Blog Comments

  1. Liuto's Avatar
    Being a novice euph player with a strong background of singing bass in a choir, bass clef is the obvious choice for me. Feels completely natural to me.
    I also can easily play untransposed treble clef without too much of trouble (very useful to play Lieder).
    Finally, I sort of learned to play in Bb treble clef because my teacher is a trumpet player and has lots of his stuff in Bb treble clef. I am a lot slower reading TC, but I would like to play it fluently. Main advantage: it is just like tenor clef with a few different accidentals which opens access to lots of trombone parts.
  2. davewerden's Avatar
    Thanks for the comments and your perspective! There is a valid concept on your side.

    But there is another practical side. Sax players often move to different instruments in their family, especially studio players. If you are told at the last minute to cover the soprano instead of the alto you've been using more, there may be some disagreement with "A big ol' bari sax playing in treble clef seems like an unnecessary abstraction." Clarinet players sometimes face this, but not as often unless they are also studio players. (Tuba players are not usually asked to play a particular key of tuba, so they have a little more control, and most times trumpet players do as well.)

    You may find an inconvenience in euphonium bass clef music. I have found that many (probably most?) euphonium players don't read tenor clef, so I seldom see a euphonium part that uses it for high range writing.
  3. hyperbolica's Avatar
    As a trombone player starting to play euphonium, I'm glad I don't have to wrestle with transposition on top of getting the hang of the valves. Trombone players deal with the whole ledger lines thing by using clefs. I think this is the most efficient method, because everyone stays in the same key. The movable C clef is highly practical. Tenor clef, alto clef. String players avoid the whole issue of transposition by using C clefs, especially cello and viola. When I read trumpet or clarinet music, I just read it as tenor clef and add two flats. Clefs are a great mental trick for transposition. Why should a trumpet player interpret the music differently from a piano player? The need for writing bass instruments on treble clef seems obtuse and distracting. A big ol' bari sax playing in treble clef seems like an unnecessary abstraction.

    Tuba is an example of an instrument that is written in actual pitch regardless of the fundamental pitch of the instrument playing the part. This makes sense to me.

    If I had the whole written music system to reinvent for all musical instruments, I'd definitely write for every instrument in concert pitch. It is unnecessary mental gymnastics to have a French horn part up against an alto sax, trumpet and trombone. And while I was at reinventing things, I think I'd make the "all white key" scale be called A, and I'd find a note that the orchestra can tune to that trombones can play in 1st position.;o)

    If we were all in concert pitch, there would be no argument whether euphonium is in C or Bb.
  4. daruby's Avatar
    (Continued from previous post)

    So where does this leave us...?

    For me, the question of whether the euphonium is a Bb or C instrument and how we treat it is irrelevant. For the last 10 years I have been performing almost exclusively with Bb treble transposed parts in the British brass band world. Even though I am comfortable reading treble clef, my underlying thought process is concert pitch. I "see" the written C in my Bb baritone or Euphonium part, I know it is a written C, but my inner ear "hears" a Bb and that is what I play. I even visualize the piano keyboard when necessary as I think about the pitch.

    I believe every accomplished euphonium performer should be fluent in both bass clef C and treble clef Bb parts. This should be mandatory for anyone graduating as a euphonium performer at the Bachelor's level. Anyone performing trombone, bassoon, or cello literature needs to know tenor clef. Finally, I think that C treble (in order to read piano, choral, and some "fake book" parts) is a pretty strong requirement.

    I argue for all of the reasons that Dave outlined regarding reading ledger lines above and below the staff, that the concert pitch bass clef/tenor clef combination used by trombone, cello, and bassoon is the ideal!

