GEORGETOWN
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Music Department
Advanced Conducting: Music 336
Dr. Peter LaRue

Transpositions

When thinking about transposing instruments ALWAYS understand and remember the difference between:

a. the note an instrument READS
b. the pitch an instrument SOUNDS
 

To this end, there follows a listing of common, transposing instruments used in orchestras, bands and wind groups.

Strings

violin..... sounds what it reads [treble clef]

viola..... sounds what it reads [reads alto clef]

cello..... sounds what it reads [usually bass, sometimes tenor clef]

bass..... sounds one octave lower than it reads

Wind/Band

piccolo..... sounds one octave higher
flute..... sounds what it reads
oboe..... sounds what it reads
English Horn..... sounds perfect fifth lower
clarinet (b flat)..... sounds major second lower
clarinet (a)..... sounds minor third lower
clarinet (e flat)..... sounds minor third higher
clarinet (alto)..... sounds major sixth lower
clarinet (bass)..... sounds major ninth lower
bassoon..... sounds what it reads
contra bassoon.....sounds one octave lower
soprano sax..... sounds major second lower
alto sax..... sounds major sixth lower
tenor sax..... sounds major ninth lower
bari sax..... sounds octave + major sixth lower
trumpet (b flat)..... sounds major second lower
trumpet (c)..... sounds what it reads
trumpet (pic)..... variety of keys sounds up from what it reads
French Horn..... sounds a perfect lower than what it reads
trombone..... sounds what it reads
baritone (BC)..... sounds what it reads
baritone (TC)..... sounds a major ninth lower
tuba..... sounds what it reads