Questions regarding combining multiple files into one

• Feb 19, 2020 - 14:37

Morning guys,

I'll try and explain this as concisely as possible (for the record, for time being I'm stuck using 2.3.2).

I transcribed the conductor's score for an entire ~56m piece of orchestral music, with each movement of the piece as it's own musescore file. I would now like to consolidate each file/movement into a single file/piece of music, not only for the conductors score, but also a single file for each respective instrument part (which I'll of course be parting out from the conductor's score files). I guess the main idea behind this is so that when printing, space is not wasted in between each movement (presently separated into files). In other words, so that when printed, it transitions between movements like a normal professionally published score (see attached screenshot #1).

I decided to start by trying to consolidate the instrument parts first (i.e. before seeking to consolidate the conductor's score).

I started with flute 1 & 2 (flute 1 & 2 sharing a single staff, separated into their respective voices), which I extracted from each file/movement of the conductor's score and combined into a new file by copy/pasting. Obviously I will have to repeat this same process for each instrument part. Overall this seemed fairly effective, although, I did end up having to re-enter all the time/key signatures barlines etc. for the entire piece as I went along in order for the copied content to paste correctly, as these items wouldn't copy/paste over with the notes, etc.

So this brings me to my questions:

1) is there an easier/more practical way to do this?

2) this method obviously works for single part's, but it seems like it wouldn't work when it comes time to consolidate the conductor's score into a single file, on account of it having, instead of a single staff, multi-instrument staff systems, and that vary from movement to movement (or as it stands presently, file to file)?

3) is there a way to make it so that "end barline's" are always end up aligned on the far right of the page, and that afterwards it starts with a new system of measures (refer to attached screenshot #2)?

4) if this is possible, is there a way to indent the first measure of the new system (again refer to screenie 2)?

5) and again, if it is possible to create new "system of measures" in a file, is it possible to to reset the measure numbers with it so the measure counts reset with each "system of measures"?

Basically, in summary, what I'm going for is when printed, a simple, efficient, and organic look between movements (which are presently separated each into their own files), similar to that reflected in the screenshots, with separate measure counts for each movement, and ultimately a single file for the conductors score, and a single file for each instrument part.

Attachment Size
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The much easier way would be to simply do this once for the whole score, and then use the parts feature to generate the parts. Also, since you are using an older version, you can try using the "Albums" feature. It's pretty limited and buggy (which is why the feature was removed), but if oyour movements match exactly in terms of instrumentation, and don't do anything too fancy in terms of layout, manual adjustments, etc, it can work.

As for the more specific questions, using a section break between movements should answer pretty much all of it. You'd just need to manually add frames to indent the movements.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hey Marc, thanks for taking the time to read and respond.

I'm presently, in accordance to your suggestion, switching course, and seeking to combine the conductor's score first. I was playing with the section breaks and was able to start new systems, figure out how to change the measure count numbering, etc. However it appears you cannot change the instruments displayed for each new system? I also noticed that it seems you cannot change the instrument names from one system to the next, i.e. in otherwords to reflect the various keys of a given instrument throughout the piece (like for example, "Eb Horn" for the staff in one system, but then "C horn" for the next). So does that mean in order to be able to, copy/paste from the various files, I have to add the staves for all the instruments (including, as they appear in their various pitches) used in the entire piece to each file (including the new one to become the whole), so that when selecting all staves they paste into the correct corresponding ones? And then hide invisble staffs so there's,not a bunch of empty instrument staffs in each system/movement? Is that the only way to do it this way?

The only thing I'm worried about at this point, I know with my biggest piece of the conductor's score (275 meassures) muse starts getting fairly laggy for me, and the whole piece is 1157 measures.

Also, I did try the albums feature. The join scores feature caused the program to auto-crash in every instance. I was able to mend 2 of my 13 files using the print score, which took 3-4 mins to render, but it didn't reflect the layout settings of its respective constituents, half of the score on every page was not visible both vertically and horizontally.

As always, really appreciate your help sir.

In reply to by DesignLov3

To be clear, not just combine the score first, I mean only combine the score. Once you've combined the score, you're done - the parts will have already been combined, because they are linked. Or better yet, don't even bother generating the parts until you've joined the score.

