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Topic: CoMB Instrument names and equivalences

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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Perth, Western Australia
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    CoMB Instrument names and equivalences

    Hi

    Just got my copy of CoMB (yay )

    However, I'm very quickly becoming confused, and would like some help with the instruments in the Library. Instrument names vary from continent to continent, which is giving me a headache

    I'm working with a Sousa score, which calls for Eb Alto Horns, Tenor Horns and Baritones as well as Trombones, Bb Bass and Tuba

    Now, after much scouring of the web, I have decided that I should use the CoMB Tenor horns for the (score) Alto Horns, The CoMB Baritone for the Tenor Horn, the CoMB Euphonium for the Baritone and the CoMB Bass Trombone for the Bb Bass. (The Baritone part carries more melody than the Bb Bass)

    Could someone let me know if this is a fair decision?

    I wonder if there is some sort of reference which will give more info on the instruments ampled in the CoMB library

    Cheers...

    Daz :0)

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: CoMB Instrument names and equivalences

    While a lot of it will be determined by what you want the final product to sound like, when I was growing up in the 1950's playing in a high school band and playing a lot of Sousa march arrangements, the Eb Alto Horn parts were always played by the mellophones plus we also had an Eb tuba in addition to the BBb tuba. The Eb tuba was physically smaller and played, basically, an octave higher than the BBb tubas.

    I'm not sure this helps answer your question but this seemed to be a standard way of doing things in the 1950's. Others may have different viewpoints.
    Jerry
    Dayton, Kentucky
    Personally, I'm waiting for caller IQ.

  3. #3

    Re: CoMB Instrument names and equivalences

    Hi, DAZ, nice to see you here as well as on Finale.
    You'll love CoMB!

    In Sousa, you can use the CoMB mellophones OR the CoMB tenorhorns to do the Eb alto parts. The mellos are in F and the tenors are tenors in the BRITISH sense, ie in Eb.
    **Sousa's band, BTW, used actual french horns, NOT "peckhorns" (upright altos in Eb). A part that is for "alto" is likely a reworking for a Highschool band, which was likely to have those peckhorns, which were cheaper than horns and more manageable. Marching with french horns or oboes was and is NEVER a good idea**

    As to "tenor" and "Bb bass" parts...before you worry about "what instrument," worry first about DOUBLING. Band parts traditionally contained a TON of doubling, NOT for musical reasons but for PRACTICAL reasons...highschool bands NEVER had common instrumentation, so bands had to make due with what was available, so publishers, especially for marches, produced a lot of duplicate parts. "Tenor" parts usually doubled the trombones, so there is NO need to include both. Same for "altos" and french horns. Look carefully at the parts to see what is doubled unnecessarily. The "Bb bass" part is usually superfluous as well. I trust that you can decipher the transpositions on the parts/score to see what's doubled.
    Generally speaking, you'll get a better performance if you use fewer instruments, live or sampled, and still have all the parts covered. That's ESPECIALLY true of band instruments...
    If you have any more questions about doublings or transpositions, feel free, but please consider the superfluous doubling issue as you prepare your score.

    Snorlax (world's quietest euphonium player)
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  4. #4
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    Re: CoMB Instrument names and equivalences

    Hi

    Jerry: Thanks for your answer. I (briefly) belonged to a band in high school here in Aus. Our band had some Trumpets, some Trombones, a Euphonium (which I played, along with a trombone occasionally), a Base Trombone, a few Clarinets, some Flutes, an Oboe, a set of (sit down) Drums and a guitar. Not exactly a marching ensemble. I've never seen a mellophone in the flesh, as it were, and the only horns I've clapped eyes on have been the French Horns at the WASO (West australian Symphony Orchestra) when I've gone along to watch them play.

    Jim: Thanks for that. I notice that the Tenor Horns are doubled with the Trombones. The Bb Bass seems to have its own unique part, at times re-enforcing the Tuba and Baritone, at other times backing up the trombones. Yet it also seems to have at least one section in which it stands by itself. I have been ble to muddle through the transpositions, although the Piccolo part gave me a bit of confusion for a while. The Oboe and Bassoons have a key sig with 1 flat, yet the Piccolo had 4 sharps. It took me a while to find out that the piccolo (referred to in this score) plays a minor 9th above what is written, rather than the traditional Octave that I'm used to (orchestral piccolo).

    The only one that is still puzzling me is the Tuba. The part calls itself an Eb Tuba, however it's seems to be written for a Bb instrument. That is, it's in the same key as the Bb Bass.

    Anyhoo, thanks again to both of you for your help

    Cheers...

    Daz :0)

  5. #5

    Re: CoMB Instrument names and equivalences

    Daz,
    The piccolo part is in Db transposition. The Db piccolo is no longer used in the modern band.

    As to the tubas, there mey be an Eb bass treble clef...it transposes as a baritone sax. But from your description I infer that it's bass clef for both tubas. In that case, no transposition is involved...WYSIWYHear. The parts might be in octaves in passages, as the three-valve Eb bass, the one you'd see in a 50s highschool, stopped at A below the staff, whereas the BBb bass with three valves would go a fourth lower.

    Jim
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  6. #6

    Re: CoMB Instrument names and equivalences

    Quote Originally Posted by darrob
    The only one that is still puzzling me is the Tuba. The part calls itself an Eb Tuba, however it's seems to be written for a Bb instrument. That is, it's in the same key as the Bb Bass.
    Bb or C? In American band music, all Bass Clef brass is notated as a C instrument regardless of the actual key of the instrument.

    If you look at a Treble Clef Bb Baritone part, it is notated as Bb instrument sounding one octave below the Trumpet. But, the same exact part in Bass Clef is notated as C instrument.

  7. #7

    Re: CoMB Instrument names and equivalences

    The parts he's describing are bass clef at pitch.
    There is a tradition of transposing bass clef in France, Holland, and Belgium.

    Everywhere else, it is justifiably frowned upon and does not exist here. I'm not sure if Leduc does it any more, since I haven't bought a Leduc piece in 20 years or so.

    see my transposition primer here for further info on transposition and further encouragement NEVER to write parts in transposing bass clef.

    Snor
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

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