Out of range horn parts

• Jun 9, 2019 - 00:01

I'm copying a number of Sinatra charts where the lead trumpet often is written for cream of the crop players and can get quite high in the range. I usually have to take these up a step on top of that to fit into my vocal range. What would you guys do when a horn part gets too high through transposition?

I've included one such trumpet chart that has some high parts and I'll need to take it up to Bb concert on top of that! I've included the second trumpet, too for reference.

Attachment Size
Trumpet 1.jpg 179.28 KB
Trumpet 2.jpg 179.88 KB


That's indeed too high... Normally for other kinds of instruments I will suggest putting the notes down an octave but here I believe it's not suitable (although I don't know have much knowledge of the music genre you're dealing with). Changing the notes into any other pitches ruins the sound effect, so I suppose you can change into a different instrument, such as piccolo trumpet? From what I see in MuseScore the piccolo trumpet in B-flat can reach F6 in concert pitch, so if the score in your screenshot is in concert pitch, then the range is perfectly OK for you :DD

There's no silver bullet here. I mean, you can take the trumpets down an octave, but it will some of the feel of the original to be sure. Soprano sax, clarinet, flute, or piccolo can often take these notes in the original octave if needed (in this case, for the high Bb, you'd better hope for the piccolo...)

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I play the Bb clarinet and from what I see, playing that high is not impossible but it's difficult for amateur players to avoid crackles. Concert Bb is C7 on Bb clarinet, which is the highest pitch it can play, and it's much more difficult than pitches below F6. So I wouldn't suggest the normal-sized clarinet, maybe the Eb clarinet can produce those sounds easier.

The upper range suggested by Musescore for trumpet parts is fairly accurate for most trumpet players, but don't forget that some players can go well beyond that range. Lead trumpet players in college big bands are typically expected to play up to concert F6, and many professional lead players are able to go to Bb6 or higher. Feel free to write higher trumpet parts as long as you are sure that you'll have access to a player who actually has the chops to play it.

Although most players won't be able to reliably play this (particularly the concert Eb6 in measures 17 & 49), if you look around hard enough you should be able to find a lead trumpet player who can play this without much problem.

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