Name of entry at instrument change uses default

• Jul 20, 2019 - 17:06
Reported version
S3 - Major
by design
  1. Open attached score (produced in 2.3.2).

Expected result: The short name of Keyboard 1, featuring an instrument change (primarily the sound) in bar 2, is 'Kbd. 1'.
Name of entry at instrument change uses default - 232.png

Actual result: The short name of Keyboard 1 is 'Synth.'.
Name of entry at instrument change uses default - 323.png


'Synth.' is the name of the entry upon creation. However, I changed it.
It works fine in 2.3.2.

Using MsueScore 3.2.3 - Mac 10.11.6.


Status active by design

This is on purpose. The standard is to change the staff name if the instrument changes. If all you want is to change sound, don't actually change the instrument - just use the mixer. Your score is relying on a bug (name not changing when instrument does) that is fixed.

In the case where you do decide to actually change isntruments (mostly for purposes of getting transposition etc), it's an open feature request to be able to customize what the name changes to.

Status by design active

This is not an acceptable standard result in changing the name of an instrument. It's bogus. I don't want my second Clarinet to say A clarinet with no distinction from the 1st or 3rd clarinets. No one wants that.

True, it's better if the number 3 remains - but still, it is absolutely imperative than that the Bb change to A in the staff name. Or if changing from clarinet to flute, it is required that the staff name change as well. The vast majority scores in all genres published in the past century do this, and all the recognized engraving experts explicitly say you must do this. You won't find a single quote from a single recognized expert saying otherwise, I promise you (and I have spent some time looking). Prior to 3.0, there was no way for the name to change in any way whatsoever, so imply no way to notate a score correctly except with hacks involving hide empty staves.

Now, again, I get that in some subset of these cases, it would be good to be able to customize what the new name is - so, for instance, you can make sure it says "Cl. III in A" or whatever. I absolutely understand and agree with that, and that is why I submitted a PR ( to implement this. But I guess they are instead waiting to see what the GSoC project on this subject comes up with. Personally I still wish my PR had just been merged meanwhile.

The outstanding feature request / suggestion to add the ability to customize the names is #88861: Option for editing abbreviated staff names in instrument changes.

chen lung, again, for your use case, simply use the Mixer instead of changing instrument. You dont need to wait for any new features, it works perfectly already.

Status active by design

So again, please leave this as by design. It's a feature that it is now possible for the name to change. It's an open feature request to be able to customize what it changes to.

_ it is absolutely imperative than that the Bb change to A in the staff name_

Not true. It's more important that the name be meaningful. Many scores I've seen keep every label as Cl I, Cl 1&2 and so forth. The pitch is only identified at the instrument change (in A, muta en B, pickup Bb clarinet [used when switching from Bass Clarinet] and so forth), which a classical clarinetist knows happens in many pieces.

The users are stuck with this is the WRONG answer.

Marc, I've had a look in Mixer of 3.2.3, and I cannot find a function that will allow me to change patches throughout my synthesiser entry.

Thank you for that link, though I think such a feature should have been implemented before the release of the series.

@mike320 - I get that you personally have decided on a scheme that doesn't require changing names, and some subset of the scores you personally are familiar with use this scheme. But please consult any of the standard references, or check out a wider variety of scores from a wider variety of genres published in the past century. It really is true that the universal recommendation from engraving experts, and the standard in the industry for at least the last century, is to show the name changes. With MuseScore 2, people who wanted the name change were stuck. Now, it's true, the people who don't are stuck. I get that. But as soon as my PR is merged, or an alternate implementation provided, the facility will be there to give both groups what they want. This would simply not have been possible until we started supporting the possibility of changing names.

@chen lung - just open the channel strip for the instrument with the arrow at the top of the strip, then change the patch for the particular subchannel corresponding to your instrument change using the dropdown in the top half of the Mixer. As for implementing new features, we release regular updates, so it was considered more important to at least get the basic framework in place fix the bug that didn't allow name changes and thus resolve the many complains we used to get about that. But I agree, the sooner the new feature is added to customize the name changes, the better.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

But you said not to change the instrument?

