New user, now what?

• Jan 29, 2013 - 20:20


I downloaded MScore yesterday and tried it out. I'm putting together a book of songs written by a friend. It's very basic, just a voice line, lyrics and chords marked above the staff. I like the feature being able to play what you've written - it helps you hear the beat and phrasing and I don't care if the tone is just a crappy MIDI sound.

Problems: so far, I have not figured how to start a new staff. I tried hitting return at the end of the staff, I tried copying a staff line and pasting it below,. I tried appending a measure to the staff, and that got a new line started the first time I tried it. The second, third and fourth times, no luck, it just tacks a measure on the end of your staff line. Even when I specify the number of measures in a staff line it will add more anyway.

The other issue is that when I type in notes sometimes the program will stick in an 1/8 rest and I can't delete it. And then I get to the end of the measure and my quarter not gets split into a couple eighth notes and spills over into the next measure. And I go back and try to delete those extraneous rests, they won't delete.

I haven't been able to find much help in the .pdf manual on these issues. Is this a bug or a feature?



1. go to >Create>measures.
2. Check out the online Handbook. rests are not deletable. Simply click on them and you can alter them by adding notes or changing the duration. This will not work in "enter/edit" mode.

It is a good idea to read the manual completely and also to use the search box at the top right of this page.

Welcome and have a great time.

In reply to by xavierjazz

Well, what worked for me was to put a line break in, then append a measure will start a new line of staff. And yeah, I did discover that I could print a note over a rest and then delete the note to bring an overhanging note back into the measure.

Will's songs, I'm going to set them up with 2 or 3 bars to the line with guitar chords. My short-term goal is to get to where using the program is faster than using a pencil and staff paper.


In reply to by jon_norstog

I *highly* recommend watching all of the Getting Started videos shown on the main page. And for lead sheets i particular (which is what you are desrpcribing), see my written tutorial:

BYW, i don't really understand you question about adding new "lines". You don't need to do *anything* to add new lones - Musescore automatically wraps lines and adds new ones as necessary, just as a word processor does. Only after fill up all the existing measures in you score do you need to do anything special, but even then, you don't add "lines" - you add measures, and MuseScore continues to wrap these automatially and creae new lones as needed. Of course, you can also add explicit line breaks if you want a line to break earlier than MuseScore wants to - again, just as with a word processor.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you Mark. I probably would watch the videos if you could compress them so they would feed over a dialup connection.

I have been able to kind of hack the idiosyncracies of this software. The first time I loaded it (1.2) I was able to set up my staff and it would start a new staff when I filled the measures on the first one. Second and subsequent times, it just added measure after measure to the same staff.

WHat worked to me was dragging a line break to the measure I wanted and then appending some measures. If I did that I could set up my next line.

I took a sheet of one of Will's songs over to him today. He liked the way I was able to work his syncopated phrasing into the sheet music. And he didn't have any problem with the "jazz" font. Some of the other musicians hanging around said they like the two measure-to-a-line format. My own thought is to make the notation a little bolder and shrink the spacing between lines of staff.

It really helps being able to hear the beat on what you are writing.


In reply to by jon_norstog

You could look at using DownloadHelper or a similar media-grabber program. Those 10Mb files can then be downloaded slowly and then watched later. I used to have a 28K connection until I got broadband. It's not just the file size, though, it's the fact that it's hard to stream video of any quality over a dial-up. A 1min 38s file I just looked at on YouTube takes up 4Mb even for the lowest setting they have.

Well, some people think it is a feature, others (me partly) say it is a design bug. MuseScore enforces a tyranny of the measure to make sure it is always full with the right number of beats. These makes moving objects around a different matter than it would be otherwise. I dislike it and think it is counterintuitive. To me, it is like auto-correct when typing that constantly "fixes" things, often not the way you want, and I wish I could turn it off.
But you can get used to it, and MuseScore is otherwise excellent.

In reply to by wolftune

I wish you would stop using the weord "tyranny" here - it implies MuseScore is doing something that hasn't been the absolutely 100% universally agreed upon standard for centuries: obeying the conventions of standard Western music notation. MuseScore didn't invent the rules for how this works, and neither you nor I should single handedly decide it should obey different rules. MuseScore *does* allow you to create scores that break the centuries-old, understood-by-billions-worldwide rules of standard Western notation - it just makes you be explicit that you *want* to break the rules.

