Greg Cohoon (drmellow) wrote,
Greg Cohoon

B-flat Instruments

I've not been posting a whole lot lately, mostly because I've been working really hard at my day job, which has left me exhausted when I'm not working. Tonight, however, I'm a bit hopped up on the caffeine that was in the yummy coffee that Mrs. Mellow brewed up earlier this evening.

So I've got some time to write a post that's been brewing for a couple of weeks.

It all boils down to a single question: Why can't all instruments be in the same key?

Specifically, I turn to my trumpet. If you don't already know, the trumpet is a B-flat instrument. All of the other instruments (piano, guitar, mandolin (soon), etc.) I play are C instruments. What does this mean? It means that I need to think really hard when I try to play my trumpet with someone else playing guitar, because I always get confused on what notes I should play, because a note on the trumpet is a different pitch than the same note on the guitar. Why? Because the guitar is a C instrument, the trumpet is a B-flat instrument, and I think in the key of C.

Sounds crazy, doesn't it? I sure think so.

So if I want, for example, to play the trumpet part for Ring of Fire while my buddy is playing the guitar part in the key of G, instead of playing the trumpet part as D DD DD E C D, which are the correct notes in the key of G, on the trumpet I think I need to play C CC CC D Bb C in order to be in tune with the guitar.

The way I think about it, a musical note *should* be tied to a frequency. So if I play a certain frequency on ANY instrument, it should be called the same note. That's just not the case. I don't like it. It confuses me.

I'll give at least 3 points to anyone who can comment on this situation in a way that makes me feel better about it.

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