Instruments in MuseScore's database instruments.xml

• Dec 10, 2012 - 09:16

Does MuseScore need duplicates like "Tenor Viol" and "Tenor Viola da gamba", and "Contrabass" and "Double bass" in its instrument list? If it doesn't need them, which of them should be deleted?


Comments

I believe in the new 2.0 instruments.xml we'd need to keep only of of them (and it doesn't really matter which one), while in the translation files (instruments_<locale>.xml) we can have more than one entry referring to the same instrument definition.
Helps also in languages with only one word for them (e.g. "Kontrabass" in German).

Hmm, I just tried it: it does not work properly, the instrument selector only shows the last entry from the translation file (of the translations referring to the same instiment definition) rather than both. I'd call that a bug though.

I don't see a Tenor Viola da gamba?

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I think it does matter which one to keep. Since MuseScore's original language is English, instruments.xml should be in standard English.

"I don't see a Tenor Viola da gamba?"

Sorry, my mistake. I read that one from my copy of instruments.xml that preserves the original entries I made back in 2009 when I last submitted instrument definitions. Some time later the Tenor Viola da gamba had its name changed to Tenor Viol. So the question is: Is "Tenor Viola da gamba" the standard English name for that instrument or should it be "Tenor Viol" instead?

I shall be reviewing all instruments as I get to them - I'm still wading through metal percussion at the moment.

Tenor Viola da Gamba seems to be a strange one - as far as I know that does not exist.

It may have something to do with MusicXML 3.0 compatibility though, there are some strange anomalies in their instrument list.

Please keep all suggestions on the new Instruments.xml flowing - they are extremely valuable in deciding it's final specification.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

IF you look at the lefthand column in the Google Docs Spreadsheet I am using to collate information, you will be able to find some of it's idiosyncrasies - eg keyboard.piano.prepared - how it would sound is totally dependent on how it is prepared.

I believe you have already found this document Magnus, but for those who haven't and wish to look:-

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ArcZM0RQwkwSdHVObzE2MktxS0…

Anyone who wishes to help with this labour of Hercules are welcome :)

Regarding Tenor Viola da Gamba, I was under the impression that Viola da Gamba was the specific name for the member of the viol family immediately above Contrabass, and an established continuo instrument in the Baroque era - in which case the addition of the word Tenor would be wrong. I am not an early stringed instrument expert, however.

It's usual English name would be Tenor Viol.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

"[...] some of it's idiosyncrasies - eg keyboard.piano.prepared - how it would sound is totally dependent on how it is prepared."

OK, I see.

"[...] I was under the impression that Viola da Gamba was the specific name for the member of the viol family immediately above Contrabass, and an established continuo instrument in the Baroque era [...]"

Yes, that is true if you do not count with the violones, but the instrument called just Viola da gamba is the bass member of the family with normally D2 as its lowest note (when six-stringed); the Tenor Viola da gamba has G2 as its lowest note, the Alto A2, the Treble D3 and the Pardessus G3.

I don't know what makes sense generally, but I should mention I added "Acoustic Bass" as yet another synonym for Contrabass / Double Bass for one specific reason: in jazz / pop scores (where the term "acoustic bass" is most likely to be used), the default should be pizz, whereas in classical scores, the default should be arco. I was kind of piggybacking on the fact that we seemed to be allowing all sorts of other similar duplications.

From a UI perspective, it could potentially make more sense to have a list of instruments, then a list of properties for that instrument to select. Like, just one instrument called Bass, then a box where you enter the name you'd like to see for the staff, a drop down where you select which MIDI program you wish to use, transposition info, etc - basically, the contents of staff properties accessible at score creation.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"I was kind of piggybacking on the fact that we seemed to be allowing all sorts of other similar duplications."

What other sorts of duplications do you have in mind?

"From a UI perspective, it could potentially make more sense to have a list of instruments, [...]"

Isn't that what we have?

"[...] basically, the contents of staff properties accessible at score creation."

Yes, this is very handy. Attaching an image of the window Instrument settings, from the program Igor Engraver, that you can edit before setting up your score.

Attachment Size
Igor Engraver, Instrument settings.png 13.71 KB

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

The other duplications I meant are the existing different names for bass, the umpteen different guitars, organ versus electronic organ, soprano clarinet versus Bb clarinet, etc.

Yes, we have a list of instruments now, but it's a very long list because of all the variations, uncommon instruments, etc. And the properties are not available - that was my main point. Rather than one very long list with no options for each, a much shorter list with options could make more sense. Right now the only organizations is into half a dozen top level cagtegories, but it could be organized hierarchicially. So, for instance, opening the Woodwinds tab might show:

+ Flutes
+ Clarinets
+ Double Reeds
+ Saxophones
+ Recorders
+ Other

and each of those could then be expanded to show the instruments within.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

But a contrabass, a double bass and an acoustic bass is actually the same instrument whereas an 11-string alto guitar is something quite different from a 12-string guitar or a soprano guitar, so it's not really duplications in the latter case.

The length of the instrument lists can be considerably shortened by deselecting the option "Show more".

Subdividing each instrument group is a good idea, I think, especially if "Show more" is selected.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

True. But "guitar" is a generic name for all of the above, and depending on your assumptions, it's presumably the same as one of the more specific terms.

And I never have "Show more" checked, but I still find the list too long / loosely organized for comfort.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

No, I mean that if in your world most guitars are steel string acoustic guiars, then selecting Guitar or Steel string Guitar would seem to be the same thing. Or, if in your world most guitars are electric guitars, then selecting Guitar or Electric Guitar would appear to be the same thing.

I think maybe you're trying to read tyoo much into my comment. I'm simply observing that to the casual user, it sure looks like there are quite a few duplicates.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

No, there really *is* duplication. On basses, as you already observed, but also in other instruments i have pointed out. Guitar is *not* necessarily a different instrumet from electric guitar - not if electric guitar is the default guitar in your world. I guess the assumption is that the word "guitar" all by itself in the instrument list actually means "nylon string acoustic guitar", but it certainly doesn't say that. It just says "guitar". Only to those people who happen to think of "guitar" as connoting nylon string acoustics is that a separate instrument from any of several others on the list, or several others still that could have made the list but didn't (solid body versus archtop electric guitar, not to mention all sorts of different types of electric guitar sounds produced via different pickup configurations, effects, and amp). Similarly for "organ", which is just a generic term that includes "electronic organ" as well as the pip organ that I suppose one is supposed to assume that "organ" by itself refers to. For that matter, why not have separate entires for Hammond versus Wurlitzer versus a few dozen other specific types of electronic organ? Similarly for clarinet. "Soprano clarinet" is not, to my knowledge, a separate instrument from Bb or A clarinet - it's a generic term that applies to both. There are three instruments listed, but only two different onstru,ents that actually exist. That's duplication. Look also at the vocals category - what exactly is the difference between voice, soprano, or boy soprano? Or, if you are a tenor, whats the difference between voice and tenor?

