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lunga tromba

started on G baritone bugle

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I just started playing a baritone G bugle. I was hoping there might be some people familiar with the instrument that could give me some pointers. I'm not involved in or near any corps at all, just playing a bugle.

It plays an octave and a perfect fifth below a C trumpet. So it's an additional two semitones lower than a Bb horn. It uses a short shank trombone mouthpiece, but has a .560 bore that's more conical.

For now I am playing using concert pitch on the treble clef. So for example, written EEFGGFEDCCDEEDD or TrebleClef.gif Line1.gif Line1.gif Space1.gif Line2.gif Line2.gif Space1.gif Line1.gif Space0.gif Line0.gif Line0.gif Space0.gif Line1.gif Line1.gif Space0.gif Space0.gif is played with fingerings 12 12 1 0 0 1 12 0 1 1 0 12 12 0 0, so it sounds exactly as it is written, but one octave lower. So written G4 on the second line of the treble clef is played with no keys pressed, and sounds G3.

Technically, most of the notes I am actually playing would be written on or just above the bass clef, BassClef.gif Space3.gif Space3.gif Line4.gif Space4.gif Space4.gif Line4.gif Space3.gif Line3.gif Space2.gif Space2.gif Line3.gif Space3.gif Space3.gif Line3.gif Line3.gif but I play off the treble clef because it's simple to find the melody for popular music. I can play off common piano and guitar sheet music.

I read that most G soprano bugle players simply play the treble clef with the same fingerings as a Bb trumpet. The result would be their pitch sounding 2 semitones below a Bb trumpet (for a soprano bugle, and for G mellopone bugles), and the baritone and euphoniums would sound an octave and 2 semitones lower than a Bb trombone for a given note. Because the bugle choir was all pitched in G, I guess it could be made to work. I have to imagine the music was arranged for the G horns, but if it was, I don't know why they didn't just write in the bass clef, or perhaps ideally, either the alto or tenor clef. Can anyone clarify how the baritones were played in G?

I think what makes most sense for me is to read the treble clef written for concert pitch and just sound an octave lower. While it may not be too hard to find popular music for the trombone, usually written on the bass clef, sometimes it's a lower brass part, and not the melody.

I don't currently play with a band, and don't have any intention to join an orchestra. I live in a rural area and there's nothing local other than the high school band. I perform primarily on the street, at local events, and traveling to cities. I play mostly solo, so that's why I'd probably play the lead/melody part off the treble clef.

I've just figured out the valve fingering and made myself a chart, but I have some trouble with the lower and higher registers and it's not clear what the fingering should be since I can't sound those notes properly anyway. I can play G2 to A4. I can sound down to F1, but I don't have any articulation with those pedal tones. I'm more interested in the higher register. For the time being, I'm playing mostly up to E3. I need to work on F3 through A4.

If anyone has fingering charts, I'd appreciate that especially if they cover the lower and upper registers.


Coming up here pretty soon, I'm going to want to be playing on the street at night for holiday events. It's going to be below freezing, and I'll need a new mouthpiece. My horn came with a 6 1/2 AL. I've had a hard time finding a Kelly that size in anything but Punk Pink. I put in an order for a green 12C. I guess I'll get to try a shallower mouthpiece and see what I like better.

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You are putting too much thought into this. G bugles are traditionally written the same as a British Brass Band - every part is transposed treble clef. Low C (grand staff middle C) on the clef is concert G, and that concert G is the 2nd harmonic of the horn. You are probably familiar with harmonic series/overtone series?

Over the years, because some people who play low bugles either refuse to learn treble clef or just somehow don't understand it, a system of writing a transposed Bass Clef developed. This is a unique thing to G bugles and is found nowhere else in music theory. The transposed Bass Clef, often referred to as "Texas clef," treats Concert G as a written Bb. Your standard bass clef fingering chart for a 3v Bb tuba, Euphonium, or baritone will then give you the fingerings.

I find Texas clef to be miserable, as I've played multiple keys of low brass, particularly tubas, that when I read bass clef, I automatically switch to concert pitch fingerings. So the Bb above the bass clef on G baritone bugle Texas clef is tuning G, aka 4th overtone. It should be played open. When I see that note, my brain is wired to play 2nd valve as that is what Concert Bb is on a G baritone.

Simply put, if you already read treble clef and understand the Fingering pattern for treble clef, keep reading treble clef and adjust your mental pitch centers to G. Easiest way to play.

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Follow up: if you're dead set on playing a G baritone in a street band that is playing out of something like a Real Fake Book, and you want to play from treble clef sheets, your useable note range, provided the horn has 3 valves, begins on a low Db (1-2-3) that you'll never see written in a fake book. The lowest you'll see in a fake book is probably a G (0). Using your standard valve pattern for a major scale, if you start on the G two lines and a space beneath the treble clef: G (0), A (1-3), B (1-2), middle C (1), D (0), E (1-2), F# (2), G (0). You should be able to figure out the rest from there. You'll be playing exactly one octave below what's written.

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I found reading everything up in Baritone Treble Clef a minor third worked fine when dealing with B Flat compatibility when I did my HS Alumni band and didn't want to get a loaner from the band.

To support Brad, yeah, we used TC in Corps pretty much exclusively. Another good reason- Lead Bari parts were so blasted high up BITD at Westshore it was easier to read them without a lot of ledgers in bass.

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.....Using your standard valve pattern for a major scale, if you start on the G two lines and a space beneath the treble clef: G (0), A (1-3), B (1-2), middle C (1), D (0), E (1-2), F# (2), G (0). You should be able to figure out the rest from there. You'll be playing exactly one octave below what's written.

