Move notes horizontally (exchange places)

• Apr 9, 2011 - 17:26

Hi there,

does anybody know, if it is possible to move notes/rests horizontally?

THX,

Abakus


Comments

A) If you mean displacing one or more notes from their visual default position, the procedure is this:

1) double-click the note head (this enters a specific mode called Edit mode)
2) use the LEFT and RIGHT arrow keys to move it (you will notice that the head moves but the rest of the note does not: don't worry, it will be fixed soon!)
3) once the desired position is reached, click in any empty spot of the score to exit Edit mode: the rest of the note 'jumps' to the new position.

You may repeat this for any note you want. If you get screwed or do not like the result:

1) (single-)click on the note head to select it
2) Pres [CTRL][R] (as in Reset): the note will go back to its default position.

Of course, in this way, each note will be shown in a non-default place, but 'musically' (and in playback) it will remains in the same spot (timing, voice, ...) as it originally was.
_______________________________________

B) If you meant "how to exchange two notes so that the first comes second and the second come first" (for instance, to correct an error), I am afraid this is not possible: you have to re-enter them. But this is relatively simple:

1) Select the first 'wrong' note
2) Press [N] (or the big 'N' icon in the toolbar; 'N' as in Note) to enter Note-entry mode
3) enter new notes normally: they would overwrite whatever is already at their place.

In other words, note (or rest, of course) entering is always in what word processors usually call "overwrite" mode; there is no "insert" mode (and in fact, even when you are initially entering a new score from scratch, you are actually overwriting a bunch of rests!).

Hoping it may help,

M.

In reply to by Miwarre

Too bad that this feature doesn't exist. I think, this feature should be added to MuseScore. :D

At least for me it seems to be a logical feature. Isn't it logic to move notes (or even a bunch of notes) horizontally? Are there any reasons, why this should/can not be implemented?

You know, sometimes I like to play around. Shuffle notes and reorganize them. This really could boost creativity. And in some cases it could be even quicker to enter notes that way. And I think this is just a very intuitive way to handle notes.

What do you think?

In reply to by Abakus

I don't know; I do not compose, I only make editions of music someone else composed (usually several centuries ago).

I do mistakes, though; for instance sometime I skip something (a measure or a few notes) while entering notes. In this case, the easiest thing is to select everything from the skipped measure to the end, copy, paste it after a measure and fill in the gap with the skipped notes.

I wold expect that if note A makes at least some sense in position A and note B makes some sense in position A+1, swapping them is unlikely (mind, unlikely, not impossible) to make sense; so I would expect this is a less required feature. But, of course, this is only my opinion.

Why 'shuffling notes' is not implemented? Possibly, because it is more complex than it may look at first sight: what to do with ties, with slurs, with accidentals, with lyrics, with dynamics, with tuplets, with changes of time,... if the fragment you are shuffling starts or ends 'inside' any of them?

M.

In reply to by Miwarre

Re (B): In the latest version, you select the note, press 'N', then shift left or right arrow keys. I found this before on the forum, but now I don't see that original post in my results; probably I had phrased the search query differently. So I figured it would be a good idea to update this old thread.

In reply to by BanjoJake

The insert function existed in Midisoft like 20 years ago, in Window 3.1. hahaha

Was looking for something simple to use.

I see why people create VM just to be able to use Midisoft which came out back in 1995, I think.

I am sorry. musescore is inferior than a software that existed 20 yrs. ago.

I guess I am creating a VM just to edit some midi files.

Can't believe how limited musescore is.

Can't insert note or notes. Wow.

People, don't waste your time with this garbage.

In reply to by Matthew Park

Hmm, it seems you are having trouble doing something in MuseScore, but isn't clear exactly what. If you'd like help, please attach the score you are having trouble with and explain what you are trying to do in more detail. "Inserting notes" can mean lots of different things depending on what you are starting with and what you want to end with. All of these things are very possible and quite easy with MuseScore, but we can't explain exactly what you need to do until we understand better what you are having trouble with.