The real problem here is that there is no clear sense of what the criteria for listing instruments separately actually is. I can think of at least five possible reasons:

- user would expect different samples to be used in playback, even though they might be labelled the same in the score (eg, user might wish a staff to be labelled simply "guitar" but be able to choose which guitar sample is used)
- different sizes of instruments with different transpositions, even though they might use the same samples (eg, Bb and A clarinets)
- different transposition conventions for the same instrument (eg, the way euphonium parts are sometimes written at pitch in bass clef, sometimes up a ninth in treble)
- different ranges for different models of essentially the same instrument (eg, basse with a low C or B extension, 7-string guitars, trombones with F-triggers)
- different conventions for how scores should be labelled even given the same instrument (eg, double bass versus contrbass)

Note I am not saying all of these are equally valid reasons to list an instrument multiple times. But right now, there are examples of all of these just sort of jumbled together. I think a more hierarchical organization could help eliminate a lot of this confusion.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"Guitar is *not* necessarily a different instrumet from electric guitar - not if electric guitar is the default guitar in your world."

A general instrument list should be coherent and not taking into account different defaults. Moreover, an electric guitar does not become the same thing as a guitar just by having the electric guitar as one's default guitar.

"Similarly for "organ", which is just a generic term that includes "electronic organ" as well as the pip organ that I suppose one is supposed to assume that "organ" by itself refers to."

No, an organ and an electronic organ are not the same thing. An organ has mainly pipes for sound production and an electronic organ has mainly electronics and speakers for the same.

"For that matter, why not have separate entires for Hammond versus Wurlitzer versus a few dozen other specific types of electronic organ?"

Yes, why not? Maybe you would like to contribute with those definitions.

"Similarly for clarinet. "Soprano clarinet" is not, to my knowledge, a separate instrument from Bb or A clarinet - it's a generic term that applies to both."

No, the soprano clarinet in MuseScore denotes not a Bb or A clarinet but a small clarinet in F used as a beginners first clarinet.

"[...] what exactly is the difference between voice, soprano, or boy soprano?"

"Voice" can be any voice; a soprano is a high female voice; a boy soprano is a boy's soprano voice.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

Somehow you seem to still not be understanding me, so I guess I must not be explaining myself clearly enough. Let me try again.

Yes, "voice" can be any voice, while "soprano" is more specific (and "boy soprano" more specific still). Similarly, "guitar" can be any guitar, while "electric guitar" is more specific (and "archtop" more specific still). The question is, *why* are these all listed separately? Why not only list the specifics, and leave the generic terms off the list? Or, better yet, why not have the generic terms only on the list, and have the specifics selectable on the next screen?

If "guitar" is meant to mean nylon string acoustic guitar and nylon string acoustic guitar *only*, why not say so, instead of listing it in a way that overlaps other instruments on the list? And why list "voice" at all if it overlaps other things on the list? And why *not* list 5-string bass a separate instrument, or archtop electric guitar? Can't you see that it is extremely arbitrary and haphazard?

EDIT: simpler still - if I show you a picture of a specific instrument - say, this one - can you tell me if that is a "guitar" or an "electric guitar"? Isn't it *both*? That's duplication - two items on the list both applying to the exact same physical instrument. Only if the "guitar" were renamed "nylon string acoustic guitar" or something else sufficiently specific would the duplication be eliminated. Similarly, if you are writing a score for, oh, say., Renee Fleming, is she a "voice" or a "soprano"? Isn't she *both*? Again, two items on the list both applying to the exact same human being,

BTW, as for soprano clarinet - maybe it means a small F clarinet to you, but it *also* means an ordinary Bb or A clarinet.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I think I do understand what you are saying, Marc, but if you say things that are wrong I have to let you know. You shouldn't build your opinion on false statements.

"The question is, *why* are these all listed separately?"

Because they are separate instruments. If I write a piece for boy soprano and electric guitar I do not want it notated or played back by the computer as a female soprano and a nylon string guitar.

"If "guitar" is meant to mean nylon string acoustic guitar and nylon string acoustic guitar *only*, why not say so, instead of listing it in a way that overlaps other instruments on the list?

The nylon string guitar is called simply "guitar", it has been so for a long time. If a composer today writes a "Concerto for guitar and orchestra" almost everyone understand that the nylon string guitar is to be used for the solo part.

"And why list "voice" at all if it overlaps other things on the list?"

I do not see why overlapping should be enough for discarding a term that has been used and worked well for a long time.

"And why *not* list 5-string bass a separate instrument, or archtop electric guitar?"

Yes, why not?

"Can't you see that it is extremely arbitrary and haphazard?"

No, it is not extremely arbitrary and haphazard. But you are welcome to suggest improvements, although you should not expect that you can introduce a new paradigm without being questioned.

"Isn't it *both*? That's duplication - two items on the list both applying to the exact same physical instrument."

"Duplication" the way we have been using it this far in our discussion denotes an extra list item that represents an already existing instrument in the list, not that an external instrument may fit two entries in the instrument list.

"Similarly, if you are writing a score for, oh, say., Renee Fleming, is she a "voice" or a "soprano"?"

It depends on how I would like her to use her voice.

"BTW, as for soprano clarinet - maybe it means a small F clarinet to you, but it *also* means an ordinary Bb or A clarinet."

It is not only to me it means this little F clarinet. The common clarinets from G to Eb represents the sub-family of clarinets called the soprano clarinets but I have never seen a score in which e.g. a common Bb clarinet has the name "Soprano clarinet".

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

Sorry, but it still seems you are *completely* misunderstanding me, or you wqouldn't possibly be taking issue with any of it. What I am saying should be plainly obvious. Perhaps you need to step back, start over with no preconceived notions of what you think I am saying, and re-read my comments from the beginning, as it does not seem we are getting anywhere here. Just because you have one thing in mind when you hear the word "duplication" does not mean this is what I mean. I think I now see that you have in mind a different sense of that word than I do. So again, please step back and try to understand what I am actually saying here.

Once again, there *is* duplication here in the sense I mean - multiple names for the exact same physical instrument. The instrument my cousin for a living plays is *both* a guitar *and* an electric guitar. The same instrument is listed both ways on scores, on CD's, on concert posters, etc. The sound that comes out of Renee Fleming's mouth is *both* voice *and* soprano, and is similarly listed both ways deopending on who is doing the listing. The instrument I played in college marching band is *both* a soprano clarinent *and* a Bb clarinet and is listed both ways. I don't know how I can state that any more plainly. Are you saying an electric guitar is *not* a guitar? That a soprano is *not* a voice? That a Bb clarinet is *not* a soprano clarinet? I assure you all three statements are factually incorrect. An electric guitar *is* a guitar, a soprano *is* a voice, and a Bb clarinet *is* a soprano clarinet (check the Wikipedia entry for soprano clarinet if still in doubt about that).

This is duplication in that a user wishing to write for an electric guitar seems two different entries in instruments.xml that both apply to his instrument. The same is true for a user wishing to write for Bb soprano clarinet or for soprano voice. There is lots of needless duplicating in the list as it stands. Yes, we need to be able to differentiate at some point to be able to get the different sampels for soundfonts that support them, or the different transpositions, or the other reasons I mentioned. That's what I am trying to argue should be cleaned up - to stop listing generic instrument categories alongisde more specific instantiations of those generic categories, and to declutter the list by having some things that might otherwise require separate entires instead be accomplished by properties on an instrument.

