More on slash notation

• Jan 27, 2011 - 13:31

Hello everyone.

First off, thanks to the developers again for creating a wonderful program!

This has to do with slash notation. I'm a jazz musician. As such, I usually see music with chord changes for solos (or for rhythm section comping) presented with slashes representing the beats in the bars, and the chords notated above the bars. I've seen the other topics in the forums that discuss how to accomplish this in MuseScore (enter notes, select notes, change the note heads to slashes, and change the notation to "stemless"). This is fine as far as it goes, but I think it misses the mark (no pun intended :-).

In order for the slashes to be positioned properly, the note that is entered must be a "b" (in the treble clef, a "d" in the bass cleff, etc). And here's where the problems start. When writing a score for a band (which I'm currently doing :-) that has instruments in non-concert keys (for instance, a tenor sax part) and editing the score in the concert key, I input the "d"'s in the bass clef for the tenor sax and change the notation as discussed above and everything looks great. I then switch off the "Concert" setting to view the parts in their instrument's key, and suddenly the slash notation which looked perfect while editing the score is completely wrong, each slash being off by a 9th. This means that if I want to print the score in concert key for all instruments, and then extract the parts and print them in the right key for their instrument, I have to edit all the slash notation in the non-concert parts for things to look right again.

Finale fixes this by allowing slash notation to apply to rests, which don't transpose. So, instead of entering four "d"'s in a bar and changing the representation, you'd enter four quarter not rests, and change the notation. This solves another problem in that when playing back a score, I don't want sections that are represented with slash notation to play a note on each beat. I can get around this by muting that channel, but that doesn't seem ideal.

I've attached two pictures to show what I'm talking about. The first is from the concert score, the tenor sax part in the bass cleff with the slashes over the "d". The second is with the transposed part for the tenor, in treble clef. Now the slashes show up over the low "e".

Once again, thanks for writing this great program and continuing to make it available for free and as open source!!!

- Mike.

Attachment Size
concert.png 4.99 KB
transposed.png 5.82 KB


Yes, this a good summary of the basic problem with the current way slashes are implemented. Slash notation is not just notes that happen to have funny looking heads and no stems but are otherwise normal notes with pitches and playback. Slash notation is, as you say, really more a funny way of displaying a rest, although I might not have thought to put it that way myself - Finale doesn't actually require you to enter four quarter rests at all (you can display a completely empty measure or layer as slashes). But describing it as a special rest notation does captures the idea of the slashes being pitchless (and hence untransposable) as well as being non-playing.

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