Take the 2-minute tour ×
Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

As far as I understand, a "perfect unison" refer to two notes sounding the same pitch. Why both MuseScore and Sibelius 7 (I work with these two programs) offer a feature to transpose the up or down by "perfect unison"?

I tried to transpose a single A placed on the usual staff. When I select "augmented unison", the computer places the # in front of it (if to transpose up) or b (if to transpose down). Hence the augmented unison seems exactly one half tone distance.

However nothing happens when I try to transpose by "perfect unison", that makes sense taking its definition into consideration. But why to have such a "feature" at all? Maybe something would happen when transposing more complex piece with constructs I am not aware?

share|improve this question
2  
You're right, the option doesn't make sense. It's probably there for no specific reason. –  Roland Bouman Apr 27 at 17:29

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

You're right. There's no effect when transposing by a perfect unison. But it does make sense to have the option of transposing by an augmented unison (eg. Ab major to A Major) or a diminished unison (eg. B major to Bb Major). I guess the perfect unison option is simply there because you have perfect, diminished and augmented transpose options for each interval.

Just to be sure, I tried transposing a few passages by a perfect unison using Sibelius 7 (I don't have MuseScore), and yes, the notes are unaffected, but weirdly, the spacing changes…

EDIT: okay, I have spotted one way you can usefully use the transpose by perfect unison function. The transpose function in Sibelius has a "use double sharps/flats" checkbox. You could uncheck this box and transpose by a perfect unison to re-notate the music without double sharps/flats. This is useful; sometimes music is easier to read with more accidentals, but fewer double sharps/flats, even if this is less theoretically "correct". (Eg. G#, G natural, G#, G natural). Having said this, there may be a plug-in for dealing with this anyway.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.