List of transposing instruments

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Transposing instruments are most commonly found in C, E-flat, F, G, A, and B-flat.

Instruments in D-flat, D, E, A-flat, and B do or once did exist but are uncommon or obsolete.

Instruments in G-flat/F-sharp are completely lacking (leaving aside French horns with crooks which come in any key).

The instruments that are available nowadays in the greatest number of keys (again leaving aside historical French horns with crooks) are trumpets and clarinets.

In order to give complete descriptions of families of transposing instruments this page also includes a section listing their non-transposing members.

Instruments in C[edit]

Authorities disagree on whether instruments in this category are properly called "transposing", but they are included here for completeness.

Written C4 sounds C6[edit]

Written C4 sounds C5[edit]

Written C4 sounds C4 (non-transposing members of families of transposing instruments)[edit]

Note: This section is only for non-transposing members of families of transposing instruments.

Written C4 sounds C3[edit]

Written C4 sounds C2[edit]

Written C4 sounds C1[edit]

Written C4 sounds C0[edit]

Instruments in D[edit]

Written C4 sounds D5[edit]

Written C4 sounds D4[edit]

Instruments in D[edit]

Written C4 sounds D4[edit]

  • D clarinet (rare)
  • D trumpet (may also be in E)
  • Hardanger Fiddle (Except when tuned like a traditional violin: G,D,A,E)

Written C4 sounds D3[edit]

Instruments in E[edit]

Written C4 sounds E4[edit]

Written C4 sounds E3[edit]

Written C4 sounds E2[edit]

Written C4 sounds E1[edit]

Instruments in E[edit]

Written C4 sounds E4[edit]

Instruments in F[edit]

Written C4 sounds F4[edit]

Written C4 sounds F3[edit]

  • Cor anglais (English horn)
  • Horn. There are two complications with horn transposition. First, some older editions write for valved horns as if they still had crooks, and thus may change the transposition several times within a piece or movement. Second, when horn parts are written in bass clef, they may be written an octave lower than expected, transposing up, rather than down as in treble clef. In today's scores, horns always transpose down, even in bass clef; but the other notation was standard well into the 20th century.[1]
  • Mellophone
  • Bass Wagner tuba (new notation)
  • Basset horn (F Clarinet)
  • F alto saxophone (rare)

Written C4 sounds F2[edit]

Instruments in G[edit]

Written C4 sounds G4[edit]

Written C4 sounds G3[edit]

Written C4 sounds G2[edit]

Written C4 sounds G1[edit]

Instruments in A[edit]

Written C4 sounds A4[edit]

Written C4 sounds A3[edit]

Instruments in A[edit]

Written C4 sounds A4[edit]

Written C4 sounds A3[edit]

Written C4 sounds A2[edit]

Instruments in B[edit]

Written C4 sounds B4[edit]

Written C4 sounds B3[edit]

Written C4 sounds B2[edit]

Written C4 sounds B1[edit]

Written C4 sounds B0[edit]

Instruments in B[edit]

Written C4 sounds B3[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Written Vs. Sounding Pitch" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-03-22.

References[edit]

  • Kennan, Kent Wheeler. The Technique of Orchestration, Second Edition. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970, 1952; ISBN 0-13-900316-9
  • Del Mar, Norman. The Anatomy of the Orchestra. University of California Press, 1981