"Edit strings and tuning" transposition seems to have no effect - Dorico Pro 4

Hello - as an avid guitarist who likes to transcribe solo guitar, I was very happy to see the video by Anthony detailing the new Capo feature. Part of that video detailed the transposition feature that could be used to “de-tune” a guitar by one or more steps. Leo Kottke (among others) frequently de-tunes his guitar. I’ve been using a custom expression map (on my guitar instrument) to get the score to sound lower, which helps my transcription work.

However, when I try the “Edit strings and tuning” transposition feature to effect de-tuning, it does not seem to have any effect. Maybe I’m missing something… I’d like to replace the expression map technique by the transposition feature. I assume this would also affect the guitar fingerboard widget, which would be great. (The expression map for the guitar instrument does not affect the fingerboard widget, unfortunately).

Has anyone else tried this?


There are unfortunately some known bugs with the feature to apply a transposition to a fretted instrument (particularly for note input/editing), but the basics should be working. Could you attach a minimal example project here in which it isn’t working for you, and I can take a look?

In particular, make sure that:

  • you’ve set the transposition in the Edit Strings and Tuning dialog (it sounds like you’ve done this)
  • you’ve set “Use fretted instrument transposition” on the Players page of Layout Options (with a detuned instrument rather than a capoed instrument you probably want this set to “For notation and main chord symbols”, though there is a bug with chord symbol transposition at present)
  • the layout you’re using is a transposing layout

Richard, thanks for offering to look at a sample project. I’m going to try to get it to you sometime tomorrow, because I decided to do some windows updates today (sigh!).

I tried setting points 2 and 3 above, but now I’m getting REALLY STRANGE behavior - even when I turn them off! Clicking the open low E string on the guitar fretboard inputs a note on the 14th fret of the A string!

Possibly this functionality is not what I’m looking for.

What I want (and works fine using a “-2 steps” expression map) is to enter notes/tab as if the tuning is standard, but the PLAYBACK sound will be two semi-tones lower. Thus the G on the low E string will LOOK like a G in the notation, and be played at the third fret in the tablature, but sound like an F when played back.

My expression map hack works perfectly fine for this, but the new guitar fretboard plays back at standard pitch (even while using the guitar staff with the -2 expression map). Is there a way to attach an expression map to the guitar fretboard?

When I try explicitly de-tuning the 6 strings, the notation shifts the notes down 2 semi-tones, as you would expect - which is not what I want…

Again, I’ll try to attach a tiny project or two soon.

Thanks for the help!

By the way, this might be a rare “use case”, so don’t pay too much time worrying about it - I just want to point it out in case the feature as a whole is not working the way it was designed.


As I say, there are indeed some known bugs which we are actively working on fixing, so don’t assume that any weird results are because you have done anything wrong - it may be we who have done something wrong! That’s why I suggested posting a file - I can certainly tell you how it is supposed to work.

Incidentally, if you are truly doing solo guitar, an alternative may be to adjust the “Pitch of A4” on the Tuning page of Playback Options to implement the detuning. How well this works will depend on your playback device.

And perhaps yet another way of achieving this would be to create your own expression map to use for your guitar instrument that provides a transposition interval of 2 (or is it -2? I’m never quite sure which way around that is).

Hello Daniel - sorry it has taken so long to get back to you (but I assume you’ve been busy enough without me - grin!).

I’ve been using an expression map very successfully in Dorico 3.5 and now 4. I’m happy with this technique. I don’t think the new transposition technique I referenced earlier in this thread is what I’m looking for.

However, there are a few “suggestions” I have for the guitar/bass fretboard in Dorico 4.

I’ve attached a tiny sample score, with two acoustic guitars, a bass guitar, and an electric guitar. I have a “-2 steps” expression map on the second acoustic guitar.

Here are my observations about the fretboard:

1 - if I switch from a guitar stave to the bass stave, I get a six-string and 4-string fretboard, and the guitar fretboard plays a “guitar” sound (and the bass plays a bass sound) - ok…

2 - however, the fretboard plays the SAME guitar sound whether the stave has a mellow
acoustic guitar, or a “screaming” electric guitar - i.e., the fretboard does not use the instrument attached to the stave. See “E. Gtr” in my sample.

3 - corollary of point 2 - the fretboard does not play the expression map attached to the stave. See “Ac. Gtr 2” in my example score. Playing the “Ac. Gtr 2” stave correctly sound two half-steps low, but the fretboard plays standard pitch.

I think a good solution would be to simply have the fretboard play the instrument and characteristics of the current (or last-activated) stave. Since it is aware of the guitar versus bass distinction, it should just be a little more aware of the stave (ha ha! - easy for me to say!).

Other than that, Dorico 4 is great - seriously!

Thanks, Daniel!

GuitarTest.dorico (817.4 KB)

The issue with the Fretboard always auditioning using the sound of the first channel (typically the first instrument in your project) will be fixed in the forthcoming maintenance release, coming soon.


Wonderful! Thanks, Daniel!

One other quick point, in case you are not aware of it: if you add an electric bass stave, it will automatically get a “transpose up one octave” expression map. Using the bass fretboard will not respect the expression map, and will play notes down an octave.

Again, the “fix” (IMHO) is to use the expression map on the staves’ instrument.