Instrument name changes

• May 20, 2019 - 19:08

How do I stop an instrument's name from automatically changing when I change instrument using the change instrument text?


You can't easily. The only so called workaround at the moment is to edit the .mscx file.

Actually, you could create a staff text with a white background and place it on top of the wrong name, but that's quite tedious.

While it's true that right now, changing instrument does literally change the instrument - sound, name, transposition, range, everything - if you really just want to change the sound, then don't use change instrument at all. I mean, add the text, but don't then use the change instrument command - just change the sound for that text using the corresponding subchannel in View / Mixer.

In reply to by mike320

In an orchestral context yes, and these are the situations where it is actually proper to have the staff name reflect this according to the standard authorities like Gould et al. And yes, I realize you have customized your original staff names in a way that makes this inadvisable, and I actually have a PR pending to allow customization of staff name changes, independent of the GSoC work that will no doubt improve on this).

But many people use instrument changes solely for the sound change, like to get different guitar or keyboard synthesizer effects, or to change from a voice sound to a body percussion sound, etc. And in my experience, the majority of people not wanting the staff name to change are in this category, hence the suggestion.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

A quick note on this... (as an aside to my particular issue)

In music theatre, musicians often double on more than one instrument in a book. The notation standard for this is to have the part retain its particular name, REED I, for example, and to have the instrument changes indicated as staff text where necessary. That is simply where the musicians expect to see that information, not at the beginning of the staff. Changing the staff name may be technically correct according to Gould, but it is not the convention in an orchestra pit.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Indeed there are often more one set of conventions applied across a single genre of music. At one time, you could tell a Samuel French score from an MTI just by the look. Nowadays the big houses are updating their popular shows to make them more accessible. (and to reduce calls to customer support... More than once I have had to call NYC for clarification of a part, or to request a replacement for an unreadable book.) I am soon to receive the newest version of the score to Jesus Christ Superstar, along with the orchestral books for an 11-piece ensemble. (In which most parts are doubled for at least two instruments) I am very interested to see how it compares to the nearly 50 year-old version I worked with previously.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I have recently come across this problem as well... a file imported from MS2 with a couple of instrument changes mid-part. This displayed properly (or, as I intended, rather) in MS2, but MS3 changes the instrument name.

A bit of context - this piece is a song for theatre, and for the convenience of the singer who will be following an MP3 for reference, I have used a guitar sound. (It's a little more rhythmically precise and easier for the singer to follow.) In a short spoken-word section, the sound switches to wood block. (again for clarity and convenience of the singer) The part originally had the character's name instead of the specific instrument, and this remained consistent throughout the piece in MS2. Now it begins with the character's name, but switches to woodblock and guitar on subsequent staves.

I could post the score, but as it's apparently a known issue, I'll just ask if there has been some progress in regards to a fix. Fortunately I still have the MS2 version, as I cannot use the MS3 version as I intended until I can fix the instrument name.

In reply to by toffle

See above - the new feature allowing customization of staff names after an instrument change is in 3.3.

Note for what you are describing, though, you shouldn't be changing instrument at all - just the sound. That is, add the instrument change text, but don't actually do a "change instrument" on it, since you aren't in fact changing the instrument. Just change the sound for the new channel in the Mixer. This would have been the correct approach in MuseScore 2 as well.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Ok, thanks Marc.
Indeed, I don't want to change instrument... just the sound. However, the sound I wish to change to is from a different family. I want to switch from a pitched instrument (guitar) to an un-pitched one (woodblock). The "instrument" name in the score, though, is that of the character singing, (Norm) I'm not actually concerned with the sound being anything like the human voice, but rather something that a singer can easily distinguish from the other instruments on the score.

So... I'm confused by what you are suggesting. I am accustomed to doing changes such as Pizz, Arco, Mute, etc. which are part of the sound pallette for a given instrument. (and available on the mixer channels for that instrument) How do I change to an entirely unrelated sound without changing the instrument?

[EDIT] According to the handbook, it is not even possible to change from a pitched instrument to a percussion instrument... but I have done so (successfully) many times in the past. Hm....

In reply to by toffle

Woodblock exists as a normal General MIDI sound, no need to switch to an unpitched instrument.

When you add an instrument change text, a new channel automatically appears for the instrument in the Mixer. Try it and see. In MuseScore 3, you need to expand th channel strip for the instrument to see the extra channels.

Switching between pitch and unpitched instruments is "sort of" possible, but results are pretty unpredictable.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks (again) Marc. I do see the extra channels in the mixer, but I don't know how to effect the changes at a given place in the score without doing an actual instrument change as before.
I'm attaching the score here. There are now so many channels for the lead line that I don't know what to do other than delete all the changes and begin again. I'm totally baffled.
(I suspect that the extra channels might have to do with the way the changes are applied when playback "unrolls" the repeats, but that is merely a guess.)

Attachment Size
Don't_Blame_Newton MS3.mscz 54.81 KB

In reply to by toffle

As I wrote above, you still need to add the text, just don't do the "change instrument" command on it. It works in both MuseScore 2 & 3, just try it.

The reason there are so many changes on the lead line is that you defined the instrument to be guitar, which has many different channels even before you add new ones via instrument change text.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I just could not process this simple procedure... I nearly gave up. In the end, I deleted all the previous Instrument Change texts, and re-built the changes one by one. It took some trial and error (see the paragraph below) but eventually I ended up getting the sounds in the right place.

I think it might help if the MS mixer gave an indication of which particular text command was assigned to the new channels, eg. if the text says "spoken" then the new channel could indicate that. Then it would be much easier to identify that channel when it comes to assigning a patch to it. Currently all my channels say "Norm-normal" (Oddly enough, Norm is anything but normal). Now that the patches are assigned, it's easy enough to identify, but until that step is done, it's a little hard to keep track of which channel indicates which change.

Thanks, again Marc. I had a real mental block with this one.

In reply to by toffle

I agree, it's hard to associate the new channels with the instrument changes. The technique is really meant for occasional changes. Also easiest if you are adding them one at a time as you are writing the score, not going back after the fact and doing a whole bunch of them at once. There is room for improvement, to be sure.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks. And to be fair, the patch of the currently active slider is visible under Patch: in the mixer.

Unfortunately you're left to guess what the other altered patches are until you activate their slider. As mentioned above, I have several sliders labeled "Norm-normal"; there's no way to visually confirm the patch until the slider is active.

Just a quick observation: (and not just in regards to my convoluted score)
If you make a patch change to an alternate sound, and then back to your original sound, the second original sound is assigned a new slider. I can imagine a choral score where the singers alternate between singing and clapping hands, where the a single vocal part could be then split among several sliders. Guessing which patch is active could be really challenging. Throw in a repeat or two, (which don't use new sliders) and you'd be lucky to find the right slider even with hand-written post-its on the screen.

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