organ pedals should not have 8va marking by default

• Nov 21, 2021 - 15:16

The default clef for the pedal line of a pipe organ is a bass clef the octave down. This is wrong and I have never seen it in any organ music before. On the organ, the go-to real pitch of the note is always an 8' stop. Organists may and often do add a 16' stop on the pedals (an octave below), but the written pitch is still the 8' pitch. pls fix thank you :)))


Your suggestion is supported by the illustrations in Elaine Gould's handbook "Behind Bars", see pp. 343 and 346 (Organ Notation). The images there show a plain bass clef for the Pedal stave.

See also this post on StackExchange:…

Here are two samples from English organ music published around 1908-1910:

To get the MuseScore default clef changed for the organ pedal stave, it would be helpful if you raised this in the Issue Tracker with a Severity of "S5 - Suggestion". Visit the Issue Tracker page and click "Add new issue":

In reply to by jeetee

I think one of the reasons Michael chose this is because there is no way currently within MuseScore to just have play transposition on a single staff.
And yes, the 16' is usually used when registrating the pedal board. Although if you play an organ that still has mechanical linking you'll notice that the pedal board links one-on-one with the manuals, resulting in a pressed pedal note playing the same (usually) 8' default non-transposing note.

And then there are quite some beautiful organs that feature a 32' pipe as well (which does wonders when playing Boëllmann for example).

My feeling is that the transposing clef was chosen, not because it is correct (which it isn't); but because MuseScore has no other way of simulating organ registrations/stops; and in most (especially church) organ registrations using the 16' is common for the pedals.
If MuseScore's playback engine/interaction ever makes programming in stops a possibility, then it is more important that the instrument definition does not transpose itself. Just like the manuals are not written transposed if the stops instructions call for a 4' base sound without anything lower for the mains.

In reply to by jeetee

Other possibilities include making transposition a true staff property instead of instrument (offhand I can't think of a reason this wouldn't be fairly straightforward), or making it possible to hide the 8 on the octave clefs. The latter could also be useful for guitar, bass, and vocal (tenor) music to avoid the need to set up transposition.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

No, it is not played an octave down. It is written and played at 8 foot pitch, and if and when the organist pulls out 16 or 32 foot stops that causes the note to sound in lower octaves. The way foot pitches work on pedals and manuals is the same, when you couple manuals to pedal and play the lowest note on the pedals it plays the lowest note on the manuals. Please feel free to refer to the following video:

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