Inputting notes via MIDI on transposed instruments doesn't work as expected.

• Dec 12, 2014 - 08:39

When you are inputting notes for transposed instruments and you are NOT in concert pitch mode, the notes you'll enter will be interpreted as being in concert mode.

Say you have a trumpet in Bflat and you input a note for the trumpet with the key C on your midi keyboard, the note that will be entered will be a D.

I don't expect this to happen. If I want to input in concert mode, I'll put musescore in concert pitch mode and input my notes. If however I'm inputting a score where the notes for the instruments have already been transposed, I want to input the notes as written on the score otherwise I'll have to transpose them in my head before I can input them with the MIDI keyboard.

What do you guys think? Can I go ahead and implement it the way expect it to work?


As a pianist and composer, I expect to be inputting notes at concert pitch. I almost never input notes any other way. I also virtually never use MIDI input. So the change would not affect me. But I do wonder, as it's been like this "forever" (?) and I don't recall anyone complaining before - maybe others like it the way it is? Sort of depends, I suppose, on your *reason* for using MIDI input in the first place. If you have an existing part you are copying, then I could see it would make sense that you might "play" the score in, and since it's already transposed, you'd want to see it input that way. But if you're composing rather than copying, you'd likely be thinking in concert pitch regardless of the state of the concert pitch button.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi Marc, I'm an accompanist and I am inputting a lot of scores that are really badly laid out or hand written and which have been transposed already. I'm using MIDI input all the time since it speeds up my inputting tremendously. I find it counter intuitive that when you are not in concert pitch mode (or let's call it composer's mode ;) that midi-input is still in concert pitch and not in what you see on the score. It defeats the purpose for MIDI input to have a switch for concert pitch.

I see no reason why it would inconvenience anybody if it would work the way I propose:
1. in concert pitch MIDI input would work like it works now
2. without concert pitch MIDI input inputs the notes in relative (that is transposed) height.

In reply to by rtega

Since I personally would be happy to continue inputting notes in concert pitch mode, I would not be affected, and am certainly not objecting to the proposed change. But I do think it good to wait for more input from others who use the MIDI input facility. There might be legitimate use cases we are not thinking of where someone might reasonably expect the keyboard to input concertp pitch even when not in that mode. On the surface, though, I think your proposal seems sound.

BTW, many MIDI keyboards have a transpose facility built in, so whichever way we make the default, you could probably still get the other behavior by setting the keyboard to transpose accordingly.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Here's a use case, I don't know what makes it legitimate or not. As mainly a trumpet player, I often use my keyboard as a "Bb instrument" by using the keyboard's transpose function to lower pitches (including MIDI out) by two half steps. That way, when I'm transcribing a trumpet solo, a C on the keyboard sounds the same pitch as a C on the trumpet, and I can better 'think' in the key I'm working in. However, if I'm entering the notes into Musescore on a staff where the instrument is a Bb trumpet, Musescore will further lower the pitch--visually and audibly--two half steps.

Now you might suggest I turn off the sound on my keyboard, leave the transposition off and let Musescore do the transposition for me... but I much prefer the sound of my keyboard over the Musescore 'trumpet' sound, and I like the flexibility of being able to change that sound to any of a variety of patches or MIDI-driven software synths. Plus, I can set other software (e.g. Transcribe! software for transcription) to Bb trumpet mode where a C on the virtual Transcribe! keyboard sounds like a C on the trumpet (i.e. a concert Bb) and a C on my transposed keyboard... it's only MuseScore that won't budge and plays a concert Ab.

I could disable the Musescore output--set the Master Volume to zero so the sound wouldn't bother me--but the notes that appear in a Musescore part don't reflect the Bb trumpet pitch, either. If my Musescore project has Trumpet and Piano instruments, and I'm in "Concert Pitch" mode, both staves show up in the same key, e.g. Concert C. If I enter a "G" on my transposed keyboard, it shows up in the trumpet part as an F - which is correct, but looks wrong to me because the whole point was to 'think' like a trumpet player in the key of D. So you'd think I could just turn off "Concert Pitch" mode, and this does change the trumpet staff to the key of D, but then the "G" notes I play on the keyboard still show up as an F natural in Musescore on the trumpet line.

In reply to by dstrand

Since you're entering the notes by their concert pitch value, it somewhat indeed makes sense to do so while looking at Concert Pitch.

A possible workaround/solution for you might be to remain in transposed pitch in MuseScore, but counter-transpose all instruments in your score so it shows up as you think. The big important part is then to remember to restore the transposition of all those instruments to their real settings; most easily done by "change instrument" to the same instrument in the Staff/Part-properties.

In reply to by jeetee

I don't think I understand your suggestion. I created a score with a Bb instrument, a C instrument, and a D instrument. If my keyboard sends a Bb (which I'm doing by pressing the 'C' key with a Bb transposition setting on the keyboard) then MuseScore enters a Bb in all three scores, whether I'm in "Concert Pitch" or not.

