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Discussion Starter #1
When I joined the big band, the first tenor told me that one could usually manage in the keys of C, plus the first three flat keys, F (1 flat), Bb(2) and Eb (3) plus the frst three sharp keys, G (1 sharp), D (2), A (3). Blues numbers for big band seem to be often in F concert so G for tenor. Up to just a few days ago, what he has told me has held true.

Then I was asked to play in the horn section of a soul band. Most of the arrangements are taken from 60s originals. They are clearly written with guitar players in mind, in the two most popular guitar keys: E concert, (F# - six sharps for tenor and C# seven sharps for alto and A concert (B - five sharps for tenor, and F# 6 sharps for alto) :cry:

One saving grace for the alto and baritone players is that their parts in C# have been re-written in Db which makes them slightly easier to read.

Perhaps one does have to be fluent in all keys after all?
 

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I can see that this post is very old, but I do have some experience which bears on it:

When I was first learning to play clarinet, my favorite practice activity was to tune in the local easy listening station and just play along. I didn't have any choice about key signature, numbers of sharps or flats, etc. Just make what I was doing work with what was playing.

As I advanced, the skills I learned in that practice mode made me unafraid of the more challenging keys, and its a lesson I've passed on to others since then. When you play with what's playing, you don't think about the keys, you just think about the notes.
 

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Welcome to the world of guitarists.... It's OK though, you wont be able to hear yourself anyway!
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Of course you should be fluent in every key. However the least common in my experience is concert B, I don't like that one much but all the others are quite nice.

Strangely I don't much like concert C.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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One saving grace for the alto and baritone players is that their parts in C# have been re-written in Db which makes them slightly easier to read.
Another odd thing: I find C# much easier to read than Db
 

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Another odd thing: I find C# much easier to read than Db
Roger that. To me C# is much easier to read than Db, F# is easier to read than Gb, Eb is easier to read than D#, Ab easier than G#. And yes...you should be fluent in every key. Scales, scales, scales.
 

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Having played alto in a blues band for 4 years, I got real comfortable playing in "high sharp saturation environments." Eventually you don't pay attention to the key signature and just play what works. The difference between 5 sharps and 6 sharps is a slightly lower pain threshhold. As Phil Woods once told me years ago "you bought horn, it has all those keys, you might as well use them."

I have since bought a tenor and found that the playing is a bit easier, now playing in 4 or 5 sharps. pick your poison.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I can see that this post is very old, .
Posted yesterday:)

When I was first learning to play clarinet, my favorite practice activity was to tune in the local easy listening station and just play along. I didn't have any choice about key signature, numbers of sharps or flats, etc. Just make what I was doing work with what was playing.

As I advanced, the skills I learned in that practice mode made me unafraid of the more challenging keys, and its a lesson I've passed on to others since then. When you play with what's playing, you don't think about the keys, you just think about the notes.
That sounds like a good plan. Sometimes at reheasal someone starts to play a tune, and others join in. I try to think about the intervals more than the notes.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Iy you are going to play "rock" better get use to E & A fast. guitar player wont give up thier open strings!
Yep! I have already found that out. Guitar players want you to play in keys with almost as many sharps as there are days in a week, and singers want you to play from piano parts:bluewink:
 
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