Clefs and transposition

• Nov 25, 2022 - 13:08

There is Chapter in Handbook:
Clefs and transposition
Using octave clefs
[To be added]
Using different clefs for transposed and concert pitch
[To be added]

1) I think, first one, "Using octave clefs" doesnt make much sense in this context. Octave clef is not transposition. Transposition IMHO means, something is written (C1), and something different sounds (B1, F1, C2, ...).

But in octave clef, music sounds exactly as it is written. In octave treble clef, it sounds octave higher, than in treble clef. Of course, because it is different clef. (Like first line in bas clef sounds different, than first line in treble clef).

But if this is somethink, we really need to have in handbook, I suggest something like:
"Some instruments, or voices are usually written in octave clef, which can be read as standard clef, but sounds octave(s) lower, or higher. For example singer tenor use to be written in octave lower treble clef."

Second one, Using different clefs for transposed and concert pitch I suggest somethink like:
"Some transposed instruments are conventionally written in different clef in standard pitch and different clef in concert pitch. For example Baritone saxophone is transposed instrument written in treble clef. Written A2 sounds C1 and in concert pitch is usually written in bas clef.

Objections / suggestions?



Possibly a more common example of using different clefs for transposed and concert pitch is low brass where in the British brass band context tenor trombone, euphonium, Eb and Bb tubas are treated as transposing instruments and use treble clef. In orchestral contexts they are usually treated as non-transposing and use bass clef (or occasionally for trombones, tenor clef).

The most common usage for the octave transposing clef is in my (limited) experience the Guitar. Which is either written in normal Treble clef (but with a 1 octave transposition in staff properties) or with a Treble8-clef, and then without the transposition in the staff properties.

Different people conceptualize the octave clefs differently. Some see them as just different clefs, one in which middle C happens to be on the third space instead of the ledger line below (for instance). Others see them as indicating an octave transposition. It's really the same thing in practice of course, but I do think it useful for the Handbook to acknowledge both ways of looking at it.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.