Up Strokes for guitar

• Sep 16, 2013 - 04:59

I have looked in the local handbook and here and can not find the notation for up strokes or down strokes for guitar or banjos.

Am I entering the wrong search keys?

I would appreciate some help here for guitar is my main focus.



I suspect there are different ways this could possibly be notated, and I don't know which type of notation you are wanting to use. But if you're looking the the standard markings used by other string payers as well to indicate up bow and down bow, they are found in the Articulations palette.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you for directing me to the articulations of the palette.

What I'm trying to write is the way I play guitar. I know when I make a downward strum or stroke it sounds different then when I play an upward strum or stroke. I also want to know how to notate a blues strums. The problem with this question is I don't how to describe it in writing even though I've done it a thousand times on the guitar.

Looking at the palette I'm also puzzled by the Italian for my music terminology isn't good. I think I'm going to have look them up to find out which each one means.

Any other suggestions you or anybody else can make I'm open.


In reply to by Lafayette

The up and down bow symbols work for both single notes and chords in the sense they are meant to work: the display on your score for a human musician to read. Playback is another story, as mentioned.

As for why they are not common, I would say in "most" cases it is left up to the performer to figure out for himself what sort of stroke pattern to use. And in "most" cases, it's probably either obvious what will work best or else it just doesn't matter. Marking up a score with every single note given an explicit up or down would just be impractical and unnecessary. Plus, "most" strummed guitar music (eg, pop/rock/folk) is not often fully notated in the first place. Obviously, these are generalizations only, but that's what I was referring to.

Flamenco is, obvious, an exception, because of the specific way it makes particular dramatic uses of strumming technique - and the fact that it is probably fully notated more often than other strummed music. So sure, I expect a ton of these in flamenco. But had I known you were talking about flamenco and the very dramatic strumming patterns it involves, I think I'd have suggested the symbols lasconic showed you, not the ordinary up and down symbols that might otherwise be used occasionally in other types of music to indicate a less dramatic stroke.

In reply to by Lafayette

Sounds like your more interested in getting the guitar part to "Sound" right rather than a notation issue. I have been very successfull using the following technique:

Write a guitar part on two staves using the lower stave for down strokes and the upper stave for upstokes. so, most measures on the upper stave will begin with a eighth or sixtenth rest.
Allow the upper and lower note values to overlap since the downstroke on a quitar will continue to resonate as you play the upstroke.
Try only playing the higher 3 or 4 notes of the chord on the upstroke.. seems to sound right. You can use more or fewer notes on a given stroke with accents and increased or decreased note velocities to simulate "hitting" harder for a very realisic result.
It's tedious as all gettout. But it works!
You will not want to include these staves in your printed score as they are prety scary looking!

In reply to by Nicolas

Have you used this notation in MuseScore and if so does it work?

It so happens I love flamenco guitar. If this notation works I could use a few rasqueados in my music.

By the way, thanks for the link.


Yes, these symbols are an indispensable part of arranging for any string ensemble. The discussion above focuses on guitar usage, but arranging for strings particularly in an educational setting are absolutely essential. I am greatly anticipating the release of 2.0 for this and only a handful of other reasons.
I have to say that I have recently came upon this software and it has proved to be a tremendous teaching tool for me as an itinerant music teacher. I am having students make arrangements of songs for the ensemble and teaching some of the idiosyncrasies of of the sections they are not familiar with (not to mention partwriting, harmonies, orchestration etc.) they can write at home and I can check throughout the week thanks to cloud folder sharing. Amazing, what opportunities technology can offer. If only the kids knew what a pencil was...
Bravo to the team generating MuseScore. thank you for providing this. Please know how essential the up and down bow strokes are!

In reply to by tgaffga

I'm not sure what you mean. The up and down bow markings are already in MuseScore; they have been there for years. They are found in the Articulations & Ornaments palette. There is nothing new you need to wait for in order to use these - I don't think 2.0 changes anything at all about these. It's only some very specific guitar notations - not the ordinary up and down bow marking used by all strings - that you would need to wait for 2.0 to get.

In reply to by tgaffga

BTW, I did find them. The manual does not have any reference to up or down or up bow or down bow, but I found them under Create tab at the bottom Symbol as well as in the Articulations & Ornaments.
Again, thinking about what a blessing MuseScore is, not only is it free and online as I discussed above, but it really is quite user friendly and intuitive. Either from a Midi controller or my own qwerty keyboard. Thank you lots!

Tim Gaffga

Are you using plectrum or fingers? For plectrum the best notation is as for a bow. For fingers I recommend the minimalist notation, i under the chord for downstroke index, iu under the chord for upstroke index, and so on.

sorry about posting on an old post. But I cannot find the upbows and down bows in the Articulation palette. I have attached an image of what i see.

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