Anyway, to provide more general context (for those who don't know why I want to change the patch): I have transcribed scores in which a 'Keyboard 1' will begin as one thing, then change to another. See the attached example from 'The Invisible Man'.

I'll continue to use instrument change and wait for the PR to be merged (not sure if it'll be in series 3 or 4).


Attachment Size
The Invisible Man.jpg 326.27 KB

To clarify: go ahead and add the "Instrument Change" text element - this gives you the new channel. Just don't use the Change Instrument command on that text element, because that is what actually changes the instrument. You don't want a new instrument - that's entirely the wrong approach. The musician is not physically putting down one instrument and picking up another, so you should not be telling MuseScore to change instruments, either. The only thing that is changing is the sound produced by that instrument, and changing sound is the job of the Mixer. So again, add the instrument change text to get a new channel if you need it, then use the Mixer to change the sound. This was the correct approach in MuseScore 2, it remains the correct approach in MuseScore 3.

But note you don't need to add an instrument change to get a new channel if you use one of the instruments that has multiple channels defined already, like the "Effects Synthesizer". Then you can simply add a staff text and use it to change channels. That's really the better approach in general, as it allows you to reuse channels also (like switching back and forth between muted and open trumpet, or pizz and arco strings). So if you have an older score that has an instrument with only a single channel, best way forward is to go to Staff Properties and change the entire instrument to Effect Synthesizer or whatever. Same for electric guitar - older versions of MuseScore provided them with only a single channel, but now it comes with several already predefined for you, making it very simple to change between clean, harmonics, overdrive, muted, etc. All without ever changing instruments mid-score, which, again, is meant only for places where a musician would physically put one instrument down and pick up another.

I do that already - once I've attached the Instrument Change text (at any point where a patch change occurs), I only change its visual appearance and the settings of the sub-entry in the Mixer (I don't right-click the text on the score and select another instrument).

However, your suggestion of using 'Effects Synthesiser' and reusing channels is an interesting one; I might try doing that in future (hopefully it won't be a misuse or result in issues of compatibility - in terms of export or whatever). There is also this: #42301: Instrument Changes: add ability to change back to a previous instrument

If you're not doing the "change instrument", then there is no problem - the name doesn't change. So #88861: Option for editing abbreviated staff names in instrument changes is not relevant for you. You sample score did use the change instrument command. So, simply delete it and re-add the text but this time don't make that mistake.

Not following you regarding concerns about export, changing sounds in the Mixer is for playback and should export to all audio formats correctly. Not sure how relevant playback sound is the MusicXML, but if it works for trumpet mute/open or violin arco/pizz, it will work for synth channel changes too.

Regarding the reason why staff name changes really are considered important - I really want to make this as clear as possible. So It is good to keep in mind the purpose of guidelines like this. They are usually not for the benefit of the engraver but for the person who will read the score. That means, people like conductors, music directors, and academics - all contexts I am quite familiar with in my professional work.

In all of these cases, it is extremely valuable to be able to tell from the margins of a score to see what instruments are actually playing at that point, without the need to scan backwards to see if there are any instrument changes. That's just impractical. If a piece requires doubling between, say, oboe and English horn, or Bb soprano and bass clarinets, music directors want to be able to quickly scan through and see how much English horn is required, so we can see if the piece is viable for our ensemble. Conductors want to know the actual instruments playing at some given point when they are trying to find a good place to jump back to in rehearsing a given passage. People studying the voicings in a score in a particular passage to learn orchestration techniques want to be able to look at a page and know what the instruments are, both to know the transposition ()you can't always rely on Key for that) but also to understand where the notes fit in the range of the instrument and how they affect the overall sonority. And so on.

I can tell you I've worked with literally hundreds of scores in these contexts, and it is quite an unpleasant but thankfully rare experience to find an edition that does not follow this standard. It's unpleasant because then you are forced to laboriously work your way backwards staff by staff to figure out who is playing. It's rare because people who produce scores professionally understand the reason for things like this and value of getting it right.

