Why are the notes red?

• Aug 2, 2011 - 23:48

I entered a tenor and bass part on the score. The tenor part is the color red. Why?


And, just to save a tiny step for the next person who wanders into this thread ... a note will appear in Red when it falls outside of the comfortable performance range of the instrument in question.

In other words, "if you 'see red' on the score, then your ensemble is going to 'see red' when they look at you and realize that you have just asked them to do something that is going to be either 'very difficult' for them, or 'downright impossible.' " (Which is not the reaction that you want when the proverbial money-clock is ticking away in a recording studio!)

If a note is red, I believe it means that it's out of the instrument's range, for example, if you put a note 5 steps above the staff on a low instrument such as Trombone.

In reply to by SoulVIolist

Be sure you are using the clef you think you are using. There are several variations of bass clef, some include octave transpositions so the pitch is higher or lower than you might be thinking. My guess is that this what is going on. Either that or you haven't chosen the correct instrument - be sure you if you want the range to reflect the cello, that you have actually selected cello as you instrument. Merely changing the clef of a violin part (for example) to bass clef won't change the range that MuseScore considers acceptable.

Anyhow, the first note that MuseScore considers outside the "professional range" for cello is G6 which is actually pretty crazy high - not only is it 10 ledger lines above the bass clef staff, it's also 4 ledger lines above the treble clef staff. At the low end, the range for cello starts with C2 - two ledger lines below the bass clef staff - which is absolutely the correct choice. So my guess is that you have either the wrong clef or the wrong instrument selected. If that doesn't solve your problem, then indeed, post the score so we can advise further - no need to wait until you're done.

In reply to by SoulVIolist

"when I'm done transposing it from alto"

It takes about 10 seconds to transpose from the alto. Change the clef and press ctrl+down arrow to move everything down an octave or use the Notes->Transpose... dialog to move is less than an octave if notes end up being too low. This will allow you to retain accidentals and change the key to put the song in a more comfortable octave for the instrument/singer.

In reply to by JacobMChong

Five steps or five ledger lines? The first note MuseScore considers outside the "amateur" range is the C an octave above middle C. And this very nicely matches my experience - I direct many ensembles of adult amateur musicians who are "pretty good", and very few of the trombone players can reliably hit a high C.

BTW, I guess by "grade 5" you might be referring to a country-specific rating system, like ABRSM?

MuseScore goes directly from black to red for things that have a hard limit to their ranges, like a piano or glockenspiel. It also uses a sort of muddy green color for marginal cases, such as vocals, where there isn't an absolute hard end to the range. Here's a test file that shows what happens.

-- J.S.

Attachment Size
RangeTest.mscz 1.67 KB

From my observations, it is used to mark notes that are outside of the comfortable range. For woodwind instruments, there is not a limit to the highest note a player can play. There are always more harmonics.

But there are comfortable and standardized limits. However for the low notes, there are limits which is physical size of the instrument. A woodwind plays lower notes by covering more holes and lengthening the instrument.

I noticed on oboe that it starts showing red on E6 and above. The standard range of an oboe goes up to F6 though it's not very comfortable obviously. Professionals are expected play up to A6 but the fingerings are awkward. It doesn't show red even on the lowest note on oboe, even though that note is also uncomfortable.

Thank you for asking this!! I was wondering this myself! I play 7- & 8-string guitars, and have had issues with not only setting up the tablature lines for the low B & F# strings, but also, any note below typical low E (even when adjusting the range), turns them red.

I suppose for my extended-range guitars, I'd have to use a grand staff,, and add a tablature staff below?

I guess I don't care if they're red on the screen, but... will they PRINT red (or stay black)??

Attachment Size
G_Harmonic_Major.mscz 23.05 KB

In reply to by Justin Peoplesworth

They do not - it's an onscreen warning only. You can customize the range for which warnings are generated by right clicking the staff and going to Staff Properties. You can also turn the warnings off entirely in Edit / Preferences / Note Input.

As for setting up the tablature, if you're still having issues, feel free to start a new thread and describe your issue in more detail. Do be sure to read the Handbook section on the topic.

In reply to by Justin Peoplesworth

@ Justin Peoplesworth
I guess your intention was to tune the seventh and eighth strings like this: B1 and F#1.
And yet, you put the 8th string in F#0 in String Data. That does not work, and that's why, I suppose, you added staff text in bold to indicate the expected fingering/fret position.
So you can achieve it by changing the pitch of this 8th string (F#1)
Like this: 1G_Harmonic_Major_0.mscz

Attachment Size
1G_Harmonic_Major_0.mscz 20.13 KB

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.