Changing instruments on single staff leading to problems.

• Aug 25, 2022 - 06:54
Reported version
S2 - Critical
needs info

I arrange opera orchestra music which often has Horn and/or Trumpet in F, Eb, E , D. C etc . When I change the instrument on a staff sometimes it stays and sometimes on the next page it reverts back to the original instrument and frequently puts in extra sharps or flats (see measure 631 in the enclosed file.). For this file I went through it several times and made sure that all the "Change to..." were to the right instrument but if I close it and reopen it or click on "Concert Pitch" and then return , the instrument changes.

For example in Measure 497, third staff , I changed all the horns to Horn in C but on the next page it list horn in Eb for 2nd staff, and Horn in Ab for third and fourth horn and then in measure 631 There are mutiple extra #'s .

Although I indicated that it reproducibility is random , it happens very frequently and takes a immence amount of time to do a workaround.


In reply to by SteveBlower

I went through and deleted all the change instrument entries (regardless of how they were originally entered) and then used the change instrument> menu to change instruments and still the changes did not work ( see attached) . Also randomly adds key signatures so although I changed to Horn in C in exactly the same way, the top line added 4 sharps but the bottom one didn't.

There is something seriously weird in bar 631. This is what I see


I have never seen a case like that before with a key signature every beat.

I suspect that the score is corrupted in some way, but not in a way that triggers the corrupt score warning on opening. It may be possible to recover the situation by exporting to xml and editing the xml file, but I am not an expert at doing that - let's hope that someone who is an expert can help.

It would be useful to investigate how the score got into that state. Can you describe the process you used to enter the score in more detail - e.g. did you start from a template? did you import from another program? did you enter the notes in concert pitch then add the instrument changes? did you copy/paste the notes between instruments? if so, was that before or after adding the instrument changes? Did you originally use instrument changes from the pallet or from the Add>Text menu. Have you added key signatures anywhere? If so, where and how? It is very difficult to work out what is going on with such a large score, can you create a smaller one that shows the same problem?

I am doing a reduction of an opera score from 12 brass instruments to 6 . I made a score with the 12 instruments and put in the key and instruments as in the original printed score , then enter all the notes and instrument changes exactly as written in the original scores. The score has the C instrument (trombones) with the actual key signature but trumpets and horns are written with no sharps of flats in the key signature but frequently change instruments (Horn in F to Horn in E to Horn in Eb, etc) After entering all the notes for instruments as written (Horn in whatever, trumpet in whatever) I change to concert pitch so I can see where I can eliminate an instrument (or move a note to different instrument that can play comfortably in that octave eg trombone to play note written for 4th horn) . Since I am entering the notes , I can make some mistakes (or there are mistakes in the printed score) and it is easier to see which note is not in the chord when in concert pitch rather than comparing Horn in Eb to Cornet in A for example, as I work my way through the score, I frequently go back and forth between as written and concert pitch. I don't know exactly when this happened but as I mentioned in a previous reply, changing instruments on a single staff often puts in random key signatures.

As far as exporting to XML , I tried that but when I went to open the XML file , got the error message ":Fatal error: line 1890 column 24 Element direction-type is missing child element." I was able to open the file by "ignoring " and opening anyhow but could not edit ( although the wierd #'s did disappear in measure 631 but many measures had an instrument printed over the notes (see attached mxl file) the file did not have any of the instrument changes so all Horn in E for example

Attachment Size
Otello brass Act 3 .mxl 231.97 KB

The key signature on every note would happen if you actually selected every note when adding it. Instead, you should select the measure.

Anyhow, we'd still need really precise steps to reproduce the problem in order t'o assist further. Earlier you mentioned you used "the change instrument> menu", but to be 100% clear: you need to use Add / Text / Instrument Change.

Just to confirm: I did not either select every note in measure 631 and change the key signature nor did I select the measure and change the key signature. Something happened in the program to cause that when I was either changing instruments or going from pitch as written to concert pitch.

Just to reiterate: I transcribed the written parts into MuseScore and initially used the Change instrument Palatte text method. When that clearly caused problems. I posted the problem and received the recommendation to use the Add text -> change instrument menu item. I went through the score again, deleting the "Change Instrument to" and used the Add text--> change instrument menu to change the instruments. Because of the errors induced using the Change instrument palate text, as I went through the score, I checked the notes by playing what was in Musescore and when something didn't sound right, clicked on "Concert Pitch" to see which note was not in the expected chord.

The scores that I use do not have any key signature for transposing instruments. ( ie no flats or sharps in the key signature) For example , when changing from Horn in E to Horn in Eb there are no sharps or flats in that staff but Musescore sometimes adds sharps or flats in the key signature, In an effort to have my score match the printed score, I try to delete the key signature. Usually ctl-click, delete doesn't work so I either have to add the corresponding key signature to that staff or replace the signature for that staff with C major or if that doesn't work , use the atonal key signature -- what ever it takes to remove the sharps or flats in the key signature so the part looks like the written scores where there are no sharps or flats.

Somewhere, doing all that as I marched through the score, measure 631 pop up -- and if you look at the score, the 3rd and 4th horn parts have 4 sharps in front of every note from measure 631 to measure 640 and then goes back to normal. As I showed in the file labeled "continued trouble with changing instruments" the adding of sharps or flats seems erratic as on the third line , the program added no sharps but on the fourth line , they were even though in both cases I used the menu Add text--> change instruments.

Reproducibility Randomly Always

Here is a different file that also does not keep the instrument changes . I went through the score, deleted all the "Change instrument to " entries, used the Menu item to choose the new instrument, then saved the file , closed Musescore, reopened the file and the instrument change reverted.

Again, in order to assist, what we need is the score in a state before the problem happens, and then precise steps to reproduce the problem ourselves.

I can guess, though, that the issue has something to do with the multimeasure rests. Extremely unusual to enable those in a full score - is there a special reason you are doing this?

Reproducibility Always Randomly

And please don't change the "reproducibility" field until you are able to post the steps that do in fact allow others to always reproduce the problem.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Removing all the multi-measure rests and re-doing all the instrument changes seems to have worked.

The reason I am using multi-measure rests is that I do reductions of operas and don't need to add string parts into what i do which leads to a fair number of empty measures . For the brass player it is easier to count one 50-measure rest than 50 one-measure rests. I will experiment with using "save as " for an individual part and then changing that file to multi-measure rests.

Attachment Size
Why multimeasure rests needed.JPG 124.33 KB

Well, yes, for the individual parts, you want multi measure rests - and MuseScore does that automatically when you create the parts with File / Parts. I don’t understand why you’d turn this on for the score, though, or why you’d be using Save As. MuseScore will happily keep all the generated parts in the same file, no need for save as or manually turning the multimeasure rests on and off. It all should work automatically. If you need help with this, best to ask on the Support forum. But first be sure to read the Handbook section on Parts.