1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Difference in keys for Harps/Horns

Discussion in 'Ask David Overthrow' started by bluesbass99, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. bluesbass99


    Jun 14, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    I know this is a fairly basic question, but can someone explain to me why the harps/horns play in a different key than that of the band? I understand their key is 4 semi-tones higher (e.g., if I am playing in the key of A, they will play in D). Does that really mean when I strike the root note of A, they would be playing a note of D? Thanks.
  2. s2bs2


    Apr 1, 2009
    Sonoma, CA.
    that's sort of two questions.
    as I understand it for harps, it has to do with modal issues relating to the Mixolydian/Dominant scale vs. It's Ionian/Major scale.

    " Does that really mean when I strike the root note of A, they would be playing a note of D? Thanks." No

    and as I understand it for horns etc., it is strictly for the purpose of writing instruments parts within reasonable boundaries of the staff.

    the range of 'Eb' instruments fit 'better'(more within the staff lines) in the staff if you pretend (or transpose) that what really is a C is an Eb, or vice-versa.

    someone else can probably explain more clearly. Especially the harp thing...
  3. ashtray9


    Aug 1, 2002
    Tempe Arizona
    I've been wanting to know about this for a very long time. It makes absolutely no sense to me that A(440) would be written as a different note for horns.

    As I understand, the Tenor Clef can be moved around on the staff lines to better accomodate the range of an alto, tenor, baritone, etc. So I still have no idea about the transposing.
  4. s2bs2


    Apr 1, 2009
    Sonoma, CA.
    C instruments=PotAto
    Bb, Eb instruments, etc.=Pota(h)to
  5. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Mar 3, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.