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Transposing help!
Hi all,
         I'm needing to transpose from Bari Sax (E flat?) in Treble to Bass Clarinet, B flat. Is anyone able to tell me specifically how many + or - semitones I'm meant to put in? I'm thinking it's +5 but not 100%. Thanks!

Re: Transposing help!
Reply #1
Hi all,
         I'm needing to transpose from Bari Sax (E flat?) in Treble to Bass Clarinet, B flat. Is anyone able to tell me specifically how many + or - semitones I'm meant to put in? I'm thinking it's +5 but not 100%. Thanks!
If you want the same absolute pitch, then you need to go DOWN 5 semitones, if an octave higer is OK, then you need to go UP 7 semitones.  I would make the judgement based on the resultant written range and compare it to what the Bass Clari can do.

It may even end up that you go down 5 semitones, then bring a few out of range notes up the octave.  It wouldn't be the first time I've done something like that.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: Transposing help!
Reply #2
You need to transpose down, not up.

Baritone sax parts are written 21 semitones above concert pitch.  Bass clarinet parts are written in treble clef too, 14 semitones above concert pitch. 

Just transpose the bari sax part down 7 semitones.  As a visual check, the transposed bass clarinet key signature should have one more flatsharp (or one less sharp flat) than the key signature for the baritone sax.  To save yourself a lot of time, let Noteworthy do the transposition.  Use two staffs, and on the first one, enter the bari part as written.  Then copy the result to the second staff, and transpose it "-7."  Hide the bari staff.

The bari part may include an A two leger lines below the staff.  I don't believe all bari saxes go that low, but some do.  For bass clarinet this is D four leger lines below the staff.  Not all bass clarinets play below Eb, and it's rare enough that many players will not recognize it intuitively when sight reading, so if your transposition includes the low D, you may want to add a D an octave higher as if it were a two note chord.

Since the bass clarinet part may use as many as four leger lines below the staff, you'll need to set the lower boundary of that staff to 14 or 15, and you'll want to make sure all your dynamics, dynamic variations and performance style marks are moved down to avoid colliding with the notes.  I usually set the dynamics to right justify as well.

  • Last Edit: 2016-08-19 10:28 pm by David Palmquist

Re: Transposing help!
Reply #3
Hi David, now you have me thinking - dammit, I do this all the time and now I'm second guessing myself :(

OK, as you said, Bari is written 21 semitones ABOVE concert, so to take the chart back to concert you need to take it DOWN 21 Semitones.

Bass Clari is written 14 semitones ABOVE concert, so to take a chart back to concert you need to take it down 14 semitones.

So, to take the Bari chart to a Bass Clari you need to change it 7 semitones (21-14=7), DOWN...

To look at it another way: Bari to concert = -21, concert to Bass Clari is +14: -21+14=-7

Yup, you are absolutely correct, not sure where I got the 5 semitones down from, but it was WRONG! (Ba-ad Lawrie)
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - gonna lern tubies next

Re: Transposing help!
Reply #4
It was just something that was fresh in my mind, Lawrie.   I  had just finished six pages of bassoon parts for bass clarinet, so things like the lower boundary setting, dynamic positioning and below-range notes were fresh in my mind.

And I cheated a little - I have a card on my wall telling me how many semitones are needed for Bb and Eb instruments.  ;)


Re: Transposing help!
Reply #5
Is this inspiration for a user tool?
Since 1998

Re: Transposing help!
Reply #6
Hi Warren,

I'm not sure if you're asking about a UT for positioning the dynamics or for transposing.

For positioning the dynamics, one might be handy, but it's not that hard, thanks to the Find function.  All you need to do is search for one dynamic, change it, copy it to the clipboard and press F3 F3 until you find the same dynamic later on the staff, then hit Control-V.  F3 F3 again and repeat the process until you reach the end, bypassing any hit that isn't the particular dynamic you're changing.   Then go back, F3 for the next dynamic type, and repeat the exercise.  I think 8 passes gets you through all the dynamics [ppp pp p mp mf f ff fff] so it only takes a couple of minutes per staff. 

You also have to look out for vertical positioning of hairpins, which are affected by the height of the closest preceding dynamic or dynamic variance.

