Transposition bug?

• Aug 15, 2020 - 04:08

MuseScore 3.5; Windows 10

Transposing a clarinet score from C to D, using Transpose by key. Done in As written mode it transposes the notes with accidentals instead of changing the key signature. Done in Concert Pitch it changes the key signature properly, after which it can be returned to As written mode. At least that was my experience.


To change the key signature for a single instrument (actually a selection), you need to use the second section in the transpose dialog, Transpose by Interval and keep the Transpose key signature box checked.

If you transpose the entire score, to a new key you can check Transpose key signature so it will apply to the entire score. This is probably a bit limited in capability. Hopefully it will be better in v4.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

OK, the file is attached. In it the transposition has already been done, from C to D--the first instance of the score is in C; the second in D (As written pitch; those would be from B-flat to C in Concert pitch).

Trying to make the second from the first is where I ran into trouble. Transpose by key only worked--and changed the key signature--if I did it in Concert pitch, else it just transposed the notes, using accidentals. Transpose by interval worked better; it changed the key signature in As written pitch as well.

Yet now that you ask, when I try to go back and duplicate it, I'm not having the problem. Transpose by key is changing the key signature properly. I'm not sure what I did previously so that it didn't work. Possibly it had something to do with the fact that the original score was imported from a C instrument score written in B-flat.

Just now, experimenting with it, importing the test score from the clarinet score rather than from the original score, I was having other kinds of problems, including being unable to transpose or even change the key signature in a blank test score before importing. So I'm confused as to what was really happening.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I have not run into a real world example. I think it might be a bit more useful in more modern music. Having part of the ensemble in one key and part in another is something I've definitely seen, though it has been done using accidentals.

What Gerald Reynolds wants to do is select only some or all of the clarinet part of a larger score and tell it to transpose the part to a selected key signature and have MuseScore enter the local key signature for that selection. Currently if you transcribe a selection and you are never given the option of changing key signatures.

Allowing this does open the possibility of people misusing it and then complaining that MuseScore did it wrong. One place it could be misused is the common practice of putting no key signature on many of the valved brass instruments. Another is the less common, but not unheard of, practice of never changing the key signature for a clarinet even though the rest of the orchestra (except horns) change key signatures. The start key for the piece is Eb (F for the clarinet) and the clarinet will never have anything but a single flat in it's key signature and use accidentals to tell the musician to play in the correct key.

If you give people enough rope to hang themselves, some people will. They already do.

In reply to by Gerald Reynolds

I was speculating a bit based upon what you were saying. If you want to transpose the entire score a certain amount and change the key signature, then don't select anything and use the transpose by interval tool and keep the transpose key signature box checked. There are also user definable shortcuts that allow you to transpose the entire piece or selection one half step at a time. If you use this feature often, then defining a shortcut would make sense.

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