Logic Pro 9 Horn Transpositions?


I am using two Horns in F that appear in the original score without any key signature. I created a project to record this score and the horns say they are in F, but the score gives them 3 sharps. Anyone know which is right? Also the original score has two B Flat Clarinets and a key signature with two Flats, Logic gives them three sharps when I choose Clarinet in B Flat. ???
The name of the transposing instrument is the note that will sound when that instrument reads a "C" on the stave.

Let's say you just wrote a piano trio, with horn in F, and clarinet in Bb. Your piano part is in the key of "C Major" and you want everybody on the tonic for the first bar. You would tell the clarinet to play a "D" (because it sounds a full step below what is written) and you would hear a "C" sound. If you were scoring the piece, you would enter the clarinet's key signature with two sharps (i.e., the key of "D"), so that the intervals of the scale would correlate with the piano's key signature.

Same thing with a horn in "F" -- you would write a "G" for the horn (because it sounds a fourth higher than what is written), but you hear a C. The key signature for the horn would be one sharp, the key of G.

Your piano part would have no flats and no sharps.

Your question is confusing, because you never state what key the piece is supposed to be in. Also, a major key with three sharps is A major, but the key of f# minor also has three sharps.

If the Bb clarinet part has a key signature of three sharps (i.e., the key of "A"), the piece itself (that is the piano part or any non-transposing instrument...) would be in either G major or e minor. Then your piano part would have one sharp, the horn part would have two sharps (i.e, the key of D).

If the Bb clarinet part has two flats (meaning when it reads Bb you are hearing an Ab...), then the piece itself is in either Ab major or f minor. Your piano part would have four flats. The F horn part would be written with the key signature of Eb (i.e., when the horn player reads Eb, the sound you hear is an Ab.) The horn part would have three flats.

None of the above is specific to Logic. Some notation projects let you toggle between the transposing notes and the sounding notes.

If you are not confused enough, there are some historical examples where the key signature does not represent a major or minor key, but a mode such as Dorian, Phrygian, or Mixolydian. Blues guitarists often play in Dorian, and jazz cats like Lydian sprinkled with chromaticism.


Horn Transposotions?

Juan, Thank you for the amazing help, I will print that out and keep it for reference instead of posting such simple questions. I had trouble figuring out what key the piece was in, all strings have one sharp and the final chord seems to contain only e's and b naturals. I made a huge mistake with the Clarinets, the copy I had for many years of the score was faxed and is not the best quality to read. So I went to IMSLP and downloaded the Public Domain version which showed the Clarinets in A, not B Flat, I was uncertain about that from the start but hoped I would figure it out once all the parts were heard.

I think I can figure it out now thanks to your musicology lesson[why didn't I pay more attention in class]and want to thank you again for the kind help.
...all strings have one sharp and the final chord seems to contain only e's and b naturals....the Public Domain version which showed the Clarinets in A, not B Flat...
Sounds as though your piece ends in e minor, which goes along with the single sharp. If the A Clarinets are sounding "A" when they read a "C" -- that means you write for them at a minor third above. So the A clarinets would have a key signature of Bb (two flats)..and be reading in the key of g minor, but you would hear them a third below, in e minor. [So, in your original question, the original score was correct, the confusion was over it being written for A clarinets.]

I would like to add something regarding French horns: they are typically scored without any key signature, and accidentals simply inserted where necessary. The relationship of how they are notated has also changed. Whereas in the nineteenth century, F horn parts were written so they would sound a fourth above, current practice is to score them so they sound a fifth below. This does obscure the current discussion regarding transposing instruments, but at the same time is part of the difficulty in understanding the issue at hand.

French horns have evolved, and now have keys, but players used to have to insert different pipes during the historical period when they could only play the natural harmonics. So the composer had to know what was possible. Horns in F sound a fourth above, (or a fifth below), so the horn parts should be reading a fourth below, (or a fifth above), in b minor, in order to sound in tune with the non-transposing instruments written in e minor. The horn part would have two sharps. [In your original question, if the correct key signature for the "horns" truly was three sharps, then the original score was written for horns in Bb. They would be reading in f# minor, but you would be hearing them play in e minor. Is it possible the original part was for Bb horn? However, any key signature for the F horns would be a divergence from the practice noted on the Vienna web link below.]

The Vienna Symphonic Library web site has some interesting facts on orchestral instruments. Here is a link to good information on notating for French horn:


Reading full scores can be like deciphering a crossword puzzle. I wish the current implementation of Logic had been available during my college days.

I have found transposition errors in public domain MIDI scores. It is pretty obvious upon playback, when Mozart sounds like Penderecki...


Thanks again for the excellent info! I checked back to where the IMG file score came from and the wind parts were also available for downloading-the clarinet parts are marked B- Flat, and when I copied the B-Flat parts out into the score the clarinets are perfect. I would of course love to have the money to buy the Vienna stuff, but I don't. Great site though-thanks for pointing that out.