Gorgeous, but way too much work
I’ve just completed my latest project, which turned out to be
insanely time-consuming, though I can’t quibble with the results.
It’s an arrangement of a song, Inchoate Misery, for an unusual
ensemble: string quartet supplemented by double bass, two harps, two
flugelhorns, two trombones, and a clarinet. The video and midi of
the score are at http://youtu.be/w_Bt2fkGQUE. Well worth checking out.
There were two reasons for the ridiculous amount of time I spent on
this. The first was getting the arpeggiated harp chords to sound
right, and the second was my favourite bugbear, the Note Properties
dialogue, to which I now add the Tempo Properties dialogue.
The problem with harp arpeggiation is that Musescore interprets
the broken chord marking as meaning “start on the beat” and “arpeggiate by
32nds” (or 64ths, it's hard to tell). This is rarely how chords are
broken. They often (usually?) begin slightly before the beat,
and are performed much quicker than, say, 32nds or 64ths at a tempo
of quarter = mm75, which was my prevailing tempo. Getting my harp
chords to sound right took hours and hours of fussy, repetitive
work. Avoiding fussy, repetitive work is what computers are for,
so I was dismayed by having to do it.
I won’t get into how I overcame the problem, though if anyone’s
interested, ask. Suffice it to say that a feature I would really
like to see in 2.0 (I’m still with 1.3; no nightly build has been
stable enough for me to use) are “fast” and “slow” options as a
Property of the broken chord marking. “On the beat” and “before the
beat” would be terrific, too.
On the subject of harps, I cannot get the harp pedal plugin to work.
Someone else had a similar problem and found it was a question of
getting Harpfont.ttf in the right directory. They neglected
to say which directory, though. I’ve got Harpfont.ttf in
/usr/share/fonts/truetype, /usr/local/share/fonts/truetype, and
~/.fonts/. Apparently, none of these is correct. Help appreciated.
Along with manually tweaking every single harp chord, I once again
found myself tussling with the Note Properties dialogue, having
to reset hundreds of note properties one by one because of the
Note Properties’ mishandling of batch changes. Simply put, it is
essential that if one selects several notes with a similar velocity
but differing offsets, then changes the velocity (say, for reasons
of balance), ONLY the velocity of the selected notes should change;
the offsets must not be touched. Please tell me this will be fixed
in the mythical-seeming 2.0 release.
There are a huge number of hidden tempo markings in the Inchoate
score (largely related to the broken chord problem), and I wasted a
lot of time with them because the Tempo Properties dialogue doesn’t
update the text associated with the tempo. While that’s fine if the
text is descriptive (Adagio, Moderato, etc), when it's numeric it
means right clicking on the original tempo text (eg 75), selecting
Tempo Properties, changing the value (eg to 72), then double clicking on
the text and replacing it with new text. Try doing that a couple of
hundred times, and it becomes apparent that once again, the computer
isn’t doing the work, you are. So we need an option to go along
with Tempo Properties, “Update tempo text” or something similar.
Lastly, group selecting and moving of staff text that has associated
“lines” (eg rit._ _ _ _ _) results in the lines going to weirdly
random locations, so everything has to be lined up horizontally
again. Wow, is that an eye-killer. Another eye-killer I’d like to
see fixed is the zoom. First, I want to be able to enter my own
zoom percentage, not be locked in by Musescore's pre-chosen
increments. Secondly, when I zoom to a particular spot near
the bottom of a score, I absolutely do not want the score to jump
off that spot to the top of the page when playback starts.
Musescore produces excellent results. My YouTube channel exists
largely to show off what it can do and to encourage more widespread
use. If I seem a tad critical in this post, it is of details related to workflow,
not of the software itself.