Notes - transpose

• Mar 21, 2010 - 10:14

I should be most grateful for advice on two aspects of the transpose score function as it affects transposing instruments.

1. I can transpose a score including its key signature by using the 'notes - transpose' function but can I do this by selecting a different instrument for the score? Say, for instance, I have an E flat baritone saxophone part, is there a way to transpose this part automatically for B flat tenor saxophone by changing the instrument rather than by using 'notes - transpose'?

2. Staying with the example above, when a score is transposed from an E flat instrument to a B flat instrument the key signature and notes are transposed but the playback pitch is not. If, say, the E flat part is in A major, (concert C), and this part is transposed into D major for the B flat instrument, (concert C for the B flat instrument), the notes and key signature change but the playback pitch remains as for the E flat instrument and does not change to the new pitch. How can the playback pitch be changed to that of the new instrument? Should this not happen automatically along with the transposition?



1. Changing from an Eb part to a Bb part should change the transposition automatically. However this is not yet implemented and there is an open bug you are welcome to subscribe to if you wish to follow any development. See #4955: Change instrument doesn't preserve concert pitches (0.9.6)

2. I would expect that changing instruments would not change the playback pitch. This request seems to contradict your first point. Maybe I'm misunderstanding?

Also it would be helpful to mention what version you using because the change instrument and transposition features have changed quite a bit over the last few months.

In reply to by David Bolton

Ok thanks, I'll definitely track that #4955 bug, and I keep forgetting to say that I'm using r2811of 0.9.6.

As for my second query, no it's not you misunderstanding, it's me not explaining myself very well I'm afraid. In a nutshell, I can't make the 'notes - transpose - whole score' function do what I think it should be doing, and I can't get the 'stave properties - play transposition' to work in the way it implies it should either. I expected to be able to use these two functions to achieve the same result as doing an instrument change, namely, transposing the notes and key signature and also transposing the play pitch, but it doesn't seem to work like that.

My problem is this: I have lots and lots of saxophone quartet scores written for Soprano (B flat), Alto, (E flat), Tenor (B flat) and Baritone (E flat) saxophones. However, my sax quartet comprises Sop, Alto, Alto, Tenor. So I need to type in the the tenor and baritone parts and transpose them to alto and tenor respectively. I've been doing this up to now on a rather tedious notation applicationand it takes me hours. I was hoping that MuseScore would be both easier and quicker, but if I can't perform the transpose function and most importantly play the parts back in the right pitch, then it looks as though I'm stuck with my old system, at least until the MuseScore bugs are sorted.

Thanks again for your help and advice though - much appreciated.

In reply to by David Bolton

Yes I did try it and it didn't seem to work. Since you prompted me again though, I went back and had another play and found that I have to press 'concert pitch' again after the instrument change to get it right. So this is the sequence I'm now adopting, which works:

1. Enter tenor saxophone score, let's say it's in C major (concert B flat)
2. Press 'Concert Pitch'. This transposes the score by the right interval and makes the score's key signature B flat major.
3. Go to 'stave properties'
4. Select 'change Instrument' and select 'alto saxophone'
5. Press Concert Pitch again, (to deselect it). This transposes the score back again by the right interval and makes the key signature G major which is right for a B flat to E flat transposition where the B flat is in C major.

So it looks as though the 'change instrument' function only works when the score is in concert pitch, and thinking about it that's not such a bad idea really. I still can't get the 'stave properties - Tanspose Play' function to do anything at all though, even when the score is in concert pitch, so I'm wondering if that function is implemented yet.

Anyway, I'm really pleased that I can now use MuseScore to do my sax quartet work. Thanks again.

In reply to by David Bolton

I hate to dig this one up again, I really do, and I know that there are a lot of problem posts on the subject of transposing but it's such an important feature of any notation application that I felt I had to resurrect it becasue without a reliable transpose function many people won't bother to use it and will go elsewhere.

In my post a while back I declared that I had found a way of getting the STAVE PROPERTIES - CHANGE INSTRUMENT function to work. However, I've recently discovered that this function is very selective in its correct operation. If, for instance, you create a part for C trumpet and use the STAVE PROPERTIES - CHANGE INSTRUMENT function to change the part to B flat trumpet it works fine, that is, the notes and the key signature are transposed correctly from the concert C instrument to the B flat instrument. If, on the other hand, you create a part for B flat trumpet and then try to change instrument to C trumpet it doesn't work, that is, the notes and key signature stay in concert pitch when you deselect concert pitch to transpose back to the changed instrument. There are many more examples of this function not working properly and it is very very frustrating for it not to be reliable, not to know whether it will work or not when you implement it .

Now, OK, I realize how much work goes into MuseScore by some very dedicated people working for nothing, and I have been glad to contribute to the funding but there are some key, absolutely mandatory functions that must work properly and transpose instruments is one of them. So please, someone, spend some time on this issue and get it sorted.


In reply to by Peter B

Can you give clearer, step-by-step instructions for reproducing the problem?

When I create C trumpet instrument and change it to Bb trumpet the notes stay the same but the transposition changes. If I create a Bb trumpet instrument and change it to C trumpet the notes stay the same but the transposition changes.

If you want to actually change the notes use Notes > Transpose. Alternatively you could switch to Concert Pitch before changing the instrument then switch back to transposing score after you have changed the instruments.

In reply to by David Bolton

The first screen shot shows a baritone saxophone part in the key of G (concert B flat) playing a note of middle C.

I wish to transopse this part to tenor saxophone, which should give me a part in the key of C playing a note of F.

The second screen shot shows the bari part after clicking 'concert pitch'. This has correctly changed the key signature to B flat and the note to E flat.

I now implement the 'stave properties - change instrument' function and select 'tenor saxophone'

If I now click 'concert pitch' again to deselect it, the tenor saxophone part should be put in the key of C and the note should go to F. However, the third screen shot shows that the tenor part key signature stays in concert B flat and does not change to C, and that the note stays as E flat and does not change to F. In other words the change instrument function has left the tenor saxophone part in concert pitch and has not changed it to the B flat pitch of a tenor saxophone.

This hapens on several instrument to instrument transpositions mainly, it appears, transposing from an E flat instrument to a B flat instrument. However, I've just checked this procedure transposing from tenor sax to bari sax and it doesn't work either.

Thanks for looking at this again..........

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Bari G.jpg 21.34 KB
Bari concert.jpg 21.46 KB
tenor.jpg 17.32 KB

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