But FWIW, MuseScore is *not* a MIDI editor. It is a notation program. Completely different software, for completely different purposes. No doubt there are some MIDI-specific functions that MuseScore does not do as well as a true MIDI editor, just as there are bound to be many notation-specific functions that MuseScore will do far better. If your goal is to edit MIDI files, indeed, you are probably better off with software designed for that purpose. But if your purpose is to create notation, then you will in the end need a notation program.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Mr. Sabatella, dare I say the fact that Musescore isn't a MIDI program doesn't justify the lack of some seemingly basic functions such as horizontal movement of the single notes. As some other people have duly noted such a function was present in antique software. Cakewalk 6.0 (in late 1990s) allowed you to move notes in its score editor, despite all the limitations. I can't see why such a primordial operation has to take up to a dozen clicks for a four-notes accord - change note resolution, replace the pause with an appropriate note, delete the wrong one, repeat, repeat, repeat, feel a buddhist. Musescore is a good program, but some proper things are just not there. Hopefully - not yet. But it kills a helluvalot of time to do simple things.

In reply to by almichael

Also, you might be confusing a manual adjustment to the physical placement on the page with a note and the actual change in its beat location. These are two entirely different things. Best to reply further in the other thread you started, and provide more information about what exactly you are trying to accomplish.

In reply to by Yuri Ilyin

It's not clear exactly what you are trying to do here, but I get the sense maybe you are trying to move a four-note chord tona different point in time? That's very easy: cut and paste allows you to love any number of notes to.any new location.

If you need further assistance, feel free to start a new thread and describe theree problem you are trying to solve in more detail.

In reply to by Matthew Park

What a pity ignorant people criticise a piece of totally free software that people have given their time to develop. Musescore is almost as good as Sibelius which costs a very large subscription every single year. This is not midi software and can't be compared with it. By the way I am using this "Garbage" to arrange a piece for orchestra with sixteen instruments over 115 bars!

I'm glad you came back to post this. I was looking for this functionality and found it here. The main limitation I see is, the notes have to be the same length, though. Can't switch a quarter note and a quaver, for instance. So I first turned the quarter into a pair of eights and then did this.

/d

Hi,

I use Cakewalk to create the basic score because of that. I save it on a MIDI format. Then I open it with MuseScore to embelish the printed ( or PDF ) presentation.

Here is how Cakewalk handles this. Notice the slide of the rests accordingly.
//app.box.com/s/4aa5v2aigd4cyi08mqq088m4qcihbfig

Sliding notes sideways with Cakewalk is actually the only reason why I use it. If I was able to do it with MuseScore, I would not use Cakewalk at all anymore.

For the studio work I am on Cubase 8.5.

Keep up the good work !
Richard

In reply to by Studio Ryde

I can't view your video. Can't you explain in more detail what you need? Moving notes and rests horizontally should almost never be necessary, but if for some unusual reason you need to occasionally, you can do so easily - the "horizontal offset" fields in the Inspector. Also double click and arrow keys.

If you mean you wish to exchange the *time positions* - not just the horizontal positions on the page - of two notes - that can also be done, via cut and paste.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I can create the video in an other format if you like. To see it, download it first and then it should be OK. Or I can email it, it is 450 kB.

I am not that good at writing. So let's say I have a blank measure. I start with a quarter note on the first beat. I have then my note, a first rest ( the second 1/4 note ) and an other one ( the following 1/2 note ). Those rests are automatically displayed in Cakewalk. I can then move my 1/4 note to the second beat with the mouse. Cakewalk then displays a rest ( first 1/4 note ), my note and still the other rest ( the remaining 1/2 note ).

I can do that even when other notes are present in the measure. Every notes and rests are redrawed accordingly. And they are played as displayed.

I will try your cut/paste feature tonight.

Thanks for your support ! And congratulations, MuseScore is beautiful.
Richard

In reply to by Studio Ryde

Indeed, it sounds like you have a note that is currently on beat one, and you want to change its time position to beat two. Simple: select the note on beat one, Ctrl+X to cut, then click the rest on beat two, paste. In normal use, this wouldn't be a very common operation, but anyhow, that's how you'd do it.

