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Trqansposing from treble clef to bass clef?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Fassa Albrecht, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. I want to transpose a piece written in treble clef to bass. Any idea on how to do this?
  2. Probably drop it an octave and write it out in bass clef? I am not sure I understand the question. Are you asking how to read treble clef? (lines are E G B D F, spaces are F A C E). The C on the first ledger line above the bass clef is the C on the first ledger line below the treble clef.
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  4. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    This is not transposition, actually, unless you are moving to a new key or a different octave--it is just transcribing (copying) to a different clef. In other words, if you have a bottom space F in treble, you write an F in bass on the second ledger line above the bass clef. The notes sound the exact same pitch.

    However, the thing you need to decide is if you ARE transposing (probably downward) an octave or two octaves. If you are moving down an octave, it is the easiest possible transposition. You simply write the same note, but in the position 1 octave lower on the bass clef (obviously, notes are not in the same place in bass clef).

    Bottom line, if you know both clefs, it is a no-brainer. If you don't, it is a good time to learn. :cool:

    I realize this is not a lot of help for learning bass clef. Is that what you need? :p
  5. mvw356


    Mar 2, 2006
    there is nothing to transpose you just play the same notes an octave or two below the original.
  6. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Learn to read by recognizing INTERVALS instead of using standard notation as a coded form of tab. Sure the notes tell you what pitch to play, but the key is that it clearly shows you the intervals between your notes. And that does NOT change when you switch clefs. So once you find "C" on treble clef, and you know the next note is a minor third higher, you know where to go.

    BTW, my reading is so sporadic now that I can read more fluently playing bass and reading treble clef than I can playing guitar and reading treble clef, or playng bass and reading bass clef. I've been plunking around with melodies so I've been reading treble clef more lately. "My Foolish Heart" is such a nice song!

  7. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    An easy cheat is to draw another line above the stave and tip-ex out the bottom line. Do this to a photocopy mind you :)
  8. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    The movement of the pitches from what's written by any amount is transposing or at least that's what it's called. When you take it to bass clef it would only not be transposed if you used ledger lines to notate it in the same octave as is notated in treble clef.
  9. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Learn to read treble clef you will need it if you stay in music. Then just take the music and play it on bass. If it sound too muddy go up and octave. Remember first ledger line above staff in bass clef is middle C. First ledger line below staff in treble clef is middle C so that will give you a point of reference.
  10. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Actually, if I understand your post, I must say this is in error. Changing clefs changes the size of the intervals, much as a key signature does (some change some don't depending on the clef/key).

    E.G., There are seven clefs (believe it or not!), but just using bass and treble for an example, put a note on the middle line and on the lines above and below the middle line in each clef.

    In bass clef, you'll find have two minor 3rds and a diminished 5th (B, D, F). In treble clef, you'll have a major 3rd, a minor 3rd, and a perfect 5th (G, B, D), assuming the same key signature. :p
  11. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    How? The distance from the first space to the second space in bass clef is A to C, a third (minor or major depening on the key signature). The distance from the first space to the second space in treble clef is F to A, again a third (with the same caveat). It's about learning the intervals, but you need to understand the key signature too.

  12. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Below, I have edited a bit of your earlier post to show what I understood you to say.

    We may have misunderstood each other. My point was that changing clefs DOES change the size of intervals, like changing keys. I apologize if this seems simply like a repetition of my previous example...:p

    Put a note on the bottom space and another on the next higher space. Key signature of C major. Now mentally switch between bass clef and treble clef. Besides the change in note names, what else changes?

    Well, as you observed, A to C (lowest spaces in Bass clef) is a minor 3rd, when switched to F to A (lowest spaces in treble clef), it is a major 3rd.

    I'm sure you would agree the intervals of a minor 3rd and major 3rd are not the same. Yet these 3rds occupy the same position on the staff. Only the clef was changed. Ok, this is obvious.

    If you start adding sharps, one sharp will now make both those intervals minor 3rds. Two sharps give treble the major 3rd and bass the minor 3rd.

    Again, my point is simply that changing clefs DOES change the size of intervals, like changing keys. I thought you were saying this was not so.

