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Thread: Learning Tenor Clef and finding material to practice on

  1. Learning Tenor Clef and finding material to practice on

    Hello everyone! I've been wanting to learn how to read tenor clef for a while. However, i have yet to find online any type of book or music theory based website on how to learn tenor clef. The only thing i know is that in Bass cleft C one ledger line above the staff is the same as to were the Tenor clef is place on the third line. If anyone has any advice, or even some material to look into I would be very interested in hearing about it.
    Last edited by daruby; 03-06-2017 at 11:21 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Oklahoma City
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    263
    For my kiddos, I use musictheory.net

    I have found its very helpful and I can send them home to study and then quiz them on the same website. They seem to use it well, and they have an option to do note recognition in any clef.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
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    3,425
    Hi GibranC,

    I checked some of your earlier posts and noticed that you used to play trumpet. If you remember your Bb trumpet fingerings, reading tenor clef isn't too difficult. Read the tenor clef music as if it was treble clef trumpet music, BUT add 2 sharps to the key signature. If the key signature of the tenor clef music (showing concert pitch) has 2 flats, adding 2 sharps would cancel those flats and look like a trumpet in 'C'. BUT... be careful of accidentals. You have to move the pitch up or down accordingly.

    Tenor clef marks where the note 'C' is. That's why it's sometimes called 'C' clef. So since euphonium is a Bb instrument, to sound a 'C' (reading from transposed TC music), you'll need to play a TC 'D'. Hope this helps.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Tenor.jpg   treble.jpg  
    Last edited by RickF; 03-06-2017 at 01:26 PM.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)
    El Relicario (Jose Padilla; arr. R. Longfield)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Anderson, Indiana
    Posts
    245
    "If you remember your Bb trumpet fingerings, reading tenor clef isn't too difficult. Read the tenor clef music as if it was treble clef trumpet music, BUT add 2 sharps to the key signature."
    Rick has the right suggestion. If you don't have your old trumpet books, you should be able to find lots of free trumpet music on the web. You can pencil in the tenor clef key signature and accidentals if you wish. Then play away.

  5. Of course being a native bass and tenor clef reader, I read transposed Bb treble the same way I read tenor. I just add two flats. Actually, I now just read treble and think concert pitch instead of transposed. So with written D's I think concert C, etc.

    By the way, I studied cello and baritone growing up and learned to read tenor through my cello studies. I also got proficient in tenor when reading some trombone solos and etudes. The fact that tenor is a "native tongue" for me helps me with Bb treble, but I still sometimes mess up accidentals or key changes. I have to be careful. It helps that I try to use treble euph parts in the wind band most of the time so that the transition to British brass band is helped. After 8-9 years of lots of treble clef, I am mostly pretty good now. BUT, darned if the semi- hemi- demi-quavers, crotchets, and minums don't get to me when I go to the UK every summer!

    Doug
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by GibranC View Post
    Hello everyone! I've been wanting to learn how to read tenor clef for a while. However, i have yet to find online any type of book or music theory based website on how to learn tenor clef. The only thing i know is that in Bass cleft C one ledger line above the staff is the same as to were the Tenor clef is place on the third line. If anyone has any advice, or even some material to look into I would be very interested in hearing about it.
    The bass clef C that is one ledger line above the staff is equivalent to the tenor clef C that is on the "4th" line of the staff. More below...
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by RickF View Post
    ...Tenor clef marks where the note 'C' is. That's why it's sometimes called 'C' clef. So since euphonium is a Bb instrument, to sound a 'C', you'll need to play a 'D'. Hope this helps.
    To be complete, the tenor clef is one of several "moveable C clefs". Originally, the moveable C-clef was such that the middle C could be on any one of the five staff lines. It was done in this fashion so that the range of a particular voice/instrument would fall more within the staff. Over time, two C clefs survived, the tenor and alto. The tenor places the middle C on the 4th line, whereas the alto places the middle C on the 3rd line. In an orchestra, trombone and cello sometimes have parts written in tenor (as opposed to the normal bass clef). Some trombone parts are also written in alto clef. The viola is almost exclusively written in alto clef (the violin is in treble).

    Also, "since euphonium is a Bb instrument, to sound a 'C', you'll need to play a 'D'" - true for the euphonium player who plays in treble clef. More precisely, to sound a concert 'C', play your 'D' on euphonium (if you play treble clef - also same for a trumpet player). However, if you play bass clef, to sound a concert 'C', play your 'C'.
    Last edited by John Morgan; 03-06-2017 at 11:48 AM.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  8. #8
    For a technical study book in various clefs (bass, tenor and alto) and keys, try to obtain:

    Robert Mueller Technical Studies for Trombone in Three Volumes: Get Volume Three for the Clef studies. I used that many moons ago for helping with Alto Clef, but it also has Tenor Clef studies. The earlier exercises start off with scale type work which aids in becoming familiar with the new clef(s).
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,425
    Thanks John for further clarifying. I edited my post above... "to sound a 'C' (reading from transposed TC music), you'll need to play a TC 'D'."
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)
    El Relicario (Jose Padilla; arr. R. Longfield)

  10. #10
    All good tips above on how to learn Tenor Clef, however, the goal is to learn automatically to "think" in each clef. As an original bass clef reader on trombone, I studied some tenor clef years ago, but I still find it hard to read it easily when I'm required to do so.

    On the other hand, I first played euphonium in bass clef when I added it as a 2nd instrument. However, when I joined a British style brass band and needed to read treble clef, I simply forced myself to learn to read it without mentally transposing it. I still practice both clefs every time I practice. It also has the advantage of utilizing good material originally written for trombone and originally written for trumpet.

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