You also seem to have this assumption that "guitar" all by itself always means nylon string acoustic and as such, it is not generic, but I assure you, that is *not* true in general. It is true *only* in the specific musical genres where that is the natural assumption. Your example of a concerto for guitar and orchestra obviously implies one type of guitar, but a jazz organ trio consisting of organ, guitar, drums most assuredly implies a different type of guitar. In both cases, the musician thinks of the instrument simply as "guitar" because that is the most common type of guitar in his particular world. Just as to you, an electric guitar is some special type of guitar separate fm the more ordinary nylon string guitar connoted by the word "guitar" alone, to a rock or jazz musicians, the reverse is just as surely true. And to a folk musician, it's the steel string acoustic that is the type connoted by the word "guitar" alone.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"Sorry, but it still seems you are *completely* misunderstanding me, or you wqouldn't possibly be taking issue with any of it."

No, I still do not think that I do not understand you, Marc. If what you say are all true, how is it possible for me to show you that your arguments are not?

"Just because you have one thing in mind when you hear the word "duplication" does not mean this is what I mean."

No, it wasn't that I had one thing in mind; I instead explained what the word had designated thus far in our discussion when you introduced a new meaning.

"Once again, there *is* duplication here in the sense I mean - multiple names for the exact same physical instrument."

Yes, this is true regarding Contrabass, Double bass and Acoustic bass in the instrument list. All three denotes the deep bass instrument found in symphony orchestras, many folk music groups and jazz orchestras.

"The instrument my cousin for a living plays is *both* a guitar *and* an electric guitar."

Let us assume it is a Fender Stratocaster that your cousin plays. Then it is an electric guitar belonging to the instrument family guitars. If we take the example of how birds are named it is a Guitar ElectricGuitar FenderStratocaster. It is thusly a guitar only at the family level, not at the instrument level. Compare this with a nylon string guitar by the Swedish instrument maker Georg Bolin which would be called Guitar Guitar Bolin.

"The same instrument is listed both ways on scores, on CD's, on concert posters, etc."

This is because the authors of those scores, CD's and posters take the family name as the instrument name which is not really correct.

"The sound that comes out of Renee Fleming's mouth is *both* voice *and* soprano, [...]"

Not necessarily, but her normal singing voice is a voice by family name and a soprano by instrument name.

"The instrument I played in college marching band is *both* a soprano clarinent *and* a Bb clarinet and is listed both ways."

Almost the same thing here: it is a soprano clarinet by sub-family name but a Bb clarinet by its instrument name. It should not be listed in a score as "Soprano clarinet"; it shall be listed there as a "Clarinet in Bb" or "Bb Clarinet" instead.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

Yes, you had one meaning of duplication in mind. I had another *equally valid* one in mind when I entered the discussion. So rather than argue about whether my use of the word duplication exactly matches yours, can we simply agree that there exists a situation - by whatever name you choose to call it - that is not ideal? How about if we call it "overlap" instead of "duplication" - would that satisfy you?

Your comment about guitar really being a family name not a specific one is *exactly* my point. An electric guitar belongs to the guitar family. No amount of arguing can make this not be so. An electric guitar *is* a type of guitar, period. As is a nylon string acoustic, as is a steel string acoustic. So listing "guitar" (a family name that applies to electric guitars) as well as "electric guitar" is *overlap*. Whether or not you choose to consider that overalp to be a type of duplication is beside the point (and the fact that you made an issue of it why I said you weren't getting my point). Regardless of whether opne calls it duplication or overlap, it's still something that could stand to be cleaned up, as it presents a somewhat confusing set of choices to the user. Two different items in the list sometimes indicate two different physical instruments, sometimes it is just a family name versus a more specific name, sometimes it is two different sounds for the same basic instrument, sometimes (apparently) two different sizes of what otherwise might be considered the same, sometimes just two different ways of writing the transposition for what is only one instrument.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"I had another *equally valid* one in mind when I entered the discussion."

You did use what you call "my" meaning until you introduced the new one.

"[...] can we simply agree that there exists a situation - by whatever name you choose to call it - that is not ideal?"

Yes, at least regarding the contrabass.

"Your comment about guitar really being a family name not a specific one is *exactly* my point."

I was not saying that. Instead, "guitar" is both a family name and an instrument name.

"So listing "guitar" (a family name that applies to electric guitars) as well as "electric guitar" is *overlap*."

No, it is not an overlap however confusing it may be, since "guitar" is both a family name and an instrument name. Moreover, the family name in MuseScore is in plural (guitars) and not in singular (guitar).

I have tried answering your questions very carefully throughout this discussion. Would you please answer my last question in my previous comment to you?: What instruments beside the contrabass can be said to have multiple entries in the instrument list?

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

Actually, "guitar" *is* listed singluarly in the instrument list as well as plurally as a group name (something different still, since you can't select it as if it were an instrument). If it were only listed plurally as a group name but not as an instrument, I wouldn't be pointing this out as an issue - in fact, it would constitute a step in the right direction. It's the singluar "guitar" that shows up as an instrument as if it were *separate* from electric guitars rather than *inclusive of* electric guitars (ie, overlap) that is the source of the issue. Same with soprano clarinet - one can select it as an instrument despite the fact that it *isn't* a single instrument but rather a general family name that encompasses *several* instruments (including Bb and A clarinets, as well as this F student model - the latter being so rare that it doesn't even merit mention in the Wikipedia article on the various different soprano clarinets).

So the overalp includes all the examples as I have been citing all along:

guitar, which overlaps with electric guitar (all electric guitars are also guitars)

soprano clarinet, which overlaps Bb and A clarinents (all Bb and A clarinents are also soprano clarinets)

organ, which overlaps electronic organ (all electronic organs are also organs)

voice, which overlaps everything else under the "vocals" group (all sopranos, alto, tenors, and basses are also voices)

These are the only other examples I've cited thus far, but there are a few others. See for instance, electric piano versus keyboard synthesizer. I'm sure you'll try tell me that in some technical sense that is completely irrelevant in the real world, an electric piano includes only instruments like the original Rhodes, Wurlitzers, and Yamahas that produced sound acoustically but then amplified it, whereas an synethsizer generates it via purely electronic means - yet this distinction would barely be acknowledged by the vast majority of keyboard players. And even if we enforced this mostly archaic distinction, that then makes keyboard synthesizer just a superset of electronic organ. Or, see how the generic "frame drum" overlaps with tambourine and "cymbal" overlasps with the four specific types of cymbals, or "military drum" which really doesn't mean anything in particular to my knowledge (but presumably should be taken to include snare drums and probably a variety of toms).

That's without enabling "show more". Turn that on and the list gains more duplicates and overlaps. Eg, "transverse flute" which is simply a general category of flutes that includes the traditional C flute as well as alto flute et al, tenor trombone that is just another name for what most call simply trombone, etc.

