Guitar is a transposing instrument. Report deleted!

• Nov 12, 2019 - 22:49

Hi, an hour ago I reported a bug where I point out that the guitar and bass guitar are not been transposed by musescore. My report has been deleted and got the following e-mail:

"Guitar is not a(n octave) transposing instrument, it is notated using the G Clef 8va bassa. Bass Guitar is octave transposong though, notated with the standard bass clef, but sounding an octave lower"

Well, I've been a guitarist for 25 years and this is news to me. The guitar, is notated an octave higher to avoid using the bass clef. All professional guitar sheet music is notated this way and they reiterate this in almost every guitar method I've read through the years. Any guitarist knows this.

Also, in my report, I mentioned other issues that affected the bass guitar clef as well and it was ignore.

Can any body please provide some proof to this statement?

Take any official guitar sheet music, play the notes on the piano and compare it to the original recording. You'll hear the notes on the piano sounding an octave higher than the guitar in the original recording.


In reply to by Jm6stringer

I think the OP is looking in the wrong place and relying on the email links without using the .org website. You cannot click the screen name links from within an email. If he doesn't find a post, then going through activity will get him there no matter what he's looking at on the .org page.

In reply to by Reimans

An e-mail is sent when someone posts to a thread I am subscribed to.
In the e-mail I see:
"You are receiving this because you are subscribed on this thread. Reply to this message on Musescore or unsubscribe from this thread."
When I click on the link reply to this message on MuseScore I am brought here.
If it's the wrong thread (or I'm lost), I locate and click on my user name to see other threads where I have posted.

Regards, and welcome aboard.

I haven't seen an answer to this yet. In MuseScore, guitar is notated in the treble clef, but not an "ordinary treble clef", but one with a little 8 beneath it that makes it an "ottava bassa treble clef", which is the same thing as saying that the clef indicates that all notes are an octave lower than the treble clef, which combines both of the facts you know and love, i.e., that the guitar is notated in the treble clef, but the notes sound an octave lower. With the ottava bassa clef, it is explicit. Without it, it's implicit. Hence, it's "not a transposing instrument" because its true pitch is in sync with the ottava bassa treble clef. As a guitarist used to treble clefs without the little 8 under them, just ignore the little 8. This is the same clef as tenor singers use today, even though fifty or a hundred (but not 150) years ago, they did not have "little 8's" either.

It is easy enough to choose a "regular treble clef" if the little 8 annoys you, but then you have to use Staff Properties to transpose the actual notes performed an octave down.

In reply to by BSG

With the ottava bassa clef, it is explicit. Without it, it's implicit.

In earlier iterations of MuseScore, before the "little 8" was added, the guitar was shown as transposed in Staff Properties - as the bass guitar currently shows. There was much discussion when the change from regular treble to ottava clef occurred. The "little 8" was deemed the more modern convention.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Note that that is not the case for organ pedals, normally at 16' (suboctave). No organ music uses the ottava bassa bass clef, but MuseScore (of late) does, which actually causes a nuisance for virtual pipe organ use, but if it were "transposing" instead, the problem actually wouldn't go away. The General Organ Problem is bigger than MuseScore.

In reply to by BSG

I haven't seen an answer to this yet.

The link to the original issue in my previous post has my answer that explains how guitar transposition works in MuseScore. I didn't see a reason to rehash that here if the OP is happy with the answer.

In reply to by BSG

I totally agree with this post. But the reason for my report is the following.

I usually compose and arrange music for various instruments on the piano. To facilitate the note entry (and avoid transposing) during the process, I switch to Concert Pitch. This way I can input the notes an all instruments the way I see them on the piano. Unfortunately this doesn't work on guitar and bass, so I have to manualy transpose.

A work around is to entry the notes on a piano staff and then change instrument for it. This wouldn't be a problem if I had come up with my parts from start to finish before inputing the notes and never to be touched again.
The reality is that I'm making changes all along the process, to the point that this approach becomes a hassle and gets confusing.

I wonder what the reasoning behind the current behaviour is. Concert pitch is not only useful for note entry, but it also makes it easier analyzing the composition.

A side from that, there still are some inconsistencies between the guitar and bass guitar clefs. The guitar shows the 8vb clef regardless of the the mode. While the bass clef only shows it in concert pitch, sometimes is confusing.

Any suggestions that can improve my workflow would be appreciated.

In reply to by Reimans

Why don't you enter the guitar from the MIDI keyboard at the pitch it actually is, i.e, the highest string is the e above middle c and so on? That's the way it's supposed to work (i.e., it is always at "concert pitch). Why should you expect to enter the high string as the E above that (i.e., what it is in "no little 8" transposing notation)?

In reply to by Reimans

Music for guitar is sometimes notated with the regular treble clef and treated as transposing, but it is also sometimes notated with the octave clef and in that case there is no need for transposition, You can set it up either way. If you prefer to treat is as transposing, then use the "Guitar (Treble Clef)" instrument. You can also set up transposition manually starting from one of the regular guitar instruments - right-click, Staff Properties, set the transposition there. You can also set the clefs independently for concert pitch on vs off.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

This solves the problem!

Now, reading back the comments I've noticed BSG was trying to say the same in his initial post's last paragraph, but didn't get it until I read this one.

Wow, I'm starting to see the flexibility of musescore.

"You can also set the clefs independently for concert pitch on vs off."

This is something I couldn't get done. Would you mind giving more details?


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