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Eb Contralto Clarinet Transposition Tips

Occasionally there is need for Eb contralto clarinet players to be assigned to play a part
that was not originally written for alto clarinet. This may be due to the lack of an Eb
contralto clarinet part or a need to cover another important part. Alto clarinet is an Eb
instrument so can just read the music of any other Eb instrument (ex.: bari saxophone). If
you are not given a part in Eb, you will have to transpose it to your instrument. Most
commonly (and in every case this semester), you will be given a bassoon part (in concert
pitch). To read this music there are three steps:

1. Pretend the music is in treble clef


2. Add three sharps to the key signature (or take away three flats)
3. Play the music down one octave if possible

So if you got this concert pitch music:

You would play:

Accidentals make things slightly more complicated. Try to think of sharps as raising
whatever note by one half step and think of flats as lowering whatever note by one half
step. (i.e. if you have transposed to a C# but then have to add a flat you would play a C
natural). You will hear and know if you have played the right note or not. So if you saw
this:

You would play:

It will help if you know how the concert pitch key the band plays in relates to the key
your Eb instrument plays in.

When the band (concert pitch) is in: You are playing in:
Bb G
C A
F D
Eb C
G E

Good luck and let us know if you need help!