Key of the Euphonium - B-flat or C?
I've understood everything what Dave has said about the conventions and I read both treble and bass clef (well not, quite, more on that below) when playing euphonium, but the logic reasoning convention behind it still baffles me. Why on earth, when a piano player is playing a Bb, a trombone player is playing a Bb, a flute player is playing a Bb (and all three players are playing the same pitch) would a Bb trumpet or a treble clef reading euphonium have to play a written "C" in the treble clef to play the same absolute pitch??? I know there are historical reasons behind it, but it drives a doubler crazy!
Coming from the bass clef dominated trombone playing world where I'm used to playing concert pitch, this paradox is too much for my feeble brain. My way around this for reading Bb treble parts is to read it like tenor clef (remember, I'm also a trombone player) and add two flats to the key signature. Then Bingo! You're pseudo-transposing Bb treble..while remaining in concert pitch. It works, although sometimes you have to think about the accidentals a little differently.
But I'm sure pros like Dave actually do it both ways....they can switch between concert pitch and Bb treble parts seamlessly....better you than me!
Nowhere has this convention messed with my sense of relative pitch than when I sing in choir. When the parts are written in the C-treble clef, I lose all sense of direction. I do pretty well in choir when I'm reading bass clef. But I can't rely on my tenor clef conversion to save me now because now I'm reading in C-treble. Even harder for me is reading C-treble parts on trombone or euphonium. I CAN read C-treble, but I really have to think about that to make it work, since it is a half step away from my tenor clef Bb treble fudging technique.
Wessex Baritone - DE XT105/E/E4
Wessex Dolce and Olds Ambassador Euphoniums - DE EUPH 105/J/J9, G&W Carbonaria
Getzen, JZ and Jiggs Pbone tenor trombones - DE XT105/E/E2; XT105/E/E8
Yamaha 822G bass trombone - DE LB114/L/L9