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Help transposing horn parts please?

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Help transposing horn parts please?

Postby SysExJohn » Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:33 am

Hi all,

Hoping that a horn player (maybe Snorlax?) may be listening in and can cast some light upon the subject of transposition.

Background:
First of all I'm not a composer like many of the talented individuals who inhabit this and the NS forum (written in envy), I came to it too late in life, nor am I a horn player.

I use several of the Garritan libraries along with notation and MIDI sequencing programs to create orchestral accompaniments for my wife to practise or to perform to. She's a classically trained operatic mezzo soprano.

The task:
I have a score of Otello by Verdi from IMSLP. I am trying to enter two of Desdemona's arias (the Willow Song and the Ave Maria, from Act IV) into Finale 2012 (purchased a while back but only recently being used) to create the accompaniments. That is, the notation itself is of no great importance, it's the correct sounding MIDI file that is essential.

The problem:
The score, in the key of A major, has a pair of "Corni in Mi" written in.
I work out that Corni in Mi is Horns in E. Correct?
The horns staff has no key signature (I believe this is normal) and has all accidentals entered.

Finale (with GPO within it) only lets me add French Horns in F.
How do I get from Corni in Mi in the original, to French Horns in F in Finale?
Is it simply to transpose every written note down a semitone (E to F) before entry into the French Horn part in Finale?

This is not the only time I've run into this problem.
In a couple of scores from Berlioz I've come across two pairs of horns in different keys.
Similarly Haydn has often posed such problems.

It would be useful to have a table (which I'll gladly construct), or a spreadsheet (ditto), that shows how or converts all the different horns transposed into F.

Any help in getting a non horn player up to transposing speed would be very gratefully received.

In great hope and eager expectation,
Regards,
John.

Correction.
It was the Haydn Missa in Angustiis (Nelson Mass) that had horns in different keys.
The Berlioz "Faust" has 2 pairs of Corni in B (Si b) as well as Trombe in B (SI b).
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Re: Help transposing horn parts please?

Postby Michael.B » Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:39 am

Hello John,

You are correct, 'Corni in Mi' is indeed 'Horn in E'.

First the basic principle of transposing instruments is fairly straight forward. The written C will sound the key note of the transposing instrument. So a French horn in F fingering a written C will sound an 'F' and a horn in 'E' fingering a written C will sound an 'E' and so on. From your post I think you already understand this but I thought I would mention it.

There are different options for entering Horns in E into a score to be played by horns in F. I'm trying to suggest what might be the easiest way.

You could, as you suggest, use a Horn in F stave in Finale then transpose every note down a semitone as you enter the notes. Alternatively, why not let Finale transpose it for you as follows.

One method would be just to enter the Horns in E part directly as they are into Finale in a French horns in F stave. When the part is fully entered then just use Finale's transpose feature to transpose the complete stave the difference between the two instuments. In this case the difference between Horns in F and Horns in E = down a semitone, as you say.

Another method would be to use Finale's 'Display in Concert Pitch' feature to view the part then create your own transposing stave in E and copy and paste the part in. I think this is a bit more convoluted than my first suggestion though.

I think if you just follow my first sugggestion you won't need any spreadsheets as Finale will do it in just two steps, unless, of course you want to create the spreadsheets as an exercise. ;)

I hope this helps.

Michael
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Re: Help transposing horn parts please?

Postby SysExJohn » Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:33 am

Hello Michael,

First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer my post, much appreciated.

Yes, I think I understand the principles of transposition. I used to play the oboe back when I was a lad, and sort of understood how the oboe d'amore and cor anglais/oboe da caccia worked. Is it a minor third and a perfect fifth down respectively? But with them the key signature changes to reflect the instrument's transposition.

I think what's confusing me is the fact that all Corni (and Trombe or Clarini) are shown in C regardless of the key they are in, with accidentals, in older scores.

In searching through old posts in the Finale forum I found some fairly old material, including some tables in pdf that appear to show the second technique you described, i.e. Display in Concert Pitch. As you say, it seems a bit convoluted, and perhaps to much for me at this time.

This is the first time I've started to use Finale 'in anger' so to speak, having used another, not so well known program, up until now. I decided to make the transition because of the coherence of Finale and GPO, which isn't there with the other program. So I'm determined to master Finale and use it as my primary method of input.

However your first method of tackling the issue seems admirably simple for this ageing brain and so I intend to try that right away. I.e. enter the notes as they are and then transpose.

The table was just so that I know the transposition interval for horns written in all keys to get them to work as a French Horn. For me it would be useful to have such a table so that each time I come across a score with transposed brass I could just look it up rather than making the old brain ache trying to work it out.

Thanks for the help, I shall try it out right away.
Kind regards,
John.
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Re: Help transposing horn parts please?

Postby Michael.B » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:39 am

SysExJohn wrote: ..... I think what's confusing me is the fact that all Corni (and Trombe or Clarini) are shown in C regardless of the key they are in, with accidentals, in older scores.
John.

