Instrument change effects long/short instrument names

• Apr 24, 2019 - 06:52

Changing instrument via "Change Instrument" in text pallet changes long and short instrument names. Is this supposed to happen?

I would expect this to happen (as it does) when you change the instrument via staff/part properties, as this is a more permanent change to the overall part. But, mid-staff instrument changes shouldn't be reflected in long/short instrument names. This is most noticeable in scores.

It should only affect the instrument sound change. The intent for a mid-staff instrument change means the player will eventually return to a previous instrument, and/or instrument the part is written for. When reading a score, in cases like a musical where reed players tend to change between numerous instruments, or potentially even rhythm or percussion parts, it's easier to scan and follow a staff line when the long/short instrument name is consistently the same.


Yes, it's supposed to, according to the normal rules of music notation / engraving. But right now there is no way to customize the name that appears, at some point we hope to add one. Meanwhile, if you have some special reason to need a non-default name, you can edit the MSCX file within the MSCZ archive.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

That's a shame, at least for the time being. The score I'm working on was started in 2.3.2, and "change instrument" text did not do that. I feel like it's a regression, especially since we can no longer double click long/short names and just manually edit them on the spot.

How would I go about doing what you suggest to get around the my problem?

In reply to by Sean Oliveras

As I said, it's correct notation, not a regression but an improvement, implemented after many requests for this. If you want to create non-standard notation or have other reason to customize the staff name (eg, to say just "Clarinet" instead of "Bb Clarinet") that is your right, but our goal is to create the most correct notation by default.

If you do this often, you can save time by creating a custom instruments.xml rather than edit each score individually.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Forcing the names to something besides what the user wants is in no wise an improvement. Saying this is correct notation is not at all true. There is no reason from a notation point of view that my "Cl III" name is wrong and there is no reason it should be forced back to "A Cl."

Going into the .mscx file is not a workaround, it's a hack. It takes a certain amount of knowledge of the inner working of the program and doing what the program should do in the first place.

Hopefully this mistake will be fixed when staff type changes gets implemented properly.

In reply to by mike320

They weren't what the user wanted before, either - at least, not most users. The standard in published scores is for the names to change, that's why we got so many requests to implement that. So it's an improvement in that you're no longer stuck with the original name. But it is admittedly not as much of an improvement as it could otherwise be if you can't change the specifics of what it changes to (or indeed explicitly keep the old behavior). So I absolutely agree it's a useful feature we hope to add someday. But going back to the old behavior where you were stuck with the original name in direct violation of standard practice and many user requests over the years would be a step backwards.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"But it is admittedly not as much of an improvement as it could otherwise be if you can't change the specifics of what it changes to (or indeed explicitly keep the old behavior). So I absolutely agree it's a useful feature we hope to add someday."

I hope this is sooner than someday. Until then, I just won't use "Change Instrument" from the text pallet, and so I won't be able to hear proper instrument sound during playback. Should a feature request be submitted?

In reply to by Sean Oliveras

Well, there is #88861: Option for editing abbreviated staff names in instrument changes, I just bumped it. Maybe there is another already?

Meanwhile, if playback is your main concern here, then you don't need to use the Change Instrument command at all. Just add the instrument change text but then go directly to the Mixer to change the sound for the associate sub-channel. Then you can have the new sound but still have the original staff name.

In reply to by Sean Oliveras

High enough priority that I just submitted a fix :-). See One of the clinchers was remembering also the recent video by Tantacrul reviewing our UI, where he went on at some length about the awkwardness of instrument changes in general, and recommended we make Staff Properties do the job. So, that's what my PR does. You still add the Instrument text, and if you really want to right-click it and choose Change Instrument as before you still can. But with my change, you can in addition right-click that or any subsequent measure, Staff/Part Properties, and then use the staff name fields there to affect the staff names from that point forward. And also use the Change Instrument there if you prefer, so you can do both the instrument change and name change form the same place.

