Low B on Recorder is Shown in Red

• Jun 25, 2020 - 00:36

I don't know if this is the right place, but I think this most closely aligns with it?
I've been getting a bit more into recorder recently and have noticed that if I enter a low B into soprano recorder, the note is shown in red as if it's out of range. On the soprano recorder, low Bs are very much possible and can be produced by covering all the holes and the one at the end by half. All the other denominations can also go an extra semitone lower than MuseScore says by doing this.

This isn't that big of a deal because I can really easily just change the professional range for that instance of it, but it really should be lower by default as it is very much possible. Is there any reason for this or was it a mistake?


I don't know anything about soprano recorders, but Wikipedia says that the lowest playable note is C5. This other article that I found via a Google search says the same thing, and so does this one.

Are these articles all incorrect, and it's actually possible for a professional-level player to go a semitone lower?

In reply to by A Jar of Coppe…

FWIW, I once made myself an extension out of PVC pipe to give me a low B.

Yes, it's possible to extent the range by manipulating the bottom hole. I don't know how common it is - I think most people write for recorder going down to just C. But indeed, B is technically possible, if not advisable to write. But here, the amateur/professional distinction makes sense, the B should still be flagged as questionable (outside amateur range) but possible (within professional).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I'm not sure what difference it makes, in the end, if the note is red or not. When the score and parts are printed out, all notes are black.
To me, it make more sense to write in such a way as to give the B to an instrument that can actually play it with out tricks. Success in playing the B depends on more than the skill of the player. You can't make just any recorder work.

In reply to by Spire42

I know what the colors mean. Personally I would leave it alone in the case of the B. The instrument wasn't designed to play that note. Regardless of "amateur" or "professional". High notes have more to do with playing ability.
Yes, I know you're trying to help people who don't know the instrument. People keep writing low G for trumpet. Sure it can be done. And lower. We practice those notes all the time. But it's not great music making. Just because it can be done, doesn't mean it should be.

In reply to by Spire42

“can be intoned, if badly”, so while the note can perhaps be reached, it is very unprofessional to do it ☻

Red doesn’t mean you cannot write it. Score for it and live with the red note, signalling extra caution has to be taken to play this (outside of playing it on a computer).

On the other hand, there are “new melodic recorders” (even an E-recorder) out there that can (in the Alto case) play the E.

I’d still stick to F as lower range (both amateur and professional) for the Alto recorder, and people who want to make use of this minority feature should just live with the red note in the edit view.

In reply to by Iothes

I would think that a better way to learn would be to not have the note available. Just because someone sees a red note, doesn't mean they won't try to use it any way. If I'm not writing for real players, I've been known to ignore ranges.

In reply to by bobjp

I personally have analyzed a lot of orchestral sounds and Musescore introduces me to the orchestral (classical) instruments and the fact we have red notes is like a cheat: you don't have to study ranges. You can also view irregular /uncommon articulations are search on the web for their function.

Besides that, with the help of the playback, I have easier time understanding my favourite piece (Rite of Spring) because it's much faster to hear on spot than reading the score and playing each voice on piano.

I thunk composing enthusiasts can now compose (if they have basic knowledge) without going through academic lessons... Of course though it would be hard to learn the capabilities of each professional player and how not to go overboard.

In reply to by Iothes

Again, if you are writing for real players, You need to know the capabilities of instruments. Including ranges. Imagine you just wrote a great melody and you want it for a particular instrument. You find out that MS doesn't think that parts of the melody fit well within the range of the instrument. What do you do? You could change octaves,but that also changes the feel of the melody in this case. You could give it to a different instrument. Again, that changes the feel. You could rewrite the melody to fit your instrument. But you might not like the result as much.

Or, knowing the range of the instrument, you could have written a proper melody to begin with.

Low F# is below the range of the violin. Sure, you can de-tune the G string to play F#, but then you have to play everything differently for any notes normally played on the G string. Doable, but there needs to be instructions in the score to let the players know what is going on. If you don't know the range of the violin, you may just see red notes and ignore them and write things that are a problem anyway.
Perhaps you don't need formal theory and orchestration instruction. But you do need to do a lot of personal study in those fields. Not just an article or two. You have to put the time in. Lots of it.

In reply to by bobjp

I think those are extremes... I mean about the melody example... It's really likely it would have a small chance of happening... This is because most composers know what instruments they are gonne write for before starting, besides the flute,horn,trumpet,clarinet,oboe and strings families will do. But yes... Musescore makes some notes red that could actually be played. Yee, Musescore isn't enough but still helps a lot with most of the things.

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