Transposing Horn in F to Alto Saxophone

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badbeeker:
I'm trying to transpose some music from a Horn in F to a Eb Alto Sax.  As a test, I'm trying to transpose White Christmas. The sax part has horn queue notes  which I'm trying to match to the horn part itself with no luck.  When I transpose the section in question, I can get the notes looking right but the key is off.

I've tried transposing other music from the same horn in F before but it seemed that when I played the transposed music on my sax it was off anywhere from a half step to 2 steps.  What am I doing wrong?  I've used the post in the forums that explains how to transpose woodwind instruments, an Alto sax is -9 and a Horn in F is -7.  So when I need to transpose music for it, I transpose to a -2 correct?

I tried to transpose the horn part for the music that the sax has queues for I can't seem to get the right notes to appear along with the correct key.

The horn piece is in the key of G major.  The sax is in the key of A major.  Could someone give me some steps on how to do this properly?  I cant seem to get it right.

I've also seen a post about transposing non C instruments but I'm unsure how to do this correctly.

Any help would be much apprieciated.

Lawrie Pardy:
G'day Badbeeker,
I'm no expert on Horn - I've never quite come to grips with some of the old conventions associated with writing for this instrument which are due to historical factors - and changes - but here's what I think...

If the part is a transposed part, then a Horn in F would sound 7 semitones below what is written, your Alto Sax is sounding 9 semitones below, so to transpose a Horn part to an Alto Sax part I think you need to transpost UP 2 semitones, that is +2, NOT -2 semitones.  Of course, you need to keep the "Update staff playback transposition" option ticked.

The reason for this is that you are wanting the music to read 9 semitones higher than it sounds, the Horn part would be only 7...

If the part is a non-transposed part, then it is written as if it were at concert pitch (I think - this is where it starts to become confusing for me) and you need to transpose UP 9 semitones (+9) - again, we need to raise the pitch of the written part so your Sax will sound right 'cos it sounds 9 semitones below what's written.

The next consideration is clef...  If the Horn part is written in bass clef then you also need to change it to treble clef.

There are several techniques for this, but one way would be to:
Highlight the whole staff<Ctrl-Shift-DownArrow> 12 timesChange the clef to treble
This will keep it sounding the same (maybe).  As near as I can gather, due to some confusion over conventions, you may be an octave low.  If necessary shift the octave to suit the range of your instrument (<Ctrl-Shift-UpArrow or DownArrow> 7 times), but only after the other steps are completed...

I hope I've got this right, you feedback would be most welcome.

Also, I hope this is of some help.

Ewan Harwood:
Quote from: badbeeker on 2006-11-06 02:23 PM

... The sax part has horn queue notes  which I'm trying to match to the horn part itself with no luck. ...
The cue notes on the sax part will be in the saxophone's transposition - not the horn's.  This would be why you can't find a match.  Instead, look for the sax notes but one note lower.  Do you have bar numbers or rehearsal letters?  If all else fails, you can count bars from the beginning.

What Lawrie says - + 2 semitones - is correct.  You can check at the end:  Your alto sax key signature should have two more sharps than your horn key signature (or two fewer flats).

David Palmquist:
I am actually writing to agree with the previous responders, but thought perhaps this might help a bit too.

1./ There's a whole tone between Bb and C (the keys for the clarinet, which transposes, and the oboe, which doesn't).  To transpose the oboe part for a clarinet player, you would transpose +2 semitones.  A key signature of Bb becomes C, a key signature of A major becomes B major, and F major becomes G.  So you end up either removing 2 flats or adding 2 sharps, or something in between.

2./ There's also a whole tone between Eb (alto sax) and F (french horn) .  Since it's the same relationship as between clarinet and oboe, the same  transposition of +2 semitones is needed to convert the horn part to the sax.  The horn's notes should be written a perfect 5th above concert pitch.

This sort of reminds me of my algebra from 40 some odd years ago.   Next is what I'm actually contributing  to the discussion:

3./ As long as your music always has a key signature, even if it's a C major key signature that's entered, you can check the transposition by looking to see if the new key signature has two more sharps or two less flats than the original key signature.

badbeeker:
Ok, so if I'm converting a horn in F to Eb sax, I go +2 semitones?  So did I just do it backwards or something?  Isn't an Horn in F a -7 and a Eb sax -9? so to get to a -9 wouldn't I go down 2 semitones?

So I am transposing HORN in F "A Festival of Carols" to Eb Sax.  The Key signature is F Major.  I did what you guys said and transposed it up 2 semitones with "Update Staff Playback Position" ticked.  The result was the notes being a whole step up and the key was turned into G Major.  Is this the right result?

I'm still not sure why I would go up instead of down.. I'm kind of dumb when it comes to transposing, haven't done it before by hand and unsure of the whole process (which is why I'm using Noteworthy).  The horn part is in the treble so I didn't have to worry about bringing it up an octave.

So basically, If I have a Horn in F part that I want to transpose to Alto Sax, I transpose UP 2 semitones correct?

I really appreciate all your help guys =)

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