The fundamental issue is that MuseScore always notates pitches from MIDI as concert pitch. It doesn't matter if that staff is a transposing instrument, or if Concert Pitch is on or off. (Turning off Concert Pitch will change the SOUND of the note, but not the notated pitch).

It would really help if there were a MuseScore option to "Transpose MIDI to Instrument Key" so that a Bb received via MIDI would show up as a C on a Bb instrument staff, or a G on an Eb instrument staff. Then you could set your keyboard up as the transposing instrument, hear the right pitches from the keyboard (or other VSTs), and see the notation as the right pitch in MuseScore.

Edit: I re-read the issue described by rtega above, and I'm starting to wonder if MIDI input used to work the way I'd expect, but some users wanted to enter pitches for transposing instruments WITHOUT setting their keyboard to transpose.

In reply to by dstrand

MIDI just send the concert pitch note across and doesn't carry information about your transposition or pressed key.
So whether you have transposed your keyboard and pressed the C key to hear a Bb, or not transposed it and press the Bb key to hear a Bb, or transposed it differently and press the F# key two octaves up to hear your Bb; the data sent by your keyboard is always "someone pressed the pitch corresponding to Bb". And that's the only information MuseScore has to act on.

Most people that enter pitches via MIDI use concert pitch for doing so and don't care about transposing instruments at that step of the process.

This may be moot; I think we're discovering the current behavior is actually a bug. Playback pitch gets transposed, just the display pitch doesn't. Plus there octaves are handled incorrectly. So I think you were right from the beginning - this is *suposed* to work as you are proposing.

I agree with rtega. I was wondering if this is fixed in MuseScore v2.0.3?

Since I'm brand new to MuseScore (and have nothing to compare my experience with) so I'm not sure if this is fixed or still buggy, but since I found something that worked I wanted to share my results and ask the question.

Here is my situation. I'm a trumpet player, and have some Jazz improv chords written that I want to work on so I want to enter them into MuseScore. I'm not a keyboard player and I'd rather not try to convert from trumpet chords to concert pitch chords because I'm not that good (yet) and would make mistakes. Trumpet is Bb concert instrument, so when I play C on the trumpet the pitch is Bb concert. So if my trumpet music display says Ami7, then the actual concert chord is Gmi7.

Here's what I did (that worked):

(1) I have a staff in concert pitch, so I added a 2nd staff as a Bb Trumpet.

(2) I then did all my MIDI note entry on the Bb trumpet staff. I could enter Am6 on the MIDI keyboard and it would appear in MuseScore as an Am6 chord in the trumpet staff, but in reality it was really a Gmi6 (concert pitch). So basically, this worked for me. I was able to get MuseScore to do the transposition for me! I verified this by copying the notes to the concert pitch staff and the notes then appeared in concert pitch.

(3) Also when I played the score in MuseScore, the trumpet notes written said Ami6 but the pitch produced was a Gmi6 (concert) chord which was perfectly correct.

(4) When I was done I deleted the Default Concert Staff.

NOTE: The only strange thing was that during my original input the pitches that were played were Am6 (concert) and when played back they were Gm6 (concert). But this is exactly what is needed in order for it to work properly.

So I'm asking is the above working correctly?

Also if there is an easier way to do this, please let me know.

NOTE: I'm thinking it is working correctly based on observations and my search in Issue tracker. I searched for the bug in the Issue tracker and found:
which say that this was "fixed".

Thanks for providing this capability, and the original poster who requested it!

In reply to by PatS2265

Whether or not this is fixed in 2.0.3 is for you to check, 2.0.3 is available since long.
And you could even go a step futher and test whther it is fixed in the upcoming 2.1, by testing a nightly build. And you'd not that brand new here, your account started 37 weeks ago ;-)

In reply to by PatS2265

I'm not fully understanding what you are saying here - what do you mean you "enter Am6 on the MIDI keyboard"? MuseScore does not have a facility for entering chord symbols via MIDI, only for entering notes. So I might guess you mean, you are entering the *notes* A, C, E, and F#. But were you doing that with concert pitch turned (on* or *off*? I believe that currently, MuseScore treats MIDI input according to the status of that switch, so if you want to enter notes at concert pitch, turn concert pitch on, and if you want to enter notes at written pitch, do so with concert pitch off. As as as I know this should work the same for MIDI entry as for any other entry method. If you are finding otherwise please attach the score you are having trouble with and precise steps to reproduce the problem, so we can investigate if there is a bug or if you aren't doing something correctly.

The issues you describe are unrelated, btw - they describe a bug causing truly random-looking results that was present at one point in the development cycle but never present in any release version. Note this thread is from over two years ago - before the release of MuseScore 2. Sio everything discussed here previously is long out of date.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc, thanks for the response. Your guess was correct, when I say entering "Am6" on the MIDI keyboard, I meant playing the notes of the Am6 chord. I don't recall what the Concert Pitch was when I was doing this, so I tried it again, and the Concert Pitch button was "Off/Not Selected" which is why I got the desired results! Thanks for pointing that out.

