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Scores in Bb 
 

Scores in Bb

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Scores in Bb    01:26 on Saturday, December 10, 2011 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

prezden
(55 points)

Could any one explain why almost all the sheet music available for download is in Bb regardless of the key the original is written in.

Thanks!

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Re: Scores in Bb    03:25 on Saturday, December 10, 2011 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

contra448
(685 points)

I think you will find that means the music is written for clarinet in Bb not written in the key of Bb (To check look at the key signature at the beginning of the music).
The standard clarinet is pitched in Bb - ie when the instrument plays a written C it sounds Bb. This means that to sound correctly with other instruments the clarinet part has to be transposed up a tone - eg to sound in the key of C the music is written in the key of D.
Crazy!

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Re: Scores in Bb    15:34 on Saturday, December 10, 2011 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

prezden
(55 points)

Thanks for your reply.
The sheet music that I have says "Clarinet in Bb" beside the first stave but does not have any indication of key beside the treble clef. No sharps or flats to indicate key.

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Re: Scores in Bb    05:39 on Monday, December 12, 2011 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

contra448
(685 points)

So in this case the music is written in C but will sound in Bb

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Re: Scores in Bb    13:58 on Monday, December 12, 2011 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

prezden
(55 points)

That's good news. The music sure sounds better in C than in Bb.
Is most music originally written for other instruments transcribed in C?

Thanks!

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Re: Scores in Bb    17:36 on Monday, December 12, 2011 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

egretboy
(173 points)

I'm not sure why you say that music sounds better in C. While I know that some people can recognize the subtle differences between the keys, this wouldn't make one sound "better." I understand that this is just a matter of preference, but I've never heard one described that way. Interesting!

Anyway, to answer the question, clarinet pieces are transposed in a key based on what the original key was. For example, a flute piece in Ab would be transposed into Bb so the notes would be the same, played by a clarinet player.

You might not realize this, but the fact that a clarinet is in Bb has nothing to with the key it plays in; a clarinet can play in all keys. It refers to the key it is playing in relative to concert instruments; a C played by a clarinet is a Bb played on an oboe and an A on an Alto Sax. A bit confusing, but that's the gist of it.

Hope this helped

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Re: Scores in Bb    18:45 on Monday, December 12, 2011 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

prezden
(55 points)

I guess I should have said it sounds better to me. I realize how suggestive listening to music can be. An example of what I mean is the opening Land of Hope and Glory by Elgar. Played in C the first 5 notes are C,C,B or Bb,C and D. To me it just not sound correct when played in Bb. So I am very happy to play it in C.

cheers- preston

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Re: Scores in Bb    17:44 on Saturday, December 31, 2011 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

redweq
(28 points)

The point is that there are 5 types of clarinet. They are, going from smallest to largest, E flat, B flat, Alto, Bass, and Contrabass. B flat is the usual clarinet used by people. So the words tell you what instrument you need. If it really was a B flat key signature, you would see E (the top line) and B (the middle line) marked with flats.

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Re: Scores in Bb    11:36 on Sunday, January 01, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

contra448
(685 points)

redweq has only listed a fraction of the sizes of clarinet that are in fairly common use & being manufactured.

There are various versions of contrabass - pitched in Eb (sometimes called contra-alto) or, the real contrabass, in Bb; either with keys to written low Eb or C.

In the classical world the A clarinet is frequently used rather than the Bb even in one work (Most players will carry both at all times). Also music has been written for C cl (many players use the Bb & transpose at sight); D (frequently played on Eb); during Mozart's time extensions were developed to written low C (in Bb or A called the bassett clarinet) and (not to be confused with the previous) the basset horn ( a type of alto) in F to low C.

Also in this area of music some parts appear for bass in A &, to add difficulty, some composers have written parts in bass clef.

Getting really esoteric there are high Ab (Yes!) ones.


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Re: Scores in Bb    02:40 on Sunday, March 04, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

Scotch
(591 points)

For solo work and jazz it's pretty much just the Bb. In the orchestra it's Bb and A, and most orchestral clarinetists, university level and higher, own one of each. (The third clarinet in orchestra may be a bass clarinet, but that's still a Bb instrument.) The Eb instrument is common in band.

Anyway, a given piece will of course sound different transposed up or down, but that's not the same as saying the keys themselves sound different. In equal temperament all keys are alike. (If you tune to a Pythagorean chromatic scale starting on say, F, all diatonic subsets from C major to B major--including G, D, A, and E major--will sound alike.)

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Re: Scores in Bb    18:42 on Friday, April 13, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

tmheimer
(54 points)

Not sure, but I think I've heard also of an F clarinet. Pretty sure I've heard and seen photos of a tiny Bb clarinet pitched an octave above the Bb clar. Anyone confirm this?

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Re: Scores in Bb    06:41 on Saturday, April 14, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

JOhnlovemusic
(1273 points)

tmheiner, yes there is a high Ab and a high G clarinet. There also exists a soprano in F, and there used to b a Basset and a contra basset in F.

Regarding an earlier statement about everything sounds the same regardless of key, I disagree. Although we are using an equal tempered scale and all common basic scales are equally tempered, there is still a different color or sound depending on the key.A really bad analogy would be like saying all planets that are the same size are the same. And they are not. I think most french horns sound best when played in concert Db, or concert E.

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Re: Scores in Bb    01:46 on Sunday, October 21, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

Scotch
(591 points)

Although we are using an equal tempered scale and all common basic scales are equally tempered, there is still a different color or sound depending on the key.A really bad analogy would be like saying all planets that are the same size are the same. And they are not. I think most french horns sound best when played in concert Db, or concert E.


No, different notes on a particular instrument played by a particular player using a particular reed will have different timbres, but keys themselves do not have timbres (or "colors" or "sounds"). You're right about your analogy being bad, however.

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Re: Scores in Bb    01:04 on Wednesday, November 07, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

sherwinjtb
(28 points)

Clarinet in Bflat is the most common type of musical instrument from the clarinet family.
The other well known type is the Bass Clarinet. The name itself is based on the Concert instruments. For example: Piano is in the key of C.

This means when a clarinet plays the note C, it is in Concert Bflat. In other words, a piano plays Bflat and the clarinet would have to play C to have the same pitched sound.

   

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