Lead-in Click

• Jun 16, 2012 - 15:04

It would be nice to be able to activate a 2 bar lead-in click on playback.

Sorry if some of this is already available and I'm not aware of it.:
Playback of selected bars with looping capability for practicing various passages. The lead-in click bars could also be selected as part of the loop.


In reply to by Zoots

Well, pratice looping is a different feature and requestes elsewhere, but it doesn't really conflict here: just select one or two measures more than you want to practice. No need for these extra measures to have metronome only, IMHO, just ignore the extra 'noise', which would be there in reality anyway.
Only in case of the beginning of score, added extra measures are really needed

In reply to by schepers

It has just been merged; it should be in the nightlies soon.

Each time playback is started, it plays 'clicks' for a full measure + any measure 'empty portion' (when playback is started mid-measure or there is an anacrusis).

It is turned on / off with a button in the Play Panel.

Feedback is welcome!

The count-in length might be a bit short for very short measures (like for instance a quick 6/8), but a more complex configurability was considered by the leading developers as more hassle then help.



In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

The only issue I see with the count-in is easily seen in the Promenade demo.

1. Enable the count-in
2. Play into the middle of the second measure (6/4) and stop playback.
3. Play the score again (from the stopped position) and listen to how the count-in sounds counting into the 6/4 measure. It is missing beat counts compared to a normal bar.

In reply to by schepers

Well, it is not missing beats: 6/4 is considered a "compound time" (I don't know the English term and I'm simply translating the Italian one; I hope it is comprehensible), so it plays the first and the fourth crochet only, as it would play the first and fourth quaver is 6/8.


In reply to by schepers

There is nothing particular logical about this, but speaking personally, I'd expect 6/4 to be treated as simple for count in purposes, 6/8 to be treaterd as compound. Although actually, I suspect many people might prefer everything to be counted in simply: 6/4 and 6/8 both etting six beats of count in. Otherwise all you get is two beats max, and that's rarely enough.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Counting one measure of 6/8 (or of 6/4 for that matter) as simple or as compound would take the same amount of time and would (mostly) give the same level of 'pre-notification' to the player.

Anyway, for compound meters, I had to add special code; removing it is very easy!

But actually, I think the points might be different, from a usability point of view: counting a Gigue as simple meter would sound almost like a machine gun and would not be that clear (or give the player that much time to get ready) anyway, while counting Mussorsky's Promenade as compound sounds like a funeral.

So, possibly:

A) the time between ticks should not be either too long and too quick

B) the total count-in time (real time, in seconds) should not be too short

However, these points raise a few problems:

1) Predictability: if sometime one measure is counted and sometime more, sometime as simple meter and sometime as compound, the user would not be sure when he is expected to start.

2) Customizability: probably a keyboard player might need less time to get ready than a cello player. But adding more configurability / options / preferences / ... is not seen favorably.

So, things are a bit complex. Is some kind of consensus possible?


In reply to by Miwarre

I think you are asking the right questions. I don't have easy answers. I guess ideally I'd hope the count in coukd resemble the way a human might do it, but that's going to be pretty subjective. So for example, it's common in my world to count in 4/4 as a measure of half notes followed by a measure of quarter notes:

CLICK (rest) Click (rest) CLICK click Click click

Both 6/8 and 3/4 might be counted as two "compound" beat and six "simple" beats:

CLICK (rest) (rest) Click (rest) (rest) CLICK click click Click click click

Except as you say, at a sufficiently fast tempo, the "simple" beats are not worth hearing.

Anyhow, I'm not likely to be a heavy user of the feature, so I wouldn't give my opinions much weight :-).

In reply to by Nicolas


1) A little more in detail: by counting an x/4 time à la noire (i.e. with X beats), would you expect a 6/4 time to be counted
tick tack tack tick tack tack   OR   tick tack tack tack tack tack?

2) At first sight the tempo algorithm you quote in MuseScore source code seems to me to have a weakness: it counts 3/8, 3/16, ... as compound, but I don't think this to be the normal case (at least in the music I usually deal with. The current count-in algorithm does not consider 3/y time sigs as compound, but only 3*n/y time sigs with n > 1).


In reply to by Nicolas

Ops! I just pushed a pull request with the opposite approach: 6/4 counted "tick tack tack tick tack tack": 6 beats (instead of 2 as before) but in 'triplets'.

I have to say that hearing it being played made sense to me, more than 6 'unanalyzed' beats...


In reply to by Miwarre

Makes sense if the piece does indeed break down that way, as some no doubt would. But I'd expect a fair number of 6/4 pieces to break down as 4+2, in which case a 3+3 lead-in might be confusing. Probably not a big deal, though.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

In the whole repertoire I am more familiar with (i.e. music since XV c. to late XVIII c.), 4+2 is practically unheard of. Late Renaissance galliards may oscillate between 3+3 (duple compound) and 2+2+2 (triple simple), but are usually counted 3+3 (as they usually start as such, whatever happens later during the piece).

And I suspect (but less sure) that 6/4 is 3+3 for most of XIX c. too.

So, are we possibly facing some style/genre/epoch dependent issue?


