Bass Clef

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by wally, May 11, 2005.

  1. wally

    wally Member

    This is probably an outrageously straight forward question but I'm a bit of a d*ck when it comes to theory and i havent yet received an answer i'm happy with so i'll just ask it and face the consequences.

    I'm going to play tuba with an oompah band in germany next month. their bass parts are written in bass clef (which i am poor at reading). if i want to play the part on my double B - what do i have to do??
  2. HBB

    HBB Active Member

  3. yorkie19

    yorkie19 Active Member

    Can you read bass clef?
  4. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Then it'd just be up a tone!
  5. tubadaz

    tubadaz Member

    LOL! :) Alternatively, read it up a (diminished?) fourth and add 2 sharps. (Or if you've got the time, sit down and learn the Bass Clef fingerings!!;))
  6. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I don't think there is an easy way to transpose Bass Clef music to Bb Bass Treble Clef.

    OK, you could say "transpose it up a tone" and "adjust the accidentals" but frankly, if you can do that fluently, then you can probably read the clef itself.

    With Oompah music, you'll find that the vast majority of it will concentrate on Perfect Fourths and Fifths, (or Tonic, Sub Dominant and Dominant if you will) so, I'd concentrate on being able to recognise what the first note is, and practice going randomly from it to its relative fifth, fourth, sixth etc. I would also practice recognising the dominant seventh jump, as it looks very big (and tends to make my brain go "Aaaagggghhhh!!!") If you can do these, then the odd run will come fluently as your subconsicous mind will take over and play the notes in the right key (if you let it.)

    To sum up -
    • be sure you can recognise the key you're playing in (be it in concert or tranposed so you can understand it);
    • don't worry about making mistakes, and
    • let your subconscious do the work. You'll be amazed at what you can do if you let your ingrained knowledge do the work.
    Good luck!
  7. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    No it wouldn't. If you can read bass clef, then YOU PLAY IT AT PITCH.

    Huh!! Horn players!:rolleyes:
  8. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Forget the BBb and take and EEb instead - read as treble clef and add 3 sharps to the key signature (e.g if in 3 flats play as C major). Bit awkward when you get to 8 & 9 sharps (play double f# and double c#)

    This assumes the music is written in concert pitch. I've seen some German band music that is written for BBb or EEb but on the bass stave - as said above in that case just read the bass clef notes without any transposition or adjustment.
  9. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    I think what they're (gender inspecific ;) ) trying to say is if you know the note on the second line is B, take that note up a whole tone and play a C#. Concert (aka PIANO) bass clef, not technical brass bass clef.

    You have to remember some people view Bass clef based on their own experiences with it. Your experience is with transposing instruments, so you KNOW when you see written Bb, you play transposed C. Some people when needing to learn BC ASAP will need to learn that their instrument is transposed first.
  10. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    Usually Scandinavian publication in my experience.
    But yes, EEb all the way for cheat transposition!!
  11. euphybeast

    euphybeast Member


    If theory's not your thing, then switch to EEb. Watch out for C and F accidentals, and all will be well.
  12. Heppy

    Heppy Member

    Oh wally my good man, what have you got yourself into?!

    Your not shooting some wooden bird with a shot gun this year? Who said Germans didnt have a sense of humour?!

    all the best

  13. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    Bite the bullet and practise bass clef! There was once a time when I found bass clef euph parts nightmarish, now it's second nature simply because all those years ago I made the effort to learn/play bass clef parts all the time. At its simplest, you just have to take all those really simple melodies you learnt for your grade 1 and play the bass clef parts. If you ever want to do anything bass-wise outside of brass-banding (something I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone) then bass-clef is the most useful thing you can learn!
  14. wally

    wally Member

  15. wally

    wally Member

    ...just out of interest, what are the "bass clef fingerings??"

    and yes smed its wooden bird shooting time again. I dont know how the German health & safety exec reckon its a good idea to have hundreds of drunk men walking round brandishing loaded guns but they do! Hilarious. The beer and sausages are PARTICULARLY good though - and all free!! ( i think theyre looking for a sop actually!!)
  16. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Not necessarily, if what he meant by "Do you read bass clef?" was referring to the notes on lines as when singing or playing the piano, rather than in terms of "reading brass instruments from bass clef" - better not confuse the poor lad even more!
  17. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Peter, you've lost me there.

    Irrespective of what instrument you play, (and unless you're play a very odd piece that has Brass Band Bass Clef like the four tuba version of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - but that would make it even more confusing) if you correctly play the flattened note on the second line of the bass clef, you're playing a Bb, at pitch.

    Am I missing something?

    And incidentally, Wally, if an EEb bass is available, that's a much easier alternative when playing bass clef!
  18. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    Yes Will, you ARE!!!!

    AS I was saying before:
    I made this same mistake when I tried comingback to being a pianist after 4 years on eupho. I would see thenote "Bb" and try to play "C". You have to remember the true meaning of bass clef is for non-transposing instruments, so when they see a "Bb" they want to play a "Bb".

    So essentially what Pete is trying to tell our good friend here is this: If you know that note is called a Bb, play it one note higher (a la treble clef concert pitch).

    You have to also remember that technically we never play BC "to Pitch".
  19. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    What I'm saying is that there are plenty of people who would know that the first line up would be Bb, but may not equate that with the open "C" on a Bb transposing instrument.
  20. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    It's OK Peter, I defended your honour

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