Notes out-of-range

• Jun 15, 2019 - 18:13

I'm writing a score for my Drum and Bugle corps. I selected bugles from the Marching Band brass instruments. The score is showing that many notes are out of range, which they clearly are not. I've been playing G bugles since 1959. There are two types of bugles being used these days; G and Bb. So I don't know which type of bugle is in the Marching Band list and is part of the problem.

I was thinking this may be related to the SoundFont (using General.sf3). Any suggestions?

Attachment Size
Lower Brass.jpg 120.08 KB
Top Brass.jpg 117.04 KB


If you click the Concert Pitch button, you will see the transpositions of the instruments you are showing and can then determine the pitch of the Bugles. If you disagree with the range, you can right click the staff and change it using staff/part properties and changing the amateur and/or professional ranges. I suggest you do this while viewing the instrument not in concert pitch to avoid confusion.

In reply to by mike320

Mike320, of all the responses, yours seems to be closer to understanding what I need, I think. I'm a Chemical Engineer that plays with our Drum and Bugle Corps on weekends. Other than playing charts that are handed to me, I have no formal musical education. Since I can't sight read, I use MuseScore to generate an MP3 file to learn my Contrabass (tuba) parts. And, unfortunately, our arranger uses Sibelius to generate the charts but is otherwise computer illiterate and can't generate MP3 files for the other members,

So having confessed that, can you direct me to where I can learn how to change professional ranges, pitches, etc.? The staff properties is amateur D3/D4 and Pro is G2/G4. The MuseScore handbook doesn't cover any of this. So?

In reply to by EdJako

You are correct about the handbook not explaining how to change the usable ranges of the instrument. If you click the icon that looks like a pencil to the right of a pitch, a box will appear so you can select the value you want. As you can see, there is an icon for the bottom and top of each range. I suggest that you assure you are viewing transposed pitch of the score and use the actual note you play for the ranges. This lessens the chance of an error in transposition. Viewing transposed is not a requirement but it makes it easier to understand what you are doing. These ranges are actually always the played notes, not concert pitch.

In reply to by mike320

I have no idea what to change. See attached. And I can't get to Transposed no matter what I tried.

I retired from GE as a Global Training Leader so I'm very capable of learning what to do. I can design a water treatment plant but I'm a 3rd grader musically. Any suggested reading educational resources would be very appreciated?

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Notes.jpg 118.76 KB

In reply to by EdJako

This picture shows all of the notes you can select for the range of your instrument. The notes are named so that C is the lowest note in an octave (as implied in the picture since it on the left of each row). C4 is the note called middle C. It's written on the first ledger line below the treble staff and the first ledger line above the bass staff. From your pictures it seems the notes are always written on the treble clef, which is not unusual for amateur brass bands.

Your score pictures show all of the instruments in treble clef. I think this is the first problem. You have the wrong instruments selected. When you create the score the first time, you need to do it with concert pitch turned off, which is the default state. When this is done you will see the instruments with their various key signatures and what is on the page is what the musicians will see. The score you are looking at should be written this way. If it's not, then you need to tell your friend that's what you need. What would be better would be if he exported the score to xml or musicxml and then you could open the file in MuseScore like it was a MuseScore song. You would then be prompted to save it as a true MuseScore file when you save or close it. You would then need to do very little work to make it correct.

To create my first score if I were you, I would use the Brass band template. It has many of the instruments already listed that you will need. From there you can add or remove instruments using the buttons in the middle of the instruments dialog you see when you press i.

When you add instruments to your score press i, there is a search box below the instruments on the left side of the dialog. Use this to find the proper instrument and the correct clef. For example type "eupho" and you will see there are three Euphoniums listed. The Euphonium, Euphonium Treble clef and Euphonium Bugle. Look at the instruments and you will see the Euphonium Treble clef and Euphonium Bugle are both C instruments written in the treble clef. MuseScore won't distinguish between the sounds, so you can pick either of these. When you add the contrabass bugle, you will see it is written in the key of C on the treble clef. If you play one that is in the key of G, then change the transposition. In the dropdown box that defaults to 0-Perfect unison, the number indicates how many 1/2 steps the transposition is. Since G is five 1/2 steps below C, you will pick 5-Perfect fourth as the tranposition. If you find that the notes are an octave high, you can change the number of octaves from 2 to 1 to lower everything an octave. Of course if everything is too low, you can change it from 2 to 3 to raise everything an octave. While you're here you can fix the names of the instruments if you want to. The long name is displayed on the first system and the short name is listed on the rest.

Once you have your instruments set up properly, you can adjust their ranges if needed. If you choose the correct instruments, you should not have to do this much. The ranges are all written pitches, so it's less confusing if you make sure the concert pitch button is not pressed. If it's not pressed you will see different key signatures on the various instruments. Click the icons to the right of the amateur range and adjust the top and bottom notes as needed.

As I stated previously, the picture shows all of the notes you can pick for the various ranges of the instrument. Click the written pitch to select it and click OK to assign it. I would only worry about the amateur ranges, unless you make the ranges greater than the professional range, then you need to adjust the professional range to at least be equal with the amateur range. You will then have all playable notes in black, difficult to play notes in olive green and unplayable notes in red. Be aware that all notes will print in black, the colors are for information on screen only.

Once you have your band set up, save the score in the custom templates folder described at…. On windows you can copy %HOMEPATH%\Documents\MuseScore3\Templates to the save score dialog and this folder will open. I'm not sure about other systems. You can then use the score from the new score wizard. It will be listed under custom templates, which is created only when you save a score there. The score will act like any other template and can be edited at any time if you find a mistake by opening it like any other score. This way, you only have to do all of this once if you are forced to manually enter the scores.

In reply to by EdJako

Changing the range settings won't accomplish anything. It will just cause these notes to appear black on screen, but won't change anything about how they print or how they sound. The problem here is the notes are apparently not transposed correctly. In order to understand for sure what is going on here, we would need you to attach your actual score, not just a picture, then we can tell exactly, step by step, what you need to do. Probably it will involve right-clicking the staff and going to Staff Properties, changing the transposition settings for the instrument there, then actually transposing the music itself in Tools / Transpose.

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