This is exactly how I've been playing. But I find most popular music on the TC only goes down as low as middle C (1), and it it is frequently written up to the G above the staff (G5) which is a bit difficult for me at this stage even though I am sounding an octave lower (G4). I follow your fingering from written middle C (1), D (0), E (1-2), F#(2), G(0), but when I get to the next A (written A4, sounding A3), pressing only the first valve is easier to play than pressing 1-3. And to sound B3, I play it with no valves (0). It will sound the same pitch with 1-2 but it seems easier to play with less tubing. I do have a third valve, but I find the C Major Scale plays better with only the first two valves: 1, 0, 1-2, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1. I play G Major Scale 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1-2, 2, 0.

As for playing it transposed, the way I understand it was played in Drum Corps, I'm still trying to understand that. You wrote, " Low C (grand staff middle C) on the clef is concert G." If I understand that right, I see middle C written, and I sound G2(with fingering 0). So let's say I want to play Joy to the World, "CBAGFEDCGAABBC." Do I look at those notes on the sheet and sound GF#EDCBAGDEEF#F#G? Or do I get out my pencil and write the bugle part so it is written F#EDCBAGF#CDDF#F#G, and then when I play it, it sounds CBAGFEDCGAABBC? If the latter is true, then I need music that is written for G bugle whether I source it that way or just transpose/rewrite it myself. If the former is true, then I just sound an octave and a perfect fourth lower than what is written.

Sounding an octave lower than written is fine. What are the ramifications of sounding an octave and a perfect fourth lower than written? How does that work in a band? Do I need to compensate for that fourth by transposing the sheet music, or do I still sound ok because the notes are within the harmonic series?

I am not concerned about compatibility with Bb. I am much more likely to be playing solo or with instruments in concert pitch: guitar, bass, keyboard, and vocals (and drums). A fake book is exactly what I'm likely to be looking at. I should get one of those.

Edited by lunga tromba

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If you'are playing with concert pitch instruments, you have to use concert pitch fingerings unless you find music written specifically for G bugle. That means the written middle C is 1st valve. I think a primer on transposition for trumpets would help you greatly with your confusion.

Simply put, in a band setting, you have to change your fingerings to play the correct pitches that everyone else is. If you're playing solo, no one will care whether you play in concert pitch or transposed. I have a chart somewhere that has all of the fingerings for G bugles to play the correct concert pitch based on whatever music you're reading: G transposed, Bb transposed, Eb transposed, F transposed, and Concert Pitch.

You never mention if this bugle has two or three valves. If you only have two valves, you can't play a number of notes. Nothing you do will make those notes play.

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Thanks for the reply. It has 3 valves. At this point, I think I understand transposition better. I'm going to continue to play straight off sheet music written for C instruments like fake books. I play on off the treble clef, and sound an octave lower. So when I see a written middle C, I press the first valve and sound C3.

Now my question is about which fingerings I should use. For example, starting from C and going up through the scale, should I press 1, 0, 12, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1? Or should I press 1, 13, 12, 1, 0, 1, 0, 13? I sound the same pitch for D3 whether I press no valves, or 1-3, and I also sound C4 with the valve 1 or 1-3. F4 is also 1 or 1-3. Is there an advantage to one fingering or the other? I'm trying to understand the overtone series, and how to choose the fingering.

I'd also like the fingerings for higher and lower, because I can't sound them yet. I'm able to play the following fingerings, but it gets sketchy in the low and high ends.

E2 F2 G2 A2 B2 C3 D3 E3 F3 F3# G3 A3 B3 C4 D4 E4 F4 F#4 G4 A4

12 1 0 13 12 1 0 12 1 2 0 1 0 1 0 12 1 2 1 1

13 23 13 13 23

I haven't really out all the sharps and flats either. I can play in G major.

Edited by lunga tromba

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Any progress?

If I had seen this thread six months ago, I would've told you to get a lesson book for either trumpet or treble clef baritone, practice the scales, and then come back in a month.

I would've also said that playing a G horn among concert instruments is a pain in the ### unless you're really good at transposing on the fly.  The bugle "Eb" is concert Bb, and worse, it's rarely well in tune.

SO ANYWAY...

In your last post, you asked about playing a scale in Concert C.  In case you haven't figured it out since last December, it's like fingering a trumpet F scale (for G bugles, bugle "F" is concert C).

The fingerings you wrote in the last post don't make much sense, either.  "1 0 12 1 2 1 1"?  You're missing some 2-3 and open fingerings in there.  I hope you spent a lot of time on basic scales since then.

For this:

I have to imagine the music was arranged for the G horns, but if it was, I don't know why they didn't just write in the bass clef, or perhaps ideally, either the alto or tenor clef. Can anyone clarify how the baritones were played in G?

It was all custom-arranged, yes.  As Brad T. noted, writing G bugle music in bass clef grew to be a mess (I've seen GG contrabass parts written for both BBb and CC tuba players, where on the CC parts, a written C was a bugle open "C" that sounded concert G).

Alto or tenor clef?  No.  Who reads those outside of college and British-style brass bands?

The entire hornline was normally written in treble clef because the various voices were gradually added to the line.  Contras didn't even get into widespread use until the 1960's.  They kept writing only in treble clef to make it easier for players to switch from one instrument to any other.

Remember, drum corps was not born as a highfalutin' music education experience for aspiring professional brass masters.  It was for giving kids something to do in their spare time, keeping them out of trouble and helping them build friendships, a high sense of self-worth, and a strong work ethic.  If the corps needed kids to switch to a different instrument to fill out the numbers, they did.  No big deal.

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