Pitch before Duration input method

• Jul 19, 2021 - 05:52

All the exiting note input methods are based on the Duration first rule. There had been suggestions and discussions about the other way around before. It appears that there are some popularity for the Pitch first method, as it is available in all other three major apps now. I consider the advantage of Pitch before Duration method when inputting only using computer keyboard as:
1. Improved ergonomics. Unlike one hand on numbers while another on A-G, With left hand on the number keys and right hand on the arrow keys, two hands are properly separated (This requires the pitch can be defined by the up/down arrow keys).
2. Not needing to worry about the letter names, I can think in terms of relative pitch, which can be very musical. In my case, I have the solfege in mind. As long as I find the tonic note, the rest are all relative.
3. By reducing A-G seven letters to two arrow keys, the process is greatly simplified, thus increased speed.
I genuinely hope MU can add this new input method, as Solfege is a recognized, if not the mainstream approach. Thanks for your consideration.


How do you envision pitch being defined by the up/down arrow keys?
There is one up arrow and one down arrow. How do 2 arrow keys cover all notes A-G?
Then there's the matter of sharps and flats.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

In Solfege system, it is easy to think in terms of interval even without knowing their letter names. In G major, for example, the tonic is G(Do), the second scale degree is A(Re), the third is B(Mi). When I input a melody like G-A-B, I have “Do-Re-Mi” in my mind instead of G-A-B . After I find the tonic G, I hit the up arrow key once to bring the caret to A, and then hit number key for the duration. So, to input the melody comprised of all 7 scale degrees, I just hit the arrow key X number of times according to the interval. To save time for the higher scale degree, La (E, the submediant) i.e. I use Comd+up arrow to bring the caret one octave up, then hit the down arrow key twice( it’s faster than hit up arrow key 5 times to get to the La). It seems tedious, but I can do it very fast because I rely on the input sound to judge if the notes are right, rather than check the letter names. In Sibelius, to use this method of input, you need to do some setting in the Preferences first. Please see the attached screen shot. It is also necessary to set the shortcut to notebook keyboard in the General tab. For the accidentals, you will need to use mouse to click them on the Tool menu or on the Palette after the input (the behavior of the arrow keys are different in Duration first and Pitch first method). I hope there will be shortcuts for the accidentals in the future though.

Attachment Size
SibeliusPreferences.png 679.05 KB

In reply to by ysu168

FWIW, if you press "R" while in note input mode, it repeats the previous pitch, and then you can use up/down to change pitch (chromatically, but Alt+Shift+Up/Down moves diatonically, and you can customize that in Edit / Preferences / Shortcuts). So as far as I can see, it's basically the thing as you are describing.

I bet most of us, unless you are a percussionist, always think pitch first, whether you are performing or composing. Then, the note inputting should follow the same order. Without the pitch, we have nothing to think about it’s time value. What’s why I feel Pitch Before Duration method is more natural.

Your suggestion is a valid one, but I don't see how pressing 4 times up arrow to enter a D after a A would be faster than just pressing D.
My fingers are used to the letters to enter notes, and using them is as quick as a single key press can be.

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