What is the naming convention of transposed instruments?

• Sep 15, 2019 - 16:16
Related PR Related Issue
PR #5320 #294495: Transposed piccolo/clarinet/trumpet has "<key> <instrument>", not "<instrument> in <key>"

This came to me when I proposed a change in #294495. Mr. Sabatella pointed out (in here) that "xx instrument" and "instrument in xx" (where xx is the key) are both widely used. I went to check the templates in MuseScore and found out indeed: in most of the cases, in band templates they're named as "xx instrument", while in orchestral templates "instrument in xx".

So if you have any knowledge of this, could you please tell me: is this really traditional that in bands they're "xx instrument" and in orchestras they're "instrument in xx"? Which of them is used more often in all conditions?


Curious. In Gardner Read's book he has two examples on successive pages, both 20thC American composers, and the Symphony by Walter Piston has "Trumpets in C" and so on, while Gardner Read's own "2 moods for band" has "Bb Bass Cl" etc.

I can't speak to anything but anecdotal evidence to support this thought, but it does indeed seem to me that orchestral music is more likely to in "Trumpets in Bb" while (wind) band music is more likely to use "Bb Trumpets". Gould does not seem to weigh in with an opinion, but I note that her examples are consistent with this.

So unless others can point to authoritative sources to the contrary, I think leaving the templates with band templates "Bb Trumpet" and orchestral templates "Trumpets in Bb" makes sense. But that still leaves open the question of what to do for scores created from scratch (i.e., with "Choose Instruments") or when adding instruments after score creation (both of which rely on instruments.xml). Might be interesting to scour musescore.com to see which genre is more popular. Last time we did an actual survey was before MDL, so I'm not sure the data we have is still relevant.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I think (or rather, I suspect) that most users just leave them as they are because unless you're doing the score for formal publishing or you care very much about the uniformity (just like me) there's no need of changing them. Which doesn't mean this issue is not important, but does mean that if you do the survey just from uploaded scores, it's of not very much use...

And I did exactly what you said about the templates, check out the PR if you haven't ;-)

In reply to by Howard-C

The survey wouldn't be about the naming but about the type of score created. If users are creating more orchestral scores than wind band scores, or indicate a strong interest in orchestral music than wind band music, then it may make sense to change the default. If the reverse is true, it does not.

That is all assuming we believe that it really does break down as orchestral scores being more likely to use "Trumpets in Bb", wind band scores "Bb Trumpets". So far it's more anecdotal evidence only.

Your original PR did not update templates at all, that's why I brought it up.

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