I recently had a (light-hearted) argument with a violin-playing friend, I play the trombone and we were discussing which instrument is more difficult to play. We talked about the relative difficulty of orchestral parts and made the obligatory trombone jokes about tonguing and lubrication. We then moved on to clefs.
I like to play a wide variety of genres of music (with an aptitude ranging from terrible to OK) and when I was at university I was playing regularly in about 8 ensembles. I was required to read:
- C Treble clef when playing jazz standards in a small group
- C Bass clef when playing trombone parts in a big band or wind orchestra
- Bb Treble clef when playing in a brass band (or drunkenly covering a trumpet part in a big band gig)
- Tenor clef when playing in a wind band and the part went above the stave
- Alto clef when playing some orchestral parts designed for alto trombone back when the instrument's range wasn't as good as it is today and it was hard to play that high on a tenor trombone
I understand why each clef is/was selected for each different ensemble's music. My question is: can any other single instrument claim to legitimately need more clefs than this? (For clarification: I also read Eb Treble clef sometimes when covering bass parts in brass bands but I do not count this as legitimate since the part was not written for trombone.)