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How wrong was I? (Horn content)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by WRBass, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. WRBass


    Dec 10, 2006
    Houston, Tx.
    I'm posting this here because I know there a lot of horn players here on TB.

    My nephew is in the school band. It's his second year. In the first year he switched from trumpet to baritone horn (euphonium). His mother told me last week that the band director is switching him from reading treble clef to bass clef. I said "Treble clef. That's crazy! He should have always been reading bass clef!" Well, she told the band director what I said. He told her that baritone players can go both ways and that I don't know what I'm talking about.

    I've done a little research, and apparently I was partially wrong. But, how wrong? It looks like you can play baritone as a Bb instrument and read treble clef and the fingering is like a trumpet. Or, you can play it as a concert pitched instrument and read bass clef and the fingering is like a tuba.

    Switching back and forth seems very difficult. I think he should have learned it on bass clef in the beginning. And all the music I have seen is written in bass clef. Any comments?
  2. In the UK the Baritone Horn is mostly used in Brass Bands and is written Treble Clef transposing - as are all Brass band instruments from Soprano Cornet down to BBb Bass!!. In my blowing days I couldn't read bass Clef on the Euphonium and I never saw any music written that way. BTW - the Euphonium, while similar to the Baritone, is a different instrument - the bore is wider and shaped differently - and in a Brass Band has a separate part - you see 1st baritone, 2nd Baritone and Euphonium.

    In what in Britain we call wind/military bands - you see Baritone and Euphonium (and Trombone) parts written in either clef.

    I switched from Euphoium to Eb Bass and for Wind bands and Orchestras the Tuba part is written in Bass Clef Concert. But, it just so happens that for both Eb transposing Treble Clef and Concert Bass Clef the notes are written on the same lines and spaces - you "add 3 sharps and read it as treble".

    I played a little Trombone as well and here you also see Concert pitch written in Tenor Clef. Here, the notes are written on the same lines and spaces as Bb Treble Clef - you "add 2 sharps and read it as treble".

    As the Baritone and Euphonium are not used outside of school bands, you need to get your nephew onto the trombone - there's far more opportunities with that instrument out there!!.
  3. sounds like you seek a solution in search of a problem.......reading both is a plus,playing more than one horn is a plus.......

  4. The baritone or euphonium is a generally classified as a "C" bass clef instrument dispite the "Bb" moniker. Some "old-school" organizations like the Sally Ann band has the baritone/euphonium players playing treble clef parts.

    The valve patterns will be identical, but being able to transpose in your head is the challenge
  5. WRBass


    Dec 10, 2006
    Houston, Tx.
    Well, my concerned is that this may be too confusing and that he may get discouraged and quit.
  6. WRBass


    Dec 10, 2006
    Houston, Tx.
    Yes I agree. I kinda wanted him to stick with the trumpet. But when a kid picks any instrument I think it's a good thing. And, I didn't want to be too forceful and have him play something that he doesn't like.

    I bought him a used 4 valve euphonium that a kid was using in the high school marching band. I bought him this horn so that he could practice with it at home and not have to lug the school instrument back and forth. The horn came with a lot of marching band sheet music, and all of it was written in bass clef.
  7. As you say, he's playing an instrument and any instrument is a good thing - he's switched once, he can switch again!!.

    I got stuck with the Euph because that was what was left at my school - no Trumpets left - but I had a great time playing it, later on I got moved from Euph to Tuba as the band expanded. I was unhappy at the time but my teacher pointed out that the Tuba is an Orchestral instrument and so there are professional opportunities out there if I wanted and I could go on to music college if I wanted as well - with the Euphonium you can't. Also, I soon found out that as not many people play the Tuba, I was in demand - I was the kid who played the Tuba in my state so any Tuba gigs going I got - I was even a "ringer" in one or two school bands when they were short handed at the bottom end :).

    However, I took up the Bass Guitar 'cos I didn't think I'd pull chicks with a Tuba - difficult to look cool :).
  8. WRBass


    Dec 10, 2006
    Houston, Tx.
    Your first message said that you played baritone using the treble clef. So, when you switched to tuba, you had to learn bass clef and new fingering. How difficult was that?
  9. Not difficult at all because, in a Brass Band, all instruments are written in Treble Clef Transposing - so apart from playing an instrument pitched in Eb rather than Bb - everything was the same.

    For the fingerig, apart from the French Horn (which is the same as the others but out by an octave) all (valve) Brass intruments use the same fingering from the Pocket Cornet down to the BBb Bass - there's nothing different to learn apart from maybe having/not having a fourth valve (= 1st + 3rd) and a bigger or smaller mouthpiece.

    As well as this, the Eb Bass/Tuba is a special case - the notes fall on the same lines and spaces in Treble Clef Transposing and Bass Clef Concert but the key signature is different - as I said earlier - for Bass Clef you add three sharps and read it as Treble Clef.

    Having a fourth Valve takes about a nanosecond to get used to - kind of like driving an automatic when you've been brought up on stick shifts, and when you play an instrument without one you get the same problem you get when driving a stick after an automatic - forgetting to put the clutch down when pulling up :).
  10. ByF


    May 19, 2009
    I started playing baritone horn in junior high, and played all through high school. Baritone parts are very commonly found in both treble and bass cleff. In our band, we had people sitting side by side, playing both.

    I started on treble clef and switched to bass clef very early on, and I'm glad I can read both. It wasn't hard to make the switch. It gave me an advantage over the other players, because I could read both.

    Reading treble clef comes in pretty handy now if I need to play a melody for a singer, from sheet music.

  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I played baritone in treble clef and tuba in bass clef. Since I started out on trumpet, I've always been more comfortable sight-reading treble clef. In junior high, they had Eb tubas, and bass clef read pretty much like playing a Bb trumpet. But when I got to high school, they had BBb tubas, and I had to readjust my brain for that. All of our baritone players read treble clef.
  12. uethanian


    Mar 11, 2007
    my low-brass friends would find this amusing.
  13. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    Yes music for baritone horn can be bass clef (same as trombone) or Bb treble clef written an octave higher than sounds. They do this (treble clef) so trumpet players can switch over and use the same fingerings.
  14. WRBass


    Dec 10, 2006
    Houston, Tx.
    Apparently I was wrong. I'm starting to think that it would be better for him continue playing treble clef and bass clef. That way he can easily transition back to trumpet or to tuba if needed.

    Thanks for all help guys. TB is a place were you can always find intelligent answers from knowledgeable musicians.
  15. McHaven


    Mar 1, 2005
    In my school band experience, the Euphoniums always played in bass clef. It made it easy for them to switch to Tuba or Trombone. I thought it was more of a regional thing. I know in Europe, Euphoniums are typically played in Treble Clef IIRC.

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