Buckley Notation Option

• Nov 10, 2011 - 20:34
Graphical (UI)
S5 - Suggestion

While there is an option to color the displayed notes (presumably to aid beginning students), another feature that can help intermediate keyboard students is Buckley Notation.

This was developed by the well-known (although now deceased) polymath, newspaper columnist, talk show host, political analyst, novelist, mystery author, etc. etc. William F. Buckley, Jr. Mr. Buckley, a true Renaissance man, was also an accomplished pianist, and developed a system to assist beginning to intermediate students in their keyboard sight-reading skills. The way it works is that, in any score, all of the accidentals are indicated by a color coded note head - usually one color for sharps and a different color for flats. This is without regard to whatever key signature is in use, so in the key of G, all of the Fs (i.e. F#s) would be shown with a colored note head.

If this were developed, my recommendation would be to allow [all sharps and flats] to be colored, or [only non standard sharps and flats] to be colored (in the latter option, the f# in the key of G would not be colored.) With both options available, the feature could be configured according to the student's progress and/or ability.

Although he published several volumes of "standards" (e.g. Bach's Well Tempered Clavier, a selection of Chopin, etc.), this system never caught on widely. I suspect that had more to do with the cost of producing the scores (there really was no automated way to do this at the time) than its usefulness (which I can attest to), the advent of a non-commercial program like MuseScore (and others like it) might allow teachers and students to benefit from it. Of course, there would have to be an option as to whether or not the notes were colored on any print-outs.


Thanks for the quick response - I hadn't seen the Add-In you mentioned, but I've only had MuseScore loaded for a short time, and haven't yet found my way around the support forums yet.
I suspect that Mr. Froment is probably able to do what I'm looking for, but there seem to be a few differences in his add-in (based on reading; I haven't tried it yet). For one thing, it doesn't seem to be easily reversible (i.e. the idea is to be able to switch it on and off as the player becomes more proficient - sort of like training wheels on a bike); for another, it would ideally use different colors for sharps and flats (based on the most recent key signature.
Mr. Froment, are you out there??

Additional Comment on the colorhalfsteps.js Add-In:

One reason to offer a user selectable color in this is that MuseScore already defaults to coloring notes red when they are out of range for a specific instrument.

Actually I'm Mr Froment ;) You can turn red the notes with this plugin http://musescore.org/en/project/colorhalfsteps
and turn them black again with http://musescore.org/en/project/blacknotes

Changing the color can easily be done in the code of the plugin but there is indeed no user interface for it currently.
Currently the plugin framework doesn't give access to the current Key Signature but only the one at the beginning of the piece.
Regarding the ranges, you can deactivate this feature in the preferences.

Thanks for the comments...
Do you know if the MuseScore folks will be adding an enhancement to report on the current Key Signature? Is that something that needs to be requested?
Do you have any plans to enhance the color plug-in?