Improved Note / Accidental Layout In MuseScore 2.0
The most basic feature of a music notation program is note layout and rendering. In MuseScore, layout of notes - including chords, augmentation dots, ties, and accidentals - has not changed appreciably for years. But while MuseScore has always done a good job in the simple cases, there are a number of not uncommon situations where MuseScore made surprisingly poor decisions. This requires the user to adjust things manually - assuming he can even figure out what the correct layout is and how to do the necessary adjustments. For even moderately complex scores (especially piano or guitar music), this could be a time-consuming and error-prone process.
For MuseScore 2.0, the basic layout algorithms have been overhauled over the past few weeks to greatly reduce if not all but eliminate the need for manual adjustment of notes, chords, dots, ties, or accidentals. We used Elaine Gould's "Behind Bars" as our primary reference for what correct layout should look like, although we also consulted other references and published scores.
You can check out the results in any recent nightly build (for testing purposes only; still not ready for "real" use). For scores created in 1.3 or earlier 2.0 builds, you may need to first remove any manual adjustments you had already applied.
Some of the specific improvements are shown below. Note again that in most simple cases, MuseScore already did a good job, but the examples included here are not especially rare or unusual, either.
Handling of seconds in multivoice context
Spacing of overlapping chords
Dots in multivoice context
Length of ties
Stacking of accidentals
Regarding this point specifically, we also owe a debt to Daniel Spreadbury of Steinberg - a company in the process of developing their own notation program - for posting an article on accidental stacking and a comparison between a number of different programs. This came out right at the time we were looking at this ourselves, and it led us to a number of further refinements. You can see his article here, his comparison here (MuseScore 1.3 is "Product E"), and the results obtained by MuseScore 2.0 here.
Vertical position of rests in multivoice context
This one has actually been in place for a long time, but seems worth mentioning here.
Finally, here for your consideration is a piano score that was created with no manual adjustments whatsoever. In 1.3, there are over 20 separate sets of manual adjustments that would have been needed to render this score correctly, but with the current 2.0 builds, it is practically perfect right out of the box:
By way of comparison, the 1.3 version is here. See if you can spot all of the places where manual adjustment would have been needed to correct this :-)
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