Not sure how to explain my problem so please bear with me.

I'm studying IIm7-V7 Etude from a Trumpet book called "Amazing Phrasing". It's called Idea #11 if anyone happens to have the book. It's a Hal Leonard book written by Dennis Taylor and Steve Herrman.

Anyway I'm guessing it's written for Bb Trumpet. And this is going to get really confusing unfortunately. It's actually playing on a II-V-I progression. But this exercise is using IIm7-V7-Imaj7. The chords are called out as Cm7-F7-Bbmaj7. Then on the staff the notation is written in the key of C (i.e. no key signature), however during this phrase they actually flat the B and E notes. So it sure seems like the Trumpet is playing in the key of B flat.

I even have a CD recording of the exercise that came with the book. The chords are being played by a piano and the Trumpet is playing the notes as written on the score.

Here's my problem. When I go to my keyboard to play these chords they don't sound right at all. And it's even weirder than this. The Cm7 chord does sound ok for the first chord. But then when I play the F7 chord it sounds way off. Actually if I play an Eb7 that sounds right. Then the I chord is supposed to be Bbmaj7, but once again that sounds absolutely horrible when played on my keyboard. The only thing that sounds right is to go back and play another Cm7 chord.

So I end up playing Cm7 - Eb7 - Cm7 on the keyboard, which still doesn't sound right, but it sounds far better than anything else I play.

I'm at the end of my rope here. So much so I'm wondering if the book contains some sort of misprint? It's driving me crazy.

I wanted to create my own backing track on the keyboard so I can change up the tempo and rhythm. But I can't seem to get the harmony to come out right.

I wish I could show what I'm actually doing. But this is getting really frustrating.

By the way for more technical info here's the trumpet part with piano chords: (as written in the book)

(first half measure) Piano Chord: Cm7 -- Bb Trumpet notes: C Eb G Eb

(second half measure) Piano Chord: F7 -- Bb Trumpet notes: F Eb C A

(last measure of phrase) Piano Chord: Bbmaj7 -- Bb Trumpet notes: Bb A Bb C D rest.


Are the Piano Chords written in concert Bb? Or am I missing some transposition here?

I'm just totally confused. I just can't make this sound right. It sounds ok on the backing track. Unfortunately I can't separate the piano from the trumpet on the backing track. So I can't hear the piano chords without the trumpet playing over them.

But the best I can come up with is Cm7 Eb7 and back to Cm7. That can't be right? And it doesn't sound right either. But if I try playing Cm7 F7 Bbmaj7 it sounds horrible.

I'm totally lost and confused.

I just want to practice the trumpet but I can't figure out the correct chords to play on the keyboard. I'm not having any problems at all playing the trumpet melody. I got that much down pat.

Can anyone help me out here?

  • You should probably go to the Hal Leonard web site and contact them through the form (halleonard.com/contactus.do) about this Dec 1, 2017 at 7:42
  • You should probably go to the Hal Leonard web site and contact them through the form (halleonard.com/contactus.do) about this Dec 1, 2017 at 7:43
  • Try the chords - Bbm7, Eb7, Abmaj7. The numbers aren't too important, so Bbm, Ebm, Ab should work. If it's for a Bb trumpet - the most common - the notes played come out a tone lower than they're written.
    – Tim
    Dec 1, 2017 at 8:46

1 Answer 1


That's one of my favourite study books. (Especially Idea #23, because to play it your metronome has to tick on 2 and 4)

Anyway, in Idea #11, the chords written above the stave show you the chord you're outlining with the arpeggio figure. So in the first bar, the chord says Cm7 and the notes below are C Eb G Eb.

But remember the trumpet is a transposing instrument. The accompaniment track is playing chords a tone lower than those named in the trumpet part. The accompaniment part starts with these concert pitch chords:

Bbm7 / Eb7 / | Abmaj7 / / / | Am7 / D7 / | Gmaj7 / / / | etc.

  • Ok, that's it. I can't believe I was that stupid. I swear I had tried Ab on the piano and it still sounded horrible. But today it sounds perfect. So evidently I was doing something wrong the other day.
    – James
    Dec 2, 2017 at 1:08

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