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Hi,

I started bassoon half way through the last school year. I play bari in jazz band and I did in concert band too for awhile, it was my director's idea for me to make the switch.

During the year, I only encountered tenor clef once, but it was on a piece that we read and handed back shortly after, so I didn't really get a chance to work with it. I started taking lessons this summer for it and it has come up again in some of the stuff I'm playing for them. I just can't seem to wrap my mind around the clef change. Any tips on understanding/playing tenor clef?

Thanks,
Ross
 

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There are various tricks, but I don't think any of them are particularly useful. ("Think in treble clef, then transpose down a major ninth...") Tenor clef isn't any harder than treble or bass clef--just less familiar for most of us. Practice your Milde and Weissenborn etudes until tenor clef becomes automatic! (Then start relearning to play in bass clef.)

Good luck,
Bret
 

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You WILL encounter the tenor clef in the literature. bpimentel is right...especially Weissenbrn will help immensely. I just had to totally start thinking of it as another clef...I know it sounds funny, but when I first encountered it I actually wrote the notes above the staff. After awhile it started to become natural to see the tenor clef as its own.
 

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bpimentel said:
There are various tricks, but I don't think any of them are particularly useful. ("Think in treble clef, then transpose down a major ninth...") Tenor clef isn't any harder than treble or bass clef--just less familiar for most of us. Practice your Milde and Weissenborn etudes until tenor clef becomes automatic! (Then start relearning to play in bass clef.)

Good luck,
Bret
Every single sentence here is 100% true. Make that 110%. Even the part about relearning bass clef.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the tips guys. Maybe I was just thinking too hard about it:)
 

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A 'cellist friend said 'it's just like bass clef, but everything's a 5th higher' - so your bass clef F :line4: becomes tenor clef C. It's used to keep ledger lines to a minimum when playing high up on a bass clef instrument.

The middle point of this moveable clef is always on the C line (sounding middle C), so use this as a referrence - nowadays it's only used for alto and tenor clef. If it's on the 2nd line down it's tenor clef. If it's centered on the middle line, it's alto clef which viola players use.

If you play tenor sax or bass clarinet, the positions of the notes on the tenor clef stave are the same as Bb basso, so a tenor sax/bass clarinet (or brass band trombone/baritone/euphonium) player can read off the tenor clef part but imagine a treble clef instead, and add two sharps on/take two flats off the key signature.
 

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I'm almost in the same boat--I'm progressing rapidly in the Weissenborn and am a few lessons away from facing tenor clef.

From asking around, the only thing I can say is to take it very slowly and give yourself a chance. You'll get it.
 

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I found it easiest at first to think in treble clef and just lowering every note a whole step before playing it. But that's probably not the most "correct" way to learn a new clef - it's just worked for me.
It didn't take too long to be able to just read it as tenor clef on its own.
 
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