Steel drums are not transposing instruments

• Apr 14, 2016 - 17:39
Reported version
S5 - Suggestion
needs info

Please do not use octave clef with steel drums. Steel drums are scored at the exact pitches we intend to hear them. Octave clef just gives me a little extra work to get it back to the right octave.

GIT commit: f51dc11


Which version of MuseScore? If I look at 2.0.3 and create a score with steel drums, I get 2 staves, treble and bass clef, no transposing.
Oh, I see, you're using 2.0.2. I'm not Aware of any changes in this respect though. Are you by chance using a template? or a modified instruments.xml?

Tenor steel drums use the octave clef by default, as do "cello" steel drums. As far as I kmow, these are usually notated in treble clef but sound an octave lower than written. This might not be totally obvious because the harmonics are so prominent, it can *seem* like they are an pctave higher than they actually are. At least, my ears here it that way.

On the other hand, it's possible some soundfonts have this transposition built in to them, so things might be off for the playback if it is also done in the notation. Maybe that is what is going on? I am not a steel pan expert so I can't say for sure.

I lost a grade in my steelpan arranging course project because the octave clef caused the resulting audio file to sound an octave too low. I didn't realise before that the music would be pitched lower than how I scored it. The problem was only diagnosed (by your help forum) after my first assignment was already submitted, but I am learning the program better for future projects.

Many scores were accumulated over several years originally using earlier versions of MuseScore and in some cases converting scores that I originally created using Sibelius versions. The help forum is excellent, so I am now improving my creations considerably.

I believe your guess is right. When I select the steel drum instrument, the playback sounds fine without any adjustment of the clef or anything else. The tenor steel pan sounds fine with the plain treble clef. In fact all the steel pans sounded correct to me when I did a 6-part arrangement with tenor, double tenor, double second, cello, guitar and bass steel pans

I did conversions first using PDF files, and later on your help forum advice I started using XML. Since I am nearing the end of my final project as a Bachelor degree student, I am avoiding changing MuseScore version until I complete the project.

Status (old) by design needs info

I actually would still love to hear from an expert on steel pans to see if there is something we should be doing differently. Perhaps the samples in the soundfont are off by an octave. But it's also possible they are correct for other steel drums, but that makes them off for tenor.

NIU (Northern Illinois University) has experts on steel drums. Perhaps you can contact Professor Liam Teague who heads the Steelpan studies and get him to let one of his steel drum experts listen to a steelpan arrangement in MuseScore. I am 63 years old and just an ordinary student learning steelpan for Bachelor degree - not an expert, but I know what my music should sound like...
At present I am trying to re-arrange a duet that I first arranged using Sibelius 7. Problem number one - get rid of octave clef. Problem number 2 - get tenor score at desired pitch.

When I delete the octave clef, the music shifts down a perfect octave. I tried selecting the entire tenor part and transposing it up a perfect octave, but octave clef came back. Playback still has music an octave lower than desired.

Ooops! I noticed that some parts are at the desired pitch - probably because I did a lot of copying and pasting. Perhaps the parts at correct pitch were copied from work that was already in MuseScore and at the correct pitch. I don't think it's fair to bother you guys with my work at this point, but in the future I'd be happy if music remains at the pitch where I score it.

(Some good is coming out of these problems, because I am learning to use MuseScore better, but on the other hand my practice time is being hindered! Every minute struggling with MuseScore reduces my practice time)

Attachment Size
Guantanamera.mscz 35.41 KB

It is best to ask for help on the support forum. But for now - to replace a clef with a different clef, simply drag the new clef to that measure. To transpose notes by an octave, select them and press Ctrl+Up or Ctrl+Down. Clefs don't change just because you deleted notes, so something else must have bneen gong on when you said the octave clef came back. To keep notes *displaying* at a a given pitch but have them *sound* at a different one, right click the staff, go to Staff Properties, and change the "Play transposition" setting.

If you continue to have problems, please ask for help in the Support forum.

Thank you for helping.

I hadn't deleted notes when the octave clef returned, but did a series of transpositions. Perhaps I did too many UNDO clicks when I realized that the entire score wasn't consistent due to previous cutting and pasting from other scores!

Due to the problems, I re-did the score.