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Étude books in Bass Clef

#2
How's bass clarinet going to help your bass clef reading?

My recommendation goes to bassoon Étude books *although they will go up to tenor clef, so be careful with that* or euphonium books *won't be quite as complex, but either minimal or no tenor clef
 

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#3
In classical rep, the bass clarinet is often written in bass clef. Some times in concert pitch and sometimes Bb (rarely in A).

Cello Étude books. You'll have to fake low C, unless you have a low C bass.
 
#4
How's bass clarinet going to help your bass clef reading?

My recommendation goes to bassoon Étude books *although they will go up to tenor clef, so be careful with that* or euphonium books *won't be quite as complex, but either minimal or no tenor clef
I was thinking there may be a book geared towards bass clarinet that was also written in bass clef. Of course, the instrument isn't as important. Thanks for the recommendations.
 
#5
Oh I knew that, but didn't know they wrote any Étude books in bass clef, I've only seen them written in treble.
+1 on cello books though, but again, you might get into tenor clef
 

tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#6
I want to improve my reading skills in bass clef. Can anyone recommend some Étude books for bass clef and/or bass clarinet.

Thanks
You can use tons of stuff of the mutopia project - just transpose a bit for the lowest note and have it write in bass clef, et voilà.

The interesting bit in the source of the attached score (bass down to Eb) looks like

(...)
\score { { \clef "bass" \transpose c es, { \prelude } }
\layout { }
\header { piece = "Prélude" }
}
\score { { \clef "bass" \transpose c es, { \allemande } }
\layout { }
\header { piece = "Allemande" }
}
(...)

You don't even have to touch the real score.
 
Last edited:

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#7
Just because a bassoon studies book goes into tenor clef doesn't mean that you can't read the exercises on a bass clarinet. Iffen you are ever called to play bassoon parts on the bass, you will need the practice.

What I have never understood (and still don't) is the need for tenor clef in the first place. With clarinet players and flute players used to stacks of ledger lines up to high-high C, you would think that bassoon players would be able to do the same. Just stack enough ledger lines to make it to the lower end of the treble clef and there you are.

But no...
 
#8
You can use tons of stuff of the mutopia project - just transpose a bit for the lowest note and have it write in bass clef, et voilà.

The interesting bit in the source of the attached score (bass down to Eb) looks like

(...)
\score { { \clef "bass" \transpose c es, { \prelude } }
\layout { }
\header { piece = "Prélude" }
}
\score { { \clef "bass" \transpose c es, { \allemande } }
\layout { }
\header { piece = "Allemande" }
}
(...)

You don't even have to touch the real score.
This will keep me busy for awhile. Thanks.
 
#9
Just because a bassoon studies book goes into tenor clef doesn't mean that you can't read the exercises on a bass clarinet. Iffen you are ever called to play bassoon parts on the bass, you will need the practice.

What I have never understood (and still don't) is the need for tenor clef in the first place. With clarinet players and flute players used to stacks of ledger lines up to high-high C, you would think that bassoon players would be able to do the same. Just stack enough ledger lines to make it to the lower end of the treble clef and there you are.

But no...
My think would be to use 8va. For singers, we use it all the time. Tenors are usually written in treble clef but pitched an octave down. Would be fine for the few times bassoons ever go up that high, same thing with cello's. Oh well.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#10
I just finished a musical (The Pajama Game, if you are following along at home) where the bassoon line was written with a parallel bass clarinet part. As it was one of three overlapping musicals I was wrapped up in during the time, I opted for bass clarinet throughout, not wanting to have to deal with reeds and all.

One night, while reading along in my part, I had a rest that was long enough to do a study of the bassoon line immediately above what I was counting. (I often do this when I have the time, practicing my transposition skills.) There, crammed into a very limited space on the staff, was a squiggle that I could not decode at first glance.

Later on, during the interval, I took the book off of the stand and studied the puzzling measure with my glasses off, getting up close and personal. There it was, like a single bacterium on a agar dish - a very poorly drawn tenor clef, followed by two bars of music before the clef "reset" to bass at the head of the next line.

I've just finished reading a book called The Sound of Broadway Music, an examination of the orchestrators (and, to a limited extent, the copyists) who assemble the composer's thoughts into the Broadway charts that we end users get to experience. In it, the author points out that the payment for Broadway music is done by the measure (or, more precisely, by the four measure line) and that throwing ink down on the page in a hurry is the driving principle of the breed. From the looks of that particular line, I am inclined to believe it.

(I also learned a new slang music term from the book: "potatoes". This was used in reference to a line of whole notes in a 'cello part, notation that does look like a line of spuds.)

I would imagine that even a first rate bassoon player would have been able to sight read their way through that one, whamming away at a brisk cut time clip through the ink. There was not a big enough difference between the relative location of previous notes and the tenor clef notes to pick it up on the fly. Hell, the stupid tenor clef symbol looked like an ink blot from a range of two and one half feet.

One of these days, when my retirement actually is that (and not aged parent care and hurricane recovery activities), I'm going to work up my bassoon playing again. Mastering tenor clef to the extent that I have mastered transposition on the clarinet and sax is a small subset of the problems that the mastery will involve.

However, "One of these days" is the main operative phrase in the preceding paragraph...
 
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