Multiple Instrument Change

• Nov 20, 2016 - 03:56

The ability to make an instrument change and actually have one OR MORE instruments with the instrument change function. Please don't refer me to Voices, as I need more than four sometimes... :/


How do you envision writing more than 4 instruments on one staff would be readable at all?

If you could elaborate on your desired end result (image of it?) we can probably help you by finding out if there isn't an easier way to achieve it.

In reply to by jeetee

It is asking for an oboe, clarinet, trumpet, and a violin. It is a piano conductor score (it has two lines for the treble/bass, up to two extra lines for more instruments, and the vocals). Picture.png Here's just an example of that: another picture.png I know if you want me to use voices, but sometimes it has five, like here: last picture.png

In reply to by thatmusiclover

Okay, you've indeed misunderstood what the use of voices means in MuseScore. A voice is a rhytmically unique melody on a staff. MuseScore allows you to have up to 4 of these on each staff.

To enter your first example, you only need the 2nd voice to be able to show the rests on staff 1.
For the second example each staff uses two voices: 1 & 2.
For your third example, you'll only need two voices: voice 1 on the first staff, voices 1 & 2 on the 2nd staff, and voice 1 on the 3rd staff.

See attached exemplary scores.

Attachment Size
141701_example1.mscz 9.69 KB
141701_example2.mscz 13.11 KB
141701_example3.mscz 8.44 KB

In reply to by thatmusiclover

What you have is often called a "condensed score", and there is no separate support for this in Musescore. In particular, notes in the same staff will sound the same, and cannot use different instuments.

When I have prepared a condensed score, I have always started with a full score, with one staff for each instrument. And then when that is ready, and (sounding fine), I have prepared a separate condensed score, as a separate part, by cutting, pasting, imploding and adding more voices etc where necessary.

In reply to by thatmusiclover

Do realize that playback is very much secondary in importance for MuseScore - its primary purpose is for creating notation. But usually there is a way to get the playback effect you want. In this case, I'd recommend simply adding separate staves for the instruments so you have a full score as well, and mark those playback staves invisible, while marking the "condensed" staves silent. That way the notation can be correct and straightforward, so can the playback.

In reply to by thatmusiclover

So you're looking for a playback feature.
In light of the advanced explode/implode and part creation facilities being considered for 3.x this will become partially possible. If my understanding is correct of how the implementation then works, you'd need to start by writing out the melodies on separate instruments, but could be able to merge them into the same staff upon part-extraction.

This wouldn't fully solve your issue though as it only gives you one instrument per voice and you're looking for more. What you're looking for as playback capabilities is currently mostly done by using hidden instruments. Feel free to file an official request in the issue tracker, but be aware that (being a smaller use case) of playback features only, the chances of someone putting in the effort of enabling this are rather small.

In reply to by thatmusiclover

Unfortunately there is no dynamic merging of instruments as an option for a view of the score which would be necessary in the current MS. I have seen conductor scores that are written that way to save space.

I would think most people would be interested in this option for scores that are actually printed. Perhaps there could be an option to combine instruments when parts are extracted to PDF. A question that would need to answered is what would you do about transposing instruments? Force the score to concert pitch? Use the concert key signature and put accidentals in for the change in key signature for the Clarinets e.g. I believe this would be a terrible mess for a programmer to try to sort out. Just thinking out loud on the keyboard.

I have actually wished on occasion that different pitched instruments (such as Oboe and English Horn) could be placed on the same line, but that is so I don't have to jump through hoops to have one part for both the 3rd Oboe and English horn, who are often the same musician. The "Change Instrument" method does not work when the instruments have different pitches unless you stick with concert pitch. The part as well as the score will not show what the musician will play. It will show the pitch assigned to that staff in the MuseScore:Instruments dialog box assigned to them. You must jump through hoops and hide everything from the original assigned instrument and put in unplayed notes with a local key signature that the musician would see for playing and to be able to hear the song properly. Either that or add staffs and hide staffs and put hidden invisible unplayed notes on line you don't want hidden and change where the line breaks are so only 1 line is shown. UGH! You also have to divine what line in the mixer is supposed to be which instrument. It adds a line for every instrument change on the staff. In my example there are 2 Oboe lines in the mixer. If I were to change back to Oboe, there is a new Oboe line added to the mixer. They say the correct instruments in this case, but all trumpets, regardless of key, are listed as "Trumpet" in the mixer for playback purposes. I consider this a bug.