It's not merged yet, but hopefully it will be soon. The good news is, this is totally compatible. As I've explained, all the necessary support is there already if you're willing to spend the extra 30 seconds to edit the MSCX file by hand. My PR just makes it possible to do directly. Scores made using the new method will read exactly the same in 3.0.5 as in the new version.

Eventually we may make other improvements to how instrument changes work, but this was a pretty easy way to at least get the missing funtionality in, while also address a point from the video. which is always good too.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

In version 2, you could at least set up the instrument names for the entire score. For Clarinet it was common for me to use

Cl. I

Cl. II

(B. Cl.)

I could then change between A & Bb clarinets or Bass Clarinets and the names were meaningful. Now changing the name leads to either

Bb Cl. or A Cl.

without regard to which instrument I'm seeing and without regard to anything I've set up.

In reply to by mike320

I'm confused - you say the name changes without regard to which instrument you're seeing. That certainly should be the case. The name should be changing completely in accordance to the instrument actually in effect at that point - this is is the whole point, the whole reason we did this, to be in accordance with modern publishing standards that demand this. Are you saying that are seeing "A Cl." even when the staff is really it's really a Bb clarinet or vice versa? If so, that's a bug, please attach your score so we can investigate. But if you're just saying you'd rather it continue to just say "Cl. III", then yes, we get that request.

But again, yes, it is recognized that in 2. you were limited to having one set of staff names for the whole score, there was no way to achieve the standard behavior of staff names changing as instruments do. So if you happened to prefer than non-standard behavior, then it seems like a regression. But for the majority of users who prefer to follow the standards, the old behavior was not good, and the new is much better. Again, better still would be the ability to edit the staff names, then both groups could be happy.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

we did this, to be in accordance with modern publishing standards I call BS on that as I said before. The Standards you are talking about may be your preferences, but forcing an abbreviation that is meaningless has never been a standard. The instruments.xml does not have the proper instrument names for most scores I create and they vary so much from one score to the next depending on the language they were written in it's nearly impossible to set up a standard that would be acceptable in most situations.

Are you saying that are seeing "A Cl." even when...

No, I'm saying that I set up my instrument name to be Cl III, but when I change from Bass Clarinet to A clarinet it changes the name to A Cl. which in no way distinguishes it from Cl I or Cl. II, which are also often reset by MuseScore to A Cl. (or Bb Cl) after you change the instrument. This is common in symphonic music.

There is absolutely no "bug" it was an intentional decision that was bad when it was done and I commented to that effect when it was implemented.

In reply to by mike320

I am not talking about my own personal preferences. I am talking about what virtually every current recognized expert on engraving has written, what the majority of modern published scores I consulted demonstrate, and what the majority of users have explicitly requested over the years - instrument names are supposed to change when the instruments do. I am not saying this preference is universal, but I do hope you some investigation of your own to convince yourself this was not an arbitrary decision but really is in accord with established modern standards.

And again, I do agree that is most unfortunate you don't get a choice in how the names change. But overall, it's still better for the majority of users than when scores would continue to say "Bb Cl" after it had actually changed to A, or "Alto Sax" after it had changed to flute, etc. While you and a few others may have managed to make that work for you, it was definitely not in accord with the needs of the many.

So again, there was a change made that improved the situation for the majority of users, but indeed, for that minority who relied on the old behavior for whatever reason, it is a problem that we hope to fix. And we hope to fix it by creating a behavior that works for everyone. Can't we just agree that would be a good thing and leave it at that? The longer we spend arguing about why the changes were made, the longer we aren't coming to agreement on how to improve the situation further.

In reply to by mike320

It's not BS, it is exactly what my research shows me. Should you wish to provide counterexamples from alternative respected authorities, I am happy to check them out as well. Anyhow, it is entirely possible for this discussion to come to productive results, and I assume you would still like to see that. But in order for that to happen, it does require active participation in discussion the actual facts, without the personal attacks.

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