Pennywhistles/Shinobue etc in different keys

What’s the best way to set up instruments like Pennywhistles or Shinobue which come in different keys, but I always want to notation to appear in the key of D, transposed correctly for whichever key instrument. These instruments are a little “extra” because, at least how I use them, no matter the key of the instrument, the notation should always be in D. D is the standard pennywhistle, so its’ a no brainer that shows up in D, but a C pennywhistle ends up acting like a transposing instrument because across all pennywhistles for uniformity, we call the fingering for D, D no matter what note actually comes out. So it’s like a two part transposition… A Bb pennywhistle playing the D fingering makes a Bb, but by standard transposition for a Bb instrument it would be notated as a C… a 2nd whole step needs to be added to force the notation to be in the key of D. So it’s almost like you treat a Bb instrument as if it were an Ab instrument, so get that extra major 2nd in there. In this way, a standard D pennywhistle becomes the only one that doesn’t transpose. It’s a strange convention, and I’m probably not clearly explaining my own understanding of it – so hopefully someone knows. And, bigger point, how do I add these to my instrument list box? I should mention I’m on Dorico 3.5, but will soon upgrade to 4.

Health warning -not an expert!

Welcome to the forum, where thankfully there are some real black belt Dorico experts poised to offer help. In the meantime…

Set up a Halion instrument, then go to the Play section and open the Halion VST. In its MIDI section you’ll see a Transpose column, so you can change the pitch of the sound which comes out of it.

Your pennywhistle score would be in Concert pitch for the key of D, but the sounds coming out for each instrument would depend on how you’ve changed the transposition in the Halion VST

Would this approach work for what you have in mind?

As for setting up these instruments in the list box - no idea! Might it not have to be a new sample library? Or you could fake them using Halion?

Hope this is worth pursuing - I’ll stick to brain surgery, much simpler!

That is a good solution for now, but hopefully in a future Dorico update support for these instruments will be easier. Sounds like for now, a player swapping instruments of various keys is going to take more steps than standard transposed instruments.

My current use of Dorico is rather unique. I am a theater woodwind doubler, and occasionally stream my woodwind playing on Twitch, and I’ll prepare a Dorico project with the melody transposed for C, Bb, Eb, F and G instruments. I load a video with an audio track of the backing track, and roughly time sync the score with tiny tempo changes so the playhead marker keeps the right bit of music in front of me. All the notation tracks are muted, I just start it playing the audio track, and can swap around what instrument I’m playing live whenever I feel like it, knowing that the notation will always scroll in sync with my accompaniment track.

That’s a very inventive solution you’ve devised. I guess not many people have even thought about pennywhistles and how to come up with a standard way to notate them. My daughter plays a pennywhistle in an Irish folk band, and over the years I’ve bought her plenty of different ones - in C, D etc, but never even thought about how the scores would be played. Hopefully one of the Steinberg staff will take a look at this with a view to making it all a whole lot easier in Dorico. :crossed_fingers: