I come from a musical background where you play what's written. If it says a C, you play a C. If the piece is in G minor, it's in G minor, not F double-flat-half-sharp myxomatosis minor. I've been vaguely aware that there are peculiar instruments that don't do this - you only have to run your eye down an orchestral score for a piece in C to see a nice tidy blank space in front of the key signature until you get to the woodwind and brass, where suddenly there's flats vomited all over the place. This hasn't troubled me much - brass players are much better piss-takers than string types, so having a pop at them about their dumb transpositions rarely ends up full of win , and clarinettists tend to start scraping their reeds with vicious looking knives if you even look at them funny - but my (I used the word advisedly) band would like to do a couple of covers which have big sax solos in them, which they want me to play...and thus I am thrust into the world of Transposing Instruments. I guess, if you're used to it, it's not that hard, but...well, it seems a completely unwarranted way of complicating things - you invent a nice simple 5-line stave and notation system, organise some kind of convention whereby the note on the line the clef is written around is the note you play, and fit all the others around it, and then along comes someone who needs welding gear to adjust his instrument who says "Nah, let's make that C a B flat". And I've never really encountered any good reason why, or found out what the experience of people who have to play these transpositions is. What's it like, for example, to switch from alto sax (Eb, so transposing down a 6th), to tenor (down just a major 2nd)? I have to keep my brain in gear just switching from violin to viola (non-transposing, but the viola's tuned down a 5th from the violin). I guess it matters less if you're not reading music, but...yeah, what about when your lead guitarist says "let's go back to the A minor bit"? And does that mean all those chord changes I was yelling in the (deaf) sax player's ear in the Other Band were meaningless to him anyway, because I was calling them in non-transposed pitches? Transposing at the octave makes a bit more sense - as a recorder player, I'm used to the idea of a recorder that plays an octave higher than written, and as a tenor singer, our music is written an octave higher than sung (apart from those bastards who decide we should use the tenor clef ), but these 6th/2nd transpositions seem to make more trouble than they could possibly save. Any sax players/brass band people care to comment?