Changing Instruments within a Track

Selecting an Instrument for a specific Track is fairly straightforward. Using Select Mode…. (Main tab "Home" under "Modes")

…double-click on the Staff in question.

When the Staff Properties Palette appears, select an instrument from the Instrument tab.

Changing Instruments within a Track, however, is less clearly documented. For our example, we will select to change Instruments within a Track on the first beat of the 16th measure.

Using the same Staff Properties Palette, we will click once on the List button.

An expanded window will appear containing the current Instrument selected. (This is also known as the Patch or Program Change, but for our purposes we will stick to the more generic term of Instrument.)

Note the current Instrument selected in the expanded List View.

To change the Instrument beginning at measure 16 first click on the New Patch button.

Within the Instrument List select a different Instrument, for this exampleUse (07)Harpsichord.

Now click in the Time box and using the up arrow, move the Time Counter forward to 016:00:000 and click Apply.

The new Instrument change will appear beneath the current Instrument and include the measure number in which the change occurs. The next time the file is played the new Instrument will begin playing in measure 16.

There are times when several different instrument sounds are required within a Track, like using Tremolo Strings (slash on stem) for one section, switching to Pizzicato (pizz) Strings and then to back to the regular Violin Instrument sound (arco).

One way to accomplish this would be to have separate tracks for each instrument sound. However this procedure would be cumbersome for a String Quartet or Full Orchestra.

To conserve Score space the Properties Palette can be used to perform these changes. See the printed example below:

This is how a string player might expect the music to be written. To hear this played back appropriately through your computer or MIDI keyboard, the following is a step-by-step procedure to enter these changes.

  •   Enter the notes either by playing them in from your MIDI keyboard or by dropping in the notes from the Input Palette.
  • Add Tremolo markings to the notes in measure 2 using the Ornaments Tab on the Input Palette.

   Now that the appearance is appropriate for Tremolo Strings, let’s enter the Patch or Program Change so the notes sound like Tremolo Strings.

In Select mode double-click on the Track/Staff in Score View or Mixer View to bring up the Properties Palette containing Staff Properties.

To expose the Program Change window click on the List button [Toggle Patch List Editor]. As you can see in this example, the Violin instrument has already been selected.

To change the sound to Tremolo Strings for measure 2 click the New Patch button and edit the Time dialog box content to reference the first beat of measure 2. Select Tremolo Strings and click Apply.

As you can see in this example, the Patch or Program Change List has updated reflecting the Tremolo Strings playing on the first beat of measure 2.

All that is needed now is to repeat the process and add Pizzicato Strings (pizz) to the first beat of measure 3 and change back to the regular Violin Instrument (arco) on the first beat of measure 4.

This method of using multiple instruments within a track is especially handy when working with sound effects. Instead of having several tracks, one for each sound effect, all the sound effects can be entered on one track.