Concert Pitch and Reading Pitch seem wrong way around

• Nov 12, 2019 - 01:54

When I open musescore the Concert Pitch button is not highlighted, or has no dark grey surround on it. So I assume open in reading/written pitch as per manual.
When I click on it, it changes to a dark grey surround, which I call highlighted on my screen colours I assume that change what I see to concert pitch.
I assume the reading/written page does not change with transposition of the staff/ instrument as set in staff properties......only the Concert pitch page should change.
If I write in key A major and set the instrument to transpose down 1 minor second, then my reading page (say note A) transposes up to Bb etc and key sign changes to key Bb. And my Concert Pitch (button clicked) page still stays as written key A major. Is there a setting somewhere to change this.??.....or am I considering it incorrectly


Are you using the dark theme? What version are you using?

If you add a key signature, does that key signature get added to all instruments or does it transpose automatically when needed? If it transposes, then you are not looking at concert pitch. This is the easiest way to understand the position of the concert pitch button. If needed add an alto sax to assure you have a transposing instrument.

The concert pitch button works correctly, it just takes some getting used to.

Attaching a score would help us understand and assist better. But my guess is you are misunderstanding the direction fo the transposition setting in staff properties. You don't use it to specify the interval that the music needs to be written in order to sound right, you specify the interval by which its sound differs from written. So, for example, with Bb trumpet, it sounds a whole step below written, so the transposition should be set to major second down. And you need to do this before entering enter notes - well, before trying to enter them at written pitch, anyhow.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yes I probably misunderstand the intended direction of transposition, but my brass band people tell me they read cornet score in C and it sounds Bb. If they play a C it sounds Bb, a full tone down (1 major second).
So If I start to write the music he reads in C major key and put in staff properties before I enter anything my written pitch page switched to D Major and the concert page stays at C major. So I have to either think in D major if writing on the written page or copy from his score sheet to the Concert pitch page in C major. Attached is examples. When I use Transpose up 1 major second, I get the C major as concert and Bb as written so still wrong way around...??

In reply to by muselt

Major second down is the correct transposition setting for a Bb Cornet. Changing staff transposition does not alter the sounding pitch of the score, so indeed you transposed view is compensated for that.

Note that you shouldn't have to be setting any of these settings yourself if you simply start out by creating a score for a Bb Cornet instrument; then MuseScore already sets the needed transposition for you.

If you need the transposed view to look like C major key; then apply the Bb (2 flats) key signatures to the score. Key signatures from a palette are always in concert pitch.

In reply to by muselt

As jeetee says, you should never need to touch these settings yourself - assuming you specified Bb cornet when you created the score, all should work perfectly out of the box. Just be sure to select concert key you want when creating the score. So, when creating a score intended to be read in C major, that's concert Bb. So you need to select Bb as your key signature. Then the music will display as C, but will go back to Bb when you enable concert pitch.

So to sumamrize: specify the instrument and concert key you want before starting your score. Then, if you intend to enter the notes as written (like, if you are copying an existing part that is already transposed), enter them with concert pitch off. If you intend to enter the notes as they sound, enter them with concert pitch on.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I have a standard music book for brass bands solo Bb cornet. attached is copy of 1st 4 bars of one of the tunes.
The problem I have that is confusing is I see the tune in the book written in Key F major. What should be my best streamlined approach to put this in Musescore. I generally fiddle about until I get it.
After todays help from the above posts this is what I seem to have to do...............
Create a new score.....I get option to pick Key sig at book is in Key F major so I pick that...Set time sig and number of bars next and finish....OK....That gives me a score in Key F both concert and written because piano is default inst............ I then right click on staff and set properties and change instrument to Bb Cornet....I note that is transposes major second apply and OK.......Now I have Written score in key G major (1 sharp) and concert score still in Key F major. To change it to as written in book ie.Written in Key F...I have to fiddle with Key sig until I get the correct key by chance if I don't know it....the only thing I know is from the book that it is Written Ket F........ So I remember that the instrument transposition is down major Second ..... so if I transpose the scores down by a major second using select all transpose by interval....major second down... That gives me Concert pitch in Key Eb major and Written pitch in Ket F major..... what I seem to want... from just wanting to copy and play a tune from the book in Musescore...........but it still takes a bit of fiddling.

