Two sounds in one part!

• Jul 25, 2019 - 04:16

I have no idea if this feature is already in, but i would absolutely love to include a flute and piccolo part in one stave. And especially with low brass parts having both trombone and baritone sounds.


That's not easily possible. If you're willing to add a custom instruments.xml file and make that I can help guide you to doing this. It's not for the feint of heart.

In reply to by mike320

The more I think about it, if the instruments are going to play the same written notes, it's probably easiest to add an instrument and make its staff invisible, but call the other instrument flute& piccolo or Trombone and Baritone. If you want separate music lines on one staff, then adding a custom instrument.xml will be worth the effort.

You wrote:
...i would absolutely love to include a flute and piccolo part in one stave.

This can easily be notated in one staff.
...if you want the playback to sound as two different instruments, here's another way:

  1. Create a piccolo staff and use voices (if rhythms differ) to notate both instruments onto a single staff. If desired, edit the staff name from "Piccolo" to "Piccolo / Flute". So far, everything sounds like a piccolo.
    Now, for playback...
  2. Copy/paste the flute notes from #1 into a brand new 'flute only' staff. (If applicable, adjust octaves)
  3. Make the flute notes in #1 (still a piccolo sound) silent by selecting all notes in that voice and unticking 'Play' in the Inspector. This staff will now play as a single piccolo.
  4. Use Edit - > Instruments... to make #2 staff invisible. Though invisible in the score, It will still play - as a flute.

Have a listen:


In reply to by Jm6stringer

Or: take trumpet staff, use staff text to assign the mute channel to voice 2 and 4 (donwstem notes) and the normal channel to voice 1 and 3 (upstem). Then use the mixer to assign piccolo sound to the normal channel and flute sound the mute channel. Also adjust the amateur and professional range accordingly and the short and long instrument names and partname.

Try the attached

Attachment Size
Unbenannt.mscx 10.28 KB

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

That's why I needed a hidden staff in my original example -- for correct playback.
Strictly for notation purposes, neither 'trumpet channels', nor an invisible staff would be required at all.

So, if the OP wants correct playback, a hidden staff is necessary for the score to display and sound correctly.
Were the two instruments not octave transposed, your method would work for playback as well.


If it were possible to assign different MIDI channels to voices within a part, this could be easily done, but I don't believe MuseScore allows you to edit/assign MIDI attributes in this way. Given that I know only a little of MIDI functions, and even less of programming, all I can say is that there are complicating factors when it comes to available MIDI resources. I believe there was a discussion a few days ago that touched on the issue of real vs apparent MIDI ports in MuseScore.

I'm not sure I've ever seen a score that had two different instruments on one staff unless the player was switching back an forth.
I often have two scores for a piece I'm working on. One for playback and one for real players. There's not always much difference, but to me that seems more straight forward than trying all kinds of workarounds to make one score do two different things.

In reply to by bobjp

I've seen things like piccolo and flute or cello and bass on the same staff, but not baritone and trombone unless the intention was them to play in unison without variation.

Actually the most common combination I see is Bass Trombone and Tuba on the same staff. I always separate them because I don't think it's worth the effort to put them on the same staff and make it playback correctly.

In reply to by bobjp

Conductors often see such scores, particularly for theatre orchestras. It is not uncommon for a full score to be rendered on three or four staves. In fact, it is quite necessary to reduce theatre scores to a more manageable size. For example, the score for Jesus Christ Superstar, which I will be directing in the next year, is over 300 pages at that kind of reduction. Though I have often wished for the clarity that a full score would grant, this score would easily stretch 1200 pages at full size. I would not even want to carry that score to the theatre every night.

In reply to by toffle

Theatrical scores are a whole different animal. I think I'd prefer a score with unused staves removed than a condensed score. I'm working on a 21st century oratorio. I'm hiding empty staves and I can see it easily exceeding 400 pages. I'm a little less than a 4th through it.

In reply to by mike320

Still, my point is that they are common... and necessary. It's not ideal, by any stretch; after awhile you get the knack of reading the annotations that give clues as to where the sounds will appear, but even then, parts are often left to the imagination. In the end, as a conducting tool, it's probably better than hiding unused staves; it's the common short.-score for theatrical work, and a conductor would easily recognize the conventions.

I'm not suggesting that MuseScore should be able to play these with the correct voices. That would be a monumental task. I'm just saying that these scores do exist and are very much in use today. They're not some forgotten bit of musical history.

Seems to me that score reduction is not necessarily what the OP is talking about. The sound font has sections. You could write the brass parts on a few staves, and assign "Brass section" to them. It's similar to what you do if you compose from a piano. As long as we insist on having huge groups (because we can) figuring out manageable scores will be a problem.
Another method might be to write out the full score, export as audio if that is a goal, then use implode to create a score reduction. Still might have to add text to explain some things

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