Concert pitch or not??

• sep 2, 2015 - 08:29

Hi All,

firstly sorry as I'm new to writing scores at all. I started 4 weeks ago and need to enter multiple songs for Trumpet, Alt Sax, Tenor Sax and Trombone. i want all in the same score as this is nicer for rehearsal.

The way i start is by importing a midi file of choice. that way i also have the drums in. usually it will only import one two instruments that i's looking for so i need to create the remaining, thats fine.

What i do not understand is the "Concert Pitch" button depending on its state the scores look completely different and in some cases they show notes that i can not hit :-). I also tested this by just starting a completely new score from scratch just enter the instruments and enter notes. can anyone explain this feature to me. i read that it's used for transposing instruments ok but what does it mean? why do the scores change so much.

I also experienced that whenever i would like to have just one # in my Alt sax that i need to drag multiple b to the bar in order to get rid of all # why is that??

thanks in advance


Oh, boy, this is complicated. It might be better if you have access to an experienced musician who can explain the concept of transposing instruments to you in person, but the gist of it is simply as it is given at… : "These instruments sound lower, or higher than their written pitch." So, in order to get the trumpet to play a "concert C," the trumpeter has to play a D. Simply told to play a C, the sound that comes out of a trumpet will be a Bb. That's why it's referred to as a "Bb Trumpet"—and, for a piece of music in the key of C, the trumpet part must be in the key of D.

Alto sax is in Eb—so, when you see a "C" on the treble clef and play it, you're actually playing an Eb. Can you figure out what note you have to play to get a sounding pitch of C?

That's why when, say, you drag an G key signature onto the Alto Sax, it gives you an E hey signature—and that's entirely correct. For a piece in the key of G with the instruments you mentioned, the key signatures that should appear are A for the Bb Trumpet, E for the Eb Alto Sax, A for the Bb Tenor Sax, and G for the C Trombone (that's right, the trombone is a non-transposing instrument).

The "Concert Pitch" button basically rewrites everything as if all those transposing instruments actually were C instruments—keeping the same sound, but shifting the notes on the staff and putting the same key signature on all instruments (G, in your case). You may find it easier to write the score in concert pitch, but make sure that the parts are not in concert pitch before printing, otherwise you'll have a complete mess when you go to play it.

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

Hi Zack,

thanks for taking the time to help me out :-).

your link and explanation did help me a lot. i already had a look at the manual but that only gave me half the answer. But let me rephrase to verify if i now have it.

Concert pitch turned off:
the notes on some instrument staves may not match their sounding pitches, but they are ready for an instrumentalist to play from. --> i should use this for note entry. since i want to enter what is to be used (Valves pressed

Concert pitch turned on:
the notes are displayed to match their sounding pitches. in other words this is what the would have been on a C-instrument like piano. --> Used for listening to the whole Score as the instruments sound real that way.

now this is a part that was totally unclear to me "remember to turn off concert pitch before printing the parts." but i think i now get.

Did i understand correct??


In reply to by

Almost correct! But actually, the sound is the same whether concert pitch is turned off or not. That button affects only how they are displayed - whete\her they are displayed as they will sound (concert pitch on) or as they need to be played (concert pitch off).

Parts should always have concert pitch turned off by default, even if it is turned on in the score.

I am trying to create a drum score but every time I do, it sound like a piano instead of the drum noises. Can someone please help me!!!!!

In reply to by bcohen

It's better to start a new thread with a more descriptive title when asking new questions, rather than attaching replies to other threads on other topics. Also, attach the score you are having problems with.

But, just guessing, you either did not tell MuseScore you wanted a drum staff at all, or you told it to use one of the marching percussion instruments but did not load a soundfont that defines those sounds. See the discussion in the Soundfonts forum for more information the marching percussion soundfont that is designed for use with MuseScore.

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