Make Concert Pitch display alter the clef to avoid ledger lines

• Oct 18, 2009 - 16:09
Graphical (UI)
S5 - Suggestion

It would be great if when I selected Concert Pitch in the Notes menu, MuseScore would automatically alter the clef displayed on any staff containing instruments that transpose by more than, say, a fifth, to make the notes fit better on the staff without the use of ledger lines.

For example, if I select Concert Pitch on a staff that displays tenor saxophone notes, I will end up with a lot of ledger lines because the tenor saxophone is notated in the treble clef and transposes down by a major ninth. My suggestion is that MuseScore would automatically display a sub-octave treble clef - that is, the treble clef with a figure 8 attached to the bottom - and renotate the dots accordingly. For instruments that sound higher than they are written, the treble clef with an 8 attached to the top of it could be used. I suggest that it would probably be best to keep the same basic clef, i.e. not swap a treble clef for a bass clef or alto clef etc - just stick to octave changes.

For instruments that transpose by more than a twelfth, a similar principle with a 15 could be employed, though I don't think that such a clef is part of standard notation.


Considering that e.g. the contrabass saxophone uses a treble clef in a transposing score it would need a treble clef with 22 below in a concert pitch score. I think it would be better in such a case to use a bass clef in the concert pitch score.

This was a feature I discussed with the developers at Sibelius Software once upon a time. If you have access to Sibelius, would you check if it is implemented, and if so, how? It ought to be included in the demo version.


Sorry, I don't have access to Sibelius. I was considering Sibelius when I found MuseScore.

I agree that a treble-clef with a 22 suffix would be a little odd, and in this case bass clef might be better. However, I would also suggest that instruments with such extreme transposition are very rare, and it would be worth implementing the feature for more common instruments without worrying too much about the more extreme ones. That said, I personally would be quite happy for the clef to change, because I read treble and bass clef fluently and can cope with alto and tenor if required. I'm sure one could argue that an alto sax part at concert pitch would be best written in the alto clef, but I'm not sure many people would find that convenient. Maybe it is a matter of personal preference and there could be a setting that controls what clefs may be substituted.

I arrange for brass band and so I thought I would bring this up again to vote for it as a feature I feel would be very useful - to be able to choose to display a different clef in the concert pitch score to the actual score. The way Musescore allows score transposing is good - this added functionality would make it perfect!


I'm in the middle of doing a score for a small jazz combo. In the transposed score, the Bari and Tenor saxes are all set, but when looking at the concert score, they become very difficult to read because how far below the staff the notes are. It would be much better to show them in bass clef in the concert score.

Status (old) active fixed

In release 3911 you can define different clefs for concert score and transposed score.
Clef selection is not done automatic as i had no good idea on how to override this manually.