Sounding Pitch?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by 4thmandown, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. 4thmandown

    4thmandown Member

    I've just received some (handwritten) parts for my church's 9 Lessons and Carols service. The footnote mentions "at sounding pitch". Does this mean that the parts have been written in concert pitch and I've to transpose up a tone? I suspect that it is.

    Sorry for displaying my complete lack of musical knowledge!
     
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I think you have it the wrong way round. The parts have already been transposed ... unless you have choral parts.
     
  3. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member


    :oops: ... nope. I've got it the wrong way round. The parts reflect the actual concert pitch of the part. Sheesh ... don't know why I thought that! :redface:
     
  4. 4thmandown

    4thmandown Member

    Thanks. I thought that they were in rather easy keys!
     
  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  6. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  7. Zappa

    Zappa Member

    Yep, read it up a tone.
     
  8. 4thmandown

    4thmandown Member

    Thanks for your help guys.

    I'm busy writing parts out, as my transposition at sight is somewhat out of practice - especially given that one of the carols will then go into B-major - and they're used to a high standard of music at my church. No pressure then!
     
  9. worzel

    worzel Member

    Why oh why don't they just write everything in concert pitch. And why don't we have a bass cleft that is two octaves lower than the treble cleft, rather than a 13th. And why is it called a 13th anyway, surely its a 12th!
     
  10. If we were to go to six line staff, and add an "E" line to the bottom of the bass clef and an "A" to the top of the treble clef they would be identical. This would eliminate the need for clefs and ultimately transposition. The brass bands are still more efficient than wind bands, and orchestras in that the wind band uses instruments in C, Bb, F, Eb, and bass clef. The orchestra uses all of the above, as well as tenor clef, and alto clef. Having everyone in the same clef (except bass bone) is still less confusing, and many times I have been envious.
     
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  12. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Because it was originally used for singers, who would find it difficult to sing that low unless they were Russian women. ;-)


    It's called a 13th because in music we always count from the bottom note as 1, so there are 13 notes including the bottom note.

    [joke]They don't write everything in CP because the selfish string players like everything in sharp keys and a lot of early band music consisted of orchestral transcriptions. :) [/joke]

    Also, if you think about the origins of the brass band, the players were largely uneducated mill and pit workers and it was much easier to teach everyone the same fingerings than to try to teach Eb and Bb instruments different things.
     
  13. worzel

    worzel Member

    That makes no sense to me. I'm talking about changing the notation to be more uniform, not changing the notes that are sung.

    Yeah I know, but it's daft. If it were zero based rather than one based then instead of having, say, a fifth plus a fifth equalling a ninth, we'd have a fourth plus a fourth equalling an eighth.

    Yeah, that's true, and not just for uneducated pit workers. I recently moved from cornet to tenor horn and certainly appreciate not having to learn new fingerings. I always assumed this was the reason for not using CP, wondered why C and G weren't used for brass, and was very surprised to learn that violas are written in alto clef, and cellos in three clefs.

    Maybe I'm a bit autistic when it comes to reading music, but I find all these different clefts and different sounding pitches a total headache. One cleft as written is all I can handle. To me, reading anything else, or transposing, is like having someone encrypt writing by moving all the letters along by a few. Yja pqv ocmg vjkpiu gcua qp qwt ugxngu?
     
  14. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Shouldn't be a problem. Brass instruments these days are fully chromatic! :) ;-)
     
  15. 4thmandown

    4thmandown Member

    True enough, though the tune in question goes at crotchet=144 with shed loads of accidentals as well... and I'm playing by candlelight.

    ...They don't write everything in CP because the selfish string players like everything in sharp keys...

    I rarely see them playing in anything other than G, C and F, 'cos they can't do sharps and flats:)
     
  16. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Oh well. Hope it goes OK. Good luck! :)
     
  17. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Member

    Treat yourself to a C Trumpet if you do a lot of playing in church. There are loads of "acceptable" instruments available at very reasonable prices these days.
    One ebayer regularly has conversions of student instruments at about £50 which should do the job OK.
    If you don't fancy a Trumpet why not get an old Cornet with an A slide and use that to put youself in "easier" keys.
     
