Monday, July 14, 2008

Transposition Chart

Anyone who has ever played in an orchestra is well acquainted with joys and pains of transposing the clarinet parts. In efforts to help alleviate such stress, clarinet enthusiast Graham Nasby devised a transposition chart which outlines techniques to apply when sight-transposing. Organized to facilitate quick reference, each pitched-clarinet part is given with tips for transposition, such as moving key signatures up or down, and adding or subtracting sharps or flats to the original key. Clef adjustments are also notated in the chart. A list of the parts notated are divided into two sections: Ab piccolo, Eb, D, C, Bb, A, F basset, Eb alto and the lower clarinet family of Bb bass, EEb contra-alto, BBb contra-bass, and Tuba (C bass clef). In the chart, conversions written in bold font signify more frequently used transposition, while the less frequent transpositions remain in regular font. A few of the "rare" transpositions have yet to be completed, and Nasby has omitted an entry for A bass clarinet transposition. Nonetheless, this easy-to-use guide can help the orchestral clarinetist sight-read parts until transposition becomes a learned skill.

As a side note to Nasby's web site, the "Misc" link contains general information on the clarinet family, concert band instrumentation, and numerous musical jokes (some good and some bad!).

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