So once again, I hope people can understand the reasons why we must support name changes when instruments change - it really is the standard, and that standard serves an important purpose. But I certainly understand the importance of also allowing customization of what that name is, which is why I submitted the PR. Meanwhile, now that the underlying architecture supports name changes, it's actually now possible to customize the name by editing the MSCX file (this would not have been possible in MuseScore 2).

The same name for every staff is not a standard any where.

I accept it's by design since your the one who wrote the code, but the design is flawed and needs fixed.

Indeed, which is why I once again agree we also need to provide the means to customize these names. But after careful consideration of what I wrote above, can you at least acknowledge why it truly is considered important in the industry that the name of a staff change when the instrument does? This really is the standard, and this standard exists for good reasons that as an academic as well as a professional music director and conductor I rely on regularly. I wouldn't just make this up, I see and live it every week or my life.

Because it is important to me to help people understand, I've gone through the Norton Anthology of Western Music - which includes scores from a variety of different eras and publishers - and tallied up all the examples I could find of ensemble scores with staff names (some don't include them at all, typical for smaller ensembles that are not "condensed").`

Weber, Der Freischutz:
"Horns I, II in D" listed on first staff of score, then abbreviated "Hr. I, II in D", then a change "in Es" at measure 39, afyer which the staff name changes to "Hr. I, II in Es". Later horns III & IV change from C to E, staff name changes same time. Same for trumpet changing from C to D at 398. And so on.

Verdi, La Traviata:
"Clar. in Do" is the abbreviated staff name at the start, but at 75 there is a change to Sib, and this is reflected in the staff name. Same when the horn change from Mi to Sol & Do at 212.

Mussorgsky, Boris Godunov
Keys of transposing instruments listed on each staff, but no changes required that I could find.

Brahms, Symphony 4, 4th movement
Starts with clarinets in A, horns in E & C, trumpets in E, no changes I could find.

Strauss, Don Quixote, theme & variations 1-2
Starts with horns in F, trumpets in D, clarinets & bass cl. in B (aka Bb, since it's German), no changes

Mahler, Kindertotenlieder 1
Clarinets & bass clarinets in B, horns in F listed at start of score, but subsequent staves don't list the tranpositions at all. There are no changes, which is too bad, as this would have been an interesting case had there been.

Schoenberg, Pierrot lunaire
Bass clarinet in B listed at beginning, staff name after that given as "B-Kl. (B)". At measure 25 changes to A clarient , after which the staff name change to "Kl. (A)".

Berg, Wozzeck Act III, Scene 3
Starts with "Kl. on B", "Hr. in F o. D". These never change, but there are are also two flute at the start that change to piccolo, and the staff name change from "1.2. Fl" to "1.2. Piccolo" after 13, where the marking "nehmen 1.u.2. Picc." appears.

Webern, Symphon, First movement
Keys not notated after beginning, no changes noted.

Stravinsky, Rite of Spring (excerpts)
Keys listed for "Cl. picc. in Re", "Cl. in Sib". "Cor. in Fa", "Tr. in Do", and "Tr. picc. in Re". Before 18, the Cl. picc. has "muta in Mib", and after that, the staff name changes to "Cl. picc. in Mib".

Those are all the examples I found from more than 100 years ago - ten of them in all. Of those ten, two chose to omit keys from staff names but contained no changes I could find, so no way to say how they would have handled them. Three notated keys but had no changes, so again, no way to say how they would have handled them. The remaining five at notated keys and all were consistent about changing staff names accordingly. They also included changes for names of the instruments themselves (eg, flute to piccolo, bass clarinet to clarinet).

I can also assure you that in the 100 or so scores in the library of the big band I direct professionally (all, obviously, published in the last 100 years), the vast majority include staff name changes. Most are things like a saxophone switching to clarinet or flute.

I won't claim that there are no examples of editions choosing not to change staff names after an instrument change - no doubt, they exist. But after an hour spent going over every relevant example in Norton, there was nothing but unanimous adherence to this standard.