    Updated 11-18-2019 at 10:47 AM by daruby
  5. daruby's Avatar
    (continued from previous post)

    2. Second Issue
    - What kind of literature was used in the development process?

    Since I grew up in American wind bands and started in concert pitch, my ensemble playing was always using bass clef C parts. This was reinforced by other factors. Other than "Theme and Variation" pieces from the Sousa era, there was very little good euphonium specific solo literature available to me. From age 9 on I performed bassoon, cello, and trombone literature or vocal transcriptions. By age 17, I had performed Morceau Symphonique (bass/tenor), Rimsky-Korsakov Trombone Concerto (bass/tenor), Mozart Bassoon Concerto (bass/tenor), several cello sonatas, movements from the six Bach Unaccompanied Suites, all either in competitions or public performance. While I also performed pieces by H.L. Clark, etc, this was not the majority of my study. As a cello player and performer of trombone literature, I was fluent in both bass clef and tenor clef. All of my baritone method books (largely Rubank and Arban's Mantia baritone edition) were bass clef as were my cello books at a beginner and intermediate level. Thus ALL of the study I did from age 9 through the end of my sophomore year in college was in concert pitch (bass and tenor). I became fluent as a treble clef Bb reader when I started playing trumpet in my senior year in university (age 21).

    Updated 11-17-2019 at 05:21 PM by daruby
  6. daruby's Avatar
    Dave already knew this comment was coming. I have had time to think about it and fairly strongly held beliefs that, while not at odds with Dave's position entirely, comes from a different point of view.

    I agree that Euphonium is a Bb instrument in that its open harmonics are those of a Bb instrument. When one presses the 4th valve on a compensating euphonium, it equally becomes a small bore 3 valve F tuba, but we do not consider it to actually be a Bb/F instrument in the same sense as a double French Horn. So the question of Bb or C to me is not a question of what kind of instrument it is, but a two part question based on the answers to the following:

    1. First Issue - What background does the performer come from?

    This comes from childhood. I began on piano at age 5 and took lessons through age 7. I was also a boy soprano with accurate relative pitch who sang in a number of choirs. I hated piano and the fact that my parents made me walk a mile to lessons, but I knew and read treble and bass clef (left hand) and to this day visualize the white and black keys when reading concert pitch parts. I started playing "baritone" at age 9, and at almost the same time, I also was taking lessons on cello. Needless to say, I became a bass clef "concert pitch" reader. OTOH, I would say that many of my American euphonium seatmates and virtually ALL of my Salvation Army and British colleagues began as cornet/trumpet players in childhood and switched to baritone/euphonium fairly early in their musical development. Of course, most of these performers grew up in the transposed treble clef Bb thought process.

    Updated 11-17-2019 at 05:18 PM by daruby
  7. ChristianeSparkle's Avatar
    Hi Sir,

    I have a question in regards 1) and the part in where Mr. Lehman mentioned about marking every notes while tuning to a tuner to get a feel of what the tendencies of each notes.

    Do do both of those exercises with all the valve slides fully in, with only the main tuning slide tuned to Bb?

    I am trying to understand all of these exercises before I do them in case I do them wrongly and make things worse for me.

    Thank you!
  8. davewerden's Avatar
    ChristianeSparkle: The euphonium I play is lacquered, so I could not have had a problem with tarnish. However, I don't see why the strap would cause tarnish on silver. But I'm not sure of the material used in the current QHR strap. The original, made by Valerie Wells, was made of cotton duck fabric. Then QHR found a maker to build it for them, and that strap had a much more open weave and felt "harder" to the touch. If you are using one of those, perhaps there is a material that accelerates tarnish.

    I'll guess it's easy to solve, though. Take off the strap and polish that whole area with Hagerty polish, with the added tarnish inhibitor. It's possible that is all you need.
  9. ChristianeSparkle's Avatar
    I have a question about the strap being secured at that location. The part where the hand strap is, it will usually rub against the horn as you hold it, right? It's happening in my case and I notice tarnish developing as a result (hopefully no scratches on that part). How do you get around that?
  10. Snorlax's Avatar
    I count this CD among my favorites! Interesting and diverse compositions played expressively. Highly recommended!!
  11. miketeachesclass's Avatar
    As someone that was considering buying the anvil, I’m interested.
  12. John Morgan's Avatar
    Nice review, Dave!! I was at ITEC and also saw this case and talked with the folks from Wiseman quite a bit about it. I found it to be very promising, so I put my name down on the sign up list. This allows me to get the ITEC show price for a year. And I can wait a few months before actually ordering (or deciding for sure if I really want it).

