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Topic: A Little Help with Theory

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  1. #1

    Question A Little Help with Theory

    I feel I am very proficient with music theory (though I was not an orchestral major). However, I am trying to play a written part of a score for a trumpet and am having some transposition problems. Here is the scenario: The score is in Dminor. The trumpet part is listed as "3 Trombe(B)" which means 3 Bb trumpets. However, the part is written in Am - just like the Horn section(which are F instruments). This is either a typo in the key signature, or a typo in the type of trumpet. Anyway, the first note is B below middle C. I thought I could play the part into Sonar as written but use the midi transpose function. I transposed it "-7" to take it down a 5th for the key. This could be where I am mixed up...but anyway.... When I play the part into Sonar, the "B" I play - I suppose this would really be an "E" - is below the playable range of my sample library. So here are my questions:

    1) Do I have this set up incorrectly?
    2) Could it be the sample library does not cover the entire playable range of the trumpet?
    3) What the heck is up with the key signature being in Am?
    Jonathan Kerr
    J.Kerr Music, Inc

  2. #2

    Re: A Little Help with Theory

    the notation refers to the fingering of the trumpet not the sound of the note.... you'll have to transpose it to match sound of the notes

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Smile Re: A Little Help with Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by jkerr
    I feel I am very proficient with music theory (though I was not an orchestral major). However, I am trying to play a written part of a score for a trumpet and am having some transposition problems. Here is the scenario: The score is in Dminor. The trumpet part is listed as "3 Trombe(B)" which means 3 Bb trumpets. However, the part is written in Am - just like the Horn section(which are F instruments). This is either a typo in the key signature, or a typo in the type of trumpet. Anyway, the first note is B below middle C. I thought I could play the part into Sonar as written but use the midi transpose function. I transposed it "-7" to take it down a 5th for the key. This could be where I am mixed up...but anyway.... When I play the part into Sonar, the "B" I play - I suppose this would really be an "E" - is below the playable range of my sample library. So here are my questions:

    1) Do I have this set up incorrectly?
    2) Could it be the sample library does not cover the entire playable range of the trumpet?
    3) What the heck is up with the key signature being in Am?

    That is the correct range of the standard Bb trumpet. Does the score happen to be in concert pitch? Also, if it is a Bb instrument (and it is a transposed score) then you would only transpose the part down a major second. The other possibility is that the piece is bi-tonal. Hammersmith by Holst has 2 different keys happening at the same time. What piece is it?

    Good luck,

    Christiaan

  4. #4

    Re: A Little Help with Theory

    It's actually simple, and hope it's the case too.
    You might notice a lot of the pre-Romantic orchestral scores don't have key signatures entirely in the transposing brass instruments (trumpets and horns). And some later composers follow this tradition too. It's normal to have horns and trumpets all written in C/Am regardless of what key the piece is in.

    So if you got a written B on Bb trumpet, it does mean a concert A down a major second (which makes sense too as it's the dominant of D minor, as the first note, while the concert E you worked out doesn't seem to fit into context as a D minor opening too)
    Dell Precision T3500 (Xeon W3520, 12GB RAM) / Windows 7 x64 / Sonar 8 / VE Pro / WIVI 2.3 / Kontakt 4 / G-Player 1.2

  5. #5

    Re: A Little Help with Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by FrozeN
    It's actually simple, and hope it's the case too.
    You might notice a lot of the pre-Romantic orchestral scores don't have key signatures entirely in the transposing brass instruments (trumpets and horns). And some later composers follow this tradition too. It's normal to have horns and trumpets all written in C/Am regardless of what key the piece is in.

    So if you got a written B on Bb trumpet, it does mean a concert A down a major second (which makes sense too as it's the dominant of D minor, as the first note, while the concert E you worked out doesn't seem to fit into context as a D minor opening too)
    Exactly... the part is not written in Am, just without key signature (as is the horn part), however, all notes will still be written a major 2nd above sounding pitch.

    Daryl

  6. #6

    Re: A Little Help with Theory

    Daryl and FroZen are absolutely right. The notes still sound a major second lower than the written notes. Normally the key signature would have an f sharp, like it was in e minor. Because it is a trumpet part, the f sharp is left out of the key signature and put in the score wherever an f sharp appears. This is a traditional notation and is still used today.

    I have reviewed a lot of score where the horns and trumptets do not have key signatures, even for Horns in D or Horns in E, for example.

    David

  7. #7

    Re: A Little Help with Theory

    Well that would make sense because it has F#'s throughout the horn parts. So just transposing down a major second from where it is written should work. You can tell I am not a horn player . Now, just touching on that comment - The Tuba and Trombone parts do have their key signatures, so I would assume the only parts that will have this "oddity" are the horns and trumpets? Thanks for the quick replies - now I can go to work.
    Jonathan Kerr
    J.Kerr Music, Inc

  8. #8

    Re: A Little Help with Theory

    Oh some background notes for your reference too.

    It started when the early natural instruments of the brass family didn't need to play in any key except C major. They had natural trumpets and horns in A for A major, trumpets and horns in Eb for Eb major, and so on. So... that reminds me of the joke about brass players that they can't read accidentals! LOL

    And yup you are right as trombones and tubas are NOT transposing instruments.
    Dell Precision T3500 (Xeon W3520, 12GB RAM) / Windows 7 x64 / Sonar 8 / VE Pro / WIVI 2.3 / Kontakt 4 / G-Player 1.2

  9. #9

    Re: A Little Help with Theory

    Good to have some background with it. Seriously though, thank you for the quick answers and thorough explanations. I will post here when this mockup is complete. I have never done a mockup. I figure there is no better way to understand the mind of a composer without playing a full score by him.
    Jonathan Kerr
    J.Kerr Music, Inc

  10. #10

    Re: A Little Help with Theory

    You're welcome and hope to see your mockup track online soon!
    Dell Precision T3500 (Xeon W3520, 12GB RAM) / Windows 7 x64 / Sonar 8 / VE Pro / WIVI 2.3 / Kontakt 4 / G-Player 1.2

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