Marc, always a pleasure to see your expert helpful input. For the record, for some of us who are still in the awkward learning stages of arranging or composing music, anyway, the requested operation is a "very common" operation. I find myself doing it or wanting to do it frequently. I know about cut-and-paste and use it, and I know about the other somewhat arcane way discussed above somewhere with shift+arrow in note-input mode -- that only works for same-length notes or rests, though -- but I still wish I could just click-and-drag the note elsewhere. The other poster indicated he has a similar "common" wish. I, too, love MuseScore, of course.

/d

In reply to by dman

I do understand being in the early stages or arranging or composing music. But all the more reason to use pencil and paper at first until you are more sure what you want. It's going to be more efficient, and you'll learn more and faster.

Not that someday it wouldn't be nice to get the exchange function to work for non-matching durations anyhow.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

This right here is exactly the mentality that I suspected/feared the designers of Musescore might have. To suggest that a composer should use pencil and paper first until we are more sure of what we want sets computer-aided composition back 30 years. Would anyone suggest that you write out emails by hand before "committing" them to the computer? No, it's horribly inefficient, and if your software expects this of you, then it's not written with creativity in mind. One of the great strengths of good computer software is it's ability to let you make changes easily, whether it be in word processing, graphic design, programming, or *gasp* music editing. You get an idea; you draw it or type it or input it and then you look at it or read it back or listen to it and see how you like it. Maybe you already knew exactly what you wanted and you're just checking to make sure you got it right, but more often than not, you are a CREATOR and are making this up as you go, because experimentation is key in the creative process. How is Musescore itself developed? Creativity. Trial and error. What I am suggesting here is a huge paradigm shift. I have been writing/arranging music on the computer since the DOS days of the early 90's, and guess what: I don't play the piano very well. I rely on THE COMPUTER to play back for me what I've created so I can decide if I like it that way or not, and one of the most common changes a composer will make in this process is the rhythm. I have a series of quarter note chords. I think I'd like to hear what it sounds like if one of them in the middle starts half a beat sooner. I don't want to delete and re-input that really cool chord I just made because it just might be "the lost chord" and I might never find it again. Besides, it's a 6-note chord and re-entering it would be INEFFICIENT. No problem; I select the chord and slide it over. The notes in the same voice that come before the chord shorten to accommodate the slide. The notes I'm moving lengthen so that they continue to meet the notes that follow. Then I play it back and see if I like it. Well what if I didn't want the chord I'm moving to change duration, only position? Well that's easy to change, because I can just select the chord and drag the right edge to change it's length to leave a rest afterward. And what if I wanted everything after this chord to slide along with it? Well as it so happens I'm also a video editor, and all good video editing programs have a toggle switch (often called Ripple Edit) that determines whether the items that come in time after your current position are affected by your edits. Why not make that option in Musescore? I think the problem comes from focusing too much on the notation, rather than on the music it represents. You want a chord in 4/4 time that lasts for 5 beats? No problem. You enter the notes, Musescore will create a tie over the bar automatically. If you decide afterward you want that chord to start a beat later, no problem. You grab the chord and scoot it over, and Musescore adjusts the tie automatically. Ok, nevermind. I don't want the dotted rhythm either. I just want to join two of those quarter note chords into one chord. No problem. I select them and hit the hotkey for 'join'. How about 'J'? Great; done deal. Now it's a half note chord. Let the creator handle the creativity and let the software handle the technicality, because that's what software is good at. Don't try and force the creator to be the techie. As to the position of "You'll learn more that way," well, let me just say that I learned notation from writing music on the computer and having the computer play it back. I did not learn music from writing notation.

In reply to by Kelly Van Shaar

To suggest that a composer should use pencil and paper first until we are more sure of what we want sets the computer age back 30 years.

No, it does not. What it does is recognise the reality that for notating music, no input hardware is as quick and easy to use as a pencil and manuscript paper. That is a fact, and until someone develops the potential of stylus-and-tablet hardware to work with music notation software, it's going to stay that way. Even after two generations of computers becoming increasingly ubiquitous, most people still haven't learned to type without looking at their fingers, and many of them can't use more than two. If learning something as relatively simple as touch-typing is beyond the average computer user, how could you expect the average musician to use reconfigured QWERTY keyboards, number keypads, midi devices, and mice simultaneously with anything close to the ease and efficiency with which they can scribble down notes on staff paper?