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In reply to by muselt

If the music you are copying is written for cornet with a key signature of F major, that Eb concert. So simply select Eb as the key when creating the score, and you're done. No fiddling required, just cornet playing :-).

Again, when specifying a key, you always need to use the concert pitch key. That's because most music won't be written for just a single transposing instrument - normally you'd be entering music for a score, not just a single part, and that might involve instruments of different transpositions, all requiring different kleys. Specifying the key as concert pitch is the only meaningful way.

In reply to by jeetee

Thanks for replies, I am just talking about copying a tune out of a book that is written in Key F. That is all the notes I have. I dont't have the written and the concert versions, just what is in the book. If I have to manually transpose the book score to Eb and enter it into concert pitch what is the point of having transposing on Musescore for instruments. I could just simply copy it into the default score and transpose the score to whatever I wanted

In reply to by muselt

You don't have to do that. It really is exactly as simple as we said: when creating your score, specify Bb cornet as the instrument, Eb as the key. You will see your score will display with an F key signature, and you can enter your notes exactly as you see them. You don't need to transpose a thing, don't need to change any setting or press any buttons or do anything else special. It all just works, simply and perfectly, right out of the box.

In reply to by muselt

If I have to manually transpose the book score to Eb and enter it into concert pitch what is the point of having transposing on Musescore for instruments.

That is how transposition works. To get the key of F on a Bb instrument insert the concert pitch key of Eb. Every trumpet player understands what concert Eb means. Anyone who plays a transposing instrument does this automatically when the conductor says, "Play the Bb scale." Trumpets play C, Eb Saxes play G, Horns play F and so forth.

In reply to by muselt

So as I understand it, the tune in the book is in the concert pitch key of F, That is, it is written for a non-transposing instrument. You want to write it out so that it can be played at the orignal pitch on a Bb instrument.

This is what you need to do.

  • Create a score with a Bb instrument (Bb trumpet, say).

  • Make sure that the concert pitch button is pressed (you will be entering the notes at concert pitch).

  • Enter the key signature that you see in the book (one flat)

  • Enter the notes as you see them in the book.

  • Unpress the concert pitch button.

After unpressing the concert pitch button you should see the key signature change to 1 sharp and the notes should be transposed up a major second. When the Bb instrument plays what you now see, it will sound a major second lower than written - i.e what you originally entered in concert pitch.

In reply to by SteveBlower

When I started this topic, my original query was that it appeared to me that Concert pitch and Wtitten Pitch was working the wrong way around. When I start a new score the defaults are piano instrument. If I change instrument to Bb Cornet...... It says in the staff properties that it transposes down a major second. When I look at the score after the change instrument I see it has NOT transformed down a major second but the written pitch has transposed up a major second. So if I started with a score in C major for piano both Concert and written would be C major, but after change instrument, concert pitch would still be C major and written pitch would be D major. To me written or reading pitch is the pitch I would write on or read from. Concert pitch is what the conductor or audience hears. Some people describe it like music printed on both sides of the score sheet. The player reads the written side when playing and the conductor reads the other of the sheet facing him when he is conducting. So if I am copying a tune from a book that is written in I assume reading pitch say Key F, when I start with a Key F blank score sheet and change instrument to Bb cornet that will not transpose the concert pitch of the score but transpose the written pitch of the score up to Key G where I want to write in my tune from the book but my book is in Key F, so if I transpose my scores by transpose by interval major second down that will bring written score back down again to Key F so I can enter notes directly and the corresponding concert pitch will be Eb............

In reply to by muselt

There was a very long discussion on what to do with the concert pitch button. Thee was a suggestion to make it say "Written Pitch" when it's not pressed and I objected rather vehemently because this is ambiguous. What you are seeing is the transposed pitch. To use your analogy, when you write music in MuseScore you are the conductor. Key signatures are always in concert pitch, expecting anything else is a misunderstanding. If concert pitch is pressed and you enter the key of C on a trumpet, it will transpose to D when you unpress the concert pitch button. You need to abandon your preconceptions and accept the terminology and method used by the program. This is standard notation once you understand the state of the score when you press or don't press the concert pitch button.

