CHARLES FRANCIS LEINBERGER, PH.D.
Instrument Transpositions for Musical Analysis

Calculate the interval from C to the key of the instrument. That is the interval which the instrument transposes. For example, from C to Bb is a descending major second (or ninth). Bb instruments transpose down a major second (or ninth). Eb instruments transpose up a minor third or down a major sixth.

Bass clef transpositions for horns and trumpets are based on old notation as found in Mozart.

Name of Instrument (French, Italian, German)
Key of Instrument Sounding Pitch
Horn (Cor, Corno, Horn)
C (rare) Sounds as written (P8 above in bass clef).
B alto (Bb) Sounds M2 below written pitch (m7 above in bass clef).
A Sounds m3 below written pitch (M6 above in bass clef).
Ab Sounds M3 below written pitch (m6 above in bass clef).
G Sounds P4 below written pitch (P5 above in bass clef).
F (most common) Sounds P5 below written pitch (P4 above in bass clef).
E Sounds m6 below written pitch (M3 above in bass clef).
Eb Sounds M6 below written pitch (m3 above in bass clef).
D Sounds m7 below written pitch (M2 above in bass clef).
C Sounds P8 below written pitch (as written in bass clef).
H (B natural) Sounds m9 below written pitch (m2 below in bass clef).
B basso (Bb) Sounds M9 below written pitch (M2 below in bass clef).
Trumpet (Trompette, Tromba, Trompete)
C Piccolo (new) Sounds P8 above written pitch.
Bb Piccolo Sounds m7 above written pitch.
A Piccolo Sounds M6 above written pitch.
G Sounds P5 above written pitch.
F (popular in the 19th century) Sounds P4 above written pitch.
E Sounds M3 above written pitch.
Eb Sounds m3 above written pitch.
D (popular during baroque period) Sounds M2 above written pitch.
C (most common in modern orchestras) Sounds as written (P8 above in bass clef).
Bb (most common in modern bands) Sounds M2 below written pitch.
A (obsolete) Sounds m3 below written pitch.
Ab (very obsolete) Sounds M3 below written pitch.
Cornet (Cornet à pistons, Cornetto, Kornett)
Eb (popular in British bands) Sounds m3 above written pitch.
C (rare) Sounds as written (P8 above in bass clef).
Bb (most common in modern bands) Sounds M2 below written pitch.
A (obsolete) Sounds m3 below written pitch.
Flugelhorn (Bugle, Flicorno, Flügelhorn)
Bb Sounds M2 below written pitch.
Clarinet (Clarinette, Clarinetto, Klarinette)
Eb Sounds m3 above written pitch.
D Sounds M2 above written pitch.
C Sounds as written.
Bb (most common) Sounds M2 below written pitch.
A (common in modern orchestras) Sounds m3 below written pitch.
Eb Alto Sounds M6 below written pitch.
Bb Bass (treble clef) Sounds M9 below written pitch.
Bb Bass (bass clef) Sounds M2 below written pitch.
A Bass (obsolete) Sounds m3 below written pitch.
Saxophone (Saxophone, Saxophono, Saxophon)
Bb Soprano Sounds M2 below written pitch.
Eb Alto Sounds M6 below written pitch.
Bb Tenor Sounds M9 below written pitch.
Eb Baritone Sounds M13 below written pitch.
Bb Bass Sounds M16 below written pitch
Flute (Flûte, Flauto, Flöte)
Db Piccolo (rare, sometimes used in concert bands) Sounds m9 above written pitch.
C Piccolo (Petite Flûte, Flauto Piccolo, Kleine Flöte) Sounds P8 above written pitch.
G Alto Flute (Flûte Contralto en Sol, Flautone, Altoflöte) Sounds P4 below written pitch.
C Bass Flute (Flûte Basse, Flauto Basso, Bassflöte) Sounds P8 below written pitch.
Other Transposing Instruments
Oboe d'Amore (Hautbois d'Amour, Oboe d'Amore, Liebesoboe) Sounds m3 below written pitch.
English Horn (Cor Anglais, Corno Inglese, Englisch Horn) Sounds P5 below written pitch.
Heckelphone (Heckelphone, Heckelphon, Heckelphon) Sounds P8 below written pitch.
Contrabassoon (Contrebasson, Contrafagotto, Kontrafagott) Sounds P8 below written pitch.
Glockenspiel (Jue de Timbres, Campanella, Glockenspiel) Sounds P15 above written pitch.
Xylophone (Xylophone, Xilofono, Xylophon) Sounds P8 above written pitch.
Celesta (Céleste, Celesta, Celesta) Sounds P8 above written pitch.
Guitar (Guitare, Chitarra, Gitarre) Sounds P8 below written pitch.
Contrabass (Contrebasse, Contrabasso, Kontrabass) Sounds P8 below written pitch.
Instruments that Don't Transpose
Name of Instrument French, Italian, German
Violin Violin, Violino, Violine
Viola Alto, Viola, Bratsche
Violoncello Violoncelle, Violoncello, Violoncell
Flute Flûte (Grande Flûte), Flauto (Flauto Grande), Flöte (Grosse Flöte)
Oboe Hautbois, Oboe, Hoboe
Bassoon Basson, Fagotto, Fagott
Harmonica Harmonica, Armonica a bocca, Mundharmonika
Trombone Trombone, Trombone, Posaune
Tuba Tuba, Tuba, Tuba
Harp Harpe, Arpa, Harfe
Piano Piano, Pianoforte, Klavier
Harpsichord Clavecin, Cemballo, Cembalo
Organ Orgue, Organo, Orgel
Vibraphone Vibraphone, Vibrafono, Vibraphon
Marimba Marimba, Marimba, Marimbaphon
Tubular Bells (Chimes) Cloches, Campane, Glocken
Timpani Timbales, Timpani, Pauken

Flats appear as lower-case letter "B"s. (There is no HTML code for a flat sign.)
Thanks to Dr. Edward Murphy, The University of Arizona

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Chord Functions for Musical Analysis
Modulation Types for Musical Analysis
Examples of Modulation Types for Musical Analysis (PDF)
Dr. Edward Murphy's "Sonata Form" Essay
CHARLESL@UTEP.EDU
This page was updated 11 August 2013.
UTEP Department of Music UTEP