Not sure what you mean about changins instruments from one system to the next. If you mean you actually want to change the instrument - like a horn player physically putting down their Eb horn and picking up a C horn instead instead - that's what the instrument change element on the Text palette is for. It changes sound where applicable, also transposition, and it changes the staff name too. Hmm, well, at least it does in MuseScore 3, I think maybe not in older versions. Or maybe you mean, you want only the instruments that are currently playing to display? See Style / General / Hide empty staves. So you can have separte syaves for Eb and C horns if you prefer, and just [put notes on the one you want and let the other be hidden. With MuseScore 3 you also can set just those staves to hide when empty without turning it on for all instruments.

Lagginess is also mostly a thing of the past with MuseScore 3, which only lays out the portion of your score that needs it. But MuseScore 2 definitely struggles. Maybe you can install Windows or Linux in a separate partition? Or consider upgrading the Mac itself? You're going to fight pretty hard with that older system, at some point it's going to be worth it to update.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yea true story.. I can't really update my mac partition or I'll loose a bunch of apps, so after this spring/summer when work picks up for me, I plan on either upgrading my windows partition or getting a a new machine, specifically for overcoming these "legacy machine" type of predicaments. And to think when I first started this project it was in muse 1.3 lol...

Regarding the score, I'm assuming when describing the combining of the conductor's score, you have in mind that I should be able to select all the staves at once (i.e. of all the various instruments, with their respective notes, etc.) in a given file, for the copy/pasting into the single file.

In order for this to work, I'm assuming the files from which I'll be copying the notes from, and likewise the file into which I'll be pasting those notes into, must all have the same number and order of staves, in order that the notes paste into their proper respective staves (and consequently therefore would have to consist of all the various instrument staves which will be used throughout the entire piece,since it it seems you cannot add/remove instruments system by system).

It's along these same lines, my question regarding the pitched instruments. For instance in one movement/file the staff is for a Horn in Eb. But in another file the staff is for a Horn in C (i.e. two physically different instruments). So when copying from these files to paste into a single conductor's score, will they need to both have their own staff? Or will they paste into the same horn staff, and somehow I can change the instrument name (i.e. that will appear at the beginning of each new system) and it's respective transposition, system by system (i.e. movement by movement, as each movement only utilizes one horn, in it's respective key, therefore unlike what the "instrument change" from the text pallete seems to do (mid-staff), I want the changes introduced as if it were a new instrument when the rest are displayed at the beginning of the of each new system/movement)? Because when I tried changing the instrument name most recently (before even trying to deal with the transposition factor; i.e. and in order to be able to not have multiple horn staffs running through every system/movement (which I do realize you can hide), it changed the instrument name both in the new system as well as the previous ones.

I guess the refined question would be I can change the transposition through the "change instrument tool", but how do I change the name so that it also reflects this at the beggining of it's respective system/movement (i.e. when the other instruments for that movement/system are introduced) without it also changing the instrument name for that staff in the previous system/movement?

For the present anways, am creating separate staves for each time the transposing instruments appear in a different key throughout the piece.

In reply to by DesignLov3

Yes, I definitely mean to select and copy all staves at once, and yes they must have the same basic organization. So if there are instruments that are used in one movement only, you still need to add them to the others.

For the two horns, it's totally up to you whether you notate them as two separate instruments of one that changes. As I said, in MuseScore 2 you won't be able to have the staff name change, so that's an argument in favor of adding both as separate instruments. Then use the one that's appropriate at the time and leave the other empty.

Change instrument does allow for transposition changes, at least as of around 2.1, so if you don't mind just listing the instrument name generically, that's an option.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Basically because I'm kind of a budget until my spring work picks up, and I'm really only doing this as a short term "fix" in order to be able to run Muse 3 for my Beethoven project.. and it looks like you can find legit copies of windows on ebay for about $15, so just seems the quickest, most practical and cost efficient solution, especially since my goal is to also have this project completed before I get bogged down with spring work!

In reply to by DesignLov3

Hard to say for sure without trying it, but do be aware that the nature of the improvements in layout do mean scores can look different in MuseScore 3. Generally, much better by default, but if you've spent a lot of time tweaking the appearance of your score to work around the limitations in 2, that work might need revisiting. And there enough small changes to the UI and how certain things work that you should expect to spend a little time just adjusting. Not sure I'd recommend investing the effort if you're trying to get something finished in a hurry, unless the limitations in MuseScore 2 are really getting in the way.

FWIW, if I were you I'd not waste time with Windows 7; if you set up a partition to run more modern software, just install Linux. Even if you're not experienced with it, really it's no more different from Windows or macOS than they are from each other. I mean, you see some icons, click them to run programs, after that you can forget what OS you are on for the most part.

