Display description as tool tip in instrument list

• Aug 13, 2019 - 23:03
Reported version
Ergonomical (UX)
S5 - Suggestion

Quote from


Currently not used. The description is helpful for people editing the instruments.xml file in the future. It should describe the instruments and give information that can’t be found in the other parameters but could be helpful.

This would be useful to allow an instrument to be identified in the instrument list within the new score and edit instruments dialogue using terms other than those displayed as the instrument name in the score.

For example, I want to create a different version of the bass clarinet instrument that uses the F clef rather than G8vb for display at concert pitch, but with all the other attributes of the default Bass Clarinet definition. In particular I want the instrument name to be "Bass Clarinet". I also want to retain the default Bass Clarinet definition. I can create a new Bass Clarinet instrument definition in a secondary instruments.xml file but I can not differentiate this in the instrument list from the default definition. I can add a note in the description field of the instruments.xml file that says something like (Displays at concert pitch using bass clef). However, currently I can only see this by viewing the xml file.

My suggestion is that the select instrument dialogue should be modified so that the instrument description field from the instruments.xml file is shown alongside the instrument name. Most (all?) of the current description fields are identical to the instrument name. Perhaps the display of the description could be suppressed if it this identity is detected.

An alternative method of achieving the same ends would be to add a new optional "comment" element in the instrument definition that would, if present, be shown in the instrument list.


Since you are creating a custom instruments.xml that only you will use, you can name it something like Bass Clarinet (BC) or something meaningful to you. Allowing for a description that becomes the context information (info in the yellow box that appears when you hove the mouse over it) is not a bad idea at all.

In reply to by mike320

But if I name it Bass Clarinet (BC) that is what shows up as the instrument name in the score. I would like it to be plain old Bass Clarinet. The user of the score does not need to know what I have been up to when I am writing the part (in concert pitch, bass clef).

There are other workarounds, like using a different name as you suggest and then changing it in the stave properties. Or, I can just use the default bass clarinet definition and switch to concert pitch and change the clef.

The aim of my suggestion is to avoid having to use such cludges so that I can set up a template with the bass clarinet as I like it (treble clef when showing as transposed - for printing the finished article, and bass clef when showing as concert pitch - for when I am writing - I like to do that in concert pitch) and not have to tweak things when I create a new score.

You can make the description showing in the list of instruments say Spaghetti and the long name be Squash if you want, there is no correlation between the two except the logic you use so it makes sense.

What you put in the Name field is shown in the instruments dialog. The long and short names are in the staff/part properties. You would use the Name "Bass Clarinet (BC). the Long name Bass Clarinet and Short name, B. Cl. (or something similar that you like).

In reply to by mike320

But there is no "Name" field in the instruments.xml file, only "longName" and "shortName". I tried adding a "name" element to the instrument definition, but that didn't show up in the instrument list either. I also tried "Name" as I don't know if these things are case sensitive. The only way I have found to change what is shown in the instrument list is to change "longName" and then this is used as the instrument name in the stave properties.

I have attached my instrument definition file with just the bass clarinet in it. I hope you may see what I am doing wrong. The definition works but I just can't find a way to identify this version of the bass clarinet other than by putting it in its own genre. Ideally, I would like it in the main woodwind list with all the other items, but if I copy all the genres from the default entry I get two entries named "Bass clarinet" in each genre and can not distinguish mine from the default.

Attachment Size
instruments2-SR.xml 868 bytes

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Yes, that could work. I guess it would make it easier to allow for longer descriptions that would get messy as a second column in the instrument list. The downside would be that, at least for my application, the list would have duplicate entries that can only be distinguished by hovering.

I had the wrong name to display a different name in the list than the score. Here's the definition you want to use

<InstrumentGroup id="Custom" extended="1">
            <Instrument id="bass-clarinet">
                  <longName>Bass Clarinet</longName>
                  <shortName>B. Cl.</shortName>
                    <trackName>Bass Clarinet (BC)</trackName>
                    <description>Bass Clarinet</description>
                        <program value="71"/>

You may want to delete some or all of the genres if you only want to see it in all instruments, but I currently see Bass Clarinet (BC) in Common instruments when I use this as instruments.xml

Title Display description in instrument list Display description as tool tip in instrument list

Let's update the title for the request. BTW, I couldn't think of the phrase "Tool tip" when I described it.

One more wrinkle: trackName is used as the Part Name which is a shame as I would like that to be plain old Bass clarinet and so I still have to edit things in a score I create from a template using my super-improved custom Bass clarinet definition.

It would seem more sensible if Part Name used longName or if there was a separte partName element.

Another suggestion coming up I think.