These are all cases where a single instrument could legitimately be said to fall under two different entires in the list. Could it duplication or call it overlap - that doesn't matter to me. Whether or not there is a distinction *you* are making in *your* mind - like "guitar means any instrument in the guitar family, except those that are electric or have steel strings or have other than 6 six strings" - those distinctions rely on assumptions that might be meaningful in your musical corner of the world but might not be for others.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"It's the singluar "guitar" that shows up as an instrument as if it were *separate* from electric guitars [...]"

It is separate. What is so hard to understand about that? Do you envy the guitar being called just "guitar"?

"Same with soprano clarinet - one can select it as an instrument despite the fact that it *isn't* a single instrument [...]"

It is a single instrument which is also in the list.

"[...] a general family name that encompasses *several* instruments (including Bb and A clarinets, as well as this F student model [...]"

No. Clarinets above Eb belongs to the sub-family sopranino clarinets.

"[...] yet this distinction would barely be acknowledged by the vast majority of keyboard players."

This argument is an example of the logical fallacy argumentum ad numerum that states that a large number of people can't be wrong simply because they are so many.

"Or, see how the generic "frame drum" overlaps with tambourine [...]"

The instrument frame drum does not have metal jingles like the tambourine.

"[...] or "military drum" which really doesn't mean anything in particular to my knowledge (but presumably should be taken to include snare drums and probably a variety of toms)."

You should start to study instrumentation, Marc.

"[...] tenor trombone that is just another name for what most call simply trombone, etc."

Finally an example worth consideration. To purists a tenor trombone does not have a piece of extra tubing called attachment and the larger bore that these instruments with attachment have, so when you refer to one of the latter instruments you simply call it a trombone.

"Whether or not there is a distinction *you* are making in *your* mind [...]"

No, Marc, this is not about me or my mind; it is about how words are used and their meaning. You obviously want to change the way instrument names are used and their meaning; it reminds me of George Orwell's novel 1984.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

I tealize that people whose musical worlds encompasses primarily nylon string acoustic guitars think of the word "guitar" as connoting only that sepcfic sub-type of guitar. What you don't seem to realize is that much of the world is not in that category. To much of the world, the word "guitar" by itself is not sufficiently specific, and if it connotes anything more specific, it is an electric guitar. You can protest all you want, but this is how the world is. Musical terminology is not handed down from on high; it develops over the course of time based on what is common practice. I'm not saying saying guitar should only refer to electric guitars; I am saying that in the 21st centruy it is no longer sufficiently specific. Similarly for electric piano versus synthesizer. Neither is a single instrument - they are both broad classes of imstruments which much overlap. That's just how it is

Regarding my other examples, you are factually incorrect in most cases. I don't know what your sources are, but until you cite an online source more authoritative than Wikipedia and show evidence that your definitions are actually in common use, I continue to maintain - based on my own personal experience, but with Wikipedia backing me up 100% - that "soprano clarinet" is a generic term that includes both Bb and A clarinets, that "frame drum" is a generic term that includes instruments with jingles like tambourines and panderas as well as instruments without, and that "military drum" is similarly a broad classification. These are how the terms are actually used in the real world, and MuseScore should reflect actual usage.

The reason any of this matters, again, is that I believe the current instrument list is too long. Not that it isn't important to be able to specify all these different different instruments, but the current approach of attempting to list each and every variation of each instrument famly - and doing so quite inconsistently (since two different listings might exist for very different reasons, plus there is all the overlap as I have conclusively shown) - could stand improvement.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"I tealize that people whose musical worlds encompasses primarily nylon string acoustic guitars think of the word "guitar" as connoting only that sepcfic sub-type of guitar."

Not only people of that little group but the music world in general.

"To much of the world, the word "guitar" by itself is not sufficiently specific, and if it connotes anything more specific, it is an electric guitar."

Maybe this is so to much of the world but it is not so to most of the world.

"You can protest all you want, but this is how the world is."

"Much of the world", like you said earlier -- not "the world". Are you being deceptive here?

"[...] "soprano clarinet" is a generic term that includes both Bb and A clarinets,"

You still do not seem to have understood the difference between a family of instruments (e.g. "soprano clarinets") and an individual instrument called "soprano clarinet".

"These are how the terms are actually used in the real world, [...]"

No, you are wrong again because you do not understand the difference between an instrument family name and an instrument name.

"[...] but the current approach of attempting to list each and every variation of each instrument famly [...]"

No, we are not doing that. Are you deliberately spreading disinformation?

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

Again, You just don't seem to be understanding me here. The point is, guitar or soprano clarinet can be seen as a specific instrument *or* as a general cateogry, and the instrument list doesn't make clear what is what. If the listing said "sorpano clarinet - by which I mean, an incredibly obscure student model pitched in F, not the general category of clarinets that includes Bb amd A versions", then I would agree there is no overlap or potential for confusion. Similarly, if the listi said "guitar - by which I mean, nylon string acoustic, not the general category of instruments that includes electric guitars as well" I would similarly agree thee is no overlap and hence no potential for confusion. But I would still be arguing it is not productive to lsit all these variants side by side - a more hierarchical scheme would make much more sense.

And no, I am not claiming you want to see each and every possibly variant listed. But you seem to be much happier with the unnecessarily long listiing (unnecessarily because it contain extremely obscure instrumentss as well as both overlap and duplication) than I am am.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"The point is, guitar or soprano clarinet can be seen as a specific instrument *or* as a general cateogry, and the instrument list doesn't make clear what is what."

No, you are wrong again; the instrument list in MuseScore's GUI does make it clear. In the window "MuseScore: Create instruments" there is a field named "Instruments" and in that field there is an expandable list with the instrument groups like e.g. Woodwind and Guitars; if one only has the most elemental knowledge of music one can't mistake "Woodwind" or "Guitars" to denote a single instrument (In the case of "Guitars" you also must be lacking elemental knowledge of the English language in order to believe it means one individual instrument). If one then expands the list by clicking the plus sign of one of the entries the separate instruments show up. I find it quite odd that I have to explain this to a professional musician and university teacher.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"As I pointed out previously, I am *not* talking about the category name "Guitars" - [...]"

In your previous post you said the point to be the following: "The point is, guitar or soprano clarinet can be seen as a specific instrument *or* as a general cateogry, and the instrument list doesn't make clear what is what." Now, when I have showed you this was not true because the instrument list in the GUI is indeed very clear, you suddenly say that you are not talking about that. Your argumentation is like a slalom course with many sharp turns, but since slalom is an exciting sport I am interested to see how you continue down the slope.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

The term "category" name is imprecise; it's been used to mean two different things. In the post you just quoted, I was not talking about the UI grouping widget (the thing with the expandable "+" next to it), but an actual instrument listed within that grouping. That should have been obvious enough from context, as there is no expandable group/category/thing called "guitar" or "soprano clarinet". I mean, the *instruments* (not the UI groupoing widget) called "guitar" and "soprano clarinet" can be seen as specific instruments or as general categories.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

I realize this seems like pointless bickering, but there really is a point here. Hoipefully this picture helps clarify:

guitar.png

As you can see, it's the entry for "Guitar", not the entry for "Guitars", I am talking about. This shows up in the instrument list where we'd expect it to refer to a specific instrument, but the word guitar - as defined by any encyclopedia or dictionary you care to reference - is not a single instrument but a whole family of instruments that *includes* other instruments on that same list. Hence, overlap, and thus potential for confusion.

