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♭
), the instrument will actually sound a B♭
), 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 sectionsIntro 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