Don't insist on putting the machinery between the composer and the music during the creative process, especially for less-experienced users. Save the hardware and software for what it does better than the human hand: generating neat and consistent printed notation.

In reply to by Kelly Van Shaar

In an ideal world, sure, it would nice if a computer program could be made as easy as pencil and paper for working out ideas. The fact that not a single notation program out there has ever come close to succeeding in this, however, underscores how difficult the task is. One problem is indeed that the design of the input devices used for computers until now are not adapted very naturally to the task of entering music notation. Tablets finally give the opportunity to input music in a more natural way, and we are just in the last couple of years beginning to see programs that try to take advantage of this, but the technology is still very much in its infancy.

Anyhow, if for some reason you choose to enter a chord on one beat and then wish to move it to a different beat, you don't have to delete it and re-enter it. Simply use cut and paste, the same way you move objects in many many other programs of all sorts of types (eg, to move a paragraph in a word processor). It's not difficult at all, and gives *you* complete control over exactly what gets moved and what happens to the rest of the music, rather than forcing the computer to guess and most often get it wrong (eg, do you want all the notes in that measure to slide over, or just the very next note, or all notes to the end of the phrase, or to the end of the piece, etc). Sure, at some point some command to attempt to do that magic guesswork might be introduced, and it work exactly as poorly as it does in every other notation program, but it's not out of the question. Still, it's quite simple to get the job done today even without such a feature. When deciding what features are important to add, considerations like that absolutely play a role.

You say "I think the problem comes from focusing too much on the notation" - keep in mind that notation is indeed the entire point of MuseScore. it's not designed to be a general purpose electronic music composition tool any more than Photoshop is designed to be a word processor. Photoshop is primarily for editing photographs; MuseScore is primarily for producing beautiful notation. It is important to not lose sight of the intended purpose of a program in designing a user interface for it. General purpose electronic music editors provides a different set of functions than a notation program. Each might provide some small aspect of the other, but each will excel at the job it as designed to excel at.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I think the problem is that the rules are imposed from the start, locking out any movement, preventing us from getting started; I think it would be easier for us if MS allowed notes to be inserted anywhere as freely as text in a word processor, with everything pushed forward irrespective of measure boundaries, etc. Then we can clean it up afterwards. The rules could be applied eg, by red coloring to indicate that the music as it stands is invalid. I can enter all kinds of gibberish in a WP (say I'm rapidly brainstorming ideas, and I don't want spelling or sentence structure rules to impede me). The spell checker and grammar checker will signal the errors.

There are lots of reasons it is very frustrating not to be able to move notes (e.g. a whole run) horizontally.

If you're scoring multiple parts, and want to move a run from one part to another copy and paste it. But it might paste it to the wrong part of the bar. try pasting 3 quavers into the last 3 slots on a 4/4 bar. You have to re-enter them!!!!!

These things are supposed to be a tool. It should let us move the notes wherever we want, not play dictator with us. If it has to flow things around the move, or create or delete rests, just do it!

re-entering runs because you can't move them to the correct place is infuriating.

I find with time I am getting quicker at entering things, but the whole issue of defining where a note should be entered is more work than it should be.

For example, you have a score in 4/4, and you want to enter a crotchet in beat 4. The current empty bar has a semibreve rest in it. These are the strategies I end up using, and they are time consuming.

1. split the rest up first, by selecting it, and entering a number corresponding to the duration, e.g. select the semibreve rest, hit 6, then select the second minim rest and hit 5. That gives me somewhere I can select to enter the note.

2. enter sacrificial notes first then delete them after.

I don't see why the software couldn't know that you are set to enter a crotchet, so you should be able to select any 1 of the 4 locations in the bar to do that, ideally with arrow keys.

It would also be great if you could more easily change a note's duration whilst in note entering mode after entering the note. Entering complex rhythms I'm hitting the number pad more than anything else. It would be good if I could enter a note, and use ctrl left and right arrows to alter its duration, just like you alter the duration of a slur etc.

In reply to by Adrien de Croy

It would be good if I could enter a note, and use ctrl left and right arrows to alter its duration, just like you alter the duration of a slur etc.

