Transposing tenor clef to treble

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by alanl58, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    I am sure that this has been answered already, but I cannot find it using the tMP search engine.

    How do you transpose an old trombone piece written in tenor clef into treble clef?

  2. fsteers

    fsteers Member

    Add two sharps and play it 8vb, e.g., read 3rd space tenor clef as 3rd space C and play it down an octave, top line tenor clef as top line F, play 8vb = bottom space F, etc.
  3. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    fsteers, I'm not sure you need to change the octave, remember that treble clef Bb for trombone in brass bands already sounds an octave lower than written.

    As a trombone player myself moving between bands, orchestras and big bands I'd say the following:

    For a trombone player who reads Bb treble clef (ie brass band clef), to play a piece in tenor clef just read it as if it is in the Bb treble you usually read but imagine there are two more sharps (or two fewer flats) in the key signature. So what you would see as treble clef F and C need to be imagined to be a semitone higher than written. Tenor clef is used for trombonists as a way to write music that is reasonably high and would be difficult to read in bass clef due to ledger lines so you are reading bass clef moved down a few lines.

    The third space note in tenor clef with a flat is a concert B-flat - played exactly the same as a third space C in brass band Bb treble clef on trombone.

    If you were changing it into treble clef to play on a piano in concert pitch it would be necessary to change the octave (but not the key signature). Yes, confusing if you haven't had a few theory lessons!

    In brief again if I've lost you - on a trombone, play tenor clef exactly as if it is in brass band treble clef but remove two flats from the key signature.

    Hopefully makes sense! If not let me know and I'll jump on Sibelius and write an example for you.
  4. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

  5. alanl58

    alanl58 Member

    Thanks, that is what I thought, but I wanted to be sure.

  6. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

  7. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

  8. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    The accidentals bit isn't as confusing and arbitrary as it's been made to sound here...

    Any specified accidental on what you are reading as an F or a C becomes one accidental sharper. Combined with making the key signature two keys sharper and reading as treble clef, that is all that is needed.

    So what looks like an Fb is an F natural. What looks like an F natural is an F#. What looks like an F# is an Fx. What looks like an Fbb is an Fb. An F or C without an accidental is what your newly sharpened key signature tells you it is. One picks it up quickly and fluently via a few embarrassing semitone-out honks...
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014
  9. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    Why they waste time with anything other than treble is one of lifes wonders to me !
  10. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Agreed, well for Brass Bands anyway :tup. I've never seen any new music for Brass Band in tenor clef but historically many (1st and 2nd) Trombone parts were written in the tenor clef. As much of the music that Brass Bands play is many decades old the (tenor) Trombones do get parts that require us to read the tenor clef. Orchestral and Wind Band trombone music is typically written in bass clef but the higher parts require silly numbers of ledger lines above the stave hence they invented tenor clef ........ well that's what I believe and it might be right too :).
  11. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    The tenor C clef was invented for VOICES. It is used in instrumental music to try and reduce the difficulty in reading caused by leger lines (not ledger) when writing higher in the range of (orchestral) tenor instruments like the trombone and bassoon. Many early brass trombonists were orchestral players as well and so the use of C clef for trombones was brought into band music. It has largely died out as a practise in newer music as BB trombonists (being naturally idle) can't be brassed putting in the effort required to learn it. :-D
  12. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    a hem.

    BB trombonists are regularly handed parts in tenor clef and expected to work it out, what would happen if you tried this with BB euphonium players, or any other parts in the BB, try giving bass players bass clef parts and then call them lazy - see what reaction you get :)
  13. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    By the way, apropos of not much - there is a bar in tenor clef in the bass trombone part to Whitsun Wakes by Michael Ball, written 1997. The only example I've seen in a brass band part published more recently than prehistory.
  14. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    Actually Eb players can - or should be able to reasonably easily. Same principle - turn it into treble but its add 3 sharps (or remove 3 flats). I know a lot of Eb-ists - even reasonably "inexperienced" ones in terms of higher level playing - that can do that fairly easily.....
  15. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    The clef doesn't matter, I can still play wrong notes and blame it on the cornets in ANY register!
    I learned to read bass clef that way, but now, after a lot of orchestral playing in my youth, I can read it properly. My biggest failing is when the old eyes stop working temporarily and I play what I think is there, only to find that I've been playing the BB part! Duh!
  16. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    Who would of thought that a Bassophanist could do anything else than play boom 2 3, boom 2 3 and fantasize abouf the MD wearing a high heels and boiler suit combo at the same time !

  17. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    my my basses don't need to fantasise about that but that's a long story.....

    i wouldnt stand too close to any bass and say that though I guess trombonists do have the ability to poke from distance....
  18. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    This is quite a handy dodge and I've seen it used in reverse to allow the Eb part to be played in Bass Clef by a Trombonist. Stevetom's point remains valid though: give the Bb Basses, Baritones and Euphoniums (Tenot Tuba) a part in Bass Clef and the majority would find it very hard work whilst trombonists are often expected to be masters of three clefs - rather difficult, I find.

    Ian's take on 'Bassophanists' brought a smile to my face ........ Baritone players, wonderful folk :wink:. I'd often wondered why some Trombonists double on Bass and now I know why :).
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014
  19. fsteers

    fsteers Member

    Ah, yes. I'll blame it on being on the left side of "The Pond": I'm conditioned to think in terms of BC.
  20. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    ...and then us poor trombonists have to deal with alto clef too, boo-hoo sob. I used to have a book called 'clef studies' by some chap called Blazevich, basically full of studies where all of the different clefs are sprinkled across every few bars with varying degrees of logic to the choices. A painful, frustrating book, but it worked!

    The worst of all was in a show (Forbidden Planet maybe? Memory fades...) where the writer thought that the trombone part was getting a bit lofty for bass clef and that we might like it in treble clef (concert pitch). Got a few funny looks on the first run through there.

    So go hug a trombonist, just wash your hands afterwards.

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