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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby SteveP » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:32 pm

tclements wrote:EVERYTHING I have seen is in TC. Over time, my guys have just gotten into learning how to read it. The E-flat part is pretty easy, but playing BBb on CC is a bit of a challenge. I'm TOLD, the way to do it is: make like you are reading bass clef and use F tuba fingerings, making adjustments for accidentals. Never tried it myself....

Let's see . . . . . . . use F tuba fingerings and pretend you're reading bass clef? That's only gonna work if you know F tuba fingerings. Which, I'm guessing is a pretty small percentage of us. If I'm wrong on this I'm sure I'll hear about it.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby AndyCat » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:08 pm

Of no help at all, but I learnt in brass bands and treble clef, so had to learn bass clef later on. Basically I transpose on the hoof, but the other way to you lot.

The point about publishers is fair on both sides. New works, yes perhaps offer bass clef. But over 100 bands bought a test piece for this years competitions (Pageantry, Herbert Howells, 1930's) that was a copy of the original parts from back then. Never been anywhere near a computer, and never will. I'd say the majority of the brass Band rep is still of this ilk.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby marccromme » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:03 am

Dan Schultz wrote:No problem. Yes... the treble clef thing IS just a matter if tradition and really needs to change if brass banding is expected to grow in the USA. Either that or drop teaching bass clef to beginning band students.


.. agree that publishers in modern times should offer multiple clef versions as a standard package, but then ..

I think the real problem in brass teaching is that clef skills are regarded 'very advanced' and only suited to the proficient student. Nothing could be more wrong ...

If students where teached to transpose simple melodies on the fly, and where teached to think in what tone comes out of the horn, not what scribble on the paper warrants which finger action, the problem would be gone once and for all.

I have seen 11 year old kids reading french horn stuff in F treble clef and normal C bass clef without effort (playing a trombone part on a french horn). It took only 2 weeks practice to learn ... just saying ... if french horn kids can do it, all other brass can as well
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Three Valves » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:24 pm

marccromme wrote:I have seen 11 year old kids reading french horn stuff in F treble clef and normal C bass clef without effort (playing a trombone part on a french horn). It took only 2 weeks practice to learn ... just saying ... if french horn kids can do it, all other brass can as well


Oh, sure, but their brains have not been effected by decades of use and "environmental" damage!!
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Dan Bradley » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:43 pm

I joined a brass band in HS and had to learn treble clef. I got a trumpet book, and I was good in about 2 days. I think it's a great opportunity for players who don't read treble to spend a few hours and learn. Once, I didn't have access to a BBb tuba, so I had to play a rehearsal reading the BBb T.C. parts on an F-tuba. This destroyed my brain, but I was able to do it decently with about 2-3 hours of work. Bottom line is, the time investment to learn the new clefs/transpositions is minimal, and well worth it.

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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby timothy42b » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:50 pm

I don't have trouble with clefs, just lucky I guess.

But my aging eyes struggle with ledger lines.

I would advocate systems that minimize those.

On trombone, I would write everything on the piano great staff. I've never needed to play above the top line treble clef F, and while I know a couple people who can, they are rare. Not being a bass trombone player I never play more than 1 ledger line below the bass clef staff.

Yes, I can read Bb treble, tenor, alto, mezzo-soprano (horn in F), but this would eliminate the need. The one time I totally crashed and burned was something in that weird French violin G clef.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby imperialbari » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:42 pm

timothy42b wrote: The one time I totally crashed and burned was something in that weird French violin G clef.


That clef is the same as bass clef two octaves up.

As for the original topic I am with Sam Gnagey.

Those who want to change the editorial practices of the British brass band movement should buy the rights to issue parts in F for the horns and in bass clef concert for the tenor trombones and for the bass & the contrabass tubas. They then should sell these parts in the open commercial market.

Distributing transposed parts for music under copyright hardly is legal, unless specific permission has been obtained.

The right way to learn reading from various keys and from various transpositions is to write out all the transpositions of parts by hand. You will very soon realise that it is much easier to do it on the fly. As soon as one transposirion has been learned, all the other transpositions will come easily. Of course it is helpful having a basic knowledge of music theory. So is the ability to play all scales all around the circle of fifths. A skill you will need anyway, if you play advanced music like the modern brass band competition repertoire.

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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby oedipoes » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:42 am

AndyCat wrote:Of no help at all, but I learnt in brass bands and treble clef, so had to learn bass clef later on. Basically I transpose on the hoof, but the other way to you lot.


Same thing here... helps you develop some transposing skills.
Weirdest thing I ever did was playing an Eb tuba part in transposed bass clef, on a BBb tuba...
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby hup_d_dup » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:49 am

Dan Schultz wrote:I respect your opinion and certainly didn't intend for this discussion to get into a 'shin-kicking' contest. I founded and run a very successful community band that consists of MANY folks who might not otherwise be playing music at all at this point in their life. The group is open to all wind and percussion players without regard to their experience. I do EVERYTHING I can to make EVERYONE feel welcome and ALWAYS make it a point to help folks stay involved whenever I can. If that means providing large print or transpositions... I do it.