One reason this matters is that currently, the name of the instrument as it appears on the instrument list is what shows up as the instrument long name (in most cases at least; not sure if it's always that way). In genres of music where electric guitar is the norm, it is usually also the norm for scores to not be labeled "Electric Guitar" - they just say "Guitar", and the fact that the part will most likely be played on electric guitar is understood. Just as in genres of music where nylon string acoustics are the norm, it is usually also the norm for scores to not be labeled "Nylon String Acoustic Guitar" - they just say "Guitar".

What this means is that the average person writing a score for guitar may well pick "Guitar" from the list, because that's the instrument he is writing for and that's how he wants the score labeled. But currently, he'll get a nylon string sound, not an electric one - fine for the classical folks, not so fine for the jazz or rock folks. Jazz and rock composers will have to fix this after score creation - either by selecting Guitar as the instrument but changing the MIDI program in the Mixer, or by select Electric Guitar as the instrument but changing the name in Staff Properties. And it's pretty likely they'll pick "Guitar" rather than "electric Guitar" because Guitar shows up sooner on the list (and Electric Guitar is buried after pedal steel and bass guitar). Oh, BTW - more overlap/duplication: Electric Bass versus Bass Guitar versus Fretless Electric Bass.

Of course, we could eliminate the overlap and thus the potential for confusion confusion by renaming "Guitar" to "Nylon String Acoustic Guitar" (or "Classical Guitar") to make the distinction more clear. That would make it more clear to jazz and rock composers that they should select electric guitar and then change the name if they wish, but it doesn't make the task any easier. And then it inconveniences the classical composers, who would then also be forced to have to change names after the fact if they wish their score to be labeled "Guitar" and not "Nylon String Acoustic Guitar".

If it were just about guitar, I would not be concerned enough to keep wanting to have stuck with this discussion so long. But this is only one example of a whole host of similar issues that arise because of the current structure of the instrument list and dialog. By having the list as long as it is (even with Show More turned off), it takes longer than it should to find the instrument you want, and then, because there are so many differently-named variations - likely named in more detail than would be typically found on a score - you often end up having to change the instrument or MIDI program to something else after the fact in order to get the combination of sound and name that you actually wanted.

I believe moving to the type of model we've been exploring further down is the solution here. Using Guitar as the example again, instead of having six or seven different guitars each listed separately under that generic GUI grouping widget "Guitars", we could list just "Guitar", and then have a second dialog where you specify the properties of that instrument - perhaps with the six or seven current guitars (more specifically named) as presets, but also with the ability to override the various instrument parameters right there rather than having to do so after score creation.

Again, if this were just about guitars, I wouldn't really care, but it seems to me there are a number of places where this sort of hierarchical approach would simplify things greatly.

Attachment Size
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In reply to by Marc Sabatella

To sum it up, Marc, you want to change the name of a fairly old, much used and very common instrument because a group of musicians has wrongly redefined the meaning of the name. It doesn't make any sense. You talk about avoiding confusion when it really is you that advocate confusion by wanting to change things because of new and incorrect terminology.

"But this is only one example of a whole host of similar issues that arise because of the current structure of the instrument list and dialog."

No, it hasn't anything to do with the structure of the instrument list. You keep saying that your issue with "guitar" is only one example of a whole host of similar issues despite that you have been able to show only one valid example, that of "Contrabass/Double bass/Acoustic bass" to which you yourself contributed by adding "Acoustic bass" to "Contrabass/Double bass".

This want for a changed terminology will however be catered for by introducing a category in "MuseScore: Create instruments" that could perhaps be called "Jazz and rock instruments". There you could have the electric guitar called "Guitar" and the guitar called "Nylon string acoustic guitar".

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

No, I don't want to *change* the name of the instrument. I have no idea where you got that idea. It's like you are stilkl completely misunderstanding almost every word I write.

Once again, I want classical musicians writing for nylon string acoustic guitar to continue to be able to have it called Guitar in the score without requiring fiddling with things after score creation. I just want to extend the same courtesy to people writing for other guitars. And I propose this could be accomplished in a way that also has the advantage of streamlining the list and presenting the choices more clearly.

The instrument would still be called "Guitar" in the primary list, but instead of seven different guitars listed (mostly) side by side, it would just be one: "Guitar". In the second screen, you select which specific guitar you want. The available presets for the seven different guitarsd would automaitcally fill in the MIDI program, instrument name, and other fields with reasonable defaults, but right there on that same screen you could override them (perhaps by clicking a button that popped up the staff properties dialog).

Or, if we wish to offer the convenience of having the two most popular guitars both listed as top-level instruments in the hierarchy, list them as "Guitar (acoustic)" and "Guitar (electric)" but have both set the instrument name fields in the second screen to simply "Guitar". This makes it clearer to the person selecting the instrument, and also means they don't have to customize anything on that second screen. But alto guitar et al would be removed from the top level list as things better left to the second screen, thus de-cluttering the top level list.

And when I said there other "similar" issues, I *meant* "similar", not "identical". There are indeed not many other "identical" issues - bass being the opne that comes to mind. But the "similar" issues are the plethora of different variations of lots of other instruments - clarinets, trumpets, trombones, etc - that are presented as a linear list and thus taking up quite a lot of space.

Yes, being able to collapse major groupings (Woodwind, Brass, etc) helps, but not enough, in my opinion. The Woodwind and both Percussions lists in particular are extremely cluttered and could be much more simply presented by breaking down into hierarchies.

Yes, this could be done in one screen with more expanding subgroups (putting all clarinets or all saxophones in a subgroup under Woodwind, for example). But this still presents all the different instruments within each subgroup as equals, when that is not necessarily so. As I keep pointing out, two different but similar instruments in the list might be included for very different reasons. Eg, the reason we have both C and Bb Trumpet on the list is very different from the reason we have both Guitar and Steel String Guitar, or the reason we have both Baritone Horn and Euphonium, or the reason that for 2.0 we may have both bass clef and treble clef variants of each, or the reason we have both Wooden and Bamboo wind chimes, etc. It just isn't clear *what* is actually happening when you select one versus the other. In some cases, all that is going to be different is a different name on the score. In other cases, it will be different transpositions. In other cases, different MIDI programs. In other cases, different ranges.

This isn't the end of the wolrd, of course. Clearly, we've managed so far. But surely it can't be that hard to see there is room for improvement here?

Again, I'm just trying to make it easier to set up new scores. I'm not asking anyone to change the names of the instruments they use - just to make it easier to select the instruments you want.,

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"No, I don't want to *change* the name of the instrument. I have no idea where you got that idea."

I cite you from an earlier comment so you know where I got it from: "If "guitar" is meant to mean nylon string acoustic guitar and nylon string acoustic guitar *only*, why not say so, instead of listing it in a way that overlaps other instruments on the list?"

"It's like you are stilkl completely misunderstanding almost every word I write."

