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Topic: Score Transposition Question

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  1. #1
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    Score Transposition Question

    I'm looking at a score for Tchaikovsky's
    ROMEO & JULIET.
    The key signature for horns & trumpets doen't make sense to me.
    The C instruments ( flute, oboe, strings) are in the key of A.
    The A clarinet, horns, and trumpets are in C. The harp is in Ab
    If C instruments are in A, trumpets must be E trumpets???
    F horns should be in E
    A clarinets should be in F# or Gb
    Any help here?
    Thanks,
    Gary Mosse

  2. #2

    Re: Score Transposition Question

    Tom is correct here. Just around Tchaikovsky's time, horns in F became the norm (and trumpets in Bb), and until then, they usually had no key signatures because they instead used the extra pipe crooks necessary to get the instrument into the proper key. This was because they didn't have the valves originally, and were limited in which notes they could play.

    The practice of writing in all the accidentals instead was not widely used, but Tchaikovsky seemed to always do so. Eventually composers realized that the brass players could probably handle a key signature, and started including them.

    The harp in Romeo and Juliet is shown on page one to be in Ab major because it doesn't play until after the modulation to that key in bar 21. A bit strange, but I suppose he did it to just let the harpist know in advance.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  3. #3
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    Re: Score Transposition Question

    Thanks Tom & Jamie,
    I was aware of brass without valves which resulted in instruments
    in different keys. When I started teaching in 1964, Fr Horns always
    had an Eb slide included in the case. My Dad had clarinets in
    different keys from when he played in the 1920's.
    Having used Finale for so many years, it's a challenge to deal with
    practices from different music periods, i,.e. writing enharmonically to facilitate reading, etc.
    Gary Mosse

  4. #4

    Re: Score Transposition Question

    Quote Originally Posted by garymosse
    Thanks Tom & Jamie,
    Having used Finale for so many years, it's a challenge to deal with
    practices from different music periods, i,.e. writing enharmonically to facilitate reading, etc.
    Gary Mosse
    Hummm. Writing enharmonically is not very hard to do in Sibelius.
    //
    // Ars longa, vita brevis
    // http://edosbear.blogspot.com/
    //

  5. #5
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    Re: Score Transposition Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Sharpe

    Hummm. Writing enharmonically is not very hard to do in Sibelius.
    I think when he says writing enharmonically, he's talking about transposing. He's looking at a score with instruments in different keys (i.e., Horn in E), and he's inputting them into Finale using today's instrument transposition. (Horns in F)

    This can provide some mental gymnastics at times.

    Jeff

  6. #6

    Re: Score Transposition Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Turner
    I think when he says writing enharmonically, he's talking about transposing. He's looking at a score with instruments in different keys (i.e., Horn in E), and he's inputting them into Finale using today's instrument transposition. (Horns in F)

    This can provide some mental gymnastics at times.

    Jeff

    Could be, but mainly I just have a bit of fun (Sibelius vs. Finale). However transpsoing on the fly is for me quite simple. I'm like an idiot savant when it comes to transposing, so I often forget about that angle.

    Actually it would not be all that hard in Sibelius, you could enter what is written and then "transpose" the notes up or down the correct interval, no real need to think while inputting the stuff. Id est you could enter all of the horn in E as written on a Horn in F staff then transpose all of the notes down a 1/2 step (with or without chaning the key signature).
    Last edited by Ed Sharpe; 01-26-2007 at 02:27 PM. Reason: Calification/Spelling corrections
    //
    // Ars longa, vita brevis
    // http://edosbear.blogspot.com/
    //

  7. #7
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    Re: Score Transposition Question

    I just finished a job where it really got confusing. I had to create a medley for a conductor and input into Finale. I had three hard copy scores to pull measures from. One had trumpets in D, another had trumpets in E and the last had them in A. In addition the conductor gave me a hand written manuscript which contained the transition measures between pieces. Those were trumpets in C.

    I really had to stay alert on that one.

    JT

  8. #8

    Lightbulb Re: Score Transposition Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Turner
    I think when he says writing enharmonically, he's talking about transposing. He's looking at a score with instruments in different keys (i.e., Horn in E), and he's inputting them into Finale using today's instrument transposition. (Horns in F)

    This can provide some mental gymnastics at times.

    Jeff
    I would just set the screen to "show in concert pitch", and let the program do the transposition to F horn...
    ==============================
    Grant Green ||| www.contrabass.com
    Sarrusophones and other seismic devices

  9. #9
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    Re: Score Transposition Question

    Quote Originally Posted by GDG
    I would just set the screen to "show in concert pitch", and let the program do the transposition to F horn...
    How do you do that if you're looking at an actual printed score?

  10. #10

    Lightbulb Re: Score Transposition Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Skysaw
    The harp in Romeo and Juliet is shown on page one to be in Ab major because it doesn't play until after the modulation to that key in bar 21. A bit strange, but I suppose he did it to just let the harpist know in advance.
    Yep: the harp is the only instrument I can think of where you have to actually do something just for a key change. Why set the F#, C# and G# pedals at the beginning, just to return them to natural and set Bb, Eb, Ab, and Db a few bars later? (Note that G# and Ab are on different strings, and hence different pedals.)

    Of course, the key signature in a harp part is not necessarily the actual concert key signature: you can find things like Bb, Eb, Ab, F#, depending on which notes the harps will be called upon to play in that bar.
    ==============================
    Grant Green ||| www.contrabass.com
    Sarrusophones and other seismic devices

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