How to transpose a score from Bb/Gm to F/Dm without changing notes

• Feb 14, 2021 - 17:07

Hi again. I am so sorry for all my questions, but ...
I am working on an arrangement of the music, Chevalears De Sangreal. I uploaded an existing MIDI file into MuseScore, and discovered it was written/played in the key of Bf/Gm. Unfortunately, the conversion by MuseScore created many mistakes in placement of notes between Treble and Bass clefs, among other things. So, I also bought the sheet music for the piano arrangement and discovered it is written in the key of F/Dm. The notes are the same in both keys. The difference is whether a # symbol is used on some notes, or not. Here is one system in both keys:
Screenshot 2021-02-14 113733.png

Screenshot 2021-02-14 113803.png

I asked MuseScore to convert the sheet music pdf file to an .mscz file, but it made a lot of errors, so if/when I compare the two to correct the mistakes in the MIDI conversion, I need to realize one is in one key, and the other version is in another key. That's annoying. My wife tells me she would rather play a song with only one flat, so suggested I convert the Bb/Gm song to the key of F/Dm. However, when I tried the "transpose" function in tools, the program pushed all my notes down 3 semitones. I didn't understand that. In the two keys in my example, the notes are in the same place; only the # is different. Obviously, I don't understand what's going on. So ...

How do I transpose the Bb/Gm key into an F/Dm key, without moving the notes (changing only the #)?


In that case, don't transpose at all.
Just click in the score on the existing key signature, then in the palette click on the desired key signature, and job done.
MuseScore will replace the "wrong" key signature with the desired one, and notes that now need a "local" sharp sign will get one.

To be clear: MIDI doesn't contain any information about which notes go to which staves on a piano track, or how to spell the notes, etc. So it's not that MsueScore makes mistakes, it's simply that the information isn't there and had to be guessed at.

As for PDF, MuseScore doesn't have its own import facility but relies on a third party program called Audiveris. This too is basically AI and kind of a long shot, but note there are other third party programs you could try. A web search for "optical music recognition" should turn up some options.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc: If I have a PDF score, I assume I have to get it into MuseScore file format (.mscz) so that it will open OK. Aren't I limited to the Audiveris program? If not, what would I do to convert a PDF to a file MuseScore could open, if I used some other 3rd party OMR software? If I convert it just to MIDI, that too makes lots of mistakes.

In reply to by fsgregs

Pretty much all PDF converters produce MusicXML as their output. That's true of Audiveris, which is what the service on uses as well, it just then takes that and converts to MSCZ for you. But the original MUsicXML would be just as good.

Still, I predict the amount of time you spend researching this, downloading, installing, learning to use the software, running it, and then fixing up the nuermous things it doesn't understand, will be 10X as long as the mount of time to simply enter the music directly.

As for MIDI, again, don't think of importing MIDI as resulting in "mistakes", that completely misrepresents what MIDI is. MIDI has no idea of the difference between an eighth note and quarter note, the difference between C# and Db, or any of about a hundred other things that would be needed to create a faithful rendition. If I offer you a bag that contains both a red and green apple and ask you to reach in blindfolded and pick one and you end with the green apple instead of the red one, that's not a "mistake" - it's just what happens when someone offers you a choice between two things and you have no idea which is which. Same when a MIDI file offers you a choice between a note possibly having been played with the left or right hand, etc. The MIDI file isn't saying "this note was played by the left hand" but MuseScore is making a mistake and putting it in the right. The MIDI file simply says, "this is a note", and then it's anyone's apple as to which hand to put it in.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc: Most appreciate your reply. Thanks. I now understand. I guess my biggest problem is, I don't yet know how to speed enter notes and rests into MuseScore. It takes me well over a minute to enter just one staff measure of 8 notes. I don't have a keyboard so i have to use the computer keyboard or virtual piano keyboard or mouse. Given your advice, I will try to speed things up and of course, if I am composing my own piece, this problem will not occur.

In reply to by fsgregs

Key to speed is to use keys :-)
Remember that 5 is 1/4 notes and digits to the left divide time by 2 (4=1/8 notes, 3=1/16,...), digits to the right multiply time by 2
A, B,... enter the notes, 0 a rest
And 5 CTRL 3 enters a triplet on a 1/4 note
. is for dotted notes
up/down arrows for semitone
CTRL up/down for octave
Just knowing that is enough for me to be quite fast at note entry

In reply to by fsgregs

Computer keyboard is the fastest way, you aren't missing out on anything. Each note takes at most four keystrokes to enter, and most notes take only one or two (eg, once you've set the duration to eighth note, just type your eight piches and the measure is done). So it shouldn't take more than a second or two, maybe the issue is it takes you a long time to read the notes?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc: At 74 yrs old, I am nuts to be trying all this is the first place, but you are right. I am still at the level of "Every Good Boy Does Fine" for practically all the notes I am working with. Fortunately, I am a retired scientist and this is good brain exercise for me. I WILL eventually become quite well versed in all of this. COVID is keeping me cooped up, so ... Again, I would be lost without your kind patience in answering my questions.