Why this obvious lie? You spoke initially of many duplications that I showed you do not exist. You then turned to assert that the dialog window does not make clear what is what of instrument categories and separate instruments; I showed you that was not true either. Now you just want to rearrange the dialog window by introducing uncontroversial hierarchies.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

That was a rhetorical question, not a serious suggestion. My point was, "guitar" *shouldn't* only mean nylon string acoustic.

Also, I have pointed out quite a few example of overalp and/or duplication. And I showed you with an actual picture where you were wrong about the dialog. And I have *always* been advocating reorganizing the window, nothing more.

At this point, it seems clear that you are interested only in disagreeing with me at all costs, and have no desire to actually help improve the product. So I guess those who felt this was all pointless bickering were right.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"My point was, "guitar" *shouldn't* only mean nylon string acoustic."

You are phenomenal, Marc! Your point is once again something else than what you actually said. You should become a politician.

"Also, I have pointed out quite a few example of overalp and/or duplication."

The only duplication you have pointed out is the one you yourself increased with Acoustic bass. What does overalp mean?

"And I showed you with an actual picture where you were wrong about the dialog."

No, I wasn't wrong; the dialog window shows very clearly the difference between the instrument category "Guitars" and the separate instrument "Guitar".

"And I have *always* been advocating reorganizing the window, nothing more."

Yet another lie. Don't you think the forum members here can read and see that you are not being truthful?

"At this point, it seems clear that you are interested only in disagreeing with me at all costs, and have no desire to actually help improve the product."

No, I observed early on that you have a "truth problem" and I wanted to see how deeply it was rooted within you. Now I and the alert readers of this thread know. Do you really have no idea at all how many hours I have put into improving MuseScore?

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

I also take issue the statement that musicians of the past 50 years have "wrongly redefined the meaning of the name" Guitar. Music and language both evolve.. Once upon a time, the word "trumpet" referred to an instruments without valves, and when the first valved versions came about, I'm sure similar debates might have occurred as to whether these modern newfangled things deserved to still be called trumpets. Same with the first Boehm system clarinets, or for that matter the first Boehm flutes.

Again, no one is asking composers writing for the nylon string acoustic string to stop calling it simply Guitar. I am simply poij ting out that in the real world the world in which music and language evolve - there are other instruments that can also be called simply Guitar. After all, I'm not trying to force everyone who writes for the modern clarinet to call it "Boehm system clarinet". A person wishing to cinlude an electric guitar in an orchestra piece might be well-advised to call it that specifically, because in that world the term "guitar" is assumed to be acoustic unless otherwise stated. Just as a jazz compser wishing to include acoustic guitar in a big band score might be well-advised to label it that way specifically, because in that world, the term "guitar" is assumed to be electric unless otherwise stated. All I'm asking is that it be made easier for people to a) find the instrument they want, b) get the name to show up in the score the way they expect, c) get the playback, transposition, ranges, and pther instrument paramters to be what they expect, right at the time of score creatiom. Why is this even slightly controversial?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

@Marc I don't see a problem with the Guitar instrument. I understand your concern thought. I would put the guitar instrument first of the Guitar category, and give him a default sound (acoustic or electric, whatever, we just pick one). It would just be a nice shortcut for people who don't really care about the sound, or the range of the instrument. I know they can use template, but let's face it, they don't. It's in the same line than a "treble clef" instrument or a "bass clef" instrument, without range, and with a piano sound, without instrument name.

On a related note, there is a feature request to make the instrument list searchable/filtrable. I think it will make the discovery of e.g. the different guitars easier and then make the creation of a hierarchy with more than 2 steps (Category -> Instrument) not really useful. See #18542: Make Create Instrument dialog searchable

In reply to by lasconic

Right, it's the fact that people don't use templates that makes me want to make this screen as clear as possible. They also don't tend to fiddle with the names, MIDI programs, transpositions, ranges, or other aspects of the instrument after score creation, although of course it's possible and users very familiar with the program can already get exactly the results they want. I just want to make it easier for users less familiar with the software to get their scores set up as they want.

Filtering/searching the instrument list would indeed be another approach. It certainly solves the clutter issue. But I think it would still be ncie to be able to to override the various instrument parameters from the instrument screen, rather than having to wait until after score creation then going to Staff Properties (for most instrument-related settings) and/or Mixer (for the remaining settings). A Properties button to call up a dialog to let you customize those settings directly from the Create Instruments window would still be very nice.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

You also have not addressed my main point and my main reason for caring about this - the fact that we have no clear criteria for determining when separate listings are needed in instruments.xml. I listed five completely different possible reasons, you seem to be ackinowledging only the first of these (different samples might be used by some particular soundfont). But even so, do most sounhdfonts really distinguish between Bb and A clarinet? Certainly GM does not. And even if some soundfont does, I doubt any would distinguish betwene euphonium written at concert pitch in bass clef versus euphonium written up a ninth in treble clef.

Again, my concern is that it is not at all clear to the user why there are so many entries in the instrument list or how/why to choose between two that might seem to apply equally well to his instrument. In some cases, there are multiple listings because it actually implies a different sample will be uised (even though the name in instruments.xml in no way makes this clear - it relies on assumptions as to the musical leanings of the reader). In other cases, there are multiple listings because ther transposition will be different, even though the same sample will be used. And in other cases, there are multiple listings just because the same instrument is known by multiple names. This is the confusion I would like to see cleared up somehow. It's not a huge deal, but again, it's hard for me to see how anyone could deny there isn't potential for confusion here and opportunity for improvement.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

MuseScore needs to have both an A clarinet and a Bb clarinet because they have different ranges and transpositions.

"And even if some soundfont does, I doubt any would distinguish betwene euphonium written at concert pitch in bass clef versus euphonium written up a ninth in treble clef."

Instruments.xml has only one euphonium.

"Again, my concern is that it is not at all clear to the user why there are so many entries in the instrument list or how/why to choose between two that might seem to apply equally well to his instrument."

What instruments beside the contrabass can be said to have multiple entries in the instrument list?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I like your five criteria and obviously they map what a instrument really is for MuseScore code. I would propose to start a thread on the tech preview forum to discuss them.
I would add two more

  • "different staff type", guitar staff / tab / staff + tab
  • MusicXML 3.0 sound attribute is different

I can't find the comment again, but someone suggested that finding an instrument in MuseScore list might lead a user to get to know it. I think it's not the purpose here. If an instrument can be call with different name we should choose one name, if possible the more If the user wants to learn about new instrument it should look on wikipedia or get a instrumentation book. For the same reason, I would not list extra rare instruments if there is no specific request for it. And even if there is a request, if the instrument is rare, I would add it behind the "show more" flag. Local instruments that are confidential could go in the localized files.

Then come the exception, I would keep short version of the most current instrument, even if they duplicate another one. So I would like to find Piano, Guitar, Organ in the instrument list, and set them up with the most sensible default.

If we go into flame wars to choose default, in the end, one of the commiters will choose but please, I would like to avoid that.

Sorry, I could not identify a proper post to reply to, as the discussion on "Tenor viola da gamba" spreads across several posts.