In reply to by muselt

Again, the assumption is you will select the instrument & transpostion you want before you start entering notes. If you entered notes with piano as your instrument (because you failed to create a new score for cornet but instead used the default score), MuseScore assumes that the notes you entered already are at the right sounding pitch. So if you later change instruments / transposition, MuseScore transposes the written pitches so as to keep the sounding pitch the same. So it's only because you made the mistake of entering notes at with the wrong instrument that you got confused.

I promise, start over with a new score and do exactly as we say: select Bb Cornet as your instrument, Eb major as your key - and it works absolutely perfectly right away, no need to change instruments, no need to change transposition, no need to press concert pitch, no need to do anything but enter the notes exactly as you see them. Suddenly everything will be completely clear: with concert pitch off, the notes are displayed at written pitch, with concert pitch on, they are displayed at sounding pitch. Again, the only reason you are perceiving a problem is that you made a mistake at the beginning by entering notes with a wrong intrument, wrong transposition, and wrong key selected.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

As I have tried to explain above. I am using latest 3.3 version win10, the only way I can see to create a new score is with the now score wizard, and the options are to pick a staff, I have music for a solo Bb cornet so oly want one staff, next it option for Key sign, I picked the one in the musicbook key F then it asks time sig 4/4 and number of measure.....I don't see any option at this stage to pick Bb cornet... so I click finish and a default piano score is created....I do not add any notes. I then click the staff, go to staff properties and change instrument to Bb cornet, click apply and ok.....the Bb cornet score is there OK........ how else can I create a new Bb cornet score...???

In reply to by muselt

Yes, I realise that picking a Key Eb at start give me Key F after Bb cornet is picked. But that is OK if you know that it should be Eb. and that is no different that picking the Key F from my book because I can see it there and then transposing the score by the same amount that the transposing instrument transposed it and I can now enter the notes from the book as written unclicked concert pitch button

In reply to by muselt

The reason it does not work to pick F as the key is that this tells MuseScore you want F concert, meaning it will be G for a Bb Cornet. The only way it will work to pick F is if you don't care about playback (it will be a step too high) and if you promise to leave it at piano and not try to mess with the transposition or change the instrument. Because as soon as you do that, your original error is exposed, and you are right back where you are now.

So again, just let go of the idea that you should select F as you key when the key is actually Eb. It is exactly why you have been seeing problems for the past however long this has been rather than just happily creating music. Pick the right instrument and the right concert key right from the beginning and all is well. Pick the wrong instrument or the wrong key, and you end up paying for with confusion and wrong results later.

In reply to by muselt

The very first option in the wizard is "Choose Instruments". Click that and a dialog pops up allowing you to do exactly that. You will find Bb Cornet under Brass. Then, as we explained, choose Eb, not F, as the key. Click Finish and you get exactly what you want. I promise.

Even if you do end up starting with a piano score, pick Eb as the key - that is the correct key, after all (once again, you must pick the concert key). Then you can convert it to Bb cornet by right-clicking the staff, Staff Properties, Change Instrument.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

attached this is the first wizard screen I get, only option I see is Treble Clef that gives me single staff.
As I explained this is not the issue anyway, I me this all works.....What is wrong with the Bb tune I posted me it works.....I have the written score in Key F and Concert score Key Eb and Bb cornet transposing major second down and written score is Key F transposing down to Key Eb.
As in the title of this topic, my initial problem was it appeared to me that the transposing was wrong way around because on initial change of instrument the Key changed to Key G, so initially I thought it looked like the music was transposing up yet inst. said transposing down. From your earlier postings and having tried it out in more detail to try and get a logical sequence as to what was happening I now realise that the written score transposes up after inst. change, and when the written score is then transposed by the same interval it come back to the starting Key F as written and then concert pitch is Eb.
I am not trying to transpose and end up with a concert pitch that corresponds to some other instrument or ensemble. I simply have written scores for Bb cornet in a book and I want to put some in musescore at the pitch they are written in the book and the inst transposing will let me hear them. So I want written pitch to be the Key in the book and there are various and I will see what key they transpose to and sound like when I click concert pitch button on and off.
As stated earlier, there is no point in me knowing that written Key F is Concert Key Eb. I would like to think I dont know anything about music, so I wouldn't know what key it transposed to until my computer and musescore tells me. I want to use the information of the written score in the book to allow me to enter the tune and when I have the staff and inst. setup correctly I will see that it is Eb. If I needed to know that it is Eb before I start that is like saying 2 x 5 = 10 I dont need a calculator ever.....I will just learn everything then I will know everything. I do know some things, but a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
The written Keys and Concert Keys will change depending on the tune.
Now that I have it sorted,I think it works quite well

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In reply to by muselt

In your picture, look at the left side of the screen where where it says Treble Staff. Right above that is "Choose Instruments". Tons of other options right there too, including templates for a wide variety of different ensembles ( you can see Guitar + Tablature, Rock Band, Battery Percussion, etc.