In MS 3.0 you are working on making it possible to split a staff between voices, I wonder if it would be such a leap to reverse the process to combine staffs by voice to make instrument changes easier or to make the staff aware that starting at a certain measure it is actually now an English Horn rather than an Oboe? Or to do in a the way that thatmusiclover started this thread with - or both? I realize there has to be a limit on voices, and you have selected the industry standard of 4, but couldn't you increase the number? I'm still rambling out loud. Maybe others will help to clarify this.

This list is long, so bear with me.
The violin, along with A LOT of the instruments, need a better sound font.
Suspended cymbal needs to be its own instrument.
Tremolos need to sound better as well. I always make trems on drum ppp because they sound so bad.
There needs to be rit. and accel.
There needs to be a wind chime that actually produces different pitches.
Hairpins on whole and half notes need to actually happen.
I know the people that work on MuseScore do their best, and I respect that. I don't expect all the suggestions people make to be in one update, I just kindly ask that some things be improved, some be improved A LOT more.

In reply to by JustWell3

Thanks for the suggestions! FYI, in general, it's better to make them in a separate post rather than piggy-backing on an unrelated one. But FWIW - you are already free to use other soundfonts (see the Handbook for info on how) if you believe there exist some with sounds you would like better. As for wind chime, see my response to your other post, but this exists already.

For tremolos, it isn't clear what you mean. The playback should be correct for so-called "measured" tremolo. but since you mention drums specifically, I guess you are hoping for "unmeasured" tremolo, which is basically a fast roll not in tempo. It is true this does not currently exist. Feel free to post a separate feature for this.

Eventually we would indeed like to have playback of rit and accel working, and hairpins on a single note. But do realize, playabck is very much secondary in importance for MsueScore. Most development effort goes to the more important notation features, and this is where most of the improvement happens. But usually each release comes with some playback improvements as well.

Hello. I came across this discussion as I was looking for an answer to the question I have, which seems to be related, but forgive me if it isn’t and please direct me to the correct forum if there is a better place to ask.
I’m notating a score that includes a grand staff for keyboards, a treble staff for vocals and a treble staff for flute. I want to use the staff for flute to switch back and forth between flute and bazouki, because they aren’t playing simultaneously, and I want to save space on the score. I already have the flute notated, and in the measures that the flute isn’t playing, I want to notate for bazouki. I want to switch back and forth between instruments about six times. What is the best way to do this? Thanks.

In reply to by Lisa134

If you literally want the flautist to put down their flute and pick up a bazouki mid-score, add an instrument change from the Text palette. but more likely you mean this to be two different musicians. So just add both staves. If they don’t play at the same time, MuseScore will save the space automatically if you turn on Format / Style / Score / Hide empty staves.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you, Marc. Before I turn on Hide empty staves, would that be better than leaving them all visible considering the following?
The song has three verses so it needs space for 3 lines of lyrics in places
There are four instruments (one is vocals, mostly soprano but joined by alto in the same stave), three with treble staff only and one with grand staff
All four instruments have sections in which they are silent
The score is about 188 measures

In reply to by Lisa134

It's hard to say without seeing the score (the actual MSCZ file, not a picture of it). Generally, hiding empty staves saves space so it's very common for long scores - make them take fewer pages. You can also elect to leave some staves visible and others not - instead of using the global hide empty staves option, you can control the "hide when empty" setting individually for each staff in Staff/Part Properties.

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