Magnus asked which is the "standard name"; I think the real answers is that nothing is standard with viols! As a viol player, I have never heard that size of the instrument called "Tenor viola da gamba", in English context, it is always called "Tenor viol".

The term "Viola da gamba" itself may refer to the bass of the family only by antonomasia; properly speaking, it refers to the whole family. Sure, Telemann or Bach call it "viol(a) d{a|i} gamba" (standard? ha!), but in a context where all the other sizes were no longer used.

When any ambiguity is possible, like in a list of instruments, a more clear name would be "bass viol" (or "basso di viola" in Italian or "basse de viole" in French). And, of course, a constructing style of it (mostly English) also exists which is called "division viol"...

Luckily, less problems are given by the highest member of the family: "treble viol" (although it is occasionally referred only as "viol" in the literature, particularly in Germany).

As we are on it, the MusicXML quotes an "alto viol", which is not a real instrument, but a variant (often just a scordatura) of the tenor viol.

Lastly, I do not remember if the "pardessus de viole" is quoted; if not, it probably should, but caution! it should NOT be translated: it was used only in France and it is known only under the French name.

About translations, Italian and, above all, French translations are often problematic (usages were not exactly overlapping) and shold be double or triple checked...

If you are confused, don't worry, most viol players are confused too!

M.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

Thanks for the pointer.

In fact, even in these images, distinguishing it from the tenor viol is not so easy: with a diapason of 48 cm rather than 52, it seems just a 'compact' tenor viol! For comparison, my bass viol has a diapason of 74 cm, while the most common models go around 68 cm and a division viol may be even shorter, but all count as basses (standards, standards...).

And, honestly, violadagamba.com with its Chinese instruments isn't among the most reputed sources of instruments; it also quotes a "large tenor" with a diapason of 60 cm (the distance from the 'regular' tenor is the double than the distance between the tenor and the 'alto'): shall we add it to the instrument list too? "Bassetto di viola"? "Viola tenorone"?

Then, of course, any kind of theories and of experiments are possible (in fact, Agricola quotes an alto viol) but evidences are scant.

Thanks,

M.

In reply to by Miwarre

Yes, the difference is very little between a tenor and an alto, but that does not make them the same instrument.

"[...] but all count as basses (standards, standards...)."

The good thing about standards, you know, is that there are so many to choose from.

"[...] shall we add it to the instrument list too? "Bassetto di viola"? "Viola tenorone"?"

No, we do not separate a 280 cm grand piano from one measuring 220 cm.

S Ganassi in his Regola rubertina (Venice 1542) seems to mention an alto viol tuned A2, D3, G3, B3, E4, A4.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

OK, a large bass viol like my own is more different from a division viol than some attempts to define an alto viol are different from the (average) tenor. Why the former does not count as in instrument difference and the second does?

Ganassi: indeed, one tone above the (average) tenor; in other places the alto viol is given as a tone below the (average) treble. Hardly the same instrument, or, as I believe, hardly a defined instrument: just a catch-all name for a number of experiments or variants...

M.

In reply to by Miwarre

DO you know anything about these Miwarre?

Wikipedia insists that they are two different instruments - there are, however, no citations in the article.

Other sources on the first page of Google regard them as synonymical.

My Oxford Music Dictionaries only mention Cromorne as an organ stop (with which I'm well acquainted from the French Baroque Organ School, and my copy of Grove is still packed away as my bookcases haven't yet been built.

Can you shed any light?

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

I never delt with double-reed instruments directly and I have forgot many details...

Apparently, the Wikipedia "Cromorne" article bases its info mostly on Bruce Haynes' works and this is not a name to be ignored lightly. Taking Haynes words, the "Cromorne" seems indeed to have little in common with the "Crumhorn", beyond both being double-reed instruments.

The whole, however, seems likely to be a philological reconstruction, surely very interesting, but with little practical effects, at least so far: I doubt you can go into a music shop (even specialized) and buy a "Cromorne"... (but even in not over-large cities, like Genova where I live, there is at least one shop when you can go and buy a crumhorn, if you are not too picky).

My suggestion is to drop the "Cromorne", as an instrument. If someone will use MuseScore to transcribe some of the Lully's works calling for some Cromorne, he can always use the bassoon instrument definition; perhaps the bassoon defined in the instrument list is not exactly the same thing, but it would not be exactly the same thing of the bassoon listed in a Vivaldi concerto either. As we say in Italian: "Il meglio è nemico del bene" (lit.: "The better is enemy of the good", more or less like "good enough is good", perhaps).

Thanks,

M.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

Even so it is still part or the MusicXML 3.0 sound list so needs an equivalent in MuseScore even if it doesn't show on the instrument list, which is how I'm proposing to handle it.

On which subject - is it possible to define instruments or groups of instruments which are completely hidden?

There are one or two entries in the MusicXML sound list which I feel should not appear in the MuseScore Instrument list, but need definitions in Instruments.xml for import/export compatibility.

Cromorne is one of these.

If not can we add a <Hidden> tag to achieve this?

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

The Cromorne Wikipedia article has one reference, The Eloquent Oboe by B. Haynes, of which you may find some reviews on line.

I don't have it but this Google Books link leads to a browsable version of the book; look at chapter 1.B, Related Instruments for some text matching the contents of the Wikipedia article.

M.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

"I shall make it a duplicate of the Bassoon entry in MuseScore I think."

I am afraid things are not so simple, unfortunately.

I read Haynes' chapter on "Cromorne" (The Eloquent Oboe, p. 37 - 45) and a reasonable summary of his conclusions is that the cromorne existed, by the mid of XVII c., in several sizes, possibly dessus, taille, quinte and basse (and possibly also contrebasse). By the end of XVII c., all sizes had fallen out of usage and only the basse de cromorne remained for a while before being superseded by the basson. By this time, sometime the full name basse de cromorne is used and sometime only cromorne with no qualification, probably meaning the same instrument.

So, if we cannot altogether do without the cromorne for compatibility reasons, mapping the simple cromorne name to the bassoon reflects just a moment in the history of the instrument.

Possibly, the full name basse de cromorne would be more precise.

This of course leaves open the issue of what to do with the other sizes: dessus de cromorne... Can we do without them, accepting the inconsistency of a bass without any higher 'brother'? Also keeping in mind that assigning ranges, clefs and so on to each of this instruments will not be easy, as the whole matter is to a fair degree speculative...

HTH,

M.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

Interesting.

The article says: "Viole de gambe alto (historiquement rarement utilisée...)". So rarely, that I never saw one being played...

I would also add that, with a tuning just one tone below the treble viol, this alto viol hardy qualifies as a separate size

It also gives a tuning which is in evident contrast with the data given in the link //www.violadagamba.com/ given in a previous post: according to violadagamba.com, alto viols have 6 strings (see the image), not 5 and a string length of 48cm; now, tuning to C5 a gut string of a bowed instrument with a string length of 48 cm is not possible: it would break before reaching it (even assuming a 415 Hz diapason, C5 (=493.5Hz) over 0.48m of length gives a load factor of 237, when bowed gut cannot be expected to exceed 210).

