Change "Tenor" part to non-transposing

Just starting with Dorico… bear with me… not found info via search or in manual.

I have created SATB unaccompanied, but wanted to change the Tenor instrument to Bass clef (non-transposing). I’ve changed the clef, but the MIDI input is still displaying in transposition. I would think that changing the display via [EDIT - Concert Pitch] would at least effect the visual display, but no change happens.

How can I edit the properties of that Stave, so that no transposition information is applied to the Tenor part?

Looks like I did find some information…
https://japan.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=103857&p=573174

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears that the default parameters for instruments aren’t able to be changed. “Tenor” parts will forever be sounding/displayed as transposing instruments… regardless of clef changes.

The work around was to move the “Tenor” part to a Bass part and then rename it.

Actually using Baritone works better. When using a second Bass part, Dorico adds a secondary bracket to group the staves.

I couldn’t find a way to change this either! :laughing:

I’m writing choral music using movable C clefs. Dorico’s behaviour is simply wrong here. Tenor C clef is not transposing.

Moreover, a tenor vocalist is not a “transposing instrument”. The modern G clef with the 8 under it is a transposing clef.

It looks like Steinberg has made transposition an attribute of an instrument that can’t be changed, and that is the wrong way around at least in this case, probably others as well.

Sorry, but I believe you are mistaken. If that were true, then tenors would not be singing an octave below the notated pitch when singing from plain treble clef staves, without the little 8 underneath. But they do, and always have done. I think most authorities agree that the little 8 is just a reminder of what the singer does anyway. In other words, the clef itself does NOT create the transposition but merely reflects it.

If Dorico is treating the tenor voice as transposing an octave regarless of what clef is used, then THAT is the mistake-- not the way it treats the clef.

Well, actually no, I’m not mistaken. if tenors are singing from a treble clef without the 8 under it, then the editor made a mistake. The clef shows the transposition. If it doesn’t and the tenors transpose anyway, fine, but it’s not correct music notation. You can find any reference on notation to confirm that fact.


Right. And that’s what I said above. Except that you seem to be confused about the rules regarding clefs. A treble clef with an 8 under it is a transposing clef, down one octave. Put a 15 there and it is down 2 octaves (although that isn’t standard). You can place it above to transpose up as well. Check any notation guide.

Which did you check? Here is Gerou and Lusk.

As it happens I think that best practice in this specific case is for the clef to transpose, not the singer (unlike piccolo where the player transposes and not the clef), but the situation is not black and white.

Even Gould, who is usually the most opinionated of authors, only states the use of the clef with an 8 for tenor singers is to be recommended (not compulsory).

Well, if you are right, then publishers like Peters clearly don’t know what they are doing.

Actually I’ve met a few tenors who might be vain (or stupid) enough to try singing their parts an octave too high, but that’s their problem!

The same applies to guitar staff notation, of course.

Attachment: Donato, “Preparing Music Manuscript”, Prentice-Hall, 1963, p. 131.

Interesting. Music notation may be hardly standardised, so trying to be “right” about such a thing is silly, but that’s not a standard. The “modern” treble clef with the 8 below is a modern standard. leaving off the 8 is just lazy practice and I stick to my claim calling that practice technically wrong.

The point to be made is that the tenor voice is not a “transposing instrument”. When a tenor voice reads a tenor clef, the pitch is as written. It is not transposed by an octave. That is the point.

But that’s not the same thing. That’s a case where the guitar is considered a transposing instrument. The clef isn’t considered a transposing clef.

Sometimes when an instrument transposes, it’s not exactly clear what is supposed to be considered as the thing responsible for the transposition. In the case of the guitar, it’s the instrument. In the case of the tenor voice, it’s the clef. So notation software should be able to handle both of those things, and the user should be able to override or define either one.

Right, I agree. Your photo is of Alfred’s Essential Dictionary of Music Notation — hardly the gold standard for notation reference, but as it’s one of the books on my shelf too, I’m not judging :wink:

Yes, that’s the trouble. It’s hard to hold to a rule when half the people are doing it “wrong”. I stand by my opinion that it’s wrong, nevertheless.

I agree with you, zentralzone. I never came across any music in my life, where an instrument (or singer) was transposing, when reading any kind of C clef. Therefore I would prefer, that a tenor voice would transpose down an octave, when wirtten in treble clef, but play back as written, when I change to Tenor or Bass clef.
Also I would ask for an option in Dorico, where I can decide, if I want clefs with an 8 (or 15) below or above the clef to transpose down or up or not.
Unfortunately there is a tradition to write music, where singers or instruments transpose the music down an octave, even if there is not an 8 under the clef. Therefore this has to be possible in Dorico as well.

Sometimes we will have to remember that notation is just a tool to help reproducing real music. It is a pragmatic helping tool. It shows the way, but it does not bind you or force you along a certain path. There will always be an interpretation of the signs involved. So notation is more a helping hand and not just a set of rules. Sorry about my bad english…

I think two basic issues for Dorico’s implementation of the Tenor voice in HALion are:

  1. What will happen when Tenor and Bass voices are combined on a single staff with Bass clef, as many Hymns do?
  2. The range of the Tenor voice (however you define its transposition) does not include the full tenor range; nor do at least several of the other choral voices in the HALion library. I can compensate for “transposition” but if I run out of notes at the top or bottom of the range, I am in trouble simulating the music.