It is not at all like auto-correct when typing, which actively changes things you enter into other things. It is more like word wrap or page marigns. You tell the word processor up front how wide the page is, and it won't allow you to type a line that exceeds that width, unless you explicitly tell the word processor you wish tyo make an exception.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"it implies MuseScore is doing something that hasn't been the absolutely 100% universally agreed upon standard for centuries"

Yes, exactly! I am implying that. The behavior of MuseScore to automatically insert rests doesn't fit your description in any way. There is nothing at all about standard agreement for automatic rest-insertion. If I follow all the rules of music notation, I can write a note on a piece of staff paper, then decide a moment later that a different note should happen just before and I can draw it in the empty space. The note I first entered isn't stuck in a rhythmic place, it is alone on a staff with no barlines. The rest of the music is unspecified. MuseScore refuses to accept the idea of anything being unspecified and insists that everything have a set state, and this makes working with the score more rigid. This has nothing at all to do with music notation standards, this has to do with how things are input.

If LibreOffice worked like Musescore, every page would be full of empty spaces which would have to be replaced by other characters. There would add great difficulty and confusion when inserting a word or add a suffix due to the weirdness of how to push everything else around. Yes, I know that old text editors effectively worked this way. But there is a reason that the modern word processor has become more popular with the non-specified format where there are no characters until you enter them.

Furthermore, nothing in music notation, I'll say it again: *nothing* in music notation has ever been absolutely 100% universally agreed upon for any amount of time let alone for centuries. Standards are useful and we should respect them. They don't have to reach that impossible level in order to be standards. And I support MuseScore respecting notation standards, no argument there. But there's no point in denying the existence of debate and disagreement about any issue you care to consider.

You are right that my auto-correct analogy is hyperbole, but MuseScore's behavior is more extreme than word-wrap. I am fine with MuseScore pushing measures to new lines, even with the idea of not allowing an extra note to be added to a full measure. My real complaint is the entry of extra rests. That's the real problem. I want things to be entered only when I choose to enter them, like writing notation on paper. I want empty measures not rest-filled measures. I will fill them in as I like. And a measure with a single quarter note will be treated as having it on beat one but should allow a new note entered before it to push it over to beat two or beat 2.5 or whatever, based on the quality of the new note. This is, to me, a much more natural and comfortable way to work. I would be happy if everything were the same except there were no automatic rests and so notes could be inserted before and after other notes (or user-entered rests) until the measure was full.

I also want there to be the possibility of measureless music, something that has a long history and is not just some crazy novel idea.

In the end, my wish is for these to just be modes that users can choose or not. I know in some cases people prefer the current mode.


In reply to by wolftune

Measureless or meterless music is a separate issue, and yes, I agree that should be easier. But no one said anything about that on this thread. As far as I can tell, we are alkong about ordinary music in ordinary meter. And there is nothing "tyrannical" about a program expecting the meer you the user chose to actual hold true for each measure unless you explicitly override it.

It now sounds like you are talking about something entirely differently, though. It has nothing to do with anyone being tyrannial about rules of notation or anything like that. It's a totally separate matter - you want the act of removing a note to have the side effect of changing the time position of all subsequent notes. That has nothing to do with whether a progam follows the rules of notation or not (which *are* ipiniversally agreed upon in every sense that is actually relevant). That is, we aren't talking about wheter MuseScore obeys the rules of notation or not - we are simply talking about how a given command command behaves. Deleting a note can either leave notes in their original time positions, or it can chane the time positions of the subsequent notes. Either behavior is completely consistent with the rules of notation. So tyranny has nothing to do with it. It's simply a question of whether MuseScore provides a mode where deleting one notes has that side effect on other notes or not. Currently it doesn't, but thee is no special reason such a mode couldn't be added.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"Tyranny" was an exaggeration, but what I kind of meant was: MuseScore knows what is "standard" and won't allow you to do otherwise, i.e. it won't allow you to make mistakes in the meter. That's what I was getting at. I like, partly from an interface perspective and partly educationally, having the ability to attempt to enter something that may be wrong and not having it automatically fixed for me because the fix may not be the fix I want. Instead of going across the bar, maybe I meant to place the note differently or use a different note quality. I'd like to be able to enter the wrong number of notes and then fix it with a time-signature change, for example.

