Transposing treble clef to bass clef

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by jaberger, May 11, 2003.

  1. jaberger

    jaberger New Member


    As I' m now taking up playing tuba again after many years, I have a problem.

    Much of the brass band music is written in treble clef. To be able to play this music on tuba I need an explanation on how to read/transpose the music, in a practical way, to bass clef.
    I' m used to play bass clef on tuba, but I can read treble clef notes, as I have also played trumpet. I just don' t know how to play them on tuba.

    I' m sorry if this is a too trivial question for this forum. :oops:

    Can someone help me on this?

    Best regards
  2. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    if it's EEb tuba, then it's easy, just play as if it was bass clef, and add three flats (or knock off three sharps!), i'm sure someone will correct me if i'm wrong, but I quite often use this method to play Eb parts on my trombone.

    just a quick example, playing in C there are no flats, so add three to the key signature et voila! if you're playing in D (F#,C#), take off two sharps, then add a flat.

    sorry if the last bit was a bit condescending, just wanted to make it clear.
  3. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    You also need to make accidentals on each of what becomes Bs, Es and As
    in bass clef (eqivalent under this method to Gs Cs and Fs respectively in treble clef) one step flatter than it would look. For example, if one was in the key of C in treble clef, and there was a written C#, first one would change the clef to bass, and add 3 flats to the key signature, as Neil has explained, but then one also needs to change what would now appear to be an E# in bass clef to an E natural.

  4. jaberger

    jaberger New Member

    Thank you very much!

    Thank you very much for your help! This was most helpful.

    Yes, it' s Eb tuba.

    Best regards

  5. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Hey Jan

    Not a trivial question at all... glad to see Neil and Dave helped ...:) Feel free to ask whatever questions you like - that's what we are here for. You'll find loads of helpful folk around this neck of the woods...

    Glad to have you on board.... :lol:

  6. jaberger

    jaberger New Member


    Thank you very much. I am most thankful for the help.
    This is a great forum and hopefully, some day I will be able to contribute with some help myself. :)

  7. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Re: Thanks

    You're welcome! but... you can help already... :lol: All you have to do to help is to pass details of to your banding colleagues and friends in Norway... :) Glad to have members from your neck of the woods ... :tup
  8. jaberger

    jaberger New Member


    Certainly I will "spread the word".

    By the way, wish me luck. I am going to buy my first instrument tomorrow. That is if it' s a nice instrument...
    When I played in a school band many years ago I did not own my instrument... Yes, I'm nervous!

  9. NeilW

    NeilW Member

    I'm about to discover the joy of playing orchestral tuba (bass clef) on an Eb bass this week for a Rutter choral work :)

    Reading bass clef on my Euph isn't a problem, but it will be interesting to find out if I can still "learn" a new version!

    If its anythink like playing in tenor clef on the euph, then it all boils down to figuring out what to do to the accidentals.

  10. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    When i'm transposing treble to bass at sight, i usually just pray when i hit accidentals!!!

    Sharps usually stay as sharps, flats become naturals and naturals usually become flats (i think!! its hard to work out without any music in front of you). but it depends on the key you're in
  11. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    The technique with accidentals when going from bass to treble is exactly the opposite to the method I gave above. This works out to making any specified accidental on any of what look like treble clef Fs, Cs or Gs one accidental sharper. So any of those notes that aren't marked with an accidental should be taken care of by the change of key signature and, furthermore:

    double flats -> flats
    flats -> naturals
    naturals -> sharps
    sharps -> double sharps

    but only for Fs, Cs and Gs with a specified accidental next to them!

  12. amgray

    amgray Member

    For trombonists it's worth learning to read all clefs properly.
    There's so much excellent music (especially exercises and technique books) in Bass, Tenor and Alto clefs that a lot of Bandies who only read Brass-Band-Treble miss out.
  13. stephen2001

    stephen2001 Member

    I agree with that one!
    The thing you have to remember is to play in the right clef, or it will sound totally wrong :? . Tis a mistake I will admit to making from time-to-time :oops:
    Also, from experience, it is good for Euph players who play in Concert Bands to learn Bass Clef, as the Treble Clef parts are the ones that seem to go missing first!
  14. Owen

    Owen Member

    I used to have a dabble on trombone in my mis-guided youth. I can recall one incident where I was playing in an orchestra and both I and the 1st trombone player failed to notice that our parts were in alto clef and not tenor as we had assumed from a cursory glance. After about 8 bars of complete havoc the MD stopped everyone and asked us if we had noticed which clef we were written in. Very embarassing! I must say though in our defence, we brought a certain atonal edge to Dvorak 8th Symphony which spruced it up no end!
  15. the tuber man

    the tuber man New Member

    This forum has been most helpful to me also. I found just what i needed.:tup
  16. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    All I can say is thanks for the laugh Owen, it must have sounded atrocious for those eight bars. I thank goodness that I decided on cornet, (well OK I sometimes play a trumpet as well) I should hopefully not have to try playing from a bass clef. The odd times I have to try reading one is bad enough trying to remember what each note is. I never did fully memorise it.

Share This Page