In reply to by fsgregs

Hi fsgregs,
If you want, you can post here a scan of 2 or 3 measures for which you aren't sure about the fastest way to copy them in MuseScore.
I would propose a way to "type" them in MuseScore, and by analysing and understanding it on real measures of your score you could probably better learn than by general "abstract" instructions ?
Just a proposal, feel free to accept or refuse

In reply to by frfancha

OK, this is a strange situation. The Hans Zimmer music Chevaliers De Sangreal was adapted for piano by a guy in Italy. His nuances in playing for left and right hands were excellent, so I wanted to copy what he did as a starting point for adding additional voices to his arrangement. His exact play was recorded in a video that he put on YouTube. You can find it here:…

I bought what he claims is the exact sheet music (in pdf format) from his arrangement, and a MIDI file recorded from his play. I loaded both into MuseScore. As marc said, the result was full of errors. The MIDI file is close to what he played, but as Marc pointed out, the notes are all over the place in some measures (but not all). Here is a measure to show you what I mean:
Screenshot 2021-02-16 082218.png

What is not clear here are the voices. In the example, the MIDI file put these notes into 3 different voices on the same stave, with their own rests, etc. To clear that up and have the song in just one voice (something I really want to do), I have to laboriously move notes from voice 3 or 2, into voice 1. Apparently, in MuseScore, you cannot just click on 4 notes in a measure that are in voice 3, and exchange them to voice 1. When I tried that, ALL the notes in the measure exchanged, even if I had only 4 notes selected. So, some notes already in voice 1 in the measure, became voice 3 and I was no better off. If there is a way to exchange only selected notes, please let me know.

The pianist's sheet music is also error-prone in some bars. Here is an example:
Screenshot 2021-02-16 090206.png

This is what it should have looked like (from the sheet music):
Screenshot 2021-02-16 092644.png

Nevertheless, both files have at least most of the over 900 notes he played, in order. I have to fix the placement, timing, volumes, missing notes, etc. but at least they are there. As Marc said, it is taking me forever (10 - 15 minutes per measure), but this is such a complex song that, if I had to start from scratch, reading the printed sheet music one note at a time (very hard for me, since I can't speed read music ... yet), and then entering all the notes into MuseScore, it would take me several days of work. For example, to just enter the notes, rests, accents, etc. in measure 23/24 manually, it took me almost 5 minutes, since I had to " E G B D F" read them one by one.

Since both approaches are teaching me things, I am, therefore, trying to do both. Using the converted MIDI score as a starting point, I am learning MuseScore well enough to be able to FIX the score in places it needs. Sometimes, I can copy and paste notes from the sheet music MuseScore file into the MIDI MuseScore file. Sometimes, I have to give up, delete the measure, and enter the notes manually, reading from the printed sheet music.

In summary, if I can learn the fastest way to manually input notes in MuseScore, and forget about fixing the flawed MIDI file, I will do that. It is helping me learn to speed read. In reading the user guide, I am slowly learning the computer keystrokes to use. I just need practice. Conversely, by trying to fix the wrong notes in the MIDI file score, I am also learning the ins-and-outs of MuseScore. So ...

Thanks for everyone's help. Please just be patient. I will master this ... eventually.

In reply to by fsgregs

None of this is strange in the least. Again, MIDI simply doesn't contain any of the sort of information that would be needed to recreate readable sheet music. It's like trying to bake an exact duplicate of a given loaf of bread given only a picture of it. You can certainly put something together, but there is no way it's actually going to look, feel, and taste the same as the original because you don't have all the information you need, not even close. So, you simply need to give e up on the entire notion that this is reasonable thing to do. It's not. If that was the only thing you had to go on, sure, it could potentially be better than nothing, but it's not. You have actual sheet music, apparently - that's like having an actual recipe to bake the loaf from. Follow the recipe. Guaranteed to produce better results than trying to guess from a picture.

But for the record, you can move selected notes into a new voice. Don't use the exchange commands, use the voice buttons. Select the notes you want to move and then click the desired voice. It works if the destination voice is empty - won't work if there is already some note sounding there. Also doesn't work for tuplets. But, trying to take a MIDI file and fix it up one note at a time like this is practically guaranteed to take at least 10 times longer - and required a much more advanced knowledge of music and of MuseScore - than simply entering the music directly, which requires very little knowledge in comparison (for example, you wouldn't need to know how to move notes between voices!)

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