As for needing to know when the concert pitch is - well, using MuseScore does assume a bare minimum of musical knowledge. It also is more optimized to entering the full score than for entering individual parts. Anyhow, you'll get best results if you do figure out that your piece is in Eb.

But if you enter F as your key, all is not lost. You can still enter the music - you just need to accept that playback will be wrong because you chose the wrong key, and the concert pitch button is going to remain confusing because it was designed to be used in conjunction with a basic knowledge of music. If you wish to persist in not using your knowledge of music, then I recommend pressing the Concert Pitch button so you'll see the key of F. Playback will be a step off, but someone with no musical knowledge would not realize that, so no great loss.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Adding a key to a multiinstruments score makes only sense in concert pitch as you have explained.
But can't we challenge the fact that in "single instrument" (I know that doesn't really exist) simple wizard mode you also always need to transpose the key yourself?
When you think about it, in the whole process of copying the simple printed score, if you follow carefully the correct steps, that's the one and only one step that is not "obvious" and requires "computation" (or if you really don't want to "compute" you can proceed by trials and errors, dragging keys from the palette to the score, check what the key "becomes" when dropped on the score until you find the correct one).

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Well, I don't believe it. How was I supposed to know " double click it"........yes that works.
That is as bad as telling me to create an "Eb " score........ When if I was someone whoe didn't know about music. I wanted a method that worked from the informaton contained in the written tune in the book...and not have to figure out what the key would be..... because me or someone else may not know it.....I want musescore to tell me. I haven't read all the last posts yet but I will....
In any case I think this is just the same process only in a different order

In reply to by muselt

Well, I don't believe it.

From the handbook:
"If you wish to create a score template from scratch, click on 'Choose Instruments' (under 'General'), then click Next; alternatively, just double-click 'Choose instruments'."
Double-click will automatically take you to the next page of the Wizard. Single-click requires a subsequent click the "Next >" button at the bottom.

In any case I think this is just the same process only in a different order.

Yes, but less frustrating if you know your piece is in Eb from the beginning.
This, of course, presupposes that you will be playing along with other non-transposing (or even different transposing) instruments.

If you just wanted to "copy a tune out of a book that is written in Key F", you could simply enter it in F, print it out, set it on your music stand, and practice away with no concerns about transposing.


In reply to by Jm6stringer

Yes, thanks for your help, I must start reading the manual in more detail.....

"But if you enter F as your key, all is not lost. You can still enter the music - you just need to accept that playback will be wrong because you chose the wrong key, and the concert pitch button is going to remain confusing" .................... No that is not what I do or have been doing...........I create a new staff, pick the Key F major because its the notes in the book, change instrument to Bb major second down but actually I see written score up major second, so transpose score down major second, written score now shows Key F major, I then enter notes to written score from book same as in book at Key F. When I click Concert pitch button I see concert pitch Key Eb major and can play it sounding in Eb and when click off concert pitch button I see it in written pitch as in book.
The only problem I had was the transposing up of the written score......I initially thought it worked the other way around......but now I see that concert pitch key stays same and written score goes up, the difference between them is still major second as in staff properties.

One other thing I noticed when browsing the instruments is you have Bagpipe......transposing a major second down..????......scottish bagpipe with Bb chanter transposes up a semitone ie a minir second up....... Playing an A on the Bagpipe Score results in a sound of Bb. ....... so Music in Dmajor goes up to Eb sounding...........and music in Amajor with flatten 7th G goes to Bb major

In reply to by muselt

What I am saying is if you do it correctly (selecting correct instrument & correct key signature), you don't need that extra step of transposing the score - it works perfectly right out of the box. If you do it incorrectly, you get the wrong results at first. But indeed, it is possible to correct the error later as you did by transposing the entire score. It's just that this requires knowing the same basic things about transposition that could have led you to do it right from the beginning.

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