Change to the "Concert Pitch" button

• May 14, 2018 - 21:17

Hi, gang!!!

I wonder if it would be nice to change the today "Concert Pitch" (in Spanish: "Tono de Concierto") button to another title (more "musician"), and its shape (to a more "technician" way).

I'm talking about to name it as:

Position A: "REAL (or TRUE) NOTES" (when it shows the real sounding pitch of the notes, regardless the instruments). In Spanish it would be: "Notas Reales".

Position B: "TRANSPOSING NOTES" (when it shows the standard notation according with the instruments). In Spanish it would be: "Notas Transpuestas".

About the shape, it could be an standard sliding switch (as the image I added, but seen from the upper, or front, side).

Just a crazy idea from a mad old man.

Blessings & Greetings from Chile!!!


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It's not a bad idea. In English, "Concert Pitch" is the correct term for this, so people familiar with the idea will know that it means and in fact will specifically look for the button using that name. But many people are not familiar with the concept and the term means nothing to them so the purpose and working of the button is very mysterious. And even if you what the term means, it isn't as obvious as it could be just by looking at the toolbar whether the button is pushed or not.

If we did go with a dual label, In English, I'd suggest "Sounding Pitch" and "Written Pitch", as the most accurate and familiar terms to use.

I'm actually working on updating the manual right now. I'm not fluent in Spanish, but I can understand a written document. Since I'm not fluent in Spanish and I'm really not familiar with Spanish musical terms, I'm relying on the translation of the program that someone else did at some point. I don't know who has been doing this, but they seem to be keeping up with the updates.

The point of my writing all of this is that I am willing to listen to others about how the Spanish translation might be fixed. I don't want to make a drastic change such as you propose without being sure it is the correct thing to do. I would like to see a discussion about this on the Spanish forum, but getting any discussions with many participants on any forum is difficult. Please feel free to post this in the Spanish forum to see if there are other opinions. If there is discussion I will make any changes agreed upon.

In reply to by mike320

Hi mike, i just saw this by chance, its true that in spanish its not very usual to say "tono de concierto", at least where i live, most people say "notas reales" and "notas escritas", i left it as it is because i remember sibelius also used it and maybe its a regional spanish thing or something. At first, seeing "tono de concierto" annoyed me but i got used to it i think.

Edit: i just looked in a piston orchestration manual in spanish and concert pitch is translated as "sonidos reales"

In reply to by [DELETED] 26799858

Federico, I had yo made a reviewer so you could adjust translations in the program. As I said, I'm not fluent in Spanish and have seen very little music written in Spanish (as opposed to the more common Italian). You can look at transifex to see who provided the translation and send them a message to discuss the translation. If I remember correctly, you are in South America somewhere. I know Americans and Brits have a LOT of different terms in music and we supposedly speak the same language.

I still have trouble deciding whether the Concert Pitch button is pressed or not - currently in 2.3.2, but also in all previous versions, as I recall.

When importing from MIDI, especially multi instrument recordings, the transposition for transposing instruments is sometimes wrong - which is a separate issue.

Part of the confusion I have in sorting it out relates to working out WHICH parts are wrong, which is compounded by having to try to deduce what's meant by the colour of the Concert Pitch button.

So, today, after struggling with an alto flute part for some time, I know that "white" means pressed and grey means not pressed, currently showing transpositions. The next time I encounter this problem, I don't expect I'll remember that.

The "hover text" is the same in either case too - so that doesn't help.

PLEASE do something to make the state of that button clearer. You could use a pseudo 3D effect, or you could change what's written on it, for each state.

Please also change the hover text / help balloon text, preferably to something that can't possibly be misunderstood - i.e. prescriptive, not just ambiguously descriptive.

E.g. in the Out state, it could say "Press to show without using transposition";
in the In state it could say "Press to show transposition".

At the moment, it just says "Display in concert pitch", regardless of whether or not it's already displaying in concert pitch - that doesn't help at all, and a grey button has no obviously different meaning, to me, than a white button.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Thanks for the links. Unfortunately, problems brought up in support threads tend to get brushed aside, if they're not the main topic of that thread.

I have been using MuseScore for a few years now, and reading the state of the Concert Pitch button still confuses me. I don't feel I should need to consult the forum, or even the manual, to determine whether a button is on or off. If I do need to (and I do), there is clearly a problem with that button.

In reply to by AndyHornBlower

I did suggest thehover text as a way to fix it, but I think changing the button is better and always visible. No need to grab the mouse to see if you're in concert or transposed pitch.

For those who don't make large symphonic scores, this may seem a silly discussion, but I sometimes lose track of which view I'm in if I'm not looking at instruments with a different transposition.

In reply to by mike320

I mostly just hide all the instruments apart from the one I'm playing, once I've finished changing things, but it can still be confusing, even then.

For example, if I import a score for an alto sax, from a PDF. At best, I get a score in the written key, but not transposed, because the importer doesn't know that's what instrument it's for. What I'm meant to do is change the instrument, then transpose it back to the same written key, but if I forget to do that, or decide to do it later then forget I haven't done it yet, things get messy.... If I click the Concert Pitch button and nothing changes, then I know I didn't change it properly, but I can then lose track of which state it's in, quite easily.