But that detail is not a big deal, and I can just get used to how MuseScore works.

As far as moving notes around, if we accept the idea of measures, then it actually makes sense that deleting a note would move the other notes only in that measure and not in the whole score. That's what would happen if using paper and pencil.

I definitely would like to see a future MuseScore with optional settings for moving notes forward and backward with deletions, additions, note-quality changes, etc. and this should have a within-measure setting, although perhaps a way to shift notes from selected measures over so some notes move from one measure to the next, that could be nice too.

Measureless would be good.

But finally, the thing that bugs me that I think bugs the newbies especially too: the extra automatic rests. I want a setting where the first note can be placed anywhere in an empty measure and it goes to beat one. Next, a second note could be placed visually anywhere in the rest of the measure which will be visually empty and not automatically filled with rests; and then this second note would be placed in time immediately after the first note, regardless of the precise section of the measure that the user clicked. I really hate sequencer notation systems in some programs where clicking in different places gives a different rhythm but no visual indication. If clicking in different places changes things, rests should be shown like they are now in MuseScore. But preferable to me is how Finale and Encore and Notion do it: no extra rests shown, each item clicked in the measure goes sequentially after the previous (as long as to the right of the previous after it has been engraved in its position), and measures that are incomplete are treated as though they had rests but the user must be responsible to enter them. This is more intuitive because it is like word processors but also like writing music with pen and paper.


In reply to by wolftune

I don't understamd what you mean about extra rests though. If you click a note onto an existing rest on beat four (say), the existing rest gets replaced with a note, but no new rests are inserted - any rests present after adding the note must have been present already, or you wouldn't have been able to click onto beat 4 in the first place. Unless I am completely misunderstanding what you mean.

Anyhow, if you want to enter music left to right in an efficient manner, why click at all? It's much more straightforward to simply type the letter names. The only real advantage of clickong is that it *does* allow non-sequential entry. But even so, again, no rests are inserted as far as I can tell.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

With any note shorter than the amount of time of a rest, there are extra rests created.

The simplest thing is: get used to the way MuseScore works. I use MuseScore with my students and I love it overall. Anyone can learn to understand how it works. But it is definitely not the natural intuitive way to enter things. Say you enter a 16th note in a measure. If it was on paper, you'd just have a 16th note. You could then add another 16th or an 8th or a rest or whatever, until you fill up the measure and then write a bar-line. In MuseScore, the first 16th creates a series of rests after it such that there are now places to click to enter another note on the next 16th, the middle of beat 1, beat 2, and beat 3. However, there is no place to click to get a note on beat 4 or on the last 16th of beat 1. To access those locations, I have to enter my own rests manually.

Again, anyone can get used to this, but there's definitely a feeling of MuseScore deciding for you how things will go and you have to tell it sometimes that you want something different, and that's what reminds me of auto-correct.

In the other programs I mentioned, no rests are shown by default, and measures start empty instead of filled with rests. This way, notes are simply entered sequentially. This is very similar to the normal keyboard entry in MuseScore, but the significant thing is the way notes move around then if timing is changed, new notes are entered or deleted. In this type of sequential entering, if two notes are entered when only the second was intended or decided to be kept, removing the first one gives the same result as if the second was the only one entered. In MuseScore, this is different because the filling in of rests and such places notes not as sequential but as locked places in a measure.

And at this point, I'm just trying to clarify, I don't want to seem like I'm complaining. I think this is an issue that confuses especially young beginners. I would like to see a mode that works as I'm talking about. But I think anyone is capable of getting used to the way things are now, I just have seen many many occassions where this particular issue turns off beginners who jump in and don't carefully go through all the tutorials. And even though I understand how to do the existing system, I still prefer the sequential mode myself.

So to be clear: it is the combination of not showing rests and of doing the sequential entering even with clicking and of being able to insert and delete between notes and have notes *within each measure* move around to adjust for insertions and deletions and value changes. The combination of those gets the mode that I'm talking about which could be called "Finale mode" or "Encore mode" as it is the standard behavior in those and several other programs historically.

