Transposing Tuba in Dorico

I have a Bb Tuba part written on bass clef that needs transposed to an Eb Tuba on bass clef. Can someone please explain the method in doing this musically please so I can understand, I am not familiar with tubas at all. Thank you.

You just need to find an Eb instrument (or create one in the Instrument editor).

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You’d need to create a new Tuba instrument in the Edit Instruments dialog (just duplicate the current Tuba) and then change its transposition (and name).

After this you can right-click the current instrument in Setup mode and change it to the new one.

I’m not asking how to do this in Dorico, but the music theory behind doing it, if you get my point.

Transposing instrument - Wikipedia

Here’s a C major scale in Transposed Pitch:

Another way of thinking about it is that a written C major scale will sound as one of B flat. (Or E flat.)

(I used an E flat Bass Trumpet, which uses the G clef, just to illustrate the point. I couldn’t actually find an E flat, F clef instrument in Dorico.)

As long as you choose the right instruments, you don’t need to think about it too much. You don’t need to change the “music” to display the notes in a different transposing instrument.

Dorico can display the notes in “Concert Pitch” (e.g. the actual, ‘normal’ pitch), or Transposed Pitch (which is what the players and most conductors want to see). I t might be easier to work in Concert Pitch, but make sure you change the layout to Transposed Pitch when you print your parts and score.

I largely regard it as witchcraft.

A Tuba part written in Bass clef should be in concert pitch, so no transposition required.


Not if it’s “an E flat Tuba”. But yes, I’d agree that Tubas are normally at pitch.

I mean, I play an Eb Tuba in a brass band (in treble clef) and a concert band (in bass clef), but what would I know? :person_shrugging:

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Some (many?) European publishers of wind band music include tuba parts transposed in bass clef. My guess at the reasoning behind this practice is that it keeps the note names the same for the players irrespective of which clef they are reading from.

So, it’s an E flat instrument, but you just play it from the “right” notes anyway? I stand corrected. (Why doesn’t everyone do that! :rofl:)

I guess the OP needs to find out exactly what has been requested of him.

Typically, as @Nick_CB has stated, BASS CLEF Brass is at Concert Pitch regardless of Instrument pitch F, Eb, CC, BBb.


In fact, Trombones are Bb instruments as well but play from concert pitch. In this case, the Transposition doesn’t refer to the part layout but what’s the fundamental pitch of the unmodified tube length. (Brass instruments do nothing else than lengthening their tube to reach different fundamental pitches, of which they then chose a harmonic via lip vibration. So they always have a fully enclosed tube, unlike woodwinds.)

With a transposing instrument you have 2 choices:

  1. read concert pitch and learn which fingers/positions to use for them.
  2. read transposed pitch. Your fundamental note of the unmodified tube as described above becomes the pitch „C“

it’s not 100% consistent which instrument uses which system, as well as in which musical context things are happening.
In some brass bands, trumpets use option 1. in orchestral music, they use option two. Even clefs are not standard.
It’s a big cute musical mess :upside_down_face:

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