Guitar and bass guitar don't get transposed when enabling "Concert Pitch".

• Nov 12, 2019 - 20:59
Reported version
S2 - Critical
by design

1) Create new document with a guitar or bass guitar staff (or choose one from a template or pull the treble or bass clef 8va bassa from the palette.)
2) Enter some notes.
3) Press the "Concert Pitch" button.

When enabling Concert Pitch, all the notes should get transposed down an octave for guitar and bass guitar staff, but this is not happening. Also, the number 8 below the clef for guitars and bass guitars should be visible and only hidden in concert pitch mode.

When you pull the guitar or bass guitar clef from the palette, the 8 below the clef doesn't get hidden when enabling the Concert Pitch button.

These issues are present in the templates that include these instruments as well.

Lastly, just for the record, this behavior is not new to version 3.3, it's been present in previous versions as well, but I guess it hasn't been reported.

Attachment Size
GuitarAndBassTransposeIssue.mscz 22.16 KB


Status active by design

Guitar is not a(n octave) transposing instrument, it is notated using the G Clef 8va bassa.
Bass Guitar is octave transposing though, notated with the standard bass clef, but sounding an octave lower

Hi, I've been a guitarist for 25 years and this is news to me. The guitar, just as the bass, is notated an octave up to concert pitch to avoid using the bass clef. All professional guitar sheet music is notated this way and they reiterate this in almost every guitar method I've read through the years.

This can be proved if you read any guitar sheet music and try to play it on the piano and compare it to the original recording, you'd hear the notes on the piano sounding an octave higher than the recording.

Can you please supply the source of this information.

Also what about the issues mentioned in my report that affect the bass guitar clef as well? Are they going to be ignored?

Guitar is an octave transposing instrument, but the notes never move when switching between concert and transposed pitch because it uses the 8vb treble clef for note entry in concert pitch. When you switch to transposed pitch, it either continues to show the 8vb treble clef or switches to the standard treble clef (if you select that instrument) with the notes properly adjusted.

To prove this, copy your guitar notes to a piano and watch the transposition.

Frequency Once Many

I see what you mean.

Here's what I'm trying to do; I usually compose and arrange music for various instruments on the piano. To facilitate the note entry (and avoid transposing) during the process, I switch to Concert Pitch. This way I can input the notes an all instruments the way I see them on the piano. Unfortunatly this doesn't work on guitar and bass, so I have to manualy transpose.

A work around is to entry the notes on a piano staff and then change instrument for it. This wouldn't be a problem if I had come up with my parts from start to finish before inputing the notes and never to be touched again.
The reality is that I'm making changes all along the process, to the point that this approach becomes a hassle and gets confusing.

I wonder what the reasoning behind the current behaviour is. Concert pitch is not only useful for note entry, but it also makes it easier analyzing the composition.

A side from that, there still are some inconsistencies between the guitar and bass guitar clefs. The guitar shows the 8vb clef regardless of the the mode. While the bass clef only shows it in concert pitch.

Any suggestions that can improve my workflow would be appreciated.

I believe the basis of the idea is that people expect the guitar music (both kinds) to be written on the lines they are written on without regard to the fact it is transposed. There is a Guitar (Treble clef) instrument that can be selected rather than the one that is used in the templates. You can right click the instrument's clef, choose staff/part properties and change to this instrument if you like. The only change will be the absence of the 8 below the clef.

If you prefer or need to see the actual pitch on the staff when you enter notes, you can change to either the standard treble clef or bass clef or even alternate between the two as needed in concert pitch. When you deselect concert pitch (that is choose transposed pitch) the clefs will be the same as for the instrument you selected, that is the concert pitch clef will not affect transposed pitch clefs. This is true as long as you have not used File->Parts to generate parts. The rules change a bit once you've done that.

On the rare occasions I've written for the guitar, I've used the default and been aware that all notes are actually an octave lower than written, but I'm used to notes moving around on the staff from violas and cellos that use the alto and tenor clefs. This skill did not appear over night. When I first started writing for the viola I actually used the 8vb treble clef so I'd know a C was a C and not a B. With practice reading viola music I got to the point where I now write its music on the alto clef.