Thanks for being patient with me and criticizing my tone without rejecting my points.

By the way, I know and you know that this issue constantly comes up and will never go away until it is addressed. People keeping showing up being confused because the inability to delete rests and to move notes left and right in a measure can be totally frustrating and confusing.

Consider these threads for example:

Now, I fully appreciate all the work the developers do and the FLOSS nature of MuseScore. I understand if there's just focus on other things. But this needs to still be acknowledged and accepted as an issue.
Incidentally, regarding the example in that one thread, there's no reason that MuseScore couldn't also have a mode that corrected the notation of things like 8th then half after still functioning to slide things over when inserting or deleting notes in a measure.

Let me conclude the whole thing: the idea of inserting or deleting notes or changing values so that other notes move around is exceptionally important, intuitive, and valuable. I think it should be made a higher priority. Furthermore this is all connected because such moving around only makes sense if there is a difference between a user-inserted rest and an auto-generated rest. Because rests are generated, there is no obvious way to handle the moving of notes when objects are inserted or deleted. When measures are empty but then users insert rests and notes, then it is clear what objects the user placed and how to move them around in light of insertions or deletions. And that is how most users are used to doing things in most programs, both music and text and otherwise, and paper and pencil. And the lack of a way to remove a note and have everything else stay sequential is a, perhaps *the* fundamental problem with MuseScore today.

And this is exactly, specifically, the confusion of the original poster in this topic today.

Thanks for hearing me out

In reply to by wolftune

I still you are misunderstanding what MuseScore is doing and why, and also misrepresenting the effect htis actually has.

For instance, I see now that you you weren't say that clicking a note onto beat 4 inserts rests *nefore* the note the note (the normal meaning of "insert" - you were saying that entering the note on beat one creates the (musically necessary) rests on beats 2-4. This is not normally a problem of any kind whatsoever in itself. But because you for some reaosn are using the mouse entry method, which is *specifically* desoigned to allow you to place notes in any order and not just sequentially, and then you are not being careful to actually enter the notes sequentially, you sometimes find your notes don't in fact get entered sequentially. To me, that's a feature, not a problem at all. If you want sequential entry, use an entry mehtod that forces this - like the computer keyboard, or MIDI, or - starting in 2.0 - the graphical piano keyboard interface.

IBut in any case, what you are talking about still has nothing really to do with whether or not MuseScore likes score to actually obey the standard rules of notation unless otherwise specified. The only reason the rests are giving you trouble, as far as I can tell, is that you aren't being careful when clicking onto to staff to actually click where you want the next note - you want it to simply enter the notes sequentially regardless of where you've clicked. Well, there is no reason MuseScore couldn't implement such a model if for some reaosn people felt the other three methods that *do* enforce sequential note entry were not sifficient. No need to change MuseScore's basic representational model one bit - just skip the few lines of code that attempt to figure out what time position you are clicking on, and always enter the note at the cursor position.

I've never even heard of anyone mentioning this as an issue before, so I rather doubt it's a common point of confusion. It certainly doesn't seem at all related to what the OP in this thread is talking about. It isn't clear *what* exactly he means, but I'm guess he is simply wanting to change the time position of some notes to be earlier, and is mistakenly going about it by trying to delete something that comes before the notes he wants moved rather than by actually moving the notes. And *that* is a common enough mistake, to be sure. But once more, it's a simple matter (in principle, anyhow) for MuseScore to provide a mode in which deleting a note has this (strsange, to me) side effect of changing the time position of subsequent notes you didn't even touch. Again, there is *nothing at all wrong with MuseScore's basic representation model* here. It's just that certain button presses don't currrently preduce the results you personally expect.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The fact that you don't understand how this is related to the original post here indicates that you're still missing what I'm trying to express.

I don't actually know how the original poster was entering notes, but I'll guess it was with cursor and clicking. He ended up with an 8th rest he wasn't sure he wanted and later could not delete it.

The issue is that rests don't delete, nor do notes, they just turn into rests. This problem is exarcerbated when people expect clicking to work sequentially, which is a mode I would like to see, but I also appreciate the existing mode.

The fact that Finale and Notion and Encore and Overture and others work as I'm describing should be enough evidence to understand that this isn't a quirky detail about my views but is an issue that will keep confusing people forever until it is addressed.