  18. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Then you have missed the point. The notation is uniform. You might as well ask why we don't have an octave with ten notes instead of eight (or 12 if you count in semitones). For that, you can probably blame Pythagoras, whose scale system we use. Go argue with him! ;)


    I don't know what your problem is with this. It was the Arabs who invented the concept of zero. Western culture didn't come into contact with this concept until way after the system had been established. In any case, when you are counting notes, you don't count no notes - that doesn't make any sense at all!


    Try learning the piano (not the keyboard) it might help you to get your head round it. The system is all perfectly logical, especially if you remember that notes are really a continuum, not little groups of about 12 notes written on a staff. It might also help you if you think of the clef as a 'key' (which is what the word actually means) to indicate the pitch range.
     
  19. worzel

    worzel Member

    I'm afraid you've missed the point. What is a C in one clef is an E in another, and D in yet another, etc. So when you learn to sight read one clef then sight reading another requires you, for a while, to mentally shift all the notes until you get used to it. You are literally transposing on the fly not to change the key, but to simply read it as written.

    This is about notation only. It has nothing whatsoever to do with how low someone can sing, Russian or otherwise (your previous objection), and has nothing whatsoever to do with how many notes make up a scale.

    Again, you totally missed the point. An interval between two things is a distance. The interval between a note and itself should logically be zero, not one, irrespective of how long ago we discovered zero. Then the maths works, 2+2=4 instead of what we currently have, where 3+3=5. That's my problem with it, it is just illogical. But I guess it's ok because we once thought the moon was made of cheese.:rolleyes:

    Why not a keyboard? Although my sigh reading is pretty poor, I do play the fully weighted 88 note keyboard for what it's worth, and I understand it all pretty well. What gives me a headache is trying to sight read different clefs in real time. It would be easier if notationally music were more uniform: that's my point. I could just as easily understand the notation conceptually if it were written in hexadecimal in invisible ink that only became momentarily visible when breathed on - but I'd have an even tougher time sight reading it and might have a case for objecting to the unnecessary complications.

    Yeah, that's true. But the same can (and is) achieved by writing the music in one clef and stating what key the transposing instrument should be in. While that is a bit of a headache, at least you have a uniform notation that you need to mentally transpose if not playing on the right sort of transposing instrument, rather than having the meaning of the notation changed (which you still might need to transpose anyway).

    How many horn players can sight read simple music for cornet or baritone by transposing? How many of them could do the same with the bass trombone's part in bass clef? I'm guessing more could do the former than the latter.

    Arguably writing in a different key to CP is useful when transposing instruments are just different sized versions of other instruments--so the technique remains the same for the same notated note--but when they're not then what benefit is there in not writing in CP? And when can having different clefs ever be useful?
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009
  20. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    That is because you have missed the point. The clefs are not really separate or complete. I can't say I understand why you can't simply either learn the lines and spaces in all the clefs you are likely to use (which takes effort and practise) or learn the relationships between the clefs (which also takes practise) so that the reasons why notes seem to be in different places becomes clear.

    That shows that you don't actually understand what the clefs (or the staves on which they are used) are. The clefs have everything to do with pitch.

    An interval is not simply a distance. If we were working in a microtonal musical universe, I might let you say that, but for BB purposes, the intervals are found by counting the number of notes that separate two pitches and the rules are slightly different. I don't want to go into musical theory here, as this post is long enough already, but you might like to look at the Wiki article on unison for an explanation.

    If you are having piano lessons, you are far more likely to discover the continuity of bass and treble clef notation than if you study the keyboard. Most keyboard players I have come across seem to learn bass clef notation quite late on. If it gives you a headache, you might consider having your eyes tested ;) or not hitting the keys so hard with it. :D You admit that your sight reading is pretty poor. Most of us would probaly admit that, but the only sure way to improve your sight reading - in one clef or many - is to practise. :roll:

    And you would be throwing out the combined work of thousands of musicians from the Ancient Greeks onwards. You have also sort of hit the nail on the head - changing the current system is likely to cause a lot of people headaches. Some avant-garde composers have tried it and have certainly enlarged the range of sounds we can write, but change the clef system entirely? I wish you the best of luck!

    Horn players actually have it very easy when it comes to bass clef (as do trom players in Tenor clef). The viola players are the poor sods I feel sorry for :)

    The most obvious answer to that question is to ask how many leger lines you can cope with at once? Without bass clef, the left hand of the piano, double bass, cello and bassoon (not to mention tuba) parts would be well-nigh impossible.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009
  21. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    Jesus, what drivel...
     
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