At this point we have two different alto viols: one according to French wikipedia (which sounds almost like a treble) and one according to violadagamba.com (which looks like a slightly reduced tenor). I am sure if we continue searching we'll get more of them...

;-)

M.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

No, I am not; in fact, there is not "an instrument" called alto viola da gamba; either there are several alto viols or there is no 'real' (meaning reasonably defined and recognizable) alto viol.

I *am* (mildly) irritated by the tendency to accept as a matter of fact whatever philological speculation (maybe grounded, but mostly theoretical), when not plain 'metropolitan legend', appears in some Internet page.

MusicXML specs have been probably made by generally knowledgeable peoples who surely did their best; they are not omniscient nor heavenly perfect though (nor am I, of course), and may well have been too hurried to include such an instrument.

In order to prove that I am wrong (and I may well be wrong as anybody else, but I still wait for a solid demonstration of this) and that MusicXML is right, a number of data have been assembled which contradict each other and, ultimately, prove my original statement: the alto viol is not a *real* instrument; it is a 'place-holder' or a catch-all name for any kind of experiments or variants attempted during the very long history of the viol and/or by modern philologist and/or instrument sellers.

Of course, there is no law forbidding to include an "alto viol" in the instruments.xml list; I wonder which range and tuning will be assigned to it though as, to show that the instrument exists (and that I am wrong), two different tunings have already been given and I am sure more could surface by searching widely enough.

Good luck!

M.

In reply to by Miwarre

"Irritated? No, I am not; [...] I *am* (mildly) irritated [...]"

You contradict yourself.

"[...] in fact, there is not "an instrument" called alto viola da gamba; [...]"

You are just wrong here. If a builder produces an alto viola da gamba there is an instrument called alto viola da gamba. It is furtermore grounded in history via e.g. Ganassi's Regola rubertina.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

You are loosing your precious time here gentlemen. If one builder created once an instrument called XXX, fine for him. Not our concern for the instrument database. Let's focus on the actually used instruments and let's musicology to musicology books. "Alto viola da gamba" should not go into the list if it's only grounded in history by one piece. We need a default list, not a dictionnary of all instruments ever created.

In reply to by lasconic

"You are loosing your precious time here gentlemen."

No, quite the opposite. I find it interesting how one can say there is no instrument of a special kind when there actually is.

"Let's focus on the actually used instruments [...]"

Are you saying that the alto viola da gamba is not being played?

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

I'm saying "alto viola da gamba" is not being played as much as guitar and piano (whatever kind of piano or guitar btw). I'm not an expert but I'm pretty sure about that one. If someone wants to make a score for the ""alto viola da gamba", it can take any instrument and adjust the settings, so I would not include it. Actually it's true for a lot of instruments in the list. So mainly my point of view is, if there is too much discussion on the inclusion of an instrument between knowledgeable people, the instrument is not known enough, and can be ommited. You might find it interesting to argue about it, but it just not productive, and come close to trolling actually...

In reply to by lasconic

This is my feeling as well. We don't need one long exhaustive list of every instrument ever manufactured - that serves no useful purpose. We need a list that contains a reasonable list of se i-generic instrument names from which the user can customize specific aspects (name, sound sample, transposition, clef, staff type, etc) as necessary.

In reply to by lasconic

"If someone wants to make a score for the ""alto viola da gamba", it can take any instrument and adjust the settings, so I would not include it."

Your showing off a deplorable ignorance, Nicolas.

"So mainly my point of view is, if there is too much discussion on the inclusion of an instrument [...]"

Who decides what is too much discussion?

"You might find it interesting to argue about it, but it just not productive, and come close to trolling actually..."

Is the truth not welcome here? Is truth regarded as trolling?

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

I will not take "deplorable ignorance" as an insult... It's too much discussion in my opinion, in my opinion only. Truth is welcome, but you tend to present your truth as the Truth. For the instrument list, we don't need the Truth, we need acceptable default.
Indeed, it seems that you want to make the instrument list extensive. So maybe it's a bad perception. In any case, I made my opinion clear. I think the instrument list should not become to much exotic by default.

In reply to by lasconic

What is the difference in meaning between the truth and the Truth?

"I think the instrument list should not become to much exotic by default."

I agree, but MuseScore already has the "Show more" option in "MuseScore: Create instruments"; this feature could be refined and extended, I think. Michael (ChurchOrganist) has suggested "Ethnic instruments" as a new option; the notation program Sibelius uses several such categories for its many hundreds of instruments.

In reply to by Magnus Johansson

The problem as I see it with Show More is that it is all or nothing. And even without Show More, there is probably more displayed in some categories than most would prefer. Somply taking the existing list and adding more expandable sub-categories would help to some extent - under Brass, for instance, have sub categories Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Other (for example), then expanding any of the would show the individual instruments. But this isn't really ideal either, as it means an extra click for each and every instrument. Which is why I think a better idea would be to actually list Trumpet as an instrument - not a category to be expanded - that defaults to Bb trumpet. And then after selecting the instrument, have a second screen (within the same dialog) where you can select which variety of trumpet you mean if not the default. Either by selecting a name from a list or via a customize button that lets you select the MIDI program, transposition, staff type, intial clef, etc.

And similarly for other instruments where we have lots of variations all listed individually. List one or two canonicals member of each instrument type, then allow the user to override if desired.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Insatead of one 'show more' checkbox, we could have categories, like"ethnic", "rare medieval" and some more?
And duplication in instruments.xml won't really be needed, this could be left for the translation files, with a slight change in the logic to allow for multiple names to üpoint to the same definition (like tumpet and Bb trumpet oe guitar and 6-string nylon guitare pointing to the same definition)

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

"with a slight change in the logic to allow for multiple names to üpoint to the same definition"

Something like this is already implemented in instruments.xml: the <init> tag allows a definition to assume another as default and then change only the needed data, possibly nothing. It is currently used, for instance, for instruments defaulting to TAB staff: the definition is <init>-ed to the 'pitched' definition and then <description>, <stafftype> and <clef> tags are changed to TAB.

If nothing is changed (beyond of course <description>), the whole definition is actually shared between two names; in practice there are two (or more) aliases for the same instrument.

M.

In reply to by Miwarre

Yes, but that s sharing (parts of or all) the instrument definition. If they really share evrything, we have a duplication. What I propose is to have only one definition, but possibly mutliple names on a per language basis.

Hmm, but indeed we can have 'guitar' inheriting evreything from '6-string nylon guitar' or 'electric guitar' (depending on the users pref, by just editing the xml file) even that way, without the night mare of having to alter e.g. the range of one when the range of the other proves wrong. And even some means to detect if and what one instument is a duplicate of, could possibly even display this?

Still we may have the need to have one instrument in the generic file, but more than one name to it on a per language basis, just becaise in some languages an isntrument is know under several different names, while in others it is know only onder pone name

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

"What I propose is to have only one definition, but possibly mutliple names on a per language basis."

This seems to be the best solution, I believe. Can this provide a different name in the same language for another genre category (e.g. Jazz and rock instruments) in the dialog window "MuseScore: Create instruments"?

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