Let's put this as simply as possible: imagine writing on paper and pencil. That's the natural reference. I enter a note, it will be read as beat one. I enter another note, it will follow. But if I erase the first, then the reader will consider the other note to be first unless I actively choose to enter a rest. Likewise, if I enter a rest and then delete it, well, I can do that. And if I have entered barlines, then nothing I do in one measure will be read as affecting other measures.

So the essence of what I'm saying and what this post is about is this: rests should be able to be deleted and the measure interpreted the way it would be if it was paper and I erased that rest, possible including adjusting things like half-notes to become dotted-quarter-tied-to-8th although that is like auto-correct.

As long as Musescore insists that all measures must be full, then deleting a rest doesn't work, or it means inserting it at the end of the measure instead.

Perhaps the best way to put it is as I said earlier: there could be a distinction between user-input and auto-generated rests. The only way maybe to completely express the idea that I'm getting at is to run a demo of Encore and experience how it works.

There is one thing that even getting used to MuseScore and using sequential keyboard entry does NOT solve: removing an extra note or rest or changing time value after notes have been entered. It's perfectly reasonable to decide to remove a note in a long string of 16th notes with the idea of changing a later note into an 8th note, for example to make up the time difference. MuseScore is very bad at handling this. The other programs that use the mode I'm talking about do this with ease.

In reply to by wolftune

I do understand what you are saying. What I am pointing out is that youare mixing up three *completely* unrelated topics:

1) what happens when you delete a note? some of us expect it to delete that and have no other effect on the *sound* of anything else. this is the area where you and the OP are presumably in agreement (not enough info in his post to be sure) - you expect clicing one note or rest and hitting Delete *will* affect the sound of other notes (by chaznging their time position to be earlier). i can see why some might expect that - as you observe, if you think purely in terms of graphics rather than in terms of sound, this is indeed what would happen if you erased one graphical symbol from a sheet of paper - deleting one symbol *does* change the sound (time position) of subsequent notes. but hopefully you can also see why others might expect that deleting a note would *not* affect the sound. the pont here being, both groups have good reason to have the expectations they do. neither is "better" than the other, they are just different. MuseScore currently does it the way the most popular notation program in the world (Sibelius) does it, so that is saying something, but I have nothing against MuseScore *also* providing a "special" delete that works more like FInale and actuall;y changes the time position of subsequent notes.

So on that one point, eys, I assume you and the OP are in agreement, and I have no argument with either of you (assuming you'd agree that these two commands can coexist, and you wouldn't expect those of us who *prefer* deleting one note to not affect the sound of anything but that note to have to put up with notes changing in sound all by themselves every time we altered other notes).

However, you are confusing this one issue with two *entirely unrelated* issues:

2) what happens when you click the staff to add a note while in note entry mode. apparently, you want the position at which you clicked to be ignored - that is, you want MuseScore to enforce some sort of "do what I mean, not what I say" mode so that even if you click somewhere toward the end of the measure, it will nonetheless put the note at the beginning. this strikes me as much more "tyrannical" than anything MuseScore currently does - it forces clicking to be just as sequential as the modes of input that are actually designred to be sequential. but again, make it an option - so that people who want clicking to be continue to prvide an escape from the "tyranny" :-) of sequential input can have that, but people who wish to always be limited to sequential input can have that forced upon them even when clicking - and again, I have no issue with this, either.

It is hopefully clear that the OP never said one word about anything having to do with #2 above - his comment seems to really only apply to #1. So this is what I mean when I say your comment on this subject had nothing to do with what the OP appeared to be talking about.

But more importantly, you must realize #1 and #2 have *nothing to do with each other*. One could easily add a feature to MuseScore to address #1 without affecting #2, or vice versa. And indeed, I can't imagine that there would be any code shared whatsoever between these two features.

Furthermore, you have been incorrectly assuming that both #1 and #2 are direct results of:

3) the fact that MuseScore aalways makes sure all measures have the number of beats they are supposed to have, "inserting" rests as appropriate if you shorten a note or rest.

