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Calling a Spade a Cucumber

I understand that some instruments, like trumpets, are categorised according to the lowest note they can produce without pressing down any of the keys. What I have never grasped is why it seemed like a good idea to make them play at a different pitch from what is notated. I can see that changing this rule would mean beginners might have to get onto sharps and flats a lesson or two earlier but it would save a lifetime of confusion.

We got bitten by this at church this morning. Unexpectedly, the youth band was supplemented by a couple of brass players.¬†Unfortunately, as we tried to remember which way to transpose the music we took the wrong choice and the players weren’t playing confidently enough to make the mistake immediately obvious.

Next time I need to remember that the pattern is to add two sharps; concert A requires the horns to play in B. Next time I also hope to be better prepared but I still wish that, in the past, the decision had been made to call a spade a spade.

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