tc... octive jump + major 3rd...

02-20-2009, 10:37 PM
Transposing to bari sax from bass clef, you write the bari's pitches a Major 6th plus one octave higher.
- so a second-space, bas clef "C" is a second-space "A" in treble clef.

An easy way to visualise that transposition is to simply read the bass clef concert pitches as if they were in the treble clef, with this caveat - you must change the key signature (a Maj 6th up or min 3rd down) and you also have to take care about the accidentals when you see them.

Tubas are funny critters and can be pitched and written differently. But generally, they are written in concert pitch (even if it says Bb tuba). So the transposition is the same.

02-20-2009, 10:48 PM
For us simple folks:

Transpose C to Bb instrument = Up 2 half steps or down 10
Transpose C to Eb instrument = Up 9 half steps or down 3
Transpose Bb to Eb instrument = Up 7 half steps or down 5

Transpose Treble Clef to Bass Clef = Up 8 half steps and change to original key signature
Transpose Bass Clef to Treble Clef = Down 8 half steps and change to original key signature

02-21-2009, 01:25 AM
For us simple folks:

Counting eight or nine half steps is easier for you than just using an interval? :shock:
I guess we all are wired differently, LOL.

02-21-2009, 04:23 AM
Counting eight or nne half steps is easier for you than just using an interval? :shock:
I guess we all are wired differently, LOL.


I maybe wire a little different than most.

On the issue of the tuba and baritone. I had to figure this one out too since I regularly score music for a young man that plays euphonium with us.

It appears that the baritone is a hybrid instrument that was originally supposed to be able to play a tuba part scored to concert C pitch in bass clef and also be able to play a cornet part scored to Bb in treble cleft. They set this up by teaching baritone players to use "compensated" fingerings while playing in treble clef.

This is also supposed to be parallel to the way that tuba parts were traditionally scored in treble clef in ages past and in other countries were hamburgers and fries are not a major part of the diet. But the important part is that a baritone player fingers a written G in treble clef differently than in bass clef. So the whole thing works.

Since my euphonium player used to play tuba back in high school, I always write his part in concert pitch in bass clef.

02-21-2009, 06:56 AM
On the issue of the tuba and baritone. I had to figure this one out too since I regularly score music for a young man that plays euphonium with us, etc.

Since this is a saxophone forum and since there is also a sub-forum for doubles where discussions of brass instruments occur, I assume he is referring to a baritone sax.

02-21-2009, 07:14 AM
being in drum corp, and having played brass for 7 years and done most of this personally, I feel relatively confident in giving this one a go.

Tubas generally are in BBb, CC, Eb, and F. Most of the time in wind ensemble you see tubas in BBb, which contrary to your gut, means that they are in concert pitch. Same as flutes, pianos etc.
Baritone TC and BC are the same instrument. The parts are often identical as well. The baritone BC is pitched one octave above a tuba, and can play trombone parts. This makes it an ideal double for both tuba players and trombone players. Baritone TC is pitched an octave below trumpets and is pitched in Bb, aiding in the doubling for trumpets. This conveniently allows a band to either pull and trombone or tuba player and stick him on a BC baritone part and he wont' have to relearn a partial set, and the same goes for trumpet players going down to TC baritone. A baritone is a baritone. There is no real instrument designation between a treble or bass clef baritone *i.e. if you go to a store and say I want a TC baritone, then go in the next day and say I want a BC baritone, you'll get the same instrument and it won't matter* it is purely the players preference.
Often times smaller bore baritones will play treble clef parts, and large bore euphoniums almost always play the bass clef.

For transposing. From tuba to bass clef baritone, provided the part was written for a BBb tuba, just bring it up a full octave. Most tuba music is written in concert pitch in bass clef. If you are playing a CC tuba, your fingering system will be different.

If you play baritone TC, it might be beneficial for you to learn to read the bass clef. It's not that difficult, and will keep you from having to transpose. Your partials will go from C C G C E G C etc. like they are in TC, to Bb Bb F Bb D F Bb etc. Fingerings are the same amongst all valve brass *for the first three valves, 4th 5th 6th valves and triggers do differing things, but the three valve combination is identical for all valved brass instrument. So 1st valve lowers a whole step, 2nd is a half step, and 3rd is a step and a half, so the fingerings are identical as well.

Long post, but I hope this clears some stuff up.

Oh, to play tuba music on a bari. Just read the music as is, changing all of the accidentals. The bass clef is moved down one line, so what the tuba reads as a concert Bb is the same place that a G is on the treble clef. Conveniently this is the baris tuning note as well, so no real note moving is involved. Just make sure you change the key signature and watch out for the accidentals. *This holds true going from any concert pitch bass clef part, to any Eb instrument in treble clef, and vice versa*