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Subject: Re: Transpositions
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 20 Mar 2017 17:56:43 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain
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Why do you single out clarinets, trumpets and horns? That makes no sense. Those are a 
scant few of what we call "transposing instruments," meaning that they play pitches in a 
different key than notated. (Though the C trumpet, which plays at pitch, is not 
uncommon.) But that has nothing to do with having to transpose (in real time) to a 
"concert" key not on the page. That's a very different thing, that has nothing to do with the 
basic "key" of the instrument itself. If an entire piece were being transposed, they would 
still have to transpose in the same way everyone else would - and it's not assumed they 
would have any skills the other players did not. 

Now, of course, if a piece is being transposed a half-step down, a part written for Bb 
clarinet could simply be played on an A clarinet if the player has one, and if the part still 
lies well for the instrument (see below). But most instruments don't have that ability to 
"cheat" that way, lol. (And there's no such thing as an Ab clarinet for a piece going a whole 
step down, etc, lol.)

Also, that's a very naive view of computer music printing. It's the rare piece of music 
(barring the simplest) that would not involve at least some editing in the process. Note 
"spelling" often needs to be reconsidered (especially in music that's already very 
chromatic in nature), adjustments because of ranges need to be take into account (what if 
the new key takes instruments out of practical or literal range? Like a cellist all of a sudden 
asked to play a low Bb it doesn't have, etc...that note needs to go to the basses if possible, 
etc - or, clarinet passages over the "break" might need to be rethought - or maybe put on 
A clarinet instead of Bb clarinet, etc). Keyboard/harp parts may require new voicings for 
practicality's sake. And so on. 

You don't really often get to simply transpose "at the click of a mouse." You're damn lucky 
if it's that easy. ;-)

Also, as a Finale user (I don't know about Sibelius in this regard), because of copyright 
entanglements, Finale no longer allows the scanning/converting of previously printed music 
as a starting point. (There used to be a poor-to adequate scanning/conversion program, 
but not on the latest version, and the ruling on versions to come is still in debate, I 
believe.) So there's no "feeding in" of anything. It has to be inputted in, note by note, by 
the user. And by any method, that's time-consuming. Imagine having to do that for every 
instrument of even just one standard-length aria. It's work, folks... 

(Any Sibelius users out here can chime in about methods available to them.)


On Mon, 20 Mar 2017 20:08:14 -0000, Graeme Wright <[log in to unmask]> 
wrote:

>	Agreed Horn, Trumpet & Clarinets need to be able to transpose at sight but other 
instruments do not. I doubt if there was ever a time when the whole orchestra could 
transpose an aria at sight. Now days a music programme such as SIBELIUS would be used, 
feed in the parts and it will print them out in any key you want at the click of a mouse.
>
>Kind regards
>
>Graeme
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Discussion of opera and related issues [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
On Behalf Of Ron Magnuson
>Sent: Monday, March 20, 2017 20:00
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: Transpositions
>
>> On Mar 20, 2017, at 3:27 PM, R PRADA <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> Orchestral musicians are not well trained in transposition these days, so if anyone 
wants to transpose anything outside the transpositions that orchestras have on hand would 
have to pay a copyist some serious bucks to write out orchestral parts in the preferred 
key.
>
>As an ex-orchestral trumpet player who learned to transpose up and down all intervals, I 
would be shocked if today’s musicians could not, and do not, do the same 
transposition.  It is just simply part of the job.  What proof do you have of such a claim?
>
>Ron
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