In reply to by DesignLov3

Installing apps on Linux isn't hard at all. And MuseScore makes it easy, we provide the download here as a file called an "AppImage", and we provide the exact instruction on how to install it (takes under a minute). Linux is much less demanding on resources than Windows, so a 10-year-old machine will surely run Linux better than Windows.

Installing Linux itself is not quite so simple, but then, neither is installing Windows (installing macOS yourself is, as far as I know, just impossible except on an actual Mac). There are plenty of guides out there to help, though.

A "kernel" is something all OS's have, whether they call it that or not. Maybe you are thinking of different "distributions" of Linux itself? The one called "Ubuntu" is the most popular I think, so probably the easiest to find help with.

But this is too, like migrating to MuseScore itself, isn't something I would recommend just doing on a whim when you're trying to complete a project. You'll no doubt spend a day or two just getting things going, another day or two re-tweaking your score if you've done much manual adjustment on it already, another day or two getting used to the changes in MuseScore 3 - before you know it there goes a week. So I'd only do it when you know you can afford the time.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Well tbh, this whole project, which I started approx. 6 months ago, was kind of on a whim. I don't really have a deadline per se, basically just set a goal so I'd keep pushing myself and get it done. More than anything I'm concerned with having as practical, elegant, and professional looking a final product as possible. So if that means having to invest more time, then to me it's worth it. And it sounds like there's at least a few features in Muse 3 that you've mentioned throughout our discourses which would be conducive to that end.

In reply to by DesignLov3

Don't forget that in Beethoven's time, French horns did not have valves. The player showed up with one instrument with several tuning "crooks" to allow him to play in different keys. So he's playing in Eb, then later replaces the Eb crook with the C to be able to play in that key. Today the player does not have a C horn. Unless he is a member of an orchestra that uses all original type instruments. They certainly exist, but you might want to consider your target audience.

In reply to by bobjp

I greatly appreciate that critical piece of information, to which I certainly was not privy! Any alternatives you can think of to have some type of horn in C? Or rather preferably can horn's play the chromatic scale Couldn't I just transpose it for an Eb horn so the notes they end up playing end up being key of C even though it's an Eb horn? I would say my goal is to have it practicable and playable for a standard philharmonic orchestra.

In reply to by DesignLov3

Modern horn parts of modern music are written in "F". Modern horns are actually double horns; F and Eb. Professional players are used to dealing with classical tuning. Depending on who your project is for. To me, it seems perfectly legitimate to transpose all your horn parts to "F". That way any group can play it much easier. Some traditionalists might not see it that way.
Anyway, all modern instruments play a chromatic scale.

In reply to by Ziya Mete Demircan

oops Bb. Though the Bb side is not used all that much, except to play certain note more in tune (which is of course important). Some players prefer the single F horn. The point is that it's one instrument.

In reply to by bobjp

Ok, so just to be clear (and forgive me if this is a stupid question), you mean instead of the music written as it is presently, for multiple tuned instruments (i.e. Eb Horn, C horn, G horn, and Bb horn, etc.) have it all transcribed for one horn, namely the F Horn. I'm assumung what you're not saying, is that throughout the entire piece, the horn part would be written with the key signature of F, irregardless of the key of that movement/tuning of that particular transposing instrument?

In reply to by bobjp

Also, in the same vein, throughout the piece it also calls for two different clarinets (Bb and C), two trumpets (C and D), and three trombones (alto, tenor, bass). Is the same true with either of these instruments, would they typically be played/written for just one particular tuning of the instrument in modern times?

In reply to by DesignLov3

Confusing, but fun, no?
Professional orchestras may have an alto trombone player. If all three trombones play at the same time, consider transposing the alto to tenor, unless it's too high. Bass trombone is standard.
MuseScore can help with this. To see how it works, create a new classical orchestra score in the key of "F". notice the different key signatures for some of the instruments. notice no signature for horn. add a few note to the horn part. Now hit the Concert button in the top tool bar. Notice all the parts change key to "F", and the horn notes are a 5th lower. These are the actual sounding pitches. Hit the Concert button again. These are what the parts that would be handed to players would look like. Horn parts should all be for horn in F.

In reply to by DesignLov3

No, not written in C, but written in whatever transposition is specified.

