Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

List of musical instruments by transposition

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Transposing instruments are most commonly found in D, E-flat, F, G, A and B-flat.

Contents

Instruments in D-flat, E, A-flat and B do or did exist but are uncommon or obsolete.

Instruments in G-flat are completely lacking (leaving aside French horns with crooks which come in any key).

The instruments that are available nowadays in the greatest number of keys (again leaving aside historical French horns with crooks) are trumpets and clarinets.

Instruments in C (Concert Pitch +0)

Authorities disagree on whether instruments in this category are properly called "transposing", but they are included here for completeness.

Very high (sounding a perfect fifteenth (two octaves) higher than written)

  • Glockenspiel
  • Garklein
  • Crotales
  • High (sounding an octave higher than written)

  • Piccolo
  • Celesta
  • Sopranino recorder, Soprano recorder, bass, and great bass recorders
  • Handbells
  • Tin whistle
  • Xylophone
  • Regular (sounding the same as written; non-transposing)

    Note: This section is only for instruments which are non-transposing members of families of transposing instruments. This section should not become a list of all instruments in existence which happen to be non-transposing.

  • Flute
  • Tenor recorder
  • Oboe
  • Bassoon
  • C soprano clarinet (rare)
  • C soprano saxophone
  • C Trumpet
  • Trombone (except in brass band music)
  • Tuba (except in brass band music)
  • Low (sounding an octave lower than written)

  • Vocal tenor parts (when written in treble clef; at times an octave G clef is used; see Octave clef)
  • Guitar (at times an octave G clef is used; see Octave clef)
  • Bass guitar
  • Banjo
  • Cello (when written in treble clef, in old scores; this usage is obsolete)
  • Double bass
  • Bass flute
  • C melody saxophone
  • C bass clarinet (obsolete)
  • Heckelphone
  • Bass oboe
  • Bass trumpet
  • Contrabassoon
  • Very low (CC; sounding a perfect fifteenth (two octaves) lower than written)

  • Contrabass flute (rare)
  • Arpeggione (rare, sounds 1 octave below the guitar when written on the treble clef)
  • C bass saxophone (very rare)
  • Octobass (very rare)
  • Super low (CCC; sounding three octaves lower than written)

  • Double contrabass flute (very rare)
  • Extremely low (CCCC; sounding four octaves lower than written)

  • Hyperbass flute (extremely rare)
  • Very high (sounding a minor ninth (an octave and a minor second) higher than written)

  • D piccolo (obsolete)
  • High (sounding a major second higher than written)

  • D clarinet (rare)
  • D trumpet (may also be in E)
  • Regular (sounding a minor seventh lower than written)

  • D bass trumpet
  • High (sounding a minor third higher than written)

  • E clarinet
  • E trumpet
  • Soprano cornet
  • Sopranino saxophone
  • Regular (sounding a major sixth lower than written)

  • Alto clarinet
  • Alto saxophone
  • Tenor horn
  • E bass trumpet
  • Low (sounding a major thirteenth (an octave and a major sixth) lower than written)

  • Contra-alto clarinet
  • Baritone saxophone
  • E tuba when written in treble clef (British brass band music)
  • Very low (EE♭; sounding two octaves and a major sixth lower than written)

  • Octocontra-alto clarinet (very rare)
  • Contrabass saxophone (rare)
  • High (sounding a major third higher than written)

  • E trumpet (very rare)
  • High (sounding a perfect fourth higher than written)

  • F trumpet
  • Descant horn
  • F piccolo oboe
  • Horn, when written in bass clef (old notation)
  • Regular (sounding a perfect fifth lower than written)

  • Cor anglais (English horn)
  • Horn. There are two complications with horn transposition. First, some older editions write for valved horns as if they still had crooks, and thus may change the transposition several times within a piece or movement. Second, when horn parts are written in bass clef, they may be written an octave lower than expected, transposing up, rather than down as in treble clef. In today's scores, horns always transpose down, even in bass clef; but the other notation was standard well into the 20th century.
  • Mellophone
  • Bass Wagner tuba (new notation)
  • Basset horn (F Clarinet)
  • F alto saxophone (rare)
  • Low (sounding a perfect twelfth (an octave and a perfect fifth) lower than written)

  • F baritone saxophone (very rare)
  • Bass Wagner tuba (old notation)
  • High (sounding a perfect fifth higher than written)

  • Piccolo soprano bugle
  • Treble flute
  • Soprano recorder (old notation, then known as "fifth Flute")
  • Regular (sounding a perfect fourth lower than written)

  • Alto flute
  • G soprano clarinet
  • G basset horn (obsolete)
  • Soprano bugle
  • Mellophone bugle
  • French horn bugle
  • Low (sounding a perfect eleventh (an octave and a perfect fourth) lower than written)

  • Contra-alto flute (rare)
  • Baritone bugle
  • Euphonium bugle
  • Oud (bolahenk tuning)
  • Very low (GG; sounding two octaves and a perfect fourth lower than written)

  • G subcontrabass flute (rare)
  • Contrabass bugle
  • High (sounding a minor sixth higher than written)

  • Piccolo clarinet
  • Csakan (rare)
  • Regular (sounding a major third lower than written)

  • A soprano clarinet (obsolete)
  • High (sounding a major sixth higher than written)

  • Basset clarinet (when written in bass clef)
  • Regular (sounding a minor third lower than written)

  • A flûte d'amour (rare Baroque instrument)
  • Voice flute
  • Oboe d'amore
  • A soprano clarinet
  • Basset clarinet (when written in treble clef)
  • A trumpet
  • Low (sounding a minor tenth (an octave and a minor third) lower than written)

  • A bass clarinet (obsolete)
  • High (sounding a minor seventh higher than written)

  • Piccolo trumpet (may also be in A)
  • Sopranissimo saxophone (soprillo)
  • Regular (sounding a major second lower than written)

  • B flûte d'amour
  • B clarinet
  • Soprano saxophone
  • Tenor Wagner tuba (new notation)
  • Trumpet
  • Cornet
  • Flugelhorn
  • Bass clarinet (German notation in bass clef)
  • B marching horn
  • Low (sounding a major ninth (an octave and a major second) lower than written)

  • Bass clarinet (French notation in treble clef)
  • Tenor saxophone
  • Euphonium when written in treble clef
  • Baritone horn when written in treble clef
  • Tenor trombone when written in treble clef
  • Tenor Wagner tuba (old notation)
  • Very low (BB♭; sounding two octaves and a major second lower than written)

  • B tuba when written in treble clef (British brass band music)
  • Contrabass clarinet
  • Bass saxophone
  • Super low (BBB♭; sounding three octaves and a major second lower than written)

  • B octocontrabass clarinet (very rare)
  • Subcontrabass saxophone (very rare)
  • Regular (sounding a minor second lower than written)

  • B soprano clarinet (obsolete)
  • References

    List of musical instruments by transposition Wikipedia


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