A description of how to encode transposing parts in Humdrum scores.

Humdrum scores are always written in sounding pitch. If you want to be able to display a transposing score, then add transposition information to each part that transposes. A transposing interpretation start with the string *ITr followed by diatonic/chromatic description of the interval needed to produce the written score. For example a B-flat instrument needs to be written up a major second from its sounding pitches. This means going up one diatonic pitch name, or going up two chromatic semi-tones. So the final transposing interpretation is *ITrd1c2. For an instrument in F, the transposition would be up 4 diatonic steps, equal to 7 semi-tones for an interpretation of *ITrd4c7.

In the above example score, the second part simulates a French horn part in the key of F, but typically with a horn part, there is no key signature and it is omitted from the score (otherwise it should show one B-flat in the key signature).

When playing back a score containing transposing instruments in VHV, the MIDI conversion will be a sounding score.

MusicXML import

MusicXML files containing transposing parts will be handled properly when the files are converted into Humdrum data by drag-and-dropping the files onto the VHV webpage. Notes are transposed from written pitch to sounding pitch during the conversion process.

Try downloading this file, containing the example score in MusicXML format, and then dragging it into the VHV editor.

MEI export

When converting into MEI data, notes are stored in transposed form, and the header for each part contains the transposition information for converting to sounding pitch (so a B-flat instrument written part would be transposed down a diatonic step equal to two semi-tones down to produce the sounding pitches).