Change Instrument

• Jun 19, 2011 - 19:48

I'm a novice MuseScore user - I'd like to use it, but I'm not good at memorizing things. As a result, I rely on features being discoverable via the UI.

I decided to have a go at importing XML data into MuseScore. The files imported well, with two exceptions:

  • Only the first staff was assigned an instrument.
  • Piano pedaling was not imported.

I figured (wrongly) that it would be easy enough to change the instruments. Since they had are normally assigned in the Create Instruments dialog, it would make sense to be able to change them there as well, right?

But MuseScore doesn't do it that way. (I'd suggest that would be the optimal place for it).

So I tried selecting from the staff. Click, right click, select the instrument name at the beginning of the staff... Nothing obvious would bring up the Instrument settings.

You might be wondering why a right-click didn't bring up a menu with the Staff Properties on it. There were a couple reasons for this:

  • The imported score was large, so the measures were small. Clicking on an occupied measure at that resolution caused MuseScore to think an item had been selected.
  • There was a bug in the import, so a lot of the "empty" measures on the first page were imported improperly. They appear as blank, with no elements in them, including rests. Right clicking on them does nothing.

The horizontal scroll bar being missing should have clued me in, but I was low on patience because I'd just spent a chunk of time searching for where MuseScore hid the SoundFont path. That particular issue has been more or less fixed in the nightly build, only to add a new problem - there's a "SoundFont Directory" and a "Default SoundFont" - I'd initially only set the directory, and wondered why I wasn't getting better sounds. But that's a different issue.

Finally, I searched the documentation and found:

Although you can change the instrument sound, staff name, and staff transposition separately, versions 0.9.6 or later allow you to change all of these properties at once.

1. Right click on an empty part of the measure and choose Staff Properties...
2. Click on Change Instrument
3. Choose your new instrument and click OK to return to the Staff Properties dialog
4. Click OK again to return to the score

Again, I submit that changing the instrument via the Create Instrument page is the proper way to do things. Additionally, not having items in the menu makes it difficult to find features in MuseScore.

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