What I have been pointing out is that this fact has *absolutely nothing to do* with either #1 or #2. W#hen you use phrases like "tyranny of the measure" or whatever, you make it sound like the issue is #3, but I maintain this has *nothing to do with either #1 or #2". It is perfectly possible to add features to address #1 *and* #2 without having to change #3 at all. And that's what I am suggesting should happen. There is a *reason* - lots of them, and very good ones at that - why #3 is the case. There is no downside to this; only benefits. If you see #1 and #3 as things needs fixing, then propose fixes - but no need to break the core of the program by changing #3. Your complaints are actually #1 and #2, which are *completely unrelated to each other or to #3*. And as far as I can tell, the OP is talking about #1 *only*.

In reply to by kent318

I do find if you understand theory it works well but for functionality to non vrsd musicians not so much, I had some difficulty deleting a rest that's been resolved but led to my above thought. I just don't agree as text editing in no programs I'm aware of enforce spaces between wordsimho.

Well, I took a draft lead sheet over to the songwriter yesterday. He like the way I set it up, with two bars to a line of staff. He liked the "jazz" font, too. I made the staves and the notes as big as I could and get the whole song onto a single letter-size sheet. I tried to create a blank page so I could put the lyrics on a facing page but was unable to do that. So I found a font that kinda, sorta looked like the "jazz" font and did the lyrics page up in Open Office.

I futzed around with the software until I got able to work around the whole goofy thing with the rests and notes spilling over into the next measure. So I can deal with it but it definitely slows me down. One thing would help is if you could click on a rest and drag it from where it got thrown down to someplace it can do some good.

I looked up the transpose feature, hoping to be able to change from a C tuning to B-flat or E-flat. I got a list of transpositions but nothing I could use. The song was in straight ahead C, no sharps or flats. All I wanted the software to do was move the notes up two steps and put in any sharps or flats needed. Ditto the shift to E-flat tuning, just step the other direction. Should be simple, no?

At first we were gonna do a book of Will's songs, but now I think we're gonna publish them as broadsheets and sell them individually. Onward to the cover art.


In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

well, ok if the insert mode also works for removing things in the same fashion as inserting them.

And I can be more clear then about my overall points: an insert mode doesn't work if the measure is already full unless we allow over-filled measures. So for an insert mode to work otherwise, the idea would be that it is not auto-filled with rests. This way, if there is a certain amount of unspecified time, then a note of that value or less may be inserted wherever in the measure. If the measure is full, then the user will have to remove some time by deleting things or changing values and then inserting will be possible; unless we allow over-filled measures, as I said.

Thus, the concept of insert mode is tied to the issue of auto-generated rests. And to be clear: this is because I'm not suggesting insert mode would push around all the music in the entire score. It's just internal to each measure. Of course, a way to push the music in the score over is a separate potentially useful feature.

In reply to by wolftune

Insert mode would presumably either push the last note(s) out or else into the next measure. Or perhaps it would alter the actual time signature of the measure - MuseScore *already* allows "overfull* measures.

So again, none of this has anything whatsoever to do with any sort of notion of auto-generated rests. But even use of that term suggests purely graphical thinking. You think of deleting a note as "inserting" a rest and hence changing something, whereas if you think *musicall* you see the reverse is true - it is by not "inserting" a rest to take up the slack that sometyhing is chsanged: the time position of subsequent notes. Both are valid ways of thinking about music notation. But again, this has *nothing to do* with the idea of insert mode. It is perfectly possible to implement insert mode (and provide several different options for what to do with the extra notes) without changing this fundamental aspect of MuseScore.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks, you'rely most right. If there were an insert mode that had flexible options I would probably be happy.

Here's why I still think that it is related to the rests issue: in the way some programs work, you can continue inserting notes into a measure until the time is filled. Thus, at some point, the measure won't allow more insertions unless something is deleted or changed first. I'm ok with such a mode. In this system, having rests only inserted by the user is significant because those rests can end up making the measure filled and then not allowing other insertions. In MuseScore, this mode is not possible because all measures are always filled. There is no difference between a consciously inserted rest and and automatic rest.

But that is just only type of mode that makes some sense. This mode makes it easiest to understand how to do insertion because it only moves objects (notes or rests) when there is "empty" space to move them into. All other types of insert modes would need some separate complex way to figure out how to handle the extra time.

