adjust playback pitch without changing notes for guitar with capo

• Jul 26, 2010 - 22:24

The adjust pitch for a staff option seems like it should be able to adjust playback without altering the visual notes. I want to be able to change playback to match a capo position on guitar without altering the notation.

Also, it would be nice, especially for my beginning students, if the same dialog had +/- numbers in addition to the "minor second" type names.


For Notes > Transpose you can use key names instead of worrying about minor second, etc.

You can use instrument transposition (adjusting playback without altering the visual notes) via right click staff properties. This type of transposition is not really intended for use by beginners (it uses the technical interval names only). Maybe you can create an instruments template especially for your students that includes separate instruments for guitar, guitar capo 1, guitar capo 2, etc. That way they can just change the instrument and not worry about how everything works behind the scenes.

In reply to by David Bolton

It seems it would be an extremely simple fix to add the semitone number to the technical interval name list.

Anyway, maybe I misunderstand you, but when I used the right-click staff properties (which is what I did before posting anything), it changed the key signature and moved the notes. I was hoping that would work like I expected.

I guess you're right that the instrument template is a functional workaround. I guess what I would like is to have a feature in the instrument set-up that functioned like that, so users could easily change the capo setting on the fly. But having a functional workaround for now is great, thanks!

In reply to by wolftune

Yes, I guess that's what instrument transposition would do. It is not really designed for playing-along with guitar capos. I suppose you could use it in combination with Notes > Transpose to reverse the effect.

Another option is to change the Master Tuning in Display > Sythesizer. For example: No capo = 440 Hz; Capo 1 ~ 466 Hz; Capo 2 ~ 494 Hz; Capo 3 ~ 523 Hz; Capo 4 ~ 554 Hz; etc.

Semitones don't work well for transposition in general because they don't tell MuseScore how to spell the pitch (for a history see ). Since you are changing the pitch but not the notation this would not be an issue. Maybe you can experiment with a plugin to simplify this special case for your students so they don't have to remember the Hertz numbers.

In reply to by wolftune

I can't find how to make a transposed guitar instrument to use as a template... any link or help?

Also, to clarify, my request being for playback only, it is irrelevant of the complex transposition names and should just be a semitone offset number if it were implemented at all, as I hope it will be.

In reply to by wolftune

The instrument file is in [MuseScore program folder]\templates\instruments.xml
It uses XML format. To understand the transposition tags look at A clarinet and Bb clarinet (for capo 1 and capo 2 respectively).
If you like your changes rename the file so that future upgrades don't overwrite your changes.

In reply to by Nicolas

I agree with you. Intuitively, staff properties would be expected to change playback only. Instead, that dialogue is designed to be the same as selecting all the measures of a staff, it isn't actually a change to the instrument.

I still want my request: the ability to change instrument playback pitch directly on-the-fly without editing a template.

In reply to by Nicolas

Lasconic, Transposition for a staff behaves the same way in Finale. If you are in a concert pitch view the notes do not change. If you are in a transposing score view the notes do transpose. I don't think it is a bug.

stickwolf, Did you try my master tuning suggestion above? It changes instrument playback directly on-the-fly without editing a template.

In reply to by David Bolton

Yeah, you're right, master pitch works too of course.

But actually, I found the answer: I can do the staff playback and then ALSO transpose the staff in non-concert-pitch mode back to the key it was before! That results in the same note-look for not-concert-pitch as before but with the altered sound! Plus, this allows me to switch between concert pitch or not! So everything is perfect, it just wasn't as straight-forward as I had originally hoped. The result is actually great, especially being able to switch between concert and non-concert pitches!

In reply to by wolftune

So, now that I have this figured out, how do I help by adding this to the handbook or something so everyone can easily know how to adjust instruments on-the-fly for altered pitches?

Also, I'd like to make a plugin that simply does all the steps for guitar by having a simple interface that asks "what fret is the capo at?" The way it would work, the user would enter a fret number, and that would then both transpose the notes by an appropriate amount and also set the playback for the staff by the same amount, thus resulting in just what I want. Of course, it would have to also recognize any existing offset so that it doesn't multiply the effect.
Basically, everything is possible in MuseScore already, but a shortcut plugin would be nice, especially for beignners. I don't have much programming experience though, although I bet I could figure it out with some work. I'd be up for trying if someone can help point me to how to get started. Otherwise, if someone more experienced could just whip this plugin up quickly, that'd be great too, I do have other helpful things I could work on, including continuing to use and promote MuseScore.


In reply to by dinghoang

The other reply mentioned

But I see some possible reasons to ever consider the alternative approach.

The alternative is to edit the "instrument" and make it a transposing instrument there. Then, the "concert pitch" function works to switch displayed notation to either match the capo'ed or non-capo'ed results of the tab.

But anyway, I haven't messed with this in years, I'd go with the handbook approach now.

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