Note alterations should be key-aware

• Oct 22, 2011 - 07:36
S5 - Suggestion

I'm trying to put to words the concept of the "arrows" alterations awareness of the key that the score is in.

For example, I'm writing a score right now that is in d (That's minor because it's not a capital letter).

I shouldn't have any a flats appearing on the score when I try to add a g sharp, you know what I mean?

It would be cool if the "arrow" movement would automatically select the appropriate alteration taking into account the key that my score is in.

This all goes back to basic music theory, if one is in D major for example, he's never going to have a D flat in his score, it's always going to be a C sharp.

This would be VERY good if it would be added to MuseScore.


I wouldn't like to re-spell my score, that's a waste of time and is a compromise to the clutter this lack of feature implementation causes, I'd rather wait for it to be implemented.

I remember this being like this since the beggining of MuseScore...

This is what I would call a basic notation input issue.

Quality knows no compromise.

I don't hink this is the same thing as that other bug - iI don't thonk courtesy accidentals are involved here. But i don't fully understand, either. Are you you are finding situations where you type G, hit the up arrow, and get an Ab? I don't see that, regardless of what key I'm in. If you are seeng otherwise and have steps to reproduce, that would help, I'm sure.

However, if you're saying that typing A and then hitting down arrow should also produce a G#, then I would strong disagree. Just because you are in the key of d doesn't mean there would not be Ab's, and there needs to be a way to enter them, amd hitting A then down arrow is that way. It is simply incorrect to assume that this note should always be spelled G#. it depends on the harmonic context (is the underlying chord an E7 or Bb7, for instance), and in the case of non-harmonic tones, on the direction of the line (G-G#-A, but A-Ab-G).

The case of C# versus Db in the key of D is a bit fuzzier. Indeed, mostly of the time, it should be C#, but that too depends on the harmonic context. It's just that we don't ofte see, for example, Bbmi chords in the key of D. If hitting down arrow from D produced a C# in the ley of D, that wouldn't break my heart, as long as there were a way to override this.

If I'm in A, of course hitting a down arrow should produce a G actually, not a G# as that sharp is ALREADY there due to the key signature.

That's what I'm trying to say.

There shouldn't be any A flat in an A Major key.

??? I didn't say anything about the key of A. But hitting down arrow from A in the ley of A should produce either an Ab or G# (debatable), but definitely not a G. But still, the arrow key absolutely must work a half step at a time. Otherwise, it wouldn't wo rk to select a whole ranw of notes and then use the arrows to transpose it - you,d have some notes transposed more than others!

When I speak of harmonic context, I don't mean the piece in general, I mean the specific harmony underlying the specific passage in question. An Ab absolutely *can and should* occur in the key of A, if the underlying chord at that point is Fmi (for example). Or, to name a much more common situation, if the underlying chord is Bb7.

There are also outstanding requests for a one key "change enharmonic spelling" command, and if down arrow from A produced a G# in the key of A, but then you could hit the key to change it into Ab, that would be fine, I think. You could also use the courtesy accidental keys to force this (enter A, then enter a "courtesy" flat), I guess.

Sorry Marc, I thought you said this: "However, if you're saying that typing A and then hitting down arrow should also produce a G#, then I would strong disagree" in the context of A Major.

There IS a reason to why alterations are called accidental though, that's because they're out of the key that the score is in.

If I'm in the key of A Major and I hit down, I want to get a normal normal G note because the key already has four sharps due to the key signature.

That's what I'm asking for and it makes sense.

So far, MuseScore has atonal thinking, it has to shift to tonal thinking, or, in more everyday english key-aware.

To reopen what? This thread? It isn't closed, and, it's also a duplicate which makes me happy because it tells me other people are also thinking about the same thing.

Or were you reffering to something else there?

Hmm.... I don't get what you don't get ;-)
If you don't think this issue here to be a duplicate of the one I found, reopen it.
Otherwise this issue won't get fixed, while the other will (or at least stands a chance)

This is what I didn't understand, I couldn't get what you were trying to say here:

"This issue. As a duplicate if won't get worked. If it is not a duplicate it won't get fixed."

I am happy that this issue is a duplicate, it means that other people have also realised the same thing and, therefore, this will have more attention drawn to it.

Yes, I think the example of htting the down arrow from A while in the key of A makes sense. It was the original description that spoke of doing this in the key of d (minor) that didn't.

There is a certain logic in the current way, where down arrow always produced flats (or the equivalent naturals) and up always produces sharps (or the equivalent naturals), but it's equally logical to have it work where a diatonic note is chosen where possible and only introduce accidentals where necessary, which is basically what you're saying. One could say that is already the case for hitting the down arrow on C and F, where the ordinary logic is pushed aside and preference is given for B and E as opposed to Cb and Fb, even in cases where B and E also require accidentals. I'd personally rather see this changed to what you are now suggesting - choose a diatonic spelling if possible, otherwise, choose flats for down, sharp for up. Again, though, there definitely needs to be a way to override this default. And I think a single key that flips the enharmonic spelling - a la Finale (not sure about Sibelius) would be ideal.

There's no need for an enharmonic spelling switch, that's what accidental alterations are for IMHO.

I don't remember the exact name for what is that I'm asking for, but I know it's more than just diatonic, it might be armonic spelling.

Naturals are not to be only regarded as unaltered pitch, naturals are to be regarded within the context of the key that the score is in. There has to be a separate name for those as well.

The up and down arrow just HAVE to respect the key the score is in.

Not sure what you mean by "accidental alterations" in this context. Do you mean the accidentals listed in the palette? Those are the ones I've been referring to as "courtesy accidentals", because that what they are normally used for. Yes, as I said, they could be used to provide overrides, but a single "change enharmonic spelling" command would be more efficient, because you could apply it to a whole bunch of notes at once, or apply it individually to a bunch of notes in a passage without having to keep switching between natural and either sharp or flat.

As for what up and down "have" to do, I just can't see why they *have* to do any such thing; the current system is completely logical as well and works just fine for what it is. It's just less efficient in certain cases, and hence I would welcome the change you are proposing, as it applies to cases like hitting down arrow on A in the key of A.

Yup, I agree with the last paragraph that you wrote.

I can't think of one instance that I would use a "change enharmonic spelling" switch, I just can't think of any use for it.

It's not like I'm writing a score in A major with the specific purpose of having all notes in it NOT be in A major. :D

The situations in a respell command that works on the currently selcted notes comes in most handy are for passages that result from MIDI input - whether import of a MIDI file or step time entry. Whatever rules MuseScore uses to decide on how to spell a given non-diatomic pitch, it's guaranteed to be wrong a significant amount of the time, and given that the correct spelling of pitches normally depends on harmonic context (eg, the chord of the moment), it often works out that you'll have a whole bunch of notes in a row all mispelled. Selecting the whole passage and hitting a single key to correct the spelling would aave a lot of time in those cases. For instance, in the key of C, you might have a passage that should goF#-G#-A# over an E7 chord, but then later in that same piece have a passage that sould go Gb-Ab-Bb over an Ebmi7 chord. The MIDI input will notate them both the same way, and then you'll need to respell the other one.

Another case where respell comes in handy is in passages that result from entering notes in one key and transposing to another, particularly if it's only a temporary modulation for which an actual key signature change would not be appropriate. Or music without key signatures.

Anyhow, that's mostly beside the point. I do agree that down arrow on an A while in the key of A should probably produce a G# by default, as long as there is then an easy way to override this to get an Ab when desired.