To this I say, good for you. Dan, if I was kicking shins, I didn't mean them to be yours. My remarks concerned what publishers should or will do, not what we can do for fellow musicians. One of the brass bands I'm in has a library of about 1100 pieces, and in looking through the selections, I noticed that among the first 50 or so, dating back about 25 years ago, about half have additional Bb tuba parts hand-written in bass clef. I asked about this and was told that when the band formed there was a very talented Bb tubist who couldn't read treble clef. 25 years later he is still in the band. There's no way that he or anyone else was going to write out the treble clef parts for 1000 Bb tuba parts. The path of least resistance was for him to learn treble clef. But in the meantime, of course the band helped out by providing parts he could read.

The point is, we are not trying to keep anyone out by making things difficult, and we will help out when needed. But it's on us, not the publishers. I could again enumerate the reasons publishers can never make money on this, but what's the point; it just isn't going to happen (or won't at least until the process is completely automated, and I suspect not even then). That's why Steve Bulla is doing it piece-by-piece and giving the parts out for free. As I said previously, it's a labour of love.

Attracting players who can read treble clef is not the biggest problem encountered by most, if not all, brass bands: a more vexing problem, for instance, is securing a competent Eb soprano cornetist, which of course has nothing to do with clef reading. The soprano parts are devilishly difficult and completely exposed. A mediocre soprano can ruin, or at least take the shine off, a performance of an otherwise excellent band. A person cannot walk into this position just because he wants to play music. There's been a lot of talk about elitism in this thread. Well I guess you could say this is elitist. Anyone who wants to tackle this job has to bring some talent and commitment. Call this elitism if you will.

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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby TheGoyWonder » Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:30 am

French horn players deal with two keys, sorta, at all times and they don't complain. So don't complain. Treble clef is superior because the tuba is not a zillion ledgers below the staff and the trombone is not a zillion ledgers above the staff. If it's really that hard, try memorizing a piece, then play it while reading the treble clef music. Your brain will do the math.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby marccromme » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:08 pm

TheGoyWonder wrote: If it's really that hard, try memorizing a piece, then play it while reading the treble clef music. Your brain will do the math.

+1 - this is the way to learn new clefs : don't memorize funny rules (like Ftuba fingerings on a Bb part transposed one octave up or similar), just play very easy music you do know by heart, and play it while reading new clefs, such that you hardly ever make a mistake. Your brain will make the correct connection without you need to think. Two weak at most, and you are proficient.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby timothy42b » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:20 pm

imperialbari wrote:
timothy42b wrote: The one time I totally crashed and burned was something in that weird French violin G clef.


That clef is the same as bass clef two octaves up.



Yeah, I know that NOW! Way too late though. Embarrassing.

And I've never seen it again, so my knowledge has yet to benefit me.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby imperialbari » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:17 pm

timothy42b wrote:
imperialbari wrote:
timothy42b wrote: The one time I totally crashed and burned was something in that weird French violin G clef.


That clef is the same as bass clef two octaves up.



Yeah, I know that NOW! Way too late though. Embarrassing.

And I've never seen it again, so my knowledge has yet to benefit me.


I have worked quite a bit with baroque music, where the French violin clef hardly can be avoided.

Two of the prominent solo instruments of that period were the alto recorder (down to F in the 1st space in the treble clef stave) and the flauto traverso (down to D just below the treble clef stave). They shared a lot of solo repertory without accompaniment). Music engraving was very costly back then, so editors issued versions readable by both instruments and allowing both to use their ranges to their respective bottom notes.

A piece concieved in D major for the traverso would have a plain (= modern) G clef and sharps on the top line and in the second space from the top. No surprise there.

But it would also have a G clef indicating the bottom line as G and a flat on the 2nd line from the bottom, a French violin clef, which allowed the alto recorder to play the same music in F major. To my knowledge all modern recorder players simply think bass clef when reading from these dual purpose editions. Of course most of the repertory has seen modern editions using the modern treble clef, but some original editions are so well engraved that players prefer photographic reprints.

One benefit for modern flutists and recorder players of knowing the French violin clef alias the bass clef 2 octaves up is that they in a pinch can play baroque sonatas as duets. The 1st player plays the original solo part, whereas the 2nd player plays the original basso continuo part 2 octaves up. Many chord inversions will be wrong, but the harmonic progression still is better represented than by playing the solo line alone.

After the same principles low brass players with adaptive reading abilities may expand their own solo, duet, or even ensemble repertory.