I VERY much like the idea of an insert mode that alters the time-signature. This would truly remove the "tyranny" I referred to because it would make the timing of notes completely flexible. It would not require meter to be pre-specified and then force (yes, force) the music to fit the specified meter). Instead, any timing or any extra note or any less note would simply be adapted to a different time signature. How to handle this across multiple staves could be weird. There's some argument for allowing this to have independent meters in multiple parts. I think this mode would be fascinating and would SURELY actually inspire people to explore new musical ideas that they don't think of when they must decide about time signatures first before inserting or deleting notes. This mode could be revolutionary, and it would function essentially as a meter-less measure-less mode too, simply by hiding the bar lines and time signatures.

Finally, this would be wonderful educationally. Instead of saying "no, you can't add another note" or "this rest is needed for this meter" the message to students would be "deleting that note or rest or adding this note results in this new time signature change". Much more of a creative way to think about the music.

In reply to by wolftune

I guess I still just don't get why you think adding more than 4 beats in a 4/4 measure is such a wonderful thing. But I'm having trouble separating out two issues, that are - again - mostly unrelated:

1) what happens *while in note entry mode*


2) what MuseScore allows to actually be in the score on a permanent basis

It seems you are now talking primarily about #1, but in the other thread where you brought this up recently - regarding crazy cross-measure triplets - it was really about #2. So I have been assuming that's what you were still talking about here.

Now, if you you are really talking about actually creating music that has varying number of beats per measure, then I would absolutely agree that it would be nice to make this easier. But this really has nothing to do with how note entry works while in 4./4 time. I would still say that if the user says he is writinbg music in 4./4 time, there is no advantage whatspever in making it easy for him to accidentally screw that up. Add a new meterless mode, sure, great, but no way should that interfere with the ordinary workings of MuseScore for the 99% of users who write music in ordinary time signatures.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The question is WHEN does the user "say he is writing music in 4/4 time" ??

MuseScore doesn't give the user a way to leave time unspecified or to easily shift how they are approaching meter. There is lots of music throughout the world that does not use a strict meter. What if I have a young student who is just exploring music? This student does not know that they want everything to be strictly 4/4. The student is just exploring. Maybe they want to try an extra beat here or less beats there or an extra rest between two little melodies. MuseScore could be a fine way to explore, an empty canvass within the bounds of music notation.

Because MuseScore has a default of a strict meter, it puts the burden on the user to go out of their way any time they want to deviate.

A separate issue is that MuseScore assumes, via the lack of insertion mode, that the composer is thinking more about how an event relates to the meter than to how the event relates to the surrounding sequential events.

I think that composers and students and musicians have many modes of thinking. One is metric, another is sequential. MuseScore only respects the former. It makes sequentially-focused music writing do the work of figuring out how to shuffle things around or change time to get various sequences to work. This extra hassle is only worthwhile if the composer is already sure it is what they want. Nobody is going to try four or five different variations just to see how they fit with everything if it requires complex time-signature changes and awkward copying and pasting.

I like music with all manner of tuplets, additive time, and traditional meters. I want the system to be neutral about these things rather than to favor one mode over others. There is no A/B test, no scientific evidence as to causation regarding the 99% of users writing in strict time signatures. Maybe 99% of users use strict time signatures because MuseScore favors them rather than the other way around. In my experience, young students are just as open and interested in other rhythms as in strict meter. They must be taught to observe strict meter, it isn't necessarily default. If teachers and software did not push students into respecting the meter, they would surely deviate from it much more often. It is not MuseScore's business to make assumptions here. MuseScore should just be as close as possible to putting into notation whatever ideas someone may have.

Finally, the insertion-mode is relevant because even staying in the meter, I want MuseScore to work with either a more metric or more sequential mindset.

The basic conclusion of all of this is: any time the program is making assumptions about what creative things people may do, this is a problem, in my opinion. And that's what gets me toward words like "tyranny" which are admiteddly hyperbolic. I also would like MuseScore to accept non-standard key signatures and have better implementation of other temperaments, but I'm happy that MuseScore is already further along than most in that regard, even though there's much more room yet to open up. When more flexible tools are available, who knows what marvellous results we may see? There's a tiny hint given people bringing up such things even within MuseScore's current functioning.

