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Thread: Suggestions for switching from Treble Clef to Bass Clef

  1. #1
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    Suggestions for switching from Treble Clef to Bass Clef

    I'm looking for suggestions, hints, or tips on the best way to transition from reading Treble Clef to Bass Clef. I'm starting back after a 40 year layoff. Is it best to learn Bass Clef from the beginning or transpose Bass Clef to Treble Clef in my head? Any and all help is greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Welcome back to music and welcome to this forum!

    In my case I learned by transposing down 2 lines or spaces and changing the key. But I think most teachers say to learn it as bass clef right off the bat (however, most of those I've heard say this were tuba players or trombone players who don't see a use for treble clef in the first place).

    Ideally, whichever way you choose you'd want to end up being able to survive in either clef, even though one is usually stronger for most people.

    Most published euphonium music today comes in bass and treble clefs, usually included at purchase. But euphonium players can benefit from studies/methods written for trumpet, so knowing treble is handy that way. Trumpet is the closest "other" instrument to euphonium for technical learning and abilities, so there is ample material. There are also many trumpet solos that are good for euphonium. But knowing bass clef, either as primary or secondary, opens the door to bassoon and trombone literature, among others.

    Confusing, isn't it? The good news is that either way of learning has worked for many people over the years.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  3. #3
    I usually read euphonium parts in Treble Clef, while I read trombone parts in Bass Clef. When I have to play trombone with parts in treble clef I read them in tenor clef + 2b ( or -2 #)
    Last edited by franz; 10-24-2019 at 10:26 AM.
    Besson Prestige 2052,3D K&G mouthpiece;JP373 baritone,T4C K&G mouthpiece;Bach 42GO trombone,T4C K&G mouthpiece

  4. #4
    Has anyone ever done a compilation of well-known, public-domain tunes with the melody in both clefs, so that the student can teach him/herself the new clef by having the old one to fall back on?
    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
    2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
    2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
    2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
    Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)

  5. #5
    This may not be helpful in your case. But it can be a fun practice (at least I found it fun for me, as I was tasked to learn alto and tenor clefs)

    https://imslp.org/wiki/Trombone_Scho...%2C_Vladislav)

    I jumped to page 4 on the book (pg10 in the pdf) as I can't read any of it. But basically it starts off at 0 valves (or position 1 on the trombone), and hammers you with the different notes in that position on all 3 clefs, then slowly adding 1 new valve combination into the mix. It's just something to really flood you with those notes on different clefs until they are stuck in your brain. Haha
    "Never over complicate things. Accept "bad" days. Always enjoy yourself when playing, love the sound we can make on our instruments (because that's why we all started playing the Euph)"

    Euph: Yamaha 642II Neo - 千歌音, JP 274 MKII - 千歌
    Mouthpiece: K&G 4D, Denis Wick 5AL
    Thank you for the past 15 years -Yamaha EP100 - Euphy

    https://soundcloud.com/ashsparkle_chika
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  6. #6
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    Thank you for your comments. (P.S...I really enjoy all of your videos!)

  7. #7
    Find something, anything, you already know how to play. If you need something, work something up in Treble Clef that you have a Bass Clef version. Then start playing the known piece in Bass Clef. That's how I learned BC and I had it down pretty well within a couple months.
    Yamaha Neo w/Trigger, Lacquer
    K&G 3.5D

  8. I made the switch from treble clef to bass clef in between middle and high school. The BD in high school basically said "You play bass clef now" and I learned it. I did not learn by transposing from treble clef, I just learned the new notes and fingerings. I think other people's suggestion of reading simple music in bass clef that you already know in treble clef is a great suggestion. You will flub plenty of notes at first, but it probably won't take too long to get proficient if you are patient, start easy, and work your way up.

    Maybe working out of the Bowman/Alessi version of Arban for euphonium and trombone would be useful for you. It pretty much has everything from the easiest stuff you will ever play to the hardest stuff you will ever play.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeGuilbo View Post
    Find something, anything, you already know how to play. If you need something, work something up in Treble Clef that you have a Bass Clef version. Then start playing the known piece in Bass Clef. That's how I learned BC and I had it down pretty well within a couple months.
    Thanks!

  10. #10
    I had my first musical lessons at the age of 7 at the music school of my village and alto horn as an instrument.Until the age of 40 my only interpretation was Treble Clef. In 1997 I decided to learn to play the trombone and the teacher forced me to learn it reading in Bass Clef. The study of the trombone implies at the same time the learning of tenor and contralto clefs. Knowing the treble clef the transport in contralto and tenor clefs becomes a child's play. I often enjoy transporting songs in different shades using the transport in all the clefs. I find useful to train the mind and keep the brain young. The method I use is the following:
    Starting from treble clef:
    a tone above: contralto clef +2#; a tone under: tenor clef +2b; two tones under: soprano clef +4b
    Starting from bass clef:
    a tone above: mezzo soprano clef +2#; two tones above: baritone clef+4#.
    This, in practice, I need if I have to play the euphonium with parts written in bass clef, I read them in mezzo soprano clef (a tone above), if with trombone I find a part written in treble clef I read it in tenor clef (a tone under). If with euphonium , as it happened to me, I have to play a sheet of horn (F), I read it in baritone clef. At first glance it seems complicated but, once learned, it is quite easy and fun.
    Last edited by franz; 10-24-2019 at 04:50 PM.
    Besson Prestige 2052,3D K&G mouthpiece;JP373 baritone,T4C K&G mouthpiece;Bach 42GO trombone,T4C K&G mouthpiece

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