How to enter music for transposed instruments

• Apr 3, 2023 - 17:22

I'm new to MS, so I have some start-up problems.
I've a piece of music in C-major, i.e. all instruments are written as c-major even the transposed instruments like Clarinets, Horns, Trumpets etc.
If I set up a score for this piece I get all untransposed instruments in C-major, Clarinets and Trumpets in D-major, Horn in F in G-major etc.
1) If I now want to enter the music for these instruments in C-major which I have as Input, what do I have to do? 2) Later, when I'm finished entering the music, I want to show the transposed music in the score and parts. What are the steps for this?


In reply to by Shoichi

Ok, but what is highlightend, the only thing with clicking on is a "V" or not. "V" is not really the same as highlighted because the text "Concert pitch" doesn't change at all but maybe that is what they mean in the handbook.

Anyway, when I select and deselect concert pitch, I would expect two sharps but nothing happens more than the music is a major second higher, see attached snapshots.

Attachment Size
ConcertPitchNotSelected.png 39.4 KB
ConcertPitchSelected.png 42.05 KB

In reply to by Shoichi

Ok, I'm attach a file, the beginning of my score. I also wanted to check a little more so I started a new score, selected all instruments needed and copied and pasted the untransposed instruments from my original score.

Now I get the sharps when I change between concert and not concert pitch. What puzzles me, however why are there no sharps when I select Concert pitch and sharps when I deselect Concert pitch.

I still assume that Concert pitch is selected when it's ticked off with a "V" or is this assumption not correct?

To me, MS is not very clear in this area

Attachment Size
Test.mscz 62.9 KB

In reply to by TomStrand

If not sure I understand what you are asking - of course it's normal that with concert pitch off, you'd get sharps for most transposing instruments. For example, the sound pitch "E" for Bb clarinet is written F#, and B is written C#. So music for Bb clarinet will always have two more sharps with concert pitch off than on.

Maybe you are confused because the key signature doesn't change? That's because you apparently added the "open/atonal" key signature, and that is its function. If you mean key of C concert, you should have added that instead. But, not too late - simply add it now.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The problem is probably that I do not yet understand the conventions and defaults used in MS and if you do something, it's not readily identifiable afterwards. As I probably said already, I normally use Lilypond and wanted to give MS a go and going from there is a big, big step as certain assumptions are made and defaults are used which are not entirely clear to me.

Regarding concert pitch, this I interpreted this as the real music being played on real instruments even if the music is entirely entered in the same key (c major in this case), e.g. clarinets in B. Correspondingly, the score should show the music for all instruments in the correct pitch, the parts handed out to the musicians and how it sounds when played though MS. For me, concert pitch then change (insert sharps) for transposed instruments or is this interpretation wrong?

In my particular case, I get everything in C major for all instruments which is the main key for the pice. So without having to transpose while entering the music, I want to enter the music as received and then transpose as needed to clarinets, horn, trumpets, etc. Does this mean I've to enter the music with concert pitch off?

Secondly, I apparently added "added the "open/atonal" key signature, and that is its function. . ." How can I see that and how can it be removed?

In reply to by TomStrand

Definitely MuseScore works much more like other traditional WYSIWYG programs and less like LilyPond. So it's going to seem much more familiar if you're accustomed to Finalke, Sibelius, Dorico etc.

Concert pitch on means, what you see is what you hear. See a C in the score, hear a C.

Concert pitch off means, what you see is what you want printed. See a C, expect a C to be printed, but it's will sound like a Bb.

All of this is exactly what these terms mean in real life, with real music being played on real instruments. The word concert pitch always means the sounding pitch, which might be different from the written pitch. msueScore uses the term in the usual standard way.

I'm not sure what you mean by "as received" here - received from on high (meaning, you want concert pitch on so what you see is what you hear), or received via an envelope in the mail (meaning, you want concert pitch off so what you see is what you want printed).

But again, to summarize: if you want to enter music at the actual sounding pitches, enter them with concert pitch on. Then turn it off before printing. Whereas if you want to enter music at the desired tranposed written pitches, do so with concern pitch off, and leave it off when printing.

To change the initial key signature, select the first measure, click the desired actual key signature in the palette.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for the reply.

No I've never used any WYSIWYG programs, only Lilypond which is straight forward. You enter the music as you want and if you need printed output of the music in the correct pitch, you just transpose.

Sound output has never been a priority for me but that is also the reason I wanted to test MS as I heard so many good things about this. The start has, however, been hard and "filled with potholes".

Let's see if I can get used to MS and produce an output for our orchestra until end of April.

In reply to by TomStrand

Hopefully my reply made sense? You jmight be overthinking this. It really is as dead simple as I said - you have your choice as to how to enter the notes (sounding or written pitch) and then iut's just a single click to see it displayed the other way. Hard to imagine it being any easier. Certainly you can't get LilyPond to toggle between sounding and written pitches in a single click!

If you're having other trouble, just start new threads for new questions and we're happy to help!

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I think so. Let's see tomorrow.

Transposing in Lilypond is in fact very simple. I've a number of simple files with a few text lines for any transposition needed. When engraving a piece I just embed the files as needed for the scores an parts. As I said, sound output has never been a priority for me but the principle is the same, a few lines of text embedded to create the correct sounding midi output.
If you set up Lilypond correctly (this can then be reused for any price of music), one key stroke is sufficient to generate score and parts as well as midi files for the orchestra music and for each individual instrument.
To be clear, I'm in no way a composer or serious arranger of music but if our orchestra (where I play the violin) need printed orchestra material, I engrave it as needed.
Just now I'm engraving a piece of Latin American music for our summer concert in MS (28 instruments). The score, printed on A3 paper will be about 35 pages. I hope I will understand MS sufficiently well to complete the task until end of April and that it can be managed by MS.

The way it works is dead simple, and the pretty much the same as all other notation programs:

1) make sure concert pitch is on
2) enter all your music at the desired sounding pitch
3) when done, turn concert pitch off to display the written pitches

Or, if you prefer to enter the music at written pitch, make sure concert pitch is off.

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