I got burned... transposing scores

Hi all–
I have a feature request: banners at the top of the screen in write, engrave, and PRINT modes (or a warning dialogue) that indicate whether or not you are printing a transposed score at concert pitch.

The scene: organ loft, 9:30pm Christmas Eve; “Midnight Mass” in an hour, trumpeters show up… and one of the two players had 2 scores that were not transposed scores. They had been printed at concert pitch. :open_mouth:

Organist: bolt down to office (thank God it was in the church basement!) to generate new parts and hope to God this player can pull it off. Return 3 minutes later and apologize profusely with a very red face (from embarrassment and from running up/down a combined 4 sets of stairs in under 3 minutes). Assure him it’s OK if he wants to sit these movements out; he will be paid either way. :blush: :cry:

The backstory: I have a parishioner that is well plugged into the music scene and has professional contacts around town; he can find me a brass player last minute for Christmas (I just started new job recently and was trying to put on a school concert with 150 kids less than a week before Christmas; there are only so many hours in the day.) Great!

I generate parts about a week out from Xmas. Dec. 23rd he tells me he found TWO players; this was very unexpected since we were working with less than a week’s lead time (and this is a small town!). I stay up late generating a few more complimentary parts. Final review; looks good with incredibly little manual intervention (I love Dorico!); print; hand off scores Sunday morning; players show up Monday evening. sweat beads on forehead

Where I went wrong: (where do I start? :laughing: ) I discovered the hard way, that when you check “transposed score” it only changes the particular layout that you are viewing. It does not “mode switch” all affected layouts. Because I had generated the first trumpet part (in Bb) a week earlier and was not rushed, everything was fine. Because player #2 was a (welcomed, if harried) surprise, his arrangements were generated in a flash; I reviewed notes on the master score; switched back to transposed score and printed parts. I didn’t realize that the second trumpet part had not converted to the transposed version when I ticked that option on the master score. When I reviewed part 1, it had been converted (a week earlier) and so I was lulled into a fake sense of security.

To be clear, this is a lesson learned and there are soooo many reasons (all on my end) why this should have never happened. I do not mean to blame the development team in any way. That said; there was no warning “You are printing a transposed score at concert pitch. Do you wish to proceed?” or no colored banner at the top of print mode for me to catch my mistake. (As a quick aside; why would printing a transposing instrument’s part at concert pitch even be allowed? I understand viewing the file to correct notes if you have difficulty reading a transposing part, but why print?)

I had glanced at trumpet 1, formatting was fine-- It looked good (and it was properly transposed). Quick peek at part #2 to make sure it looked the same as #1 and off to the races. Sadly, I didn’t realize that the concert pitch/ transposed pitch toggle was layout specific and that the key signature was different. Ultimately, I think layout-specific is a great choice; but I learned the hard way. But, like I said, it would be nice if there was some kind of warning.

If nothing else-- hopefully this little story will keep someone else from falling into the same trap for their next gig.

Merry Christmas, all, and a Happy New Year! :smiley:

Well, if it helps at all, I’m sure we’ve all done it at one point or another. I know I have, to my chagrin!

But when you are operating in panic mode, you don’t READ those warnings, you just click “Continue” and curse the fact that the warning has wasted a few seconds of your time :blush:

Out of curiosity, did you ask the player if he could just sight-transpose? It seems to me that any trumpet player good enough to get paid could do this easily, unless you were making a transcription of Wozzeck or something like that. Even then…

My standard assumption for Trumpet players is that whatever key I put the part in, they’ll bring a different instrument, and say “It doesn’t matter.” :laughing:

Hm … I’m not a very experienced Dorico user, but isn’t it a possibily to leave a wildcard in the parts (something that starts with @ ) that automatically says whether it is a transposing part or concert pitch? That way after printing, even if you’re stressed out you can do a quick sanity check to make sure it’s all okay.

@benwiggy - the only things trumpeters grumble about are (1) having to play softer than ff, and (2) not having enough high notes in the part. :smiling_imp:

I can resolutely say that such a warning would have stopped me dead in my tracks and saved the day. Better to have it and not need it than not have it at all! :unamused:

As I said, last minute, small town. He was young. Likely his first professional gig. I wasn’t in the mood to experiment at one of the most important Masses of the entire liturgical year…

To my knowledge there isn’t any formula to do this yet. As it is, it shows “Trumpet in Bb” up in the corner when using the “parts” master page set; that unfortunately doesn’t indicate whether or not the score is concert pitch (I know you know this, I’m just saying). So, we are half-way there as far as labelling is concerned. Honestly, you shouldn’t have to label a part as concert/transposed pitch. This is something that needs to be worked out in the background by the program. Again, however, I don’t even think that we should be allowed to print a transposing instrument at concert pitch. It makes no sense whatsoever. Seeing the concert score pitch for arranging is one thing; printing is totally unnecessary.

I guess that’s why the switch is in the Edit menu, rather than the View menu. We now have “Concert Pitch” or other in the Status bar at the bottom of the screen, which is something.

Go to Layout Options.
Select all part layouts.
Set to Transposed layout.

Then select a single part layout.
Select “Part” from the layout type dropdown.
Set as Default.

Then NEVER touch the Edit > Pitch options with a part layout open.

Thanks for this wonderful idea. I will make sure to do this. (It should be the factory default if it isn’t already.)

It is the default setting. You must have changed it along the way…

What I should add is that if you’re somebody that keeps various empty projects as “templates”, then you’ll need to work your way through each of these separately and apply the Transposing Layout option - remember that the Defaults only affect new projects.



You are the best and, I’m happy to report, that this is not the first time I have mentioned something on the forum (I know I was not the only one) and it has been implemented. In fact, I think there have been 2 or 3 things in the last year or so. Seriously… the Dorico Dev. Team is the BEST. :smiley: