Treble clef 8va below

Can somebody please explain why Dorico (and for that matter Sibelius) doesn’t care if I use regular or octave treble clef. As a guitar player I run into this a lot. I need my guitar parts to player in the proper range. I never found a good way to make this work in Sibelius and I am a little surprised Dorico does it too. Unless there is a way to change the playback octave for a clef.

The cautious approach in this case might be because conventions regarding octave transposition have changed throughout time and are varied among different musical practices. Even among classical guitar music there is no consensus: some rest on tradition, some insist on explicitly specifying the treble clef is octave-transposing. To make things worse, the pitches will then be mapped to a sample library, which provides another discontinuity on which one can act: some libraries are programmed to work at actual pitch, others compensate a priori and map the sounds to the octave below.

You can quickly fix this by editing the Expression Map. Make note of the expression map active for the instrument by clicking in the gear icon pertaining to the relevant VST unit in Play Mode; it’ll be Default or CC11 Dynamics. In Play > Expression Maps, select the Expression map you need and duplicate it (if it’s music for solo guitar, you can just go ahead and edit it directly, since these changes will be project-specific). Then, you can transpose it down by 12 semitones, apply it to the instrument and you should be set.

I do not understand that thread : when I use a tenor instrument (that’s my voice — it has an octava down treble key) and I paste anything that comes from a normal treble key instrument, the pasted material has to be transposed an octave down

Hi peterkienle,
It is a good surprise but Dorico manage automatically transposing instruments like guitar (and bass guitar).
I made a specific test just to verify it with : guitar, violin and piccolo for the treble clef and double bass, bass guitar and violoncello for the bass clef.
I created sheet a music with the same notated 8 notes (ABCDEFGA in my exemple).
Just about instruments written with a G key, the upper A of the guitar sounds at the same pitch as the lower A of the violin cause guitar sounds 8vb than it is written. It’s the same with piccolo who, written like a violin, sounds 8va than the violin.
You can do the same to verify by yourself.

Anyway, in my opinion, you don’t need to use any treble clef 8va to write for guitar in the proper guitar tessitura.

I hope this will be helpful to you.

Marc, I quite often come across this situation.
I copy a tenor (voice) part into a score using the original tenor clef (c-clef on the top second staff line).
If I now change the clef to a more modern notation, using the violin clef (g-clef on second bottom staff line) with the octava down 8, I get the part one octave out of place…
Same vice versa.

Yes k_b, you’re completely right ! But there are at least 3 things :

  1. Dorico does consider a Tenor as a transposing instrument ! (create a single stave of piano or violin and switch to Soprano, Alto, Baritone, Bass, your stave stay the same. Switch to Tenor, Dorico rewrite automaticity 8v up.
  2. (Now I understand the original question from peterkienle.) Changing the treble clef do not transpose the score ! So, if you start with a normal treble clef and then you switch to a 8va, 8vb, 15va or 15vb treble clef -> notes are read at the same place (???) and heard at the same pitch. (You can also see the effect in the Play Mode.
  3. It seems Ut 4 clef works fine ! :smiley:

So, as I understand, clefs with 8vb, 8va, etc. , have to be used for specific transposing instruments (or tenor).
(I think it do not change anything for the guitar cause the guitar is normally written in a normal treble clef.)
Workarounds a needed.

I actually do not understand the business with the tenor voice being „transposed“
If I see a g-clef with an 8 below it clearly shows, where and how the note will sound. There is no transposing going on here.
Unless one would use the g-clef without the 8 at the bottom. Then an octave transposition will have to be invoked.

ps. sorry about my bad english…

The tenor voice sings an octave below its written treble clef note whether there is a little 8 below the clef or not. This has been true since long before the special treble-with-8-below clef was ever invented. Tenors know this. The little 8 is just a reminder for people who don’t know about the convention. Thus the tenor voice is a ‘transposing instrument.’ Just like a piccolo except the opposite direction.

P.S. You English is fine. A lot of people share your same clef-confusion, and some of them are native English born. So don’t worry!

