::Transposing instrument


Music::pitch    Written::clarinet    Concert::major    Scale::sounds    Octave::crooks    Century::these

The B clarinet is a transposing instrument. When the note C occurs in a score that is especially written for a B clarinet (top), the instrument will actually sound a B (bottom), hence the name of the instrument. The very same fingering when played on an A clarinet will sound an A, and in a score for A clarinet, an A will be written as a C.

A transposing instrument is a musical instrument whose music is notated at a pitch different from the pitch that actually sounds (concert pitch). Playing a written C on a transposing instrument produces a pitch other than C, and that pitch identifies the interval of transposition when describing the instrument. For example, a written C on a B clarinet sounds a concert B.

Rather than a property of the instrument, the transposition is a convention of music notation—however, instruments whose music is typically notated in this way are called transposing instruments.

For some instruments (e.g., the piccolo or the double bass), the sounding pitch is still a C, but in a different octave; these instruments are said to transpose "at the octave".

Transposing instrument sections
Intro   Reasons for transposing    Transposition at the octave    What determines what key a wind instrument is in? Mechanical and physical considerations    Conductor's score   See also    Notes    References   

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