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Re: Transposing instruments in orchestra score

From: Kieren MacMillan
Subject: Re: Transposing instruments in orchestra score
Date: Fri, 9 May 2014 20:02:27 -0400

Hi David,

> I am curious as to what are the "killer" use cases?

I compose and arrange music theatre works (amongst other things). In the pit, 
we almost always have a multi-wind player. A very normal part would see that 
one person playing:
    mm 1-10 on Bb clarinet
    mm. 20-42 on [C+8] piccolo
    mm. 54-72 on Bb-8 bass clarinet
    mm. 84-100 on [G] alto flute
where the key(s) of the CONCERT-PITCH MUSIC (i.e., not just the TRANSPOSITION 
of the instrument) might change between instrument switches, or even 
mid-instrument block.

I want to write:

wind_notes = {
  \switchInstrument #”cl”
  cl. music here, in concert pitch
  \switchInstrument #”picc”
  picc. music here, in concert pitch
  \switchInstrument #”” music here, in concert pitch
  \switchInstrument #”picc”
  a.fl. music here, in concert pitch

> Another way of asking this is, what is so terrible with the obvious approach?

You have to put the key information redundantly in each instrumentalist’s music.

A better [i.e, more maintainable and “object-oriented”] approach is this:

global = {
  \key a \minor s1*8
  \key e \minor s1*4
  \key c \major s1*10

and then in both part and full score use

    \new Staff << \global \wind_notes >>

In the part, all the instrumental transpositions should apply; in the score, I 
should be able to choose (C score or transposed).

Makes sense?


Kieren MacMillan, composer
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email:  address@hidden

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