Transpose playback but not appearance of existing score

• Sep 18, 2019 - 17:44

Hello. Here's my situation. I've been given a score and I want to play along on my guitar, which happens at the moment to be tuned a half step higher than concert. While I read the score as written I want it to play back a semitone higher. (And let's say I'd rather not retune the instrument.)
I go to staff properties, and I try adjusting the transposition manually at the bottom of the dialogue, but this changes the appearance of the score: yes, it makes the playback sound higher than written, but it defaults to changing the written score and keeping the pitch, rather than changing the pitch and keeping the written score.
The current functionality is useful if I'm entering a new score for my instrument, but what if I just want to hear the current score at a different pitch without changing its appearance?
Thank you.


Nothing wrong that the concert pitches are kept.
Use the following method: adjust the transposition like you said, if you're originally on C major and the first note is D, you now see a B major key signature and a D-flat note, right? Then make the key signature C major again by dragging a D-flat major key signature to the staff (5 sharps + 5 flats = natural), and lift the note using the Up button on the keyboard by one semitone. You now get the exact same score, but with the requested playback ;-)

In reply to by Howard-C

So I need to transpose both pitch and visual first, and then I can change the visual while keeping the (new) pitch unchanged? It has to be a two-step process? I was hoping for a simple "change playback pitch without changing visual" function.

In reply to by Robert41

You can change the master tuning of the synth in View / Synthesizer, that's probably the best fit for your unusual situation. The transposition feature is intended for a totally different purpose: changing the written music for the sake of instruments like clarinets and trumpets that require it. Still, it's not that hard to handle your special case also. MuseScore assumes the score you are given is already sounding correct, so simply use Notes / Transpose to make it sound correct. Then the instrument/staff transposition does what you need it to. Takes only a few seconds.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

View/Synthesizer might work, but is there a way to retune by steps rather than frequency? That would be useful.
And if I have a number of scores open, would it affect them all or can each have its own tuning?

I'm not sure my situation is all that unusual, at least for guitarists, especially if we consider the use of a capo. If I have a score written in C, and to suit my voice I decide to take it up to E, I put a capo on the 4th fret and can keep reading the same score and using the same fingering. To play along with the score, I would like to put a notional "capo" on the playback as well, so while my fingerings and the score look like they're still in C, both my guitar and the playback are producing sounds in E. Guitarists do this all the time.
(And it's not at all unusual for guitarists to tune down a half step. Yes, I can put on a capo to play along with a score, but there should be an option to do it the other way around: have the playback sound like me.)
This is something my old notation software did quite easily: staff properties > midi > transpose (in steps). This changed playback without affecting the visual score.
I suppose retuning the synth is closest to this, though it would be more user friendly it gave the options to retune in steps. (Maybe others know intuitively what to change 440 to in order to bring a score up from C to E, but I don't.)

In reply to by Robert41

Capos aren't unusual, no. But what you are describing is not the usual capo use case. The norm isn't for someone to have a solo classical guitar piece then wonder what it would sound like played capo 4. Capos are more commonly used in conjunction with playing in an ensemble - either with a singer or other instrumentalists - so you do need the music to be in the right key. You mention your voice - well, you do normally want the vice part to actually display transposed. Also any piano part etc. So this is the usual use case - you transpose the whole score so the voice and other instruments are where they need to be, then you set the capo and/or transposition for the guitar part. And in fact, you can try different settings, so if it turns out to work better to play in D at capo 2 than in C at capo 4, this is easy to do also.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc, I have exactly the same need, playing scores with accordions with different tune (much like a capo) and need to adjust the sound MuseScore plays without touching the written notes.
When I asked how to, you had also explained that my need was "unusual" and since that I have been using the two steps process.
First change in staff properties the way score is played, and unfortunately the written notes are changed in that step. Then transpose to reset the written score as it was.
I really think that in the first change, when you ask MuseScore to play MuseScore some steps higher/lower we should at least have the possibility to keep the written notes as they are.
Or, probably better and more coherent, leave staff properties as they are, and add a step modifier in the play panel itself. Exactly as we can locally and for the play only already change the tempo in the play panel. Without affecting the score itself at all. Just for this specific play, play with:
-a higher/lower tempo - already possible
-a higher/lower volume - already possible
-a higher/lower pitch - the missing option!

In reply to by frfancha

"Unusual" doesn't mean "non-existent". Compared to the normal use case - which comes up for each and every score ever written that involves transposing instruments like clarinets or trumpets (also saxophones, horns, and others), it is much less common. That's all I'm saying

But just because a use case is less common doesn't mean it isn't worth supporiting. We have a process that works right now, takes about 15 seconds, done once per score. If someone feels the incentive to spend the time necessary to implement a new facility to shave a few seconds off off that, they are welcome to - MuseScore is open source software.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

<< done once per score >>
No Marc, that's what you don't get, it is not at all done once by score, it is done every time you change the tune of the instrument with which you play the score, often in my case.
And it "destroys" the score contrary to a change of tempo in play panel which doesn't "destroy" the original tempo.
So either that's the only change you did and can close the score without saving, either while playing you get some fine tuning (pun intended) to do to the score and you adjust fingerings or text, ... and you must revert your "step change" before saving the score.

In reply to by frfancha

OK, fine, so once per tuning change on a score. Might be often for you, but looked at across all users, all scores - it's a tiny percentage of the overall uses of the transposition feature.

So again, if someone who finds saving those few seconds to be important feels like implementing a new feature for this, I'm sure that subset of users who do this often as you do will appreciate it.

In reply to by frfancha

Actually, they are applied on each and every playback as well. But that distinction is irrelevant. My point is, the current meaning of these settings works perfectly for the intended use case, thousands of users rely on this behavior thousands of times a day. The exact details of which exact thousands of times a day they rely on it isn't really important.

Again, if someone who has a great idea for a new feature that will benefit them and perhaps a subset of other users wants to contribute their programming talents to making it happen, they are welcome to.

In reply to by frfancha

Yes! This ability to make changes to all playback parameters in one place makes a lot of sense to me.

-a higher/lower tempo - already possible
-a higher/lower volume - already possible
-a higher/lower pitch - the missing option!

(I'm quoting frfancha -- how does one quote in this forum?)

In reply to by underquark

But what about six five semitones higher? Or three semitones lower? An option to change in steps would be helpful.

And I see there's also an option to use Inspector > Notes > Tuning, but here you can only change in cents, and the upper limit is 200 cents, so for anything beyond a whole tone, you're stuck.

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