bass clef

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by hazybass, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. hazybass

    hazybass New Member

    please can anyone tell me how to transpose from treble clef to bass clef i never listened in class so i never knew how to do it thanks :-? :-? :-?
  2. katharine

    katharine Member

    okay, the way I do it is to imagine:

    1) the treble clef is actually a bass clef, so a middle C becomes a low e
    2) add three flats to the key signature, so F major treble clef (1 flat) becomes Ab major bass clef (4 flats) or D major treble clef (2 sharps) becomes F major bass clef (1 flat)

    hope that that's clear
  3. hazybass

    hazybass New Member

    thank you now i get it
  4. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    No it's not clear at all. You are saying that a middle C for a Eb instrument become an E for a concert pitch instrument :confused: . Sorry, but that's very misleading. I suggest that you bear in mind that you are already transposing when you read treble clef on an Eb instrument. I suggest that you try and do things properly, so instead of reading one thing and thinking another, try and THINK in C, so that your 'C' becomes an Eb.

    There are probably members of this forum who can explain it better than I, but the worst thing you could possibly do is try and transpose all the time.

    Best of luck.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2006
  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Oo-errrr! hazybass, are you a tuba player reading in bass clef (concert pitch) wanting to play brass band treble clef parts (that are already transposed)? What pitch tuba do you regularly play? Eb or Bb?
  6. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Sometimes it is better to get a visual comparison to see what changes occur when remapping clefs ... the important thing to remember when substituting note for note is that the position of the sharps/flats change location. You will also have to think about accidentals as well.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2007
  7. hazybass

    hazybass New Member

    i used to play Eb and Bb but in treble clef
  8. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - have a look at the attachment and see what changes are there for a scale of C in concert pitch bass clef.

    post-edit:- here's a small musical sample to make direct comparisons with (... I have transposed the part up a semitone for ease of reading and the work is in the public domain)
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2007
  9. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I'm not sure how much I want to get into this discussion because at the end of the day it's down to what works best for you.


    Brass band parts are transposed parts. What we (Eb players) see as a C (say) does not sound the pitch C as you would play it on the piano (for example). In order for your C to be the same, a piano would have to play an Eb. Similarly, a Piano C is the same as your A.

    When I was learning bass clef for the school orchestra, I was told to learn it like this:

    Change the clef from bass to treble and add three sharps to the key sign.

    To do it backwards, you would change the clef from treble to bass and add three flats to the key sign.

    This was useful while I was young and inexperienced, but when I got older I learned to read the notes as what they were and adapt accordingly. Let's face it, it's not rocket science.

    When I had to play euph with the piano in assemblies, I used to read the piano part and just make my mind do the stunningly difficult task of playing everything up a tone. This explains my abiding hatred for "Shine Jesus Shine", which was in a ****** awkward key - I think it was E, which puts Bb instruments into F# [shudders]:eek:

    Hope this helps
  10. BeatTheSheep

    BeatTheSheep Member

    no, I think its in A, but B majors not nice either, and for Eb instruments thats F# major anyway. Clear as mud.

    whatever system you use to transpose, stick to it, otherwise you'll only get confused. It is simpler to change key and clef from bass to treble clef. But you need to actually know what note it is in bass clef to work out accidentals.
  11. hazybass

    hazybass New Member

    thanks everyone
  12. Eupher6

    Eupher6 Member

    This is a common question.

    As a person who learned bass clef first (being a trombonist/eupher in the U.S. and thus having no experience with brass bands), I learned treble/tenor clef as a youngster.

    There are a bazillion ways to do it. For me, what works best is to have both treble clef and bass clef parts (if at all possible) and learn by association.

    After 15 minutes of study, put away the treble clef part and play away. The mistakes will get fewer and reading will get better as time passes.

    The quicker one gets rid of the treble clef "crutch", the quicker one will become adept in reading bass clef.

    In essence, what I mean is - don't think about it, just do it. Getting hung up on note names, intervals, etc., isn't always the best method. What DOES work is getting in there and reading the bass clef part over and over again, referring to the treble clef part (or fingering chart) if necessary.

    Your mileage may vary, of course.
  13. Gorgie boy

    Gorgie boy Member

    I started off as a brass band player then for a lot of years did much more orchestral work and for the past few years it's been all bands again.

    When i started playing bass clef tuba parts, it was all transposing (add three sharps all that rubbish). But after a while it all kind of changes, and you realise that you are actually playing in bass clef, so much so that whenever I played treble clef I found I was transposing that!

    Now that I play in bands a lot more I struggle a bit with bass clef, so i guess my point is the same as Eupher6. Keep practising it and eventually you do it by instinct.
  14. Bass and Treble on Trombone (or Euph) is a whole different can of worms! There isn't such an easy cheat as outlined above for Eb Treble to C Bass.

    The whole bass vs treble on trombone was debated at length recently on another thread!!!

    Biggest snag with cheating is that you and the conductor will never be able to communicate! Lets go from your Eb...???
  15. Mister 4x4

    Mister 4x4 Member

    Once you go Bass Clef, you'll never go back. :D ;)
  16. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    Slightly off topic but.........

    We had a player a couple of years ago who came from Poland. He said he played Bb Bass. He couldn't understand (nor could we) why, when he played it sounded like he was playing wrong notes until I watched him play a scale of C. Totally different notes! When he saw the note A, he played B, note G he played A etc. He was trying to transpose all the time. In the end I tried to teach him the fingering on 'our' pictched instrument, but he found it required more practice than he had time for so gave up after a few weeks.

    I can read bass clef for piano, and years ago when I played French Horn, I used to have the odd Eb part that I had to transpose, if I remember rightly you dropped the note down a tone(?). Although I haven't done either for years, I would be able to read Bass Clef (piano) but I would find it difficult to transpose unless playing something easy like hymns! If you learn to read the Bass Clef part as is, it will probably benefit you in the long run than having your mind transpose notes into ones you are familiar with.
  17. could you give some examples of playing double e flat bass in treble clef when the music is written in bass clef i.e. someone says knock off 2 flats or 3 sharps etc. is this correct ?
  18. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Quality could be better but hey-ho!

  19. BoBo

    BoBo Member

    There is a version of Arban in Bass Clef, that is what nailed it for me. I agree with earlier posters who advocate becoming an instinctive reader rather than transposing.
  20. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I suppose another way of learning is by playing bass clef on a keyboard and getting used to concert pitch and then relating the composing pitch of the tuba to it.

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