For transposition, I think a user tool would be more trouble than it's worth.  Once you've input the original notes and edited them for correctness, everything is easy and fast.  You copy that staff into a new one, change clefs if necessary [highlight the entire staff, move it up or down 12 steps (control and up/down arrow)], then do your transposition.  The transposition is a breeze as long as you know how many semitones there are between the source and target parts.

A user tool would need to be able to cope with a whole mess of variables:
  • which clefs was the source in?  [The bassoon parts I did last week had bass and c clefs; I've seen several instances of trombone parts switching from bass clef to treble for high notes.]
  • is the source staff in concert pitch or transposed, and is there an octave shift involved [string bass, the lower saxes, bass clarinet, baritone t.c., etc. are written an octave higher than they sound] ?
  • which clefs will the target staff use? 
  • what pitch is the instrument used for the target staff?  Is an octave shift necessary?
  • should staff playback be shifted?
  • And it goes on.

I'm not opposed to a user tool, but I'm content without one.


Re: Transposing help!
Reply #7
Hey guys, thanks heaps for that :D! Will have a fiddle, the sharps and flats tip helps too.

Re: Transposing help!
Reply #8
... move it up or down 12 steps

Wouldn't that be 7 steps?

And I think I am opposed to a user tool: The tool cannot hide the fact that you need to know many things about instruments; the few things having to do with transposed notation are probably the smallest amount, and one should know this more or less by heart if one wants to write for such an instrument ...
... the reason I say this is because I just grapple with getting to know wind instruments, and I feel that I need to move around notes to "get a feel for them", also when reading them in scores.

H.M.

Re: Transposing help!
Reply #9
No.  Changing clefs isn't transposing, it's just changing the visual representation of the same note - for bass to treble clef it's 12 control-down movements, and treble to bass is 12 control-up.

So for instance, if you see an A on the top line of the bass clef, if you want the same pitch in the treble clef, you move it down 12 strokes so it appears 2 leger lines below the treble clef staff.

Once you've done that preliminary step, you can transpose.  You could transpose in bass clef first and then change clefs, it doesn't matter which comes first, but they are discrete processes.
  • Last Edit: 2016-08-19 03:40 am by David Palmquist

Re: Transposing help!
Reply #10
Ah - uh - then I got lost and mixed up ... Of course it depends on the clefs. So it's sometimes 12 steps, but sometimes something else (with tenor clefs and/or octave shifts). Yep - understood.

H.M.

Re: Transposing help!
Reply #11
Here's a tool for changing clefs.
Always look on the bright side of life!

Re: Transposing help!
Reply #12
I goofed about the visual check of key signatures in my earlier post.  Eb instrumental parts have one more sharp or one less flat than parts for Bb instruments.  Sorry.

So for instance,  Bb major for concert pitch instruments
  • is written as C major for Bb instrument parts such as Bb clarinet, tenor sax, bass clarinet, Bb soprano sax, euphonium t.c. and baritone t.c.
  • is written as G major for Eb instrument parts such as alto clarinet, Eb contra-alto clarinet, bari sax, alto sax. 

Compared to C instruments then, the Bb instruments will have two less flats or two less sharps than concert, and the Eb instruments will have three less flats or three more sharps.

Re: Transposing help!
Reply #13
Hi Warren,

I'm not sure if you're asking about a UT for positioning the dynamics or for transposing.

For positioning the dynamics, one might be handy, but it's not that hard, thanks to the Find function.  All you need to do is search for one dynamic, change it, copy it to the clipboard and press F3 F3 until you find the same dynamic later on the staff, then hit Control-V.  F3 F3 again and repeat the process until you reach the end, bypassing any hit that isn't the particular dynamic you're changing.  Then go back, F3 for the next dynamic type, and repeat the exercise.  I think 8 passes gets you through all the dynamics [ppp pp p mp mf f ff fff] so it only takes a couple of minutes per staff. 

You also have to look out for vertical positioning of hairpins, which are affected by the height of the closest preceding dynamic or dynamic variance.

User tool for moving dynamics: see https://forum.noteworthycomposer.com/?topic=9408
Always look on the bright side of life!