[1.2] Transposing Instruments Import/Export Problem

• Mar 7, 2012 - 10:45

I have a problem with MusicXML import/export of transposing instruments.

If 'Display in Concert Pitch' is set on a score that is exported, then exporting via XML and reimporting into MuseScore results in the actual pitches of the instruments being shifted.

Attached is a trivial example of a test case, a unison on oboe and two clarinets. Export it to XML then import it and (whatever the 'Display...' setting) the sounding pitches have shifted from the intended unison.

Attachment Size
Transposing.mscz 1.77 KB


Thanks for reminding that I've been meaning to say something about how MusicXML import works with transposing instruments from Finale as well. Basically, the exact same same issue you just described: a score for transposing instruments created at concert pitch and exported as MusicXML from Finale imports into MuseScore as a Concert Pitch score but with all instruments using transposed pitches. So you end up having to manually transpose all relevant staves.

What I'm describing was the case in 1.1 as well; not sure about your case. But I suspect it's the same basic thing going on: the MusicXML file presumably has the pitches at transposed pitch, and on import, MuseScore doesn't realize this and assigns those pitches as concert.

Unfortunately, looking at the MusicXML file generated by Finale, I don't see anything in it that is designed to represent the information about transposition. So there might not be anything MuseScore can do about it. If so, that would seem a major weakness of MusicXML. Unless maybe there *is* a way to store this info, but neither MuseScore nor Finale take advantage of it on export?

In reply to by Nicolas

After some more investigation, import is working correctly but export is not. When a score is in concert pitch mode all the notes are exported as they are displayed. So a score exported with concert pitch mode on produce a different MusicXML file than one exported with concert pitch mode off.

In fact, this could even be a feature if the transposition information for each instrument was not exported if in concert pitch mode. A user would be able to export a MusicXML file representing the score in concert pitch or not.

I filed an issue for more discussion #15373: [MusicXML] Export is wrong if score is in concert pitch mode

In reply to by Nicolas

I replied in that issue with my expectations: export would indeed be different depending on what mode I was in, but in either case, I'd hope there were enough information to allow the importing program to then convert from concert pitch to transposed.

But what about Finale? We have no control over how they export. The files I get from my student who uses a recent version of Finale (PrintMusic, actually) import incorrectly as well. So either Finale is exporting incorrectly, or there are issues with MuseScore's import as well as its export.

BTW, I do appreciate all the hard work you and Leon have put into MusicXML import/export, and the long list of fixes I see in the 1.2 release notes. And given that this never worked as I would have expected for 1.1, I don't consider this a particularly high priority fix.

In reply to by Nicolas

I import your example and what I see is Concert Pitch *on* (not off), and three very different notes in the parts: C (key signature of C), D (key signature of D), and Eb (key signature of Eb). Since concert pitch is *on*, these are *not* the same note, and indeed, hitting the play button gives me a lovely cluster :-). Then I turn off Concert Pitch, I see it continue to treat those as concert pitches, now showing me C (key of C), E (key of E) and Gb (key of Gb).

I assume you actually entered this as three C's at concert pitch, but there is no way to get MuseScore to display it that way.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I'm confused now... When importing the MusicXML file attached earlier Concert pitch mode is ON? Concert pitch mode is a parameter of a score, it's saved in MSCZ file but never in a MusicXML file. So I don't see how it could be ON by default except if you use a special style on import. I do get a nice C in unison. Do you use a special style on import? in Edit -> Preferences -> Import ?

In reply to by Nicolas

It doesn't matter if Concert Pitch was on or not when I begin the import. Either way, upon completion of the import, Concert Pitch *is* turned on, and I see and hear what I described - a cluster, not a unison.

But I *do* have a style set in Edit->Preferences->Import: the Jazz_Lead_Sheet.mss style. Good call! When I change this to "Built in style", import works as it should. Concert Pitch is turned *off* on import (again, regardless of whether it was on or off before I started the import), the notes display as they should for transposing instruments, it plays as a unison, and if I then turn on Concert Pitch, it displays as a unison.

So, mystery solved, I guess. The bug only affects cases where you have a a style set for use on import, and then I'm betting only if the style file itself turns concert pitch on. I suppose we could edit Jazz_Lead_Sheet.mss to remove that line?

FWIW, I had been debating going back to "Built in style" for import anyhow, and I think I will, independently of whether or not this gets fixed for 1.2. I'm looking forward to having the ability to set the default styles in 2.0, though!

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