Changing the durational values of notes with arrow keys would require the program to differentiate among a number of different properties those keys could affect. It cannot do that without information--do you want to move the note left or right? Do you want to change it from a quarter to an eighth? Do you want to exchange it with the preceeding or following note...?-- so you'd need to provide that information somehow. Do you propose a system wherein you'd put the note into 'edit mode' by double-clicking it, and then be required to tell the program which property--duration, position, order, colour, notehead style, etc.--you wished to edit? I don't see how that could be easier than the current method of simply overwriting the duration with a single numerical keystroke.

In reply to by Recorder485

sorry, to be more clear

shift arrow to move notes, ctrl-arrow to alter duration of anything. For things that span notes (e.g. slurs) the way it currently works is good.

Could use ctrl-up and ctrl-down arrows for duration, e.g. up makes a 3->4 (semi to quaver) etc. Dot works as before.

It would be great if it could be non-destructive as well, e.g. you have a full bar, you turn a crotchet into a minim, and it pushes everything after to the right by 1 beat rather than deleting the following note. Maybe ctrl-delete a note could shift everything as well, rather than converting it to a rest, same as ctrl-delete a bar removes it rather than erasing its content.

So these would be consistent with the current paradigms in use.

In reply to by Recorder485

on the point of a single numerical keystroke.

Mostly when you want to change duration, you want to double or halve it. If you just user ctrl-up to double it, you wouldn't need to figure out which number to press. If you get the number wrong, you can destroy adjacent notes.

I end up using Ctrl-Z far too much.

In reply to by Adrien de Croy

With all due respect, it seems to me that remembering which number key produces which note duration is far less trouble than remembering whether to hit CTL+UP or ALT+UP or SHIFT+UP or SHIFT+CTL+whatever. Not to mention that some of those shortcuts are already assigned to other functions.

Actually, you only have to remember that 5=crochet. Since the progression is arithmetically logical in both directions, there should be no problem in figurinig out the rest of them. ;o)

In reply to by Recorder485

sure, ctrl-up is not a good option, since it's used for octave up, and same with ctrl-down. Ctrl-left and right arrows could work though, and they have a precedent for duration with slurs etc.

But there's a definite advantage with being able to use the arrow keys with a modifier.

1. You are already placed on the arrow keys for navigating around the score. Having to move to the numbers and back is almost as disruptive as grabbing the mouse.

2. Sure you can work out the number, but there are several steps. I've been doing a fair bit of this, and even knowing that 4=quaver, 5=crotchet and 6=minim I still need to think a couple times when working out semis vs demisemis.

What may be more useful is being able to set the duration on multiple selected notes, currently have to do 1 at a time.

As an example, I punched in a movt from Gayane, and I found probably average 3.5 key punches per note, because I was constantly setting duration before entering the note by note name.

In reply to by Adrien de Croy

You can assign any shortcuts you like, of course, so you may be able to do some of this yourself. Look under EDIT>Preferences>Shortcuts. I suggest you add new shortcuts rather than replace the default ones. Sometimes it's handy to have two ways to do something.

BTW, moving around in a score is faster with the mouse-wheel than by using the arrow keys. Wheel alone scrolls up and down; shift + wheel scrolls right and left; ctl + wheel zooms in and out. As for not remembering which number = which duration, have you tried using Post-It notes stuck to the keyboard or on the edge of your screen?

In reply to by Recorder485

Yeah, shift scroll is very useful, and I also tend to run in continuous view rather than page view.

I'm not quite at the stage where I need to use post-its all over the place to remind me of things :)

It's not that it's an issue remembering which numbers are which duration, it's that there's a bunch more mental load, but the Q and W keys make all this discussion moot, since they already do what I was proposing.

In reply to by Adrien de Croy

I'm not quite at the stage where I need to use post-its all over the place to remind me of things :)

It depends upon your priorities. I, for instance, do not need to read the C-clefs used for vocal music except when I am editing choral works from the 17th and 18th centuries, so there is a post-it note stuck over the web-cam lens on my laptop (which helps prevent Google from knowing what I'm wearing today, snork) which reminds me of the transpositions for soprano and mezzo clefs. There is also a neatly-written 5x7 index card nearby which reminds me of the tuning of the strings on the various violas da gamba. There is no shame in this; nobody knows everything, especially in a field as complex as music.