In reply to by Miwarre

Yes, that's a fair assessment. I think in my world - jazz, Broadway scores, some pop/rock - if you want something felt in groups of threes, you normally write 3/4 or a compound meter over 8 - 6/8, 9/8, 12/8, maybe occasionally 15/8. The only reason you would "need" to write in 6/4 in this world would be if you specifically wanted a 4+2 or some division other than 3+3. So while very occasionally I might see 6/4 used in the more historically common way, most of the time any such pieces in my world would be written in one of those other meters. Meaning that of the very few times I do see 6/4, it's that much more likely to be something other than 3+3.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

So, the most neutral way would be to beat 6/4 (and the other 3*n/4 times) with one 'click' and then all 'clack' as lasconic suggested above.

I am a little reluctanct to do this change, though, as it would sound strange to most (all?) users dealing with anything but 'popular' music (no offence instended! My ignorance prevents me to use a better term, if it exists) or non-Western music (assuming 6/4 is used outside Western music).

Any other comment?



In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I'd agree in general it makes sense for lead-in and metronome to be the same, and in fact it would probably seem like a bug if they weren't. But FWIW, I could see reason for them to *possibly* differ, especially considering compound time at slow tempos. I could easily see someone wanting to hear every eighth note of 6/8 counted in to establish the tempo as clearly as possible, then reducing it to just dotted quarters once the music starts to be less distracting.

This is *not* to say I think MuseScore needs to implement anything like that. A simple built in facility seems more than sufficient; if people want something they can customize, they can create their own click track. You can even set the click track to be completely invisible in 2.0

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I'm finding this discussion a bit off-track. Correct me if (you think) I'm wrong but, as I already said, my perspective is:

1) to have a lead-in as correct as possible by itself. By "correct" I mean as meaningful and as 'as expected' as possible in the greatest number of cases (if expectations are different and it is not possible to meet all of them). For instance, for what is worth, in most cases I would definitely expect a lead-in for, say, a 6/8 Siciliana to be different than the lead-in for a 6/8 Gigue.

2) if this turns out to be different from the current implementation of the metronome, then you could discuss if:

2a) the metronome is 'correct' (as defined above) as it is and there it should not be any change;

2b) if the metronome is 'wrong';

2c) if both the lead-in and the metronome are 'correct' but the need to have them equal overrides the need to have each one 'correct'.

But the whole 2) is for me a second step. First, I would like to arrive at 1).



In reply to by Miwarre

Miwarre, you just shot down your whole argument in point 1. If _you_ can't even agree with yourself how a 6/8 should sound, much less the argument for a 6/4 which has also taken place, then why take this route at all? It's creating much too much complication. And since it is so different from how the metronome already works (and is established), once again why?

In reply to by schepers

Because a slow 6/8 is likely to mean something rather different than a quick 6/8 (Siciliana vs. Gigue) and it is likely to 'sound' different. So, this supports my point 1) above, rather than "shooting it down". I usually do agree with myself about what a 6/8 time means, in each given context; but it may mean different things in different contexts: my point (again) is to have it 'right' as much and as often as possible.

And it is not so different from current metronome implementation: the only differences are:

1) 3/8 (and similar) are counted as compound by metronome and as simple by lead-in. According to several comments above, here it is the metronome which is probably 'wrong'. In addition, one single click of lead-in (as the metronome does) would be rather useless, wouldn't it?

2) Slow compound meters are counted with one click per compound unit (e.g. 1 click every dotted quater) by the metronome and with three clicks ('tick'-'tack'-'tack') by the lead-in. Here the metronome method is useless as lead-in, as it does not give enough of a clue to understand what is coming.

I'm ready to 'fight' over this specific point, as making the lead-in equal to the metronome would make it useless. OTOH, I have no strong opinion about whether the metronome should be made equal to the lead-in or not. If it is generally though so, I can offer to update this specific point of the metronome.

3) For times like 6/4, both play the same amount of clicks, but the metronome plays 1 'click' and 5 'clack', while the lead-in would play two 'triplets' of 'tick'-'tack'-'tack'. A good deal of the above discussion is about which one is the more correct (or more often correct) way. If you have suggestions, you are welcome.

Finally, it is not complicated at all: the whole time detection algorithm of the lead-in is around 10 lines of code.

Let me say that it is my turn not to understand why we should not decide for a lead-in as 'correct' / 'right' / useful / appropriate (pick your choice of a term) as possible to start with.



In reply to by Miwarre

pulse & beat
the option to specify the mm beat and/or a sub division of the beat (eg 2, 3, 4, 5 etc) like many modern metronomes have giving you the pulse for compound time etc.

length of intro
option to set the number of beats /bars of intro is an important option for younger students who may prefer 4 beats rather than one or two.

timber of sounds for accessibility
option to chose low and high timbered instruments (eg wood block, cow bell, triangle, snare drum, etc) to accommodate people with hearing loss or hearing preferences at certain frequencies and to help over come differences in playback on different devices.

I am not suggesting this is easy for the software developers but I think these features are crucial and will continue to keep cropping up through the forum.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Not wishing to enflame this any further.

Musescore's web playback feature is what brought me here even if it is not core features.

I thank the hard work of developers who laboured to create the open source printed score with playback features for a webpage (and other devices) and love how this open's possibilities for sharing music files with our students. I am yet to try but love the option to add video that syncs with the score for playback as well.

Thank you for reasserting the fact that there are work arounds for many of these things which does negate the 'crucial' aspect and makes it more of a workflow or UI issue.

Thanks Mark and the team for your prompt response.

Thanks for already thinking of this question ages ago and it therefore already appears on my version of MuseScore.

I've added a lead-in click (1 bar) to a piece I've created. However, I want the lead-in click to be exported along with the piece itself when I export it to .mp3. Any ideas on how to include this in the export please?



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