I am new to sax, but was a B♭ clarinet player in high-school band (years ago); now I play some guitar and piano. I just got an inexpensive soprano sax (Mendini). Since it is a B♭ instrument, help me remember how to tune it using my piano. When I play a C on the saxophone, the tuner shows a B♭. Is that how it is supposed to be, and if so how should I go about transposing? Obviously I can't play from a piano lead sheet if that's the case.


1 Answer 1


Soprano and tenor sax are both transposing instruments, just like your old clarinet - all Bb. So, the tuner is telling the truth ! When you see a C on the dots, the note you blow sounds like Bb, 'cos it is Bb.

True, you won't be able to play verbatim from the piano charts, but an idea I used to use when I played Bb trumpet, was to 'learn to read wrongly', and transpose everything up a tone, so I could read stuff that was written for concert pitch (non-transposing) instruments, and the notes would come out in tune.

  • Wow,. thanks for that,..I was contorting my face trying to get it up there and thought, 'this can't be right !!!',.. now I don't feel so inept,.
    – RickMcg
    May 17, 2018 at 17:18
  • Learning to "read wrongly" is in any case a useful skill. May 18, 2018 at 11:01

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