Pizzicato Problem

• May 28, 2015 - 00:33

I am having an issue with a score created in 1.3 which I've been fine-tuning in 2.0.

The pizzicato in the VC/VdG line at measure 39 in the third movement wasn't working at all, even though it had worked fine in 1.3...and still did when I opened the unmodified 1.3 score in 2.0. It took me about three hours to conclude that the problem was with the sound-font...but now I'm not so sure. This whole thing is pretty confusing, so I'll do my best to explain what's going on.

There are four scores attached.

The score entitled Mvt III 1.3 UNMODIFIED was created in 1.3 and never opened in 2.0 or modified in any way. The score entitled Mvt III was created in 1.3, and tweaked in numerous ways using 2.0. In both those scores, the pizzicato works fine. In the tweaked 'Mvt III' score, the pizzicato worked no matter what I did to the score, including reformat the text and music, change sounds in the mixer, or even change instruments in Staff Properties. (In the original 1.3 files, I'd been using Tim; in 2.0 the soundfont had defaulted to Fluid but I had added Tim later and was using the cello sound from Fluid and the recorder sounds from Tim.)

The third and fourth scores attached are composites of three separate 1.3 files (including Mvt III 1.3 UNMODIFIED). The composite was created by appending empty measures to the original Mvt I file, and then copy/pasting the music from the Mvt II and Mvt III files into it. All that was done in 2.0. The composite score was then saved in 2.0 as Mvt I-III, and I had been tweaking the formatting of the text and music for a few days, getting it ready for publication.

Note that I messed with the soundfonts after creating the composite. Since it was playing in 2.0, it was using the Fluid soundfont (which has really horrid recorder sounds), but after Jojo and Marc explained to me how to do it, I loaded the Tim soundfont and set the recorder tracks to play in that. I set the viola da gamba track to use the cello sound from Fluid.

In the score entitled Mvt I-III C, I have changed the instrument from VdG to Cello, and the pizzicato works. A kludge solution, but a solution nonetheless.

The last score attached is entitled Mvt I-III VdG. This is the one that shows the problem. The instrument choice for the bottom line in all three of the original 1.3 files was viola da gamba. In all three original scores (created in 1.3) that automatically gave me three viola da gamba instrument choices (channels??) in the F10 mixer: Viola da gamba, viola da gamba-pizzicato, and viola da gamba-tremolo. (I chose to use the 'cello' sound for all three of them.) But when those three scores were combined into this file, the two additional VdG 'channels' disappeared...and the pizzicato won't play.

I did not (at first) notice that the instrument list in the F10 mixer no longer contained the pizzicato and tremolo instruments, and I am not even certain at what point that happened. It was only today, when I noticed that the pizzicato section at measure 245 (shown as m. 39 in movement III) would not play as pizzicato, that I realised that. When it didn't play properly, I clicked on the staff text 'pizz.' and opened the text properties menu...but when I attempted to change the channel, the only choice available to me was normal.

I have been pulling my hair out ever since trying to figure this out. In the end, I changed the instrument on that line from 'viola da gamba' to 'cello', and that brought back the two additional 'instruments' (pizzicato and tremolo) in the mixer. So I have kludged a solution but still have no explanation for--or understanding of--what's going on.

Any thoughts on this mess?

Attachment Size
Mvt III.mscz 168.68 KB
Mvt III 1.3 UNMODIFIED.mscz 26.57 KB
Mvt I-III C.mscz 257.2 KB
Mvt I-III VdG.mscz 257.38 KB


As far as I can tell, 2.0 does not provide three channels for viola da gamba - only for cello (well, and some others). So it's perfectly normal that an instrument defined as viola da gamba doesn't have the additional channels, and that changing to cello would be necessary to get them. If you are saying viola da gamba *should* have additional channels (as it did in 1.3), feel free to file an issue to the tracker.

Without knowing the exact sequence of steps you followed when combining the files, it's hard to say what might have happened to change the instrument from cello back to viola da gamba, but that is what seems to have happened, and I assume that is why you lost the other channels. So changing back to cello is indeed the right solution.

If you can come up with a reproducible series of steps to follow that produces this result, do post it. But for now, I think it makes sense to assume it was some unintended but nevertheless correct consequence of something you did, and that the real issue is simply the lack of the extra channels for viola da gamba in the first place.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Okay; good to know I'm not crazy and that there is a diff between 1.3 and 2.0 for the viola da gamba. I will indeed file an issue in the tracker (once I figure out how to do that!;-).

I'd be fibbing if I said I remembered the sequence of events well enough to swear to them, so I won't. In general, though, I opened the 1.3 file for the first movement in 2.0, fooled around with text formatting and staff/system layout for a while, then appended enough measures to the end of it so I could paste in movements II and III, which I then did. After that, I saved the whole thing in 2.0 under a new name. I am fairly certain that it was after I did all that that I loaded the Tim soundfont and started changing sounds in the mixer...but I can't swear to it. I DO know that I did not change the instrument until later, when I got desperate....

But here's the thing: The original 1.3 files that composite file was created from ALL had viola da gamba as the instrument for that line...and those files all play the pizzicato section just fine, even in 2.0. That's why I got so confused.

BTW--Whoever the genius was who thought of adding the 'Section Break' command to 2.0, I will buy him a beer if he ever comes by this way. ;o)

In MuseScore 1.3, during new score creation, all the instruments assigned under 'Strings' in the instrument list defaulted to three channels - one channel each for arco, pizzicato, and tremolo.

In MuseScore 2.0 it remains the same for 'Strings' listed under 'Common Instruments' - i.e. three channels.
However, Viola da gamba was moved to the 'Strings' section under 'Early music'.
None of the 'Early music' instruments have three channels assigned to them.

So, in MuseScore 1.3 you could freely switch back and forth between viola da gamba and cello in Staff Properties and still access the pizzicato (and tremelo) channel.

In MuseScore 2, changing from violin da gamba to any of the 'Common instruments / Strings' will enable the three channels, whreas switching to viola da gamba from a 'Common instruments / Strings' instrument like cello will lose the pizzicato and tremolo channels.


In reply to by Jm6stringer

Thank you so much for explaining this. I now feel less like a dolt than I have been doing all day.

I took Marc's advice and filed an issue in the 'Issue Tracker'. I hope this can be fixed quickly, without the need for a whole lot of new coding. (And for anyone who cares, where I hang out, a viola da gamba is most definitely a 'common instrument.' ;o)

Thanks again.

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