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Topic: Transposing - Playing Music Written for a non C Instrument (Read 16522 times) previous topic - next topic

Transposing - Playing Music Written for a non C Instrument

Suppose you have music written for an E flat alto saxophone which you wish to play using NoteWorthy Composer (NWC). Enter the music as written in NWC. Play it with NWC and play along on the sax and incorrect sound results. A C-note on the alto saxophone plays as E flat on the concert (piano) scale. Sound cards (and thus NWC) use concert scale unless instructed otherwise. To instruct NWC otherwise:

  • Go to Staff: Staff Properties
  • Click the Midi tab
  • Goto the Transposition field, find -9 and select it (E flat is 3 semitones above and 9 semitones below C; 9 below gets alto's register)
  • While you're at it, under the Instrument tab, select Alto Saxophone for Patch Name
  • Click OK
The notes on the staff will not have moved. However, when you click Play, a C-note will be played as an alto sax C, or a concert E flat. The written music will be for alto sax and the notes played by NWC will be for alto sax. Success.

Success---Until a non E flat instrument shows up:

  • Select Tools, Force Accidentals
  • Select Tools, Transpose and type -9, click OK
The visible notes will have moved. Play and the tones will match for:

  • NWC playing this new score or the previous score
  • The sax playing the previous score or the original music
  • A pianist playing this new score
The pianist will complain that the key is wrong. Insert the key signature equal to the value of the first note and audit the accidentals. Viola, total success. Procedure for other non c instrument music will be similar.

Key facts:
  • Transpose in Tools moves notes but not sounded tones
  • Transposition in the Staff Properties Midi tab moves sounded tones but not written notes
  • There are 12 semitones in an octave