Trying to identify "Tenor"

• Oct 13, 2021 - 17:09

I am transcribing a concert band score from the early 1890s. I need to identify the sounding pitch for the 1st and 2nd B-flat Tenor (g-clef) . It appears to be listed after the b-flat cornets and e-flat altos.
Musescore does not offer specific track for this instrument and the internet is vague and contradictory about the concert sounding of this instrument, compared to how it is written.
Can somebody please help me define an instrument setup in Musecsore or how these B-flat Tenors sound as compared to their G-clef score notation?

The attachment in this post is incorrect. The correct score sample is FuneralMarionette-33.jpg, which is linked later in this thread. The full score is at:

Attachment Size
FuneralMarionette-30.jpg 313.73 KB


That just sounds like a normal tenor saxophone to me, which MuseScore has by default. B-flat instruments, including the tenor sax, sound a major second (one whole step) below what is written, though again, MuseScore handles that on its own for tenor saxes, without any extra input from the user.

Edit: major second plus an octave, so a major ninth. I was thinking trumpet :)

Your attachment says Eb Alto which I assume is an Eb Alto Sax part. So for a part marked "Bb Tenor" my guess is that this means a Bb tenor sax which sounds a ninth lower than written or in other words the instrument transposes down an octave and a major second.

Tenor sax should already appear in the instrument list when you edit instruments or (or create a new score). Try typing "Tenor" into the search box of the edit instrument dialogue

In reply to by SteveBlower

Sorry - I screwed up with the attachment and you posted before I could correct it. Thanks all for the replies. This complete score includes the full series of saxophones, and this Tenor part is almost certainly brass. The order of the provided parts has it listed after the cornets and E-flat Altos (which was the earlier, incorrect sample).

In reply to by Chris_Clawson

Based on the time period that the piece was made (1886), I'd guess the type of horn being referenced is similar to this horn from around 1900:, or maybe like what's described here: One uses piston valves like a trumpet or baritone horn, the other has rotary valves more like a French horn. The closest modern instrument that MuseScore would have would still probably be the baritone horn TC, which will be at least in the correct transposition and have a similar sound. Again, you'd have to edit the part name to match the original score, but I think that is the closest you'll get with what MS offers.

In reply to by dragonwithafez

I agree that this is probably the instrument the score refers to. Those references don't mention the sounding, which I would need to create an instrument in Musescore. I am guessing this sounds an octave lower than a Bb trumpet, but that is only a guess. It seems you were good enough to examine the score, but I will include here a plain text file of the named instruments for the benefit of others.

Attachment Size
instruments_and_order.txt 469 bytes

In reply to by SteveBlower

Looking at the conductor score, I think I am more certain that it is a tenor trombone part. There are two trombone passages marked in the score and both correspond to the "Bb Tenor" part. Of course, there could be another instrument (even a baritone horn) doubling the trombone at those points, but a) I would expect a baritone horn part to be named "baritone" or "baritone horn" b) baritone horns are not common instruments in a concert band - euphonium is more often used (and sounds nicer!).

In reply to by SteveBlower

A tenor trombone is the same as what is typically just called a trombone today, so it would not make sense to have both a part marked as just "trombone" as well as "tenor trombone," since they would be referring to the same thing. Additionally, although a trombone is technically a B-flat instrument, the music is typically written in concert pitch, which the tenor part in question is not. Additionally, if you look at the list of instruments, there are in fact baritone horn parts in the score.

In reply to by dragonwithafez

I am no music expert, but I see some interesting things in this score. First, there is a full compliment of Saxophone parts at a time when I didn't believe saxophones were normally parted for. Perhaps this was a later issue where saxophones were more common. The second point is that this vintage score seems to have no brass parts written in F, which is what you would normally see for a 'French horn'. I have frequently seen parts for "horns in F" but perhaps this score is even too old for F horns. Music history interests me, so I appreciate the conversation here. Unfortunately, many instruments were termed "tenor", "alto", etc., and some names were informal and depended on period and culture. Given that this score has no F horns, I will proceed with these parts sounding an octave below a trumpet until I learn better.

By the way - there are Baritone parts in this score, written in both G and Bass clef.

In reply to by dragonwithafez

But this is "Tenor Treble clef" so as I said, it's probably an alternative trombone part (identical in pitch to the other trombone part which I assume is in bass clef, concert pitch) but written in treble clef as a transposing instrument for the convenience of trombone players from The British brass band tradition who are used to parts written that way. If you don't have players from the British brass band tradition you won't need the "Tenor Bb treble clef" part

In reply to by SteveBlower

Stubbornness often makes me not realize I have been given a correct answer, so I apologize, Steve, for not commenting sooner. This first Tenor part does appear to be identical to the first Trombone. Given the various clefs and transpositions available in some of these complete older scores, it is not always obvious when there are identical parts just written differently. A big lesson I have learned here is to avoid transcribing any part in it's entirety until I have 'auditioned' samples of these uncertain parts against all the others. This work I do is for rendering into video projects, rather than live performance. I am really only interested in transcribing from score only the musically unique parts. Thank you all for the conversation.

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