Transposing Instruments


These are the “shortcuts” we use to help our instrumentalists play “straight from the hymnal.”  The half note is an example of what would be played while looking at the quarter note (the distinction is in pitch not duration).

Bb Trumpets and Clarinets – instrumentalists should raise the note one scale-tone and add two sharps to the concert key.

Bb Transposition

Bb Tenor Sax and Bass Clarinets – instrumentalists should read the bass cleff notes two lines or spaces down as if they were in the treble cleff.  They should also add two sharps to the concert key.

F Horns – these are probably the most difficult.  Hopefully your horn players are some of your better players.  They can read up two lines or spaces and then drop an octave, or read down a perfect fourth adding one sharp to the concert key. The picture is for reading up…

F Instruments

Eb Alto Sax – instrumentalists read the bass clef as if it were treble clef and add three sharps to the concert key.  They normally do this with the tenor part.  The illustration shows what note they should play if they were playing in the treble clef.  They might need to drop the note one octave.

Eb Instruments

Eb Baritone Sax – instrumentalists read the bass clef as if it were treble clef and add three sharps to the concert key.  They normally do this with the bass part.

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