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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby timothy42b » Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:49 pm

Thanks Klaus for the amplification. Knowing the reason behind something is always interesting.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Alex C » Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:46 am

Sam Gnagey wrote:Get the original treble clef Arban and take on a new challenge. If you're too fossilized or too "busy" to learn a new playing skill, you have my pity. I've done a lot of transposition for the foot-draggers in our band. They are the weakest players and it's a real pain in the butt catering to them. Fortunately there's only two left, and I won't do transpositions for them any more. I have all of my students get their Arban in treble clef. That sets them up to play E-flat tuba and lots of other literature only available in treble clef.

This is a good response unless the problem is that players are using CC and F tubas on BBb and Eb treble clef parts. The Eb is not so bad, a simple transposition. But as much playing as I have done, I still find using a CC tuba with a BBb treble clef part to be a headache, especially if it is one of the contest pieces with lots of black notes.

Publishers are not going to change, someone in the band may have to learn Finale or Sibelius well enough to churn out parts for those players.

Lastly, brass bands should consider buying the basses. I know many bands already buy tenors and baritones but there are many good reasons to take the plunge and buy the proper basses. It will make a world of difference in the sound.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Sam Gnagey » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:23 am

Tonight in our brass band's board meeting I will make a motion that all routine transposition of treble to bass clef parts cease as of the first of the year. We will offer those players who lack the proficiency to read treble clef method books to help them learn the skill. There remains yet two concerts in the current year where those bass clef parts will be available. I will suggest that parallel treble and bass clef parts are supplied for those members (2) to also help with the learning process. This will give those involved nearly three months for mastery.
I have serious doubts that the board has the will to make this happen, but we'll see.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby imperialbari » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:45 am

Sam, let those advocating the band should provide bass clef transpositions stand by their position! Let them take personal responsibility for doing the transpositions.

As long as it is not directly connected to doing the extra work of the current situation, nobody will support the moves that you suggest.

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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby MaryAnn » Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:57 pm

I recently taught someone who read only treble clef how to read a bass clef part on his Eb tuba. He also plays cornet and I think has played Eb cornet in this or another band. He got it in about ten minutes, and he's my age. But he WANTED TO. It really has to do with the player and the player's mindset. I personally love the gymnastics of reading different clefs (I do not "transpose") and also love sight reading. Being a horn player, different clefs were already there when I got to tuba. Before horn, I already had treble, alto, and bass from piano and strings....it's just the first "extra" clef that presents a problem and then once the person understands how to go about it, the rest just come as needed. Same with fingerings, all four keys of tubas (and I just learned Eb fingerings when I got the NStar)....I do agree with Dan that it would be nice to have bass clef parts available because not all of us can play in high level bands where everybody is able and willing (and even eager!) to do things as written.
We did have one piece come through that was pretty much indecipherable, having a plethora of accidentals both sharps and flats, all in the same measure (I'm sure it sounded fine on the computer.) Had it stayed in the folder (nobody could read it) I would have sat down with it, figured it out, and written it out probably in bass clef for myself so I could play it right. And xeroxed it for the other Eb player.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby Sam Gnagey » Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:04 am

Here's an email that I, as personnel manager, sent out to the low brass in the Old Crown Brass Band. The group has placed 3rd in NABBA 3rd section for the last two years:

The following policy was adopted by the OCBB board last night by unanimous vote:

Providing routine transpositions of treble to bass clef parts will cease as of the first of the year, 2018. The librarian will offer method books to those players who lack the proficiency to read treble clef to help them learn the skill. There remains yet two concerts in the current year where those bass clef parts will be available. For the December 22 concert parallel treble and bass clef parts will be available for those members to also help with their learning process. This will give those involved nearly three months from now for mastery of reading treble clef parts.


This policy removes the onerous and time consuming task from those kind members of the band who have done it in the past.
It will serve to eliminate errors in transposed parts that cause wasted time and frustration in rehearsals.
The process of transposition usually produces parts with twice the number of pages without well positioned page turns causing difficulty in playing those parts..
Treble clef parts do not have so many notes on many leger lines above the staff (tbns, bari, euph) and below the staff ( BBb tuba) making them easier to read.
The board believes that reading treble clef is just part of the true experience of playing in a British brass band.
It is generally accepted that this skill is pretty easily acquired in two to three weeks of somewhat regular practice.
While not advisable, members are not prohibited from making their own transposed parts, however other members are discouraged from doing this for them.
Any beginning trumpet method book will serve in learning this skill. I recommend Getchell's books 1 and 2.
Salient advantages to players include easily reading tenor clef and tuba players gaining proficiency in playing E-flat tuba in bass clef.

Please contact me or any board member if you have any questions about this new policy.
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Re: Brass Band Tuba Music

Postby AndyCat » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:17 am

Brave, but wholeheartedly endorsed here! I learned bass clef to be able to play PJBE/London Brass charts at 16. Started by writing a couple out, then just slowly got to grips.
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