change instruments

• Dec 1, 2016 - 00:34

How do you change an instrument once you have written the music and simply want a particular part in a different instrument?
Thanks you


(1) Right-click on the staff you desire to change the instrument in.
(2) Select "Staff Properties"
(3) Find the "Change Instrument" button
(4) Click it. It should pull up another window.
(5) Select the instrument you want, and then hit okay.
(6) In the initial staff properties window, click apply, if applicable, and then okay. do NOT click cancel.

In reply to by Elwin

WARNING!!! The new instrument will be in the same key as the original instrument. If you change from Oboe to English Horn for example the real English Horn player will NOT play the right note if he plays what MuseScore prints. Another common instrument change is flute to piccolo. It will be an octave off.

You've been warned. MuseScore changes instruments WRONG.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Another thread was talking about MS changing their file to a version .9 which presumably would have been a beta version. My point is that the mid staff instrument change is worthless. There are almost no real world examples of doubling instruments that are in the same key, even the piccolo is a transposing instrument. Having a mid-staff instrument change that doesn't affect the key signature and transposition is as useful as staff text. I do mid-staff instrument changes with a second staff and hiding. It takes a bit of work, especially if you want it to look like a mid-staff instrument change. I did it with the oboe and English horn in this song.

You can see the results by looking at the oboe and English horn part

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Those are all non-transposing instruments so yes they should work. I have never seen such instrument changes for a part, but if you do it then that's fine.

The problem is that just for example, the Oboe and English Horn are in different keys. For the notes to sound right you have to write them in the wrong spot on the staff for the English Horn and the key signature will still be that of the Oboe. I realize for nothing but a visual score you could use local key signatures, but from a reality point of view the majority of the MS users want a semi-decent playback of what they have written. With the current mid-staff instrument change this is not possible without a lot of workarounds consisting of multiple voices and invisible unplayed notes or doing like I do with multiple staffs which is no longer a mid-staff instrument change.

In reply to by mike320

FWIW, the issue with mid-score instrument changes not affecting transposition is already fixed for the next major release (3.0). It can't be fixed for any 2.0-based release (eg, 2.0.4 or 2.1) without breaking compatibility to some extent in that a score that created with instrument changes would possibly look and/or sound different between 2.0.3 and the new version.

So far we've taken the view that this sort of compatibility issue would be unacceptable and a few fixes like this that would otherwise seem to be no-brainers have not been considered for a release called "2.0.4". The more we talk about having a released called "2.1", the more it seems worth asking if perhaps we can live with that compatibility issue for the sake of the improved functionality. My recollection is that this would not prevent scores created with 2.1 from opening in 2.0.3 or vice versa, it just means that for scores that use instrument changes with different transpositions, the results may differ. Since they are pretty broken right now, I'm fine with that personally.

For the record, see #9352: Add ability to set transposition by range for the official issue submitted (by me, almost six years ago, so yes, we have long known about this).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

This is the feature I miss the most in 2.0.3. The earlier it could be introduced (in 2.9.4, or 2.1 or whatever) the better!

Currently my scores made with 2.0.3 are using the the workaround described in . I fully understand that if I want to open them in a MuseScore with this new feature, I would have to fix the transposing parts (in my case where the sax parts play the clarinet).

In reply to by mike320

To be clear, though:

If you want to change an instrument for the entire duration of the score - e.g., you originally wrote the piece for an ensemble that includes oboe, but you've now changed your mind and decide you want a clarinet - then the Change Instrument facility in Staff Properties *does* work correct with respect to transposition. I am pretty sure this has worked correctly for as long as I can remember (back to MuseScore 0.9.6 I guess).

It is *only* instrument changes made *mid-score* that are problematic - e.g., you've written a score for an ensemble that includes oboe, and you want it to still be oboe for most of the piece, but there is a particular passage you want him to play on English horn instead. There wasn't even a way to do at all in 0.9.6 or 1.3, but with 2.0, an "Instrument Change" text was introduced that can get this effect for *playback* purposes - and as such is better than just using staff text. But the transposition will be incorrect, meaning you'll need to resort to unpleasant workarounds*. That is the bug we've known about for years and is already fixed for 3.0 and maybe we can consider fixing for 2.1 as well.

*The unpleasant workarounds mean that, one way or another, you will probably need to resort to having two separate staves. You can either have one for oboe and one for English horn and use "Hide empty staves" to make them appear as one, or you can both staves show both parts but enter the pitches on one so that they *look* correct but enter pitches on the other so they *sound correct, then mark the first silent (in the Mixer) and the latter invisible (in Edit / Instruments). I personally have used the latter approach as I find it more flexible, but it's a pain, especially because of how buggy the transposition behavior actually is (it's worse than not honoring it all - it's inconsistent).

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