In reply to by Adrien de Croy

I would say your issue is more fundamental. You are thinking you want to enter a note on beat four. But that's quite simply not how music notation works. Music notation is rad left to right, and so it is *written* left to right as well. The way a note on beat four is indicated according to standard musical notation is by first having a half rest on beat one followed by a quarter rest on beat three. So *of course* that's how you need to enter it. You enter rests left to right just like you enter notes left to right. There is no difference. You don't enter sacrificial notes first, you don't take n existing rest and attempt to split it up - you simply enter the rest left to right exactly as you would enter notes.

Also, in case it isn't clear, Q and W work to halve or double duration if for some reason you change your mind after entering the note, and as noted you can customize the shortcuts if you prefer.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

thanks for the info on Q and W, that's very helpful.

However, as for your reasoning about having to enter rests first, it's different.

When you start in a bar, it already has a rest in it, but there are no notes. It's perfectly reasonable to assume you should be able to add a crotchet in beat 4, rather than having to enter 2 rests then a crotchet.

Are we trying to make things easier for people or not? Is it easier to

a) learn this is what you need to do
b) enter 3 thinge to get 1 note

or just enter 1 note? I think this could be made easier, and sure there may be some issues about exactly where a note should be entered. Maybe it's just me, or do people think in terms of notes rather than rests (even though of course they are equally important), especially when considering that to begin with, the bar is not empty, but contains a rest.

I've also found it, or at least I initially found it very difficult to insert a rest, and resorted to creating rests by deletion of notes.

I just tried it, and it's difficult. If you select a quaver, select rest, then hit 3 (semi) and click the rest again (too many steps) it turns the quaver into a semi, but in the first half, and that probably just happened by hitting 3, rather than selecting the rest toolbar icon. How is that rest toolbar icon even intended to operate? I've not found it to do anything.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I just did some testing.

if you select a note, and click the rest button, it does nothing (but shows the button depressed). So it can't be used to turn a note into a rest (for that you have to delete the note).

If you click the rest button, you can't use it to insert a rest.

Take the following scenario, you're in 4/4 and you want to have 3 crotchets, beats 1,2, and 4. Say the notes are A, B and C.

Hit N
Type 5
Type A
Type B
Hit escape to end note entering
Right arrow to select minim rest
Hit 5, which splits the minim rest into 2 crotchet rests
Right arrow select beat 4
Type C

I found an alternative using Q / W

Hit N
Type 5
Type A
Type B
Right arrow to select minim rest
Hit Q, which turns the minim rest into a quaver, etc
Hit W, which turns the quaver rest into a crotchet rest
Right arrow select beat 4
Type C

If you could hit a key to effectively enter a rest (e.g. skip forward) of the current duration, it would be a lot easier. Say for example you could enter a rest by hitting the minus sign (or some other, maybe H since it's one past G), then the above would be

Hit N
Type 5
Type A
Type B
Type -
Type C

Done. I tried all the keys on the keyboard, and found a bunch more very interesting shortcuts, but nothing that would do this.

Entering a rest, could be considered equivalent to moving the note insertion point to the right by whatever the current duration is.

I find myself going in and out of note entering mode a LOT (escape key) in order to include rests in the lines I'm inputting.

In reply to by Adrien de Croy

Adrian,

The interface of Musescore is not the more intuitive of the world, and I personnaly had some crazy moments with it at least in the beginning.
But please take some time to read the introduction part of the manual, testing at the same time, and you will see that once you "know" it it is quite usable even if there are some details that could be changed according to my taste.

Let's take your scenario: << in 4/4 and you want to have 3 crotchets, beats 1,2, and 4. Say the notes are A, B and C. >>

It is extremely easy, you only need 5 key strokes:
5 (select crotchet duration)
a
b
0 (0 from zero, input the rest)
c
=> done.

You see there is no in and out note input mode at all (except pressing 'a' which will conveniently put you in note input mode)

Fred

P.S.: It doesn't answer your other question: "what does the rest button when not in note input mode".
I don't know, and if I press it doesn't seem to do anything and it gets unselected when you enter note input mode so...?

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