So . . . everything is working exactly as it should be. Thanks again.

In reply to by PatS2265

*If* I understand correctly, though, what you are describing is completely correct and exactly as you would want it to be. meaning there *is* no problem, correct?

Not sure what you mean about "default concert staff". I guess maybe you mean you are starting from the sample "My First Score" rather than creating your own score. If you do that, then sure, you'd need to delete the existing staff if you don't intend to use it. Better to create new scores, though, so you can pick and choose the instruments yourself and get exactly what you want.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Correct, there is no problem.

> Not sure what you mean about "default concert staff".

I created this score by importing a Music.xml file that I had exported from iRealPro. The "default concert staff" just referred to the staff that was created by MuseScore upon reading the imported file. I should have used other words because it's not a "default" but I'm not exactly sure what I should call it. I hope that clarifies what I was referring to.

In reply to by PatS2265

Here's my problem. I have perfect pitch. Whata I want is a situation where, in the case of a Bb trumpet, one touches a Bb, hears a Bb, but sees a C on the staff. As it is now, when transposition is envoked, the keyboard is literally transposed so that you see the transposed note on the staffbut you hear a ntoe a whole step below. Am I making sense? AS a favor, since I am also blind and am justr discovering this website, could you please copy your response to my direct e-mail address so i'm sure to see it?


In reply to by Kevjazz

To get what you want, simply turn on Concert Pitch mode while entering the notes. Entering a Bb will enter a Bb. But then when you are done entering notes, turn Concert Pitch off and it will automatically change to a C. This is how note input is designed to work both for MIDI and other input methods.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

This "issue" has also been bugging me for some time. I wouldn't say that the way MuseScore does is now is wong, but I feel that maybe a feature could be added to make transposed notation?. The way I see it there are 2 ways to input notes (concert pitchn and non-concert pitch), and I'm missing a third way.

I would propose a 3.rd notation entry, where MuseScore transposes the input to the instrument key of the selected instrument..
I.e. if I notate for a Bb instrument, and press the C key on the MIDI piano, MuseScore could notate that as a D (sounding C) in the Bb instrument staff. That would really be a nice feature when adding large chords to multiple transposed instruments :-).

Using non-concert pitch mode can be a little annoying as, the MIDI keyboard will play the note that you press, while MuseScore will play the note in transposed form. For example when notating for a Bb instrument and I press the MIDI piano C key. The piano will play a C, and MuseScore will play a Bb.

I know that I could use the concert-pitch mode, and for some that is fine. I just think that the 3rd posibility would be very welcome. I certainly would use that a lot.
There are some people (like me) who will get very confused when parts are not notated in the score in their right key (i.e. concert pitch mode). Years of looking at scores will do that to you :-/

Just to make sure I'm not being misunderstood here; there is nothing wrong with the two notation forms currently in MuseScore. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks depending on what it is you actually want to do. I just see a possibility for a 3rd that I think would help some people. I would certainly welcome it :-)

In reply to by lassebassen

Not sure what you mean here. If you are in concert pitch mode and press "C" on your keybaord, you should see and hear a "C", regardless of the staff transposition settings. Are you saying you have some specific score where this is not happening? If so, please attach it and given precise steps to reproduce the problem.

Normally though, concert pitch mode should totally do the right thing.

I am a teacher - now mostly on line and, using Musescore as a teaching tool connected to my keyboard, and need to share my computer sound with my students while teaching using my microphone. It is normally works fantaastically as a teaching tool. However, when transposing my midi keyboard using the keyboard's transpose facility, the transposed sound is played through the keyboard and the untransposed sound is simultaneously , usually dissonantly, emitted by the computer and shared with the student. Is there a work around which enables Musescore to accept the transposed notes from the keyboard?

In reply to by digby@jazz-sur…

ANy particular reason for using the MIDI transposition rather than doing the transposition in MuseScore? Also why not simply turn off the keyboard speakers? It would help to understand more about the context - what instrument you are entering notes onto, what key you want to press on the keyboard, what you want to see what notated, and what you want to hear.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Instagram screenshot.jpg Instagram screenshot.jpg Sometimes I get my students to study phrases of jazz pianists who play in different keys than the original key that we we are using. If I transpose using the Yamaha P120 digital piano keyboard (with a Yamaha UX16 interface), the midi is still transmitted in the original key, when I have transposed the keyboard. I use Skype and using share-screen to share the virtual Musescore piano to show students what I am playing. That works well except when I use the keyboard to transpose; then they hear both keys. This is not a big issue, Marc, and may be not be a Musescore problem. So I am asking if anyone knows a work around rather than suggesting that code-writers burn any midnight oil

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