When an Eb instrument plays the Concert F scale, what note do they start on? plz help? I was confused on this question and need more clarification because I play a Concert Bb instrument.


Since you play a Bb instrument, you know that your written C produces the sound of a concert Bb. That is, the instrument sounds one whole step lower than the written pitch. Put another way, the written pitch is a whole step higher than the concert pitch.

Eb instruments are similar. The written C on those instruments produces a concert Eb. Thus, the written note is a minor third lower than the concert pitch -- or the sound is a minor third higher than the instrument's written pitch.

This means that to play a concert F scale, an Eb instrument starts on its written D.

  • 2
    Technically, the written note is usually a major sixth higher. – Richard Jan 8 at 15:08
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    @Richard That's true for woodwinds, but I think the other way for brass. I'll see if I can find something definitive.... – Aaron Jan 8 at 15:10
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    @Richard that depends on the horn. For example, the lower clarinets and saxophones may be written a 6th or a 13th up; the upper soprano ones down a 3rd – Carl Witthoft Jan 8 at 15:11
  • Fair enough; I was assuming, based on the level of the question, only certain instruments. – Richard Jan 8 at 15:12

An Eb-instrument has its name because when you play a written C there comes out a concert Eb. (Similarly your instrument is a Bb-instrument as you get a Bb when playing a written C.)

Now when the sounding Eb is a minor third above C you have to play an A to get a sounding C and analogous to play a D to get an F.

As Es-instruments are transposing one 4th plus than Bb instruments they have 1 sharp more in their sheet music part. (= plus one 5th). So you can always derive from your sheet music in Bb adding 1 sharp for Eb- instruments.

E.g. concert tone F:

Bass Bb = G => Bass Eb = D (adding one sharp more)

Circle of 5th!

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