Although the very word strikes fear in the heart of most students, transposition is one of the most useful skills to have. Transposition is especially important for French horn players, since we are commonly asked to play in different keys in a single concert (or sometimes a single piece).
To help my students (and other horn players) come to grips with transposition, I made this chart which has just about all the transpositions you’ll ever need!
French Horn Transposition Explained:
You can also get .PDF copy of this file by using this link.
After you have a good grasp of the mechanism of transposition, make sure that you take the time and include it in your regular practice (especially if you don’t play orchestral repertoire in other keys regularly). Some of the best practice for just picking out simple songs (preferably in the key of C) and practicing them in different transpositions. Once you get comfortable, the Kopprasch studies (also available on Amazon or WoodwindBrasswind.com) (especially the early ones) make excellent transposition practice pieces.
Once you have a good grasp of the skills involved in transposition, you’ll find that it is easy to flip the “transposition switch” in your brain and read in E, or D, or G, or any other number of keys as naturally as you read horn in F. However, just like learning a language, 5 minutes of daily practice will do more good than 2 hours once per week.