Adding new staff to score inherits wrong key with transposing instruments & key of C

• Dec 14, 2014 - 22:17
S4 - Minor

OS X 10.10.1

GIT commit: 7a67e63

1. Started with a score with parts that included Bb, Eb and concert instruments (specifically Alto sax, baritone sax, first trumpet, second trumpet, first trombone, second trombone, guitar, bass, drums, piano) using the Big Band template and deleting instruments I did not need. The score was created using the wizard as concert C minor (three flats). The Bb and Eb instruments have the proper number of sharps and flats in the score.

2. After starting the scoring on the instruments I went back and did Add -> Instruments..., and added Vocal -> Alto to the parts, and moved it to the top of the staff. I started scoring and I noticed that the key was wrong (it should be scored as concert Cm but instead had no sharps or flats.

Attached is the score as it stands now. You can see the Alto part at the top.

Attachment Size
Mr. Zoot Suit.mscz 27.12 KB


The newly added part inherits the key signature of the first staff in the score, which in this case is the Alto Saxophone. The code triies is supposed to adjust for any difference in transposition between the instruments. But your alto sax does not appear to have any key signature at all - there are no flats or sharps whether Concert Pitch is on or off. So the vocal part is inherting that.

The question then is, why does your alto sax part have no key signature? Can you remember how it got into this state? If you deleted the key signature yourself, then this would be expected behavior. But this should not ordinarily be possible.

The score is in C minor. Alto sax is an Eb instrument, so it SHOULD have no sharps or flats in the key signature.

All of the instruments except the vocal part were created at the original "New" when I used the wizard and selected the "Big Band" template. So when I entered Cm as the key (by selecting three flats), it correctly created a key signature for the Alto sax with no sharps or flats.

However, when I added the vocal part, it should have known what the concert key was and created a part with three flats. Instead of looking at the first line of the score, which could be in any key depending on the instrument, Musescore should identify the concert key by at least looking for concert pitched instruments. In this case, for example, it could have grabbed it from the piano, guitar, bass or trombone. But even better, perhaps, Musescore should store the concert key of the piece and generate new parts from that depending on the pitch of the instrument.

So, to test the theory, I just added a Bb Clarinet part at the default location (bottom) and it has two sharps in the key. Instead it should have one flat.

I think you misunderstood me. As I said, MuseScore *does* adjust for transposition, so what you tried should have worked. It should have deduced the concert pitch for the top staff was three flats. But check out what I said - your alto sax part is incorrect. Of course it shows no key signature with concert pitch off, but it *should* be showing three flats if you turn concert pitch in. It does not, however. Something went wrong, making the alto sax part appear to have no key signature at all regardless of the state of the concert pitch button. That shouldn't happen, and that's what I am trying to understand here. Do you have any idea how the alto sax part got corrupted in this way?

Well, no I don't since the Alto (and bari) parts generated the correct *looking* key signature.

So, created a new one from scratch using the wizard. Process:

1. Create New
2. Added title of song, clicked Next
3. Selected "Big Band" template (automatically goes to next step)
4. Clicked on three flats in the Key Sig and no tempo, clicked Next
5. Accepted default 4/4, selected 1/4 pickup measure, entered 10 measures, clicked Finish
6. 17 part score created, Style -> General -> Score, select Display Concert Pitch, all staffs show 3 flats
7. Deselect Display Concert Pitch, go to Add -> Instruments..., remove Alto sax 2, Tenor sax 1&2, Trumpet 3&4, Trombone 3&4, Click OK (parts removed)
8. Select Display Concert Pitch, three flats displayed, uncheck again
9. Right-click on Alto 1 and Tenor 1 parts, remove the "1" from the instrument names from Staff Properties
10. Check Display Concert Pitch, three flats still show up, uncheck again
11. Go to Add -> Instruments... Select Vocals -> Alto and Add. Move Alto to the top.
12. Alto added with three flats. *yikes*

Great, can't reproduce it. See test file below. do I fix the score? I am creating a bunch of these and I will look to see if I can reproduce it again by really paying attention to the steps when I build the next one.

Attachment Size
Test_for_Key_Signatures.mscz 11.07 KB

You can fix the score easily enough by simply dragging an Eb key signature to the first measure.