Orchestral horn parts use a variety of transpositions even within the same piece. For example Brahms 1st symphony has horns 1 and 2 in C, E and E flat, and horns 3 and 4 in E flat, B flat, E and F. Orchestral players are very used to dealing with these different transpositions and will play them on a horn nominally in F with a trigger to change it to B flat. It is traditional for horn parts to have no key signature but to use accidentals where needed instead. Even without a key signature though, unless the part specifies Horn in C, it will be transposing. So if the part is for horn in E and there is a written G, the player will ensure that a concert B comes out and if the part is for horn in E flat and there is a written G, the player will ensure that a concert B flat comes out. More recent compositions and arrangements are more likely to stick to horn in F (for a written G the player will ensure that a concert C comes out) and may or may not (probably equally likely) have a key signature.

In reply to by SteveBlower

Again, it depends on your target audience. Professional symphony orchestras might have horn players that read all those keys easily. Other groups might not. Why put your transcription out of reach of high school or community groups that will get this music out to far more people than any big city orchestra will. Put the horn parts in F. Put the trumpet and clarinet parts in Bb. If you don't know how to do that you can look up orchestration online.
Classical music is dying. Audiences are smaller and smaller. Orchestras are going out of business. Classical music is too stodgy, old fashioned, doesn't have a beat, and boring. Don't perpetuate this myth.

In reply to by bobjp

It is nothing about being stodgy or old fashioned or not having a beat. It is just the way it is. It is very unlikely that the vast stock of orchestral parts is going to be republished with all horn parts transposed for F horn and all clarinet parts transposed for Bb instrument. Indeed in the latter case, the difficulty (or even impossibility) of playing some of the existing orchestral repertoire on a Bb clarinet makes it even less than unlikely (there is no bottom concert Db available on a Bb clarinet). Amateur orchestral players are going to see and have to cope with what the orchestra can hire or otherwise obtain. This is where MuseScore comes to the aid of those who prefer to play from parts in a transposition they like on the instrument they have. It is an evening or two's work to enter the part and then transpose to one's hearts content.

Regarding the horn parts. My point there was that horn parts without key signatures are not necessarily in C i.e. at concert pitch. The player still has to take note of what transposition is specified and whether that changes during the piece. And if they want to play it from a part transposed for F Horn then get MuseScore on the job.

In reply to by SteveBlower

The OP is making her own transcription. She hasn't said what type of group it is for. I'm suggesting that she make if for as wide an selection of orchestras as possible.
I'm not sure I've seen parts that use the absolute lowest note on a wind instrument, unless for special effect. I have seen amateur composers write notes below the range of an instrument. I'm just saying that I'd change an "A" part to Bb in most cases. Trumpet in "A" was also popular. But even Vincent Bach co. doesn't make an "A" trumpet. Years ago I had a trumpet that could be played in"A" pulling all four slides out far enough to lower the pitch. But that was a stop gap kind of thing. I can't say I've run into horn parts in no key that rely on accidentals. Even having taken horn lessons in college. So I'll have to take your word for it.
I'm only suggesting that in this case, why not make things as easy as possible for everyone.

In reply to by bobjp

I agree, a modern arranger should try to make life as easy as possible for the player. But in the case of clarinets, it is probably better to chose between B flat and A instruments to put the part into an "easy" key, say no more than 4 sharps or flats if possible. It may be nice to add an alternative part (possibly in an awkward key) for the "other" instrument in case the player only has the one.

Horn parts without a key signature are "in" a key, hopefully the same key as the rest of the orchestra, it is just that the notes needed to play in that key are specified by accidentals rather than in a key signature. And the lack of a key signature has nothing to do with the transposition. That is specified elsewhere (in the part name for example). It is just a tradition thing that you find with orchestral horn parts. The tradition has tended to fade since the start of the 20th century and more often than not now you will find a key signature and a standard transposition for horn in F. But there are composers/arranger around who like their traditions and still write for horns without key signature. An orchestral player should be prepared (by having MuseScore on their PC or by swotting up on their transpositions) to deal with what is available.

You say you are not sure if you have ever seen a part that uses the absolute lowest note on a wind instrument. Here is one of many, many, many examples. It's an extract from the clarinet part for Froissart Overture by Edward Elgar which was just the first one that came to hand.