Hello again John,

Ah .. yes I can empathise with that. If we have the full score where all instruments are listed then we know the transposing instruments used and can relate these to the key of the piece. Even then some confusion could set in where lots of 'additional' accidentals are used. If we don't have the first page then this could add to the confusion; unless we are musical historians. :)


SysExJohn wrote: ..... In searching through old posts in the Finale forum I found some fairly old material, including some tables in pdf that appear to show the second technique you described, i.e. Display in Concert Pitch. As you say, it seems a bit convoluted, and perhaps to much for me at this time. .....

However your first method of tackling the issue seems admirably simple for this ageing brain and so I intend to try that right away. I.e. enter the notes as they are and then transpose.
John.

I think my first suggestion is probably the easiest. It may not meet with the approval of 'purists' but it is easy and it works. I think the 'correct' way would be to create a new 'Horn in E' transposing staff, but go ahead and try my easier suggetion and see if it works for you .. no-one is looking. ;)

SysExJohn wrote:
This is the first time I've started to use Finale 'in anger' so to speak, having used another, not so well known program, up until now. I decided to make the transition because of the coherence of Finale and GPO, which isn't there with the other program. So I'm determined to master Finale and use it as my primary method of input.
John.

Oh dear .. "use Finale in anger". That does sound sad. :(

I've been using Finale for many years now. I have dabbled with just about all the other notation programs but Finale is the one for me every time. I'm certain that as you get to know the program it will become more friendly and you will enjoy using it. Do please ask here anytime you need some input with Finale; we're always pleaed to help. :)

SysExJohn wrote: ..... The table was just so that I know the transposition interval for horns written in all keys to get them to work as a French Horn. For me it would be useful to have such a table so that each time I come across a score with transposed brass I could just look it up rather than making the old brain ache trying to work it out.

Thanks for the help, I shall try it out right away.
Kind regards,
John.

Ah .. that's fairly straightforward. I was going to put one together for you but then I found this PDF chart and I think it's just what you want.

French Horn Transposition Reference PDF Chart

I hope this is helpful for you.

Michael
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Re: Help transposing horn parts please?

Postby Jetcopy » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:33 pm

John,

It's easy to setup Finale for a Horn in E transposition. Visit this page: Horn transposition

Scroll down to the 4th post with all of the transpositions listed and enter the info for Horn in E in the Score Manager. AFter doing that you can simply enter the horn part as is and everything will just work correctly.

JT
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Re: Help transposing horn parts please?

Postby Michael.B » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:55 pm

Jetcopy wrote:John,

It's easy to setup Finale for a Horn in E transposition. Visit this page: Horn transposition

Scroll down to the 4th post with all of the transpositions listed and enter the info for Horn in E in the Score Manager. AFter doing that you can simply enter the horn part as is and everything will just work correctly.

JT

Hello Jetcopy,

That's great.

John, there you go .. an even easier method. Now you have your proper method in Finale and your chart.

Sounds like a good outcome. :)
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Re: Help transposing horn parts please?

Postby SysExJohn » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:08 am

Hello Michael and Jetcopy,

Thank you both SO MUCH for your help.
These two tables have been duly copied and printed and will be studied and implemented.

Jetcopy, That looks like it might do the trick once having added all the settings to Finale.
The only things missing are the Bb and Bb basso entries, but I'm guessing I should be able to work those out. I'll let you know how I get on.

After starting work again on the score I browsed forward marking in measure numbers (as is my wont) and to my horror found that 3/4 of the way through the Willow Song Verdi adds in another couple of horns, this time in A. Aargh!

Added after further study:
Aha! I see the table you provided Jetcopy is an implemented cut down version of the pdf attached to the 5th post in that forum thread (by Charles Lawrence) "FinaleTranspositionChart_R8b1.pdf".

I'm guessing what this does is to use the GPO French Horn as the the playing instrument, but to give a range of antique instrument names to be used in Finale for score entry.

I'll keep trying.
Thanks a lot.
John.
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Re: Help transposing horn parts please?

Postby SysExJohn » Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:13 am

Hello again,

A quick update.
I decided to go back to a score I had created, again in order to make a rehearsal track, with which I had had some problems in understanding brass transpositions, and the way they were entered in older orchestral scores.

I'd entered the notes in the position they appeared on the conductor's score for a horn in F, not taking into account that they were already transposed. Again, it was the lack of key signature that made me think incorrectly.

Using the table that you posted a link to, Michael, and performing the transposition proved most straightforward. The result? At last it sounds correct and harmonious.

The music was 'Song to the Moon' from Dvorak's opera Rusalka.
My wife will shortly have a track to rehearse to and, with some better crafted dynamics and tempo shifts, perhaps to perform to.

Many thanks for pointing me to the table, Michael. It's just the job!

"Oh dear .. "use Finale in anger". That does sound sad."

Not at all, it just means to stop dabbling and use it in earnest. ;)

Regards,
John.
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Re: Help transposing horn parts please?

Postby Michael.B » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:45 pm

SysExJohn wrote: ..... Using the table that you posted a link to, Michael, and performing the transposition proved most straightforward. The result? At last it sounds correct and harmonious.
Regards,
John.

Hello John,

This is wonderful news. As Mr. T. always said, "It's great when a plan comes together".
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