    Reading "intervalically" works fine as long as the music tonal, rarely modulates, has a single line, is not chromatic, and involves only one clef. Choral singers are often very very good at this. It is not very useful at the keyboard or with a score, IMHO. Your mileage may vary. :D
  13. disenchant

    disenchant You can't plagiarize yourself.

    Aug 9, 2006
    Elgin, IL
    Transposing is not the exact correct word. Transposing refers to transposing instruments, which are instruments like the clarinet and come in different pitches. Music is written for "concert pitch" or more accurately, a non-transposed instrument like the piano.

    For example (and this is example only, not true-life because I don't play a transposed instrument) on the D clarinet you might put your hands in the position for C (on a C clarinet), but the note that comes out is a D. So if the composer wants the note of D to be played, he writes the note of C.

    I know, confusing. The clarinet player sees the note of C, and plays a D. A non-transposed piece would show the note of C and expect a C to be played.

    I guess a similar situation would be if you tuned down your bass a full step. The music would be written so that if you wanted the note of C, the music would tell you to put your hands in the position for a D, but the note of C would come out.
  14. disenchant

    disenchant You can't plagiarize yourself.

    Aug 9, 2006
    Elgin, IL
    Yes, the bass clef is just a continuation of the treble clef. Read the notes on the treble clef, and drop them a few octaves. Remember middle C on the bass guitar is the 17th fret of the G string.
  15. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    It is in absolute terms, but middle C as written for the bass is 5th fret G string.
  16. frankyhernandez


    Nov 27, 2011
    So then what if i have Aminor and Dminor on treble clef, what would that be on bass clef?

  17. Mayers

    Mayers Guest

    Sep 28, 2007
    Man ... many of you make it way more complicated than it is ...

    Simple ... learn the note of the treble clef and then play the music on your bass. Well that works only if you already know your fretboard.
  18. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Well notes are not minor they are natural, sharp or flat, but, the notes do not change you write them in a different PLACE. Think of it this way. Which octave A are we talking about. If you have a 22 fret four string bass you can cover a full three octaves. First octave A in the treble clef moves to the first octave A in the bass clef.


    Your bass is going to have 3 octaves - where is the first octave A in the treble clef to be written (placed) in the bass clef? Yep first place you have an A. Then your next octave A is where? And the 3rd octave A is where? Yes, I look up the neck on the 1st string for the 3rd octave A. Can you find it other places? Sure, several places past the 12th fret, but, how often will you go from the 1st octave to the 3rd octave? I just rely on the 1st string (past the 12th fret) for the 3rd octave. And you would write that as ledger notes above the bass staff.
  19. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    A minor and D minor. Exactly the same thing. Only difference between treble clef and bass clef is which note is on what line. The relative distances are exactly the same, so D to F to A to C is the same. On bass clef that could start on the middle line. On treble clef it could start on the space below the clef, or on the fourth line (from the bottom). Either way, each of the successive notes of the arpeggio are on successive lines (or spaces, depending on where you started).

    So, Dmin, which is D F A C in bass clef starts on the middle line and goes to F on the next line, then to A on the top line, and to C on the first ledger line. In treble clef if you start on the D below the staff (which is the space above that ledger line we used as our last note in bass clef, BTW), then the F is at the lowest space, then the A at the next space, and the C at the next space up.

    That's what I'm saying about intervals- the distance from D to F is the exact same thing in treble clef or bass clef, or even from the D that's on the space below the treble clef or the one an octave higher on the fourth line. A third is always on the next level of the same type- if you start on a space, the third is then next space.

    I frequently don't even really think the notes, it's the next interval. Standard notation is NOT a more complicated version of tablature which only references a location. It's a way to indicate SOUNDS with written paper. The faster you learn to think of notation that way and think "the next note is a third higher than the one I'm playing now" instead of thinking "I'm playing an A now and the next note is C#", the faster you'll be reading and start learning how to HEAR written music.

  20. frankyhernandez


    Nov 27, 2011
    Thanks guys, ive been playing bass at my ms band for about a year now, this helps :bassist:

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