I think, in general, the button is important to people who use MuseScore to help practise transposing instruments, and any arrangers that need to write for them - which is most of them, I would guess. Saxophones and trumpets are in a lot of different sorts of music, for example. At the moment, it's not really up to the job.


While I understand how a newbie might not understand the meaning, I think the reality is that anyone who has studied will understand and personally I feel a reluctance to switch from generally accepted terms.

It seems to me that there is a need to learn about standards in any endeavour to make progress in it, and the (forgive me) "dumbing down" of tools is a poor direction to go in.

This is not a hard and fast rule for me, but just my first response to this post. Feel free to convince me otherwise.


In reply to by xavierjazz

I am not a newbie, and I'm not asking for it to be dumbed down.

I was asking for it to be made clear what state the button is currently in, or what will happen when I press it next.

I play a variety of transposing instruments (various woodwind and brass) and I've used MuseScore for a few years. The button just isn't clear enough, and has caused me to waste a lot of time and patience on it.

In reply to by kuwitt

That's interesting, but all I get is a web page with the contents page of Handbook 2.

I get the same whether I'm hovering over the button, or whether I've just pressed the button, and not moved the mouse before pressing F1 on the keyboard....

Also, when practising an instrument, I don't have a qwerty keyboard in front of me; only a mousepad, so if I did press F1, it would have to be on an on-screen keyboard, which I do use, but that wouldn't necessarily behave the same way.

In reply to by kuwitt

In this particular case, my feeling is that I shouldn't have needed any help.

I understand the concept of transposition, and the purpose of the button; I can just never be sure what state the button is currently in.

So, what I needed was better user interface design, not more help in deciphering the current one.

Context sensitive help, in general, could be useful though. There was a time when things in Windows mostly had a question mark icon, that could be dragged to a control to ask what it did. It was rarely implemented properly, which might be why it's been abandoned, but that seemed like a good idea.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Or both in sense of UX ;-).

Note: To explain my intention: In my opinion the best way is an user interface would be self-exploring. But there are several tools/commands which don't be obviously for an user, so a context help would be helpful to understand the meaning of these commands - maybe worth for a GSOC project.

Why not to put this "switch" in the Print menu only???

You have to think that this change is only useful, on the printed paper, to the transposition instrument players and to the orchestral director.

To the arranger... I don't know if this is a full useful idea...

In reply to by jotape1960

It is quite useful to the arranger. In symphonic music it is normal to eliminate all key signatures on Trumpets and Horns. I often forget which view I'm in when I decide I don't like seeing the dynamic mark obscured by a note. I often make some adjustments and realize I was in concert pitch mode and everything I changed looked fine when the notes are Transposed. The Concert Pitch button is the only visual clue if you are zoomed to see only C instruments and the horns and trumpets.

This is very common. Normal orchestral order is Bassoons (all in C), then Horns (with no key signature but usually transposed), Trumpets (with no key signature but usually transposed), Trombones (all in C), percussion (all in C or no key signature) so it is easy to get to a point where you don't see the Clarinets in A or Bb (which are above the Bassoons) have a different key signature.

In reply to by mike320

Well, mike320, personally, I'm not complicated with the "real notes" visual view always actived into the screen (because I'm an old musician and I know which instrument is transposed and how much far from the main tonality it is).

But... If you think on the new MuseScore user... It is a real chaos!!!


In reply to by jotape1960

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what was meant by that, but putting the button only in the Print view would make MuseScore a LOT less useful to me, or to anyone who uses it to help practise transposing instruments.

I need to be able to move music between instruments, and to different keys, and I need to be able to see what I'm doing, which sometimes involves turning off transposition while I figure out what's going on.

Also, I haven't actually printed anything from MuseScore, ever. I used to export to PDFs, so I could put them on portable devices, and I might one day want to do that again - e.g. to an ebook reader that doesn't support any version of the MuseScore app, but on the whole, I just use MuseScore directly on the screen of my PC - which is the only place I use or need the Concert Pitch button.

In reply to by AndyHornBlower

I assumed that the export to pdf would qualify as printing when I read that idea.

As I presume everyone realizes, basically the idea provides that everything will be entered as if in concert and the parts transposition would only take place when the part is moved on from the entry page. On first thought it makes sense to me, however your statement that: ... "I need to be able to move music between instruments, and to different keys, and I need to be able to see what I'm doing, which sometimes involves turning off transposition while I figure out what's going on." ... is important.

Also I find that different keys often move elements around so one would still have to see it before approving export (print).

In reply to by xavierjazz

Yes, exporting to PDF is essentially the same as printing - and probably almost identical, as far as the software is concerned.

My main use is to have one part on the screen, usually transposed for the instrument I'm playing. To get to that point, I'm often starting by editing a score imported from MIDI, which often messes up the transposition in ways that can be hard to figure out, or using the PDF importer, which only sort of works, and doesn't understand that the original was transposed... I don't use that often, any more, because it's really a struggle to sort out the results, bordering on being easier to just enter it all manually.

Quite often, I'll copy sections from another instrument to the part that I'm playing, so there are less long rests to sit through - and transpose it maybe just by an octave either way, to fit the range of the instrument.

I mostly just read it as sheet music, on the screen, but occasionally, I'll get MuseScore to play parts of it that I don't quite follow, or get it to play the whole thing, and play along with it... I haven't done much of that, lately, but I expect I will again. When I do, it's important for the instruments to be playing in the right key, not just look right on the page.

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