As for how your score got into this state, my guess is it might have had to do with some combination of adding or removing measures at the beginning of the score, possibly combined with undo. There was a significant change to how key signatures are stored last week and it broke a few things, you could be seeing another side effect of this. Note actually the key signatures are pretty broken in general right now for transposing instruments; might make sense to wait until #41291: Switching concert pitch when using transposing instruments augments the keysignature on each line. is fixed (try hitting Concert Pitch then looking at page 2 of your score to see this bug in action :-)

Not sure what combination caused it. I didn't change the measure count yet as I am still working through the score, so adds/deletes of measures.

The reason why I didn't want to just drop the key signature on the alto part was concern over the effect it had on everything. In my brain, once you declare the key of the instrument, the key signature is fixed. If you change it, all of the other parts in the score should be transposed accordingly. For example, if I have an Eb alto sax and change the key signature for a 17 part score, it really should transpose everything to the proper key for the respective instrument. I know the intent of Musescore is to be flexible to address unique and obscure scenarios, but sometimes accommodating the .5% case can break the 99.5% case!


Now I remember why I didn't want to drop the key signature on the Alto voice part: when you hover with the new dragged key signature over the first measure of the part, ALL of the first measures are selected, which means the behavior I said I wanted above actually happens - it looks at all instruments. When I dropped the 3 flats on the Alto part *ta da* it stuck and nothing else changed.

However, since you said that the sax parts (which are Eb) really had no key signature, I dragged a no sharps or flats key signature to the alto sax. This changed ALL of the other non-Eb instruments to another key: concert instruments were no sharps/flats, Eb instruments were three sharps. SO, this implies that the key signature that you drop applies to the whole score and is the concert key. I guess when I dragged the no sharps or flats onto the alto vocal it "fixed" the broken Eb instruments. Weird...

Correct, dragging a key affects all parts and hence sets the concert key. It's actually *possible* to set a key signature for just one staff, by using Ctrl+drag. But that's the 0.5% use case, which is why it requires the extra step of pressing Ctrl. The 99.5% use case is, you are setting all key signatures at once, and want them all transposed appropriately, so that is the default behavior.

The recent bugs I was concerned about regarding key signatures are apparently fixed now, so be sure to update to the latest nightly build before doing fuerther testing.

Well, after many moons I may (or may not) have a replicable scenario based on a new chart I started this AM using a NB I downloaded yesterday 1e46f45.

The steps:

1. Started a New score using the Jazz Combo template. I selected a key signature of Bb (two flats).

2. Once the wizard was complete I made my usual adjustments to the score, including adding three instruments: an additional Trumpet, Clarinet, Bari Sax and additional Trombone. I then repositioned them and saved. The original Trumpet part is now labeled Trumpet 1. The new Trombone part Trombone 2.

3. I started note entry. I created the first phrase (including the repeats) for the first four measures of the Trombone 1 line.

4. Since the Trombones play in unison here, I copied those four measures and pasted into the Trombone 2 part. It was then that I noticed the accidentals in the measure in the new pasted part, which should not be there since it was copied from the Trombone 1 part.

5. As you can see from the attached score, the Trumpet 2, Clarinet, Baritone Sax and Trombone 2 parts are in the same (and wrong) key of C concert. Even if Trumpet 2 should have inherited the key from Trumpet 1 (as mentioned in a previous reply), it should have made the Trumpet 2 part correct.

My conclusion is that new parts added are not inheriting the key of the score but rather default to the key of C concert.

EDIT: After I dropped the correct key signature on the Trombone 2 part, the entire score was updated so that all of the parts are now correct...

Attachment Size
Jump Jive and Wail.mscz 20.88 KB

There were some significant changes to how templates work over the past couple of days, and key signatures were broken for a few of those builds. Not sure if that is one of them, and I have to head out for th day and can't quite test this right now, but you might want to downlaod a more recent build and try again.

Title Adding new vocal part to score does not inherit key properly Adding new staff to score inherits wrong key with transposing instruments & key of C
Status (old) needs info active

OK, I checked, and that build was after the relevant fixes were all in, so it *should* have worked. However, it doesn't. I can reproduce the problem as you describe Really, the problem happens immediately upon step 2, and before you even rearrange the staves. And it's not related, I don't think, to the recent template issues, as I can reproduce with no templates involved.

1) new score, alto saxophone, key of Eb (concert, meaning it displays as C)
2) edit / instruments
3) add Bb trumpet

Result: it gets a key of D (C concert) rather than F (Eb concert)

Thanks for the report! I believe the key (sorry, pun not intended) is that the top instrument in the score is a transposing instrument, and that its key signature (transposed) is C, and that concert pitch is turned off when you add the staff. No wonder it was hard to reproduce; I think it relied on all of these factors.

Hopefully a simple fix now that we can reproduce!