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Transposing music so that it can be played on a trumpet

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Hello!  I found a site where you can buy sheet music.  This is great because it has a great selection in it's library of tunes that I want to play on my trumpet.  However, the music is written mostly for piano and guitar.  BUT it has a "transpose" option where you can select how you want the music transposed.  I know that the trumpet is a B-flat instrument, however which option do I select (see attachment)?  You can even set the program to default to your instrument's key for each time you purchase.  The example I have attached says the song's original key is D major.  Also see the transpose options.  Which one would I chose to be able to play to lead vocal part for trumpet?  Thanks!


1 Answer

Hi Chauncey, great question. You need to put it in the key of E (4 sharps) or up a major 2nd.

Why: The way to do this is knowing what instrument the music is written for and understand that on Bb trumpet whatever note you play actually sounds a whole step (major 2nd) lower. When you play a C, you hear a Bb. When you play a G, you hear and F.

The music attached is written for piano/voice/guitar so we know it is written for an C (or concert key) instrument. On a C instrumnet you hear what you play. So what we need to do is move the Bb trumpet key up a whole step to match the sound we want, otherwise the trumpet will sound too low.

If the transposition is not available it means the songs either cannot be written well in that key, or the arranger didn't prove that key. However, you can always transpose yourself by playing every note a whole step higher. That's a challenge of course and more suited for advanced or intermediate trumpet players, but on sight transposition is a very much needed skill in trumpet world.


ps: this topic will be moved to "off the trumpet questions" and also please try to tag your questions so others can find similar content when needed. Thank you! How to tag -->


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