Ok ! I thought the clef was transposing (it looked very logical to me) but it’s the tenor voice… Thanks for your explanation and my apologies to the OP :wink:

Actually, it’s HALion that considers the Tenor a transposing instrument (not to mention one with a sadly limited range as is true of many of the HALion vocal sounds). Dorico’s clef arrangement merely reflects that. While one can alter the octave of transposition in HALion if needed (for T/B staves), it is not so easy if one is trying to use Aria/Garritan sounds, which makes this interpretation of tenor as transposing a royal pain.

See my post above, the first reply. It’s as easy as changing the expression map — it’s its job, to be just precisely between the MIDI output and the VST input and, well, map things.

Well, Derrek, I’m not sure it’s HALion because I NEVER use those vocal sounds (they are impossible), and always put an oboe or a clarinet instead. And if I copy some material from a soprano to a tenor, it will then show an octave higher. If it’s not because of the tenor G clef, then it makes sense to me it is because of the instrument. This would also explain the problems with the tenor C clef (where the tenor voice is NOT transposing an octave down normally)

I understand that the “tenor” G Clef does not transpose. Too bad there could not be a property to make the octave selectable.

Octave clefs do not transpose in Dorico at the moment, but we have certainly discussed adding an option to allow this, though I think there’s plenty of scope for you to make a mess of things if you use it! The most compelling case, for me, is not how Dorico should handle instruments that by convention are notated one or two octaves higher or lower than they sound, since e.g. piccolo and double bass never use the treble clef with 8 above or bass clef with 8 below, and both tenor voice and guitar can interchangeably be written either with or without the 8 below the treble clef, and players of those instruments/singers get along absolutely fine either way.

No, for me the more compelling case is e.g. complex keyboard or mallet percussion music where the use of an octave clef can reduce the need for the use of long and cumbersome octave lines. This appears to have become something more widely used through the 20th century. So this is certainly something we are open to revisiting in the future.

Exactly. Starting in the 1960s (more or less coinciding with his change of publishers, I think), Benjamin Britten came to use this notation quite a lot in his piano music (including song accompaniments), preferring it to long 8va dotted lines. Some other British composers followed suit, especially if they too were published by Faber. I can see that allowing this usage in Dorico gives the user plenty of leeway to mess things up, as you say… but such is the price of freedom, I suppose.

Thank you for considering this, at least.

…all good points! With freedom comes responsibility!

Wasn’t it Mark Twain that said something along the lines of “Nothing is foolproof, 'cause fools are so darned ingenious”?

As far as I can tell this hasn’t been changed yet ( so in order to have readable scores one has to accept that some passages of parts are played back in the the wrong octaves. Any idea when this might change?

It’s not right at the top of our priority list at the moment, and we can only really plan in detail for one release at a time, so I’m afraid beyond saying that we don’t expect this to be in our next update, I can’t provide any further information. We know it’s important, though.

Thank you for this acknowledgement, Daniel. These statements do a lot to calm the waters. …Having said that: :wink:

For me, the most compelling case is that any instrument changing from or to a Tenor G8 clef will either not display or not playback correctly.
My admittedly niche use is transcribing Tenor lines from manuscripts written in C4 clef. Currently, Dorico shows the music an octave too high, making checking my work against the source more difficult, before I ‘restore’ the G8 clef. My workaround is to play it into an Alto part and then copy it to the Tenor.

Obviously, if the clef shifts the octave, then the tenor voice instrument must not do the same! Someone has sent me some XML magic to add a ‘working’ Tenor G clef, but I can’t use it with the Tenor instrument! :laughing:

I’d be interested to know what advantage the ‘silencing of the clefs’ brings to Dorico for other instruments. From what you’ve said above, instruments like piccolo and contrabass would actually be unaffected by working clefs, as the transposition is handled by the instrument and the ottava clef not used.

Theoretically, any transposing instrument (not just octaves, but Bb, F, Ab) should be able to display an ottava clef, so the two things are distinct.