Jump to content


Photo

Clarinet in B ?

Transposing instruments

  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 Tom Nor

Tom Nor

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 46 posts
  • Member: 675390
    Joined: 25-February 13

Posted 10 May 2017 - 15:48

In the "BIG 7" ABRSM Theory Workbook (the one by Crossland and Greaves), question 5 section,  the question on page 89 shows a score by Richard Strauss.   The following instrument is indicated on the score:  

 

"Klarinetten in B".    

 

On page 90, this  is abbreviated to: 

 

Kl (B)

 

It is obvious from the score that this would be referred to in English (e.g. in the AB Guide) as a  "Clarinet in Bb", as the key signature of the non transposing instruments (one flat) is a whole tone lower than that of the "Klarinetten in B" (one sharp).  

 

My questions for the forum are:  

 

Is this a misprint or a mistake ?

 

Or is it a peculiarity of German scores (to call what we would call Bb a B) ?

 

Are there any other cases where the flat or sharp is dropped "by convention" ?  

 

I did a bit of Googling around and I didn't find an answer to this.   

 

Another related question:   I'm doing the G7 ABRSM Theory Exam in June, and I have formulated a rule on transposing instruments, to aid memory, that they all transpose DOWN (e.g.  Cor Anglais sounds a perfect 5th LOWER than written - so it would be described as "in F", but this is one of those instruments that is not usually described as "in something" in the score, so you need to learn that);    unless the interval is an octave or multiple thereof (e.g.  piccolo, Glockenspiel, Xylophone which all transpose up but by octaves).     So, if anyone is aware of an exception to this rule, please mention it.   

 

I do want to know the answer to these questions as once in a while, you get an question where it is not so obvious what the actual interval of transposition is from the key signature (e.g. with Horns there is "an area of some confusion" as Eric Taylor so marvellously puts it on p 216 of the Blue AB Guide...... as key signatures are sometimes written, and sometimes not !)

 

Any other tips on transposing instruments gratefully taken - I'm a pianist, not an orchestral player, and the whole transposing instrument scene is one that I view from afar with a bit of amazement and amusement.....along with tenor and alto clefs, something to be understood but rarely encountered in practice (although the tenor clef came in useful recently as the choir I sing with is doing a piece accompanied by cello, so the tenor clef has helped me to figure out entry notes there).    


  • 0

#2 andante_in_c

andante_in_c

    Maestro

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10622 posts
  • Member: 130
    Joined: 15-November 03
  • Hampshire, UK

Posted 10 May 2017 - 16:07

Yes, the German name for B flat is 'B' and B natural is 'H'.


  • 1

#3 sbhoa

sbhoa

    Maestro

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22012 posts
  • Member: 24
    Joined: 31-October 03
  • Tameside

Posted 10 May 2017 - 16:09

Trumpet in D or Eb is up a major 2nd or minor 3rd or is the trumpet one of those where the player has to do the transposition?


  • 0

#4 Tom Nor

Tom Nor

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 46 posts
  • Member: 675390
    Joined: 25-February 13

Posted 10 May 2017 - 16:19

Thanks Andante_in_C.    I suspected might be the issue here, I remember JS Bach composed a piece (don't remember which one....) based on his name, so 

 

B = Bb

A = A

C = C

H = B

 

must have been the notes.....

 

Rather chromatic for a melody.....

 

Sbhoa you are right about trumpets, Eric Taylor mentions one on page 216, a trumpet in D sounding a tone higher and also ones in Eb and E a minor or major third higher.......  It's the same section which describes "an area of some confusion".     I will have to read that section carefully!     Hopefully, not too many brass instruments will come up in the exam....


  • 1

#5 Hildegard

Hildegard

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 840 posts
  • Member: 887389
    Joined: 26-October 13

Posted 11 May 2017 - 06:23

The clarinet in Eb transposes up (sounding a minor 3rd higher than written). Horn parts written in the bass clef also transpose up. Neither are likely to occur in AB theory questions.

 

The tip I give for Cor Anglais transposition is to remember that cor means horn. It transposes the same as the most common type of horn (i.e. in F, sounding a 5th lower than written).


  • 0

#6 fsharpminor

fsharpminor

    Maestro

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 16409 posts
  • Member: 7089
    Joined: 07-June 06
  • Heswall, Wirral (originally Keighley, Yorks)

Posted 11 May 2017 - 08:05

Thanks Andante_in_C.    I suspected might be the issue here, I remember JS Bach composed a piece (don't remember which one....) based on his name, so 

 

B = Bb

A = A

C = C

H = B

 

must have been the notes.....

 

Rather chromatic for a melody.....

 

Sbhoa you are right about trumpets, Eric Taylor mentions one on page 216, a trumpet in D sounding a tone higher and also ones in Eb and E a minor or major third higher.......  It's the same section which describes "an area of some confusion".     I will have to read that section carefully!     Hopefully, not too many brass instruments will come up in the exam....

And of course Dmitri Shostakovich uses this motive in many works....DSCH thus.. D = D   Es = E flat   C = C   H = B . Its almost like twisting  B-A-C-H  around.


  • 0