Froissart Clarinet Low E.png

And as for the horns without a key signature. Here is the start of Brahms Symphony 2 (in D Maj). You see that the key signature for the non-transposing instruments is two sharps. Horns 1 and 2 are written as transposing in D while Horns 3 and 4 are written as transposing in E. The horn parts have no key signature. If Horns 3 and 4 had a key signature you would expect it to have two flats, to bring it into line with the rest of the orchestra, but see that the E flats are actually there as accidentals in bars 10, 11 and 13. Brahms 2.png

In reply to by SteveBlower

Well,except that Brahms wrote for, and wanted players to perform using natural horns. Hence, parts in different keys to enable players to play various notes in the over all key. He specified natural horn not out of tradition but because he preferred the tone quality of it. Fair enough. I just see no need to maintain parts in all those keys if no one is going to play them on the instruments he intended.
And I'm talking about making parts easier for players only with respect to not handing them an "A" part (for example) if it isn't necessary.
As for Elgar, far be it from me to question his intention in your excerpt. Famous composers are famous because they write good music. Not because every orchestration decision they make is the best one. It is the one they make.
By the way, I'm enjoying this exchange.

In reply to by SteveBlower

The Beethoven piece I'm transcribing calls for the following transposing instruments: Clarinet in C and Bb. Horn in C, G, Bb, Eb and trumpet in C and Eb. I will have no problem transposing anything. The main problem for me is I am clueless as to which instruments are in common use anymore, or what a type of limitations keeping it in this original orchestration may impose on amateur players. My main goal is to make the piece as accessible as possible. I want it arraganged in such a way that it may to be played at a skill level of say high school orchestra to a royal philharmonic.

In reply to by DesignLov3

Trumpets were in the same boat as horns. They had different crooks for different keys. Natural instruments without valves that played the harmonic series. A trumpet is Eb was probably meant for very high parts. A modern player might switch to a piccolo trumpet (pitched in G or or Bb )for that part. It depends on the range of the part and the player. Without seeing the part, it's hard to say if you should leave it in Bb or not. Many players carry a trumpet in "C",or even "D".
In Beethoven's time there where keyed trumpets. These were instruments with saxophone like keys to allow them to play chromatically. But I think most players still used natural instruments.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

This is an interesting reply. The comment re the Albums feature in MS2 being buggy - and hence removed - is telling. I have recently been asking similar questions - though my pieces to be joined together are relatively short.

I have on occasion succeeded with MS 2 in getting separate pieces joined together, but perhaps this really is quite tricky, and perhaps only really works if the instruments don't change between pieces - which in itself is a limitation, as composers might ask a player to change instruments between movements or pieces.

Is it really going to be so hard to implement something like the Albums feature in newer versions? Getting a whole score together using sections is one way, but it's not flexible. It's not completely unknown for composers to change the order of movements, or at least consider so doing, and conductors sometimes do this too, for various reasons - think of Mahler and Bruckner. I agree that once a whole score has been created, it should be easier to print off the individual parts.

I'm currently trying to get my pieces together by using a combination of MuseScore 2 and MuseScore 3, but it is very clunky - and it might be easier to just give up and print each piece separately. This is (arguably - depending on layout and othet text diffefences) less of a problem for the full scores, but a bit of a nuisance for the individual parts, as there may be many pages with only one or two lines on them, which could very usefully all be put onto just a few pages.

It is possible to convert MS 3 files to MS 2 files by using the XML export format - MusicXML, though the layouts then have to be reset in MS 2. If this is done, and also if the pieces can be combined in MS 2 by the Album feature, the resulting file (album) can then be output as an mscz file, and it can then be read either by MS 2 or MS 3. If one wants to continue to work in MS 2, care is needed to force this explicitly, as if both MS 2 and MS 3 are installed, the file will probably be opened in MS 3, so if trying to use MS 2 features stick with that until everything's sorted before converting back to MS 3. Obviously if features, such as Album, are the same or similar in operation in MS 2 and MS 3 there wouldn't be any need to worry, but the Album feature in particular - which could be very useful - is not in MS 3 - hence the problem. This is a great shame.

My workarounds using MS 2 and MS 3 are painful to use - very clunky - and not necessarily reliable. I'm prepared to do this very occasionally to get things done, but it's not ideal.

Is it really too difficult to get this working well and implemented in MuseScore 3 - and later versions? It would make a terrific difference to me, and perhaps also to others. It's just a huge shame that this hasn't been sorted.

In reply to by dave2020X

I wouldn't say it is "too difficult", it's just a fairly big project and so far no one has volunteered to take it on. I have no doubt it will happen eventually.

Realistically, for large works like Mahler symphonies, I'd just keep the movements separate. It's easy enough to join the PDF's separately for printing, although indeed, for the parts that's not necessarily ideal. Still, it's really the use case of large collections of smaller works where the album feature is harder to replace. But I'm sure any new facility would be designed to handle both cases.

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