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Transposing Using Personal Composer

PCWin transpose screenThis post is going to be boring, informational, boring, instructive, boring, hopefully helpful… and did I mention boring? Unless, of course, you want more detailed information on transposing scores using the personal composer demo. Which a lot of you do seem to want. Soooo… hold on to your seats, and away we go…

I use Personal Composer to produce the scores you see on this site. I have used Personal Composer since the days of DOS, I beta-tested for them over the years, and I really, truly, literally cried when they closed their doors.  Since I have over a thousand scores in this format, there’s no way I’m changing, and I’ll continue to use this program until someone comes up with a way to just convert ideas automatically from brain to written score.

First, a couple of general notes:

  • To transpose a score, you will need to download the score in Personal Composer format. It has a .pc extension. (The following sentence is in all caps, bolded, italicized, hmmm… should I make it red? or lime green?… because it’s the number one problem people have in trying to transpose files.) YOU CANNOT TRANSPOSE PDF FILES. Except manually. Which is a pain.
  • The Personal Composer demo works only on PCs, not on Macs. I am truly sorry this is so, but there it is. If you have only a Mac, it is possible (one might say “very likely”) that you have a friend with a PC who can help you out.

Okay… now that the basics are out of the way here are the details, step by step.

  1. Download the Personal Composer demo. (Or download the .zip file instead.) The download is about 5.5 Mb

    Install the demo program on your PC. (Not on your Mac. It won’t work.)

  2. Download your chosen .pc file. (Not .pdf file. It won’t work.) Here’s a tip: If you have trouble downloading the .pc file try using the RIGHT mouse button, and click “Save target as…” or “Save as…”–the wording depends on your browser. Edge users have reported problems with downloads. Try Chrome or Firefox.
  3. Open the .pc file (if it doesn’t open automatically) by either double-clicking the file in your Windows Explorer, or by opening the Personal Composer program and using the file/open command. (The “File/Open” command method is the surest.)
  4. Click the “Staff” command — bottom row, left-most button.
  5. From the tool menu that appears, select “Key Signature” — middle button.
  6. Click on the staff at the beginning of the section you wish to transpose. If you are transposing the whole song, that would be measure 1. A menu full of options will appear.
  7. Choose the appropriate menu options. These will be unique to you, so I can’t specify what they’ll be.
  8. When you are sure you have the correct options selected, hit “Ok.” (If the music contains key changes, choose “To end of piece…” and they will be adjusted automatically.)
  9. Print your transposition AND PROOF IT CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU CLOSE THE DEMO. You can’t save your work in the Personal Composer Demo (hey, it’s a demo!) so be sure your transposition works for you before you close the program.
  10. There may be some cosmetic issues with the score–accidentals don’t always have enough space, stems don’t always end up the right direction, cross-staff notes don’t always beam correctly, that sort of thing. If it bothers you, you can clean these up.
  11. You can print the file to any printer on your device, including PDF converters. (Try http://www.cutepdf.com/ for a good freebie.)

That’s all folks!

I really sincerely hope this will be helpful to anyone trying to transpose this music, because there’s nothing more in the storage rooms of my disorganized brain that I can dig out to shed any further light on the process. It looks complicated, but it’s really not that bad, so give it a try. As much as I’d love to, I can’t do transpositions on demand. Sleep is too important to me.

Happy Transposing!


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