MusicXML and transposing instruments - revisted

Discussion about Overture but not bugs.
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TenorAlan
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MusicXML and transposing instruments - revisted

Post by TenorAlan »

In a post many months ago (I am not able to find it just now) I had observed that Overture, when generating a MusicXML file from a score including one or more parts for transposing instruments notated at "player part pitch", did not generate the MusicXML code in accord with the generally-accepted interpretation of the provisions of the MusicXML documentation.

But after having studied this area more closely, I realized that in my evaluation of Overture's behavior I had ignored an important feature, the Show Transposed Score button.

I now realize that, in preparing a score including one or more tracks for transposing instruments, and we wish to work on those tracks on a player part pitch notation basis (whether or not we wouild want to print the score that way), we should do so with Show Transposed Score ON. (Rather than working with Show Transposed Score OFF and then notating the instrument at player part pitch , as I had originally envisioned.)

Then the MusicXML code generated by Overture indeed makes sense under the "protocol" I alluded to above.

My apologies for the bum steer.

Alan
TenorAlan
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Re: MusicXML and transposing instruments - revisted

Post by TenorAlan »

In any event, I find that:

• A MusicXML file generated by Overture for a score including a part (track) for a transposing instrument, when imported by the notation program MuseScore, leads to a reconstructed score in which that part is properly notated, is played by MuseScore with the notes at the proper pitches, and, when the MuseScore "Concert Pitch" button is set to ON, presents the score with the transposing instrument's part properly notated at "concert pitch" (sounding pitch).

• A MusicXML file generated by MuseScore for a score including a part for a transposing instrument (prepared in the appropriate way, paralleling that discussed earlier for Overture), when imported by Overture, leads to a reconstructed score in which that part is properly notated, is played by Overture with the notes at the proper pitches, and, when the Overture "Show Transposed Score" button is set to OFF, presents the score with the transposing instrument's part properly notated at "concert pitch" (sounding pitch).

• A MusicXML file generated by Overture for a score including a part (track) for a transposing instrument, when imported by the notation program Finale, leads to a reconstructed score in which that part is properly notated, is played by Finale with the notes at the proper pitches, and, when the Finale "Display in Concert Pitch" mode is ON is set to ON, presents the score with the transposing instrument's part properly notated at "concert pitch" (sounding pitch).

That all seems quite nice.

Alan
TenorAlan
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Re: MusicXML and transposing instruments - revisted

Post by TenorAlan »

Where the Overture plan for encoding transposing instruments into MusicXML does not work out is in the case (admittedly infrequent) of a transposing instrument with a very high or low range, in which case it is customary for the "conductor's part" notation to be one or two full octaves above sounding pitch.

For example, in the case of the Baritone Horn (treble clef), Overture sets up the track for the instrument to be notated (with Show Transposed Score OFF) at a full octave above sounding pitch, and for the player part (as seen with Show Transposed Score ON) to be notated 2 semitones above that (14 semitones above sounding pitch). This is all consistent with what I understand to be customary practice,

In this case, Overture encodes the MusicXML file to indicate that sounding pitch is 2 semitones below the encoded note pitch (which is in fact the player part pitch, as it should be). (I will spare the reader the details of how this happens.) That is of course not the case here; sounding pitch is 14 semitones below the encoded note pitch.

As a result, when the MusicXML file is imported by Overture, or MuseScore, or Finale, the notation looks fine, and responds properly during a change from "concert pitch" to "player part pitch" display (this has a differetn name in Overture, but still has the same implications), but if the score is played, the sounded pitch is an octave too high.

I do not at present have any suggestion as to how this might be averted.

Alan
TenorAlan
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Re: MusicXML and transposing instruments - revisted

Post by TenorAlan »

Well, the MusicXML syntax does not really have the ingredients needed to properly deal with this notation situation.

Alan
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MikeHalloran
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Re: MusicXML and transposing instruments - revisted

Post by MikeHalloran »

Wait till MusicXML 4. Michael Good, the inventor of MusicXML gives us a preview here.

https://www.scoringnotes.com/podcast/mi ... -musicxml/

Of course, once released, it has to be implemented. MusicXML is a toolkit, not something that a developer dumps into an app to have it magically just work. Don has done a much better job than most in this regard (yes, I mean You, Dorico).

If interested in these issues, the Scoring Notes newsletter is free. Sign up at the bottom of the link referenced above.
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