    I don't like that you can't set it on its hinged side either. That would probably only bother me at home. When I take it to play, I would simply lay it on its back to open and leave it that way until I put it away. It might be nice to have a little "rack" so that you could put the case in it with the hinged side down. That way you would not have to stand it on either of its ends.
  13. RickF's Avatar
    Great article with excellent pictures!

    Loved the video with Walter Matthau. Pretty sure that's a '67 Ferrari 275 4-cam like Steve McQueen owned. Pretty sure they run better than that.
  14. davewerden's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianeSparkle
    Question about how to put the horn down. So I've been storing the horn in my gig bag most of the time and the 4th valve is always facing the bottom. I've noticed gunk some times moving to the top of the 4th valve because of that. Are there any better ways of putting down the horn that would prevent that?
    If you look at this post about my Hercules stand, you see if offers different options. My preferred choice these days is the one where the mouthpiece is on the right, pointing down.

    Otherwise, when I used I gig bag for storage I would do just what you are doing.
  15. ChristianeSparkle's Avatar
    Question about how to put the horn down. So I've been storing the horn in my gig bag most of the time and the 4th valve is always facing the bottom. I've noticed gunk some times moving to the top of the 4th valve because of that. Are there any better ways of putting down the horn that would prevent that?
  16. John Morgan's Avatar
    Very good article. The part at the end about springs, valve bounce and technique is very important. I have absolutely noticed a big difference in playing technical passages with horns that have the right spring strength (on the stiffer side more so than the lighter/softer side). It is much cleaner with the stiffer spring, because they come back up faster, don't bounce (or as much), and you can just plain go faster and cleaner. And you can definitely stall out with soft springs. VERY IMPORTANT to get the springs right. Even if it is a little harder to press down, practice and build up the finger strength. It will be worth it.

    Plastic valve guides getting out of the correct size (compressed, bent, worn badly, etc.) is a great way to get lousy valve action. Usually a simple visual inspection can detect problems. Another useful tool for cleaning up a plastic valve guide is a fingernail file. The ones that are not metal, but throwaway kinds, are best for me. There are two sides, one rougher, one side smoother. They are great for really smoothing the valve guide, but be careful not to round the corners of the guide (although that might not hurt much if you accidently did round a corner a bit, just try not to). The file can get the edges smoother for me much easier than a razor blade or knife.
  17. Euph100's Avatar
    These books look great, i can only read in treble clef which restricts me a little from learning from good euphonium manuals like these which teaches the 4 valve system and breathing etc. Any titles in treble clef for only euphonium greatly appreciated, thanks in advance!
  18. Beef's Avatar
    I laughed a little more than I should've at the "Our Euph from Dixie" title. Thank you Mr.Werden, you are really an amazing musician, not only in a professional sense but personality-wise too.
  19. John Morgan's Avatar

    I am planning to do some recording with my horn and piano in a church setting similar to what your venue appears like. I have some gear, namely a couple of Audio-Technica Pro 37R mics, and a Fostec Digital Recorder. I don't think I am going to use the Fostec. But I am going to add video, so I think I will purchase a Canon Camcorder "like" the one you mention above. You mention the setup with the Canon and the AT Stereo Mic plugged directly into the Canon. I think this is what I am going to do. I see the AT Stereo Mic comes with a short cable. I am guessing that you use another longer cable from the mic to the short cable and to the camera, correct? Because I assume the camera is back 10-15 from you and Sara and that short cord would not cover the distance by itself. Where do you position the AT Stereo mic if you are using it just with the camcorder? Is the mic above you and Sara and facing down on a boom?

    Do you know anything about the AT Pro 37R (and Pro 37) mics? Do you think two of them would be roughly equivalent to the AT Stereo mic? The cable with the Stereo mic - does that actually pass stereo inputs to the camcorder? I wonder how I would get two separate mics to send their input to the camcorder so I could get stereo sound.

    I don't expect you to do any research on any of this, just if you happen to know some simple answers, that would be great.

    BTW, I never did hear from the orchestra director about Morceau. Guess he has better things to do. But thanks for trying.

    You would be surprised at why I am doing the recordings.

    Thanks, Dave.

    p.s. You going to ITEC? I think Linda and I are.
  20. davewerden's Avatar
    If I recall correctly they are all bass clef.
Page 3 of 12 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast