Working with Transposed Scores

Some instruments, such as B-flat clarinet, do not sound as written. For example, when a clarinet reads a C off of a sheet of music, what is actually heard is a B-flat. Instruments which do not sound as written are known as transposing instruments.

When working with scores containing transposing instruments, it is common practice to work with what is known as a transposed score as well as a C score.

A transposed score contains all of the parts as written. That is, a B-flat clarinet part on the score is transposed such that when played by a clarinet, it will sound correctly. Many older scores are transposed scores (one way to tell is that many staves will be in different key signatures). One benefit of using transposed scores is that when it comes time to print out the individual parts, the parts are already transposed.

To Turn a C Score into a Transposed Score

  • Select the staff/track you want to change.
  • Select Transpose by Instrument from the drop down menu of the action tab in the Properties Palette

- OR -

Select Transpose by Instrument from the ribbon menu in the main tab "Home".

  • In the From drop list, choose Concert C (assuming that the part was entered as sounds). In the To drop list, select the instrument for which you are transposing into (for example, Alto Saxophone).
  • Uncheck the Performance box in the Transposition Affects section. This is so that the actual playback will not be altered.
  • Check the Notation box.
  • Check the Change Key box.
  • Click the Apply button to transpose the music.

Entering Music from a Transposed Score

  • Determine the key of the piece. You can do this by finding the key signature that a non-transposing instrument is in (such as Flute, Piano, or Violin).
  • Transpose the entire piece into that key.
  • Following the steps for changing from a C score to a transposed score, setting each staff to the instrument that it is scored for.
  • Now you can enter the music, as it appears written on the score, and it will playback as it is supposed to sound.