In the end, I believe in MuseScore's potential to liberate compositional creativity for more people, and of course I don't expect this overnight. (In fact, I'm spending my own time trying to advocate for Free/Libre/Open developments in general, creating a fundraising system dedicated to these things long term, which I hope will eventually be a way to further fund MuseScore). I appreciate that you've taken the time to read my concerns.

In reply to by wolftune

Yes, again, I agree that for some percentage of users, a meterless mode would be good, and I totally support that idea. But as useful as you might find it, and a few other, I am skeptical that this would be something something the majority of users would benefit from. Most people really do use time signatures in the usual fashion. So even if a meterless mode were added, it really doesn't address the other concerns you raise about wanting different modes of editing even when creating ordinary metered music. That would have to be dealt with separately.

In reply to by jon_norstog

It would still help if you explained what you mean about goofy things with trests and notes spilling over. MuseScore is actually quite straightforward about how this works, even if some people wish it worked in a *different* but also straightforward way (eg, my discussion with stickwolf here). Either way, it's just a matter of understanding how it works and doing that. Right now it seems like you probably aren't understanding how things work and hence are kind of fumbling around trying to get what you want, and it's thatfumbling that is slowing you down. Provide more information and we can help. Once you understand how it works, note entry is as fast as typing text.

Well, thanks for the help. I did "append" a "frame" which works kind of like a text box in most graphics programs. I did RTFM but did not pick up on this characteristic of frames, or that you could make a new page that way.

So I had the lyrics typed up in OO. Hot shit! I'll just copy and paste! Ooops, doesn't do that. Well, typing is good for the soul. Actually, maybe you can paste. I have noticed that program features that don't work can be brought to life by exiting and reloading the program. (Win XP, ver. 1.2)

I may try the program on a Linux box. When I have time to build from source code.

Next step will be putting everything into a format I can run at Kinko's, probably .pdf for the score and .psd for the cover art.


In reply to by jon_norstog

You can indeed paste lyrics into MuseScore. Just go into lyrics mode on the first syllable, hit ctrl-V, and keep hitting ctrl-V to keep assigning syllables. Of course, this only works if your text is already broken up into syllables ("hel- lo").

A frame is sort of like a text box, but it's more generic. It's a box, period, into which you can place multiple other things, including text areas.

In reply to by jon_norstog

Who, me? About what? No, nothing in the response to which you were apparently responding was meant to be taken at anything but face value. Pasting into MuseScore as described *does* work and be a quite handy method of entry in some cases. Type the lyrics into a text editor, get the hyphenation right, then just hold ctrl-V down in MuseScore and watch the syllables start attaching themselves one by one like dominoes falling. If you end up finding you've missed a hyphenization, just undo, fix the issue back in your text editor, and try again.

If you were expecitng MuseScore to automatically figure out the syllablization and hypenation for you, though, that's just not going to happen.

Or maybe you thought I was kidding about the frames, although it's harder for me to imagine what you might have thought was supposed to be funny about that.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I guess I was ROFL about the whole idea of repeated "ctrl-V" putting my text on the page one syllable at a time. Sorry! Anyway, typing a page of lyrics is not a big deal. What, 250 words? I expect it could be a big deal for someone who was trying to put together a book for a musical.

I got to say, I am really impressed with all the features and functions in MuseScore. You could score a symphony with it! What I need is less and more. Just a basic music notation program that will let me write songs and put together lead sheets. And transpose form C-tuned to B-flat and E-flat tuned instruments. I do like the ability to add voices, like putting in a horn or harp line. I just haven't used those features yet. Probaly will on this next song, a 12-bar blues about love, loss and arson.


In reply to by jon_norstog

Just an observation on this......interesting.....thread. It seems to me that MuseScore is not "pen and paper", in much the same way that a word processor is not a typewriter. One will never work like the other. So what. It is to me a wonder that I can hear what I write for whatever instruments I choose. Rather than use paper and hope to get a group to play it. Is it perfect? No. But if I know the limitations, I can plan for them as i write. Not difficult. So what if I have to rewrite a measure. It takes more time to try to force software to do something it might not like, than to just do it the way it's made to work. If I feel strongly about something, I can learn coding and do something about it.

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