Free format note entry

• Nov 18, 2021 - 13:01

I may have tried to ask this before. What I really want is to be able to put notes in without any bars - at the initial stages of composition. This does make sense for lots of reasons - for example while trying to transcribe music into a score.

I can do part of what I'm hoping for by using Insert mode. However things start to go wrong when I want to insert notes. Notes almost always get inserted in the "wrong" place - and I don't care what the handbook says. By "wrong" I mean unintended/unwanted by the user. What is really needed is the ability to do the following -

  Insert note before the current note

  Insert or append note after the current note

and for completeness

 Replace the current note.

which might also include

 Extend or shorten the current note.

That kind of operation was possible in text editors (such as vi) even 40-50 years ago - yet seems that MS is sadly unable to do this.

Even if a section of notes is generated in free format, that cannot then be selected and copied/pasted elsewhere, as MS will then force the notes pasted back in to 4/4 or whatever is the time signature applicable at the point of insertion.

I keep coming back to the opinion that some features of MS are just too unwieldy, and may reflect the views of only one or two users who perhaps have figured out their own ways to get round the many problems which the user interface and user interaction behaviour presents.

Telling me that hardly anyone wants this kind of feature is not encouraging - it's so obvious (to me at any rate) that it would be useful!


What you want can be done and is documented in the handbook.

Assuming you are in the default step time note input mode and assuming by current note you mean the note that was last entered.

To insert note before current note: LEFT ARROW (to select last entered note) then hold CTRL+SHIFT when you enter the note to be insert (having selected the desired duration). (See and particularly the final bullet).

To insert or append after current note: hold CTRL+SHIFT when you enter the note.

To replace current note: left arrow (to select the last entered note): Enter the replacement note

To extend or shorten the current note: I am not sure I fully understand what you want here. A note can be extended by selecting the note length you want to extend by and pressing keyboard shortcut "+" or clicking the tie button on the tool bar or by replacing it with a longer one as described above or by inserting a note after (again as described above) and then adding a tie. It can be shortened by replacing with a shorter one as described above. If you then don't want the rest that is "revealed" you can remove it and adjust the measure length using CTRL+Delete.

Alternatively you can use insert note entry mode. Then every note you add will be inserted after the current note. You can use the arrow keys to select a different insertion point. Deleting a note will leave a rest behind, CTRL+Delete will remove the note and not leave a rest behind. To replace a note you will have to leave insert note entry mode and change to "step time" note entry mode (just as would have to turn off insert mode in a text editor to replace a letter).

In reply to by SteveBlower

Thanks - that seems clearer so I'll give those a try.

Re "extend the current note" I meant something like this. Consider a crotchet - (quarter note). Replace it with a minim (half note) . For "shorten the current note" do a similar operation but replacing long notes by shorter ones. Again - preferably by using numeric codes for note lengths.

EDIT: Actually it looks as though the duration plugin also mentioned might be worth checking out - so thanks for that post too.

You wrote:
...and I don't care what the handbook says.

The handbook exists to document how to optimize use of the software.
It informs users of various features -- expressly designed by the developers to achieve specific results.
You can "fight" the software, or follow the handbook's guidelines.

In any event...
Posting an actual score and describing precisely what you wish to achieve, what steps you perform, what you expect to happen, and what happens instead is best. Preferably, submit one issue at a time.

EDIT: Have you tried this plugin which may be of use to you?

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