A Conversation for How to Play the Saxophone

Transposition Instrument

Post 1


Oh great master of the light, What is a transposition instrument?
smiley - smiley

Transposition Instrument

Post 2

Gnomon - time to move on

It means that the notes on the instrument are all named differently from the standard instruments such as a piano or violin. These play at "concert pitch". The note C on a piano is a C.

The notes on the Tenor Saxophone are all named too high: what is called a C on the Sax is really a B flat. What is called a G is really an F. All the notes are named a whole tone higher than they sound.

There are two reasons for doing this: it is much easier to play in Bb than in C on a saxophone, but the key of C is much easier to read in musical notation. So by playing in Bb and pretending it is C, it is much easier for everyone, as long as the people who publish music for saxophone go along with this pretense. They do.

The second reason is that the same fingering on an alto sax and a tenor sax produce different notes because the alto is smaller. Instead of having to learn new names for all the notes, the tenor player moving to an alto can just call all the notes the same names and ignore the fact that they are coming out in a different key. Once again it is left to the publishers of the written music to sort it all out.

Does that make any sense?

Transposition Instrument

Post 3


I love this concept! can we, pretend, my paycheck has another 0 before the coma? do you think I could convince my shop keeper and my landlady of this? What sorts of tricks did Aloph Sax employ to convice people that one note was another to the extent of people actually writing pretend music sheets?
I find this fascinating!
Thanks a lot! smiley - smiley

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