Percussion clef cannot be assigned to a standard staff

• Aug 31, 2014 - 13:07
Reported version
S4 - Minor

1. Open a score in MuseScore 2 Beta 1
2. Drag percussion clef from palette to first measure.

Expected result: the clef changes to a percussion clef
Actual result: Nothing happens.

Also see these related issues.....
[ #29401]
#31631: Cannot use SFZ and non-GM soundfonts on percussion instruments

This task requested by Chen is partly responsible for this issue
#17348: Remove drumset from Mixer

Windows 8.1 Pro
MuseScore 2.0 Beta 1


I'm not sure it makes sense to add a percussion clef to a normal staff. The purpose of the clef is to tell the human reader - and MuseScore - how to map lines and spaces to pitches. The percussion clef cannot by itself do that. There would be no way for the human musician or MuseScore to understand which pitch corresponds to which line/space. Only staves with a defined drumset can meaningfully display a percussion clef.

That said, a feature that allowed you to define the semantics of the clef separately from the appearance could be nice. So you could tell MuseScore, "treat this as a treble clef for all internal purposes, but display it as a percussion clef". You can do this already by hiding the treble clef and then displaying the percussion clef as an ordinary symbol with no semantics.

Wait. How do you do that? Display the clef as an ordinary symbol? I can't figure out how and I really need to set up a score with multiple percussion instruments per staff line.

If the instruments are non melodic percussion and I guess it's the case since you want a percussion clef, just use a drumset instrument, right click the staff once in the score and change the drumset to whatever you need. It's not related to this issue, so if you need further help, it's better to use the forum

I find this issue really important. I need the percussion clef in a normal instrument because I want to use a custom sound found I made and I need notes information. I realized you can't change the soundfont when you choose a non melodic percussion set.

Still, it's not a bug, just a feature we don't currently have.

I suspect what you want to do it possible, though. You should consider starting a thread in the support forum explaining your situation in more detail, and most likely, someone will be able to show you how to do it. In particular, I am not sure what makes you think you cannot change the soundfont for a percussion instrument. So if you are having difficulties with changing soundfont, you should explain that in more detail in that forum posting as well.

Hmm it seems I've been neglecting this.

It IS a bug because the behaviour is a regression from the prior status.

The main reason for wishing to assign a percussion clef to a normal instrument is for MIDI import, to cope with the situation where MuseScore imports a drum track as a normal instrument, which was the original reason for opening this issue. OK you can now check the drumset box in the mixer, but you are still stuck with a standard clef, and changing the instrument makes no difference.

Load the attached example file which uses Evandro drums - a non GM drum soundfont avaialble here…

In this case I used the My first Tune sheet which appears on startup to illustrate the problem - even changing the instrument to Drumset has not enabled the use of the percussion clef, and in fact sets the Drumset flag in the mixer which then makes the instrument revert to the FLuid drumset.

You can also find the situation with effects soundfonts that the use of a standard clef would be nonsense, yet you are unable to change the clef to percussion, bearing in mind that sound effects are stored in patches 120 to 127 on Bank 0

We need to provide our users the freedom to work in the way they need to otherwise they will abandon MuseScore in favour of something that will let them work freely.

Attachment Size
DrumsExample.mscz 7.2 KB

OK, I didn't realize this worked in previous releases.

Isn't the bug, though, that the MIDI import is incorrect?

And can you not work around that bug by copying the contents of the staff to another that *is* set up as percussion?

MIDI import is not necessarily incorrect.

Bear in mind that GS and XG format SMFs can have more than one drum track IIRC XG enables as many drum tracks as you like and uses SysEx to define whether a track should be regarded as drums or not.

GS allows two drum tracks one one on CHannel 10 and one on CHannel 11 and uses Bank Select MSB to define it.

But then you have to remember the plethora of SMFs out there which were sequenced before GM came into being in which the only clue you have to the intended nature of the track is the TrackName meta tag.

The problem is that the SMF format is so flexible that MuseScore may be presented with all manner of different tracks, the precise nature of which cannot be determined until you actually start to examine or play back the tracks individually.

Consequently there needs to be a similar degree of flexibility with user track/staff/clef assignment in MuseScore.

I suppose I should make the context for my remarks clear: we are in a mode of wanting to fix only *critical* bugs - focusing on crashes and corruption - at this point. Obviously, we've made a few other fixes that seemed to represent significant usabiltiy issues that could be addressed with little risk. I personally am only fixing bugs that I think will significantly impact a lot of people and that involve areas of code I understand.

I'm not thinking allowing percussion clef on a pitched staff is risk-free - who knows how much of layout will freak out at not knowing the mapping from staff lines to pitches. So I'm trying to ascertain how "critical" it is. My sense so far is, not critical enough to mess with for 2.0. This is based on my impression that this is only a problem in practice with "non-standard" MIDI files and/or soundfonts (and I fully admit I still don't understand the nature of the problem) or to workaround unspecified bugs in MIDI import, and my assumption is that any such problems can be fixed by simply copying and pasting into a drumset staff.

Status (old) active postponed

Understood Marc - this is not marked critical or even major.

Maybe we need to address this after the dust has settled from the MuseScore 2 release in conjunction with other stuff related to MIDI

Marking as postponed

I just wanted to add my voice to a request for this capability. I have worked on several scores for musical theater in high school, and it it common to switch from treble to percussion clefs for a percussion part where the musician is playing several percussion instruments. This is a minimum standard for music composition software that MuseScore, at, still does not meet.