Guitar Notation & Tablature - Palm Mute

• Aug 2, 2017 - 18:50

I am writing this post to request 'palm mute' line for guitar notation/tablature. This technique is widely used and implementing it should be relatively easy. The separate pieces for the feature are already included in the software but they just need to be combined together.

Palm muting is a technique where the palm of the player's picking hand prevents the string/strings from playing openly while picking. A famous example of this would be The Police's 'Every Breath You Take'. The technique is also a cornerstone for rock and metal music.

Implementing palm muting as a feature is not probably too hard; I have attached an example file to show you a perfectly usable workaround for the lack of this particular feature. In the example file I have used staccato notes with customized lines to imitate the look and sound of palm muted notes to give you some idea of what I mean. Using this as a workaround is very time consuming though.

It should be noted that staccato and palm mutes are two different techniques. Still, looking at what we can do with MIDI output, they are pretty close. (Staccatos are sharp and pretty much have only the attack and palm mutes last roughly ½ of a note's duration)

Feel free to comment for more information!

Attachment Size
Example of Palm Mute Workaround.mscz 14.49 KB


In reply to by justsomeducks

Using palm muted guitar soundbank would be quite inconsistent if the guitar parts have over-driven or distorted parts. This post is also more about the notational aspect of the feature to make things easier/faster. I for the life of me can't see how editing customized lines and fiddling around with the playback manually would be considered "good enough" for such widely used technique in modern music.

In reply to by Teemu Kielinen

You wrote: This post is also more about the notational aspect of the feature to make things easier/faster.

So, for notation - that is, what's written on paper - you can use text (e.g. P.M. for palm mute) and lines. That's simple enough.

However, you seem more concerned with playback, so see the attached example in my post below.


In reply to by Jm6stringer

This solutiion is also just a workaround and would not sound consistent with overdriven or distorted guitars. It is also potentially even more time consuming.

My original post was intended as feature request to add a feature that helps with basic guitar notation. I do fear that this request also goes unnoticed. Palm mutes were first requested in 2010 ( ) but the feature remains absent. Working around them is a pain in the backside.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

As I replied to a different comment above, this is a feature request for the developers to implement a specific palette option for the palm mute technique. I can already work around the lack of the feature, but can't see how editing custom lines and fiddling around with the playback manually for every other note (in the worst case possible) would be considered "good enough" for a technique such widely used. Hence, this feature request.

I appreciate the effort to help me but some sort of acknowledgement from the devs would be appreciated (I was directed here from MuseScore's FB comment section).

In reply to by Teemu Kielinen

Strictly concerning notation...
You can save custom lines to a palette, so you won't have to create them from scratch.
Of course, you'll still have to position them in the score. Not too difficult.

But of course...

This only applies to the notational aspect - which is MuseScore's primary objective: that is, to produce printed scores. (What the devs emphasize.)

So, to be clear, you wish a palette option to drag or double click a line/symbol (e.g. P.M., O.D., Dist., harm.) and apply it to a group of notes, and have the corresponding sound automagically assigned in the mixer to play those notes, yes?

If that's the case I hope you realize that staccato (which you employed in your first post for the palm mute example) is simply a truncated note duration and does not require a different instrument sample - so, not too difficult to implement for all instruments. On the other hand, guitar effects like distortion, harmonics, etc. require a distinct sample set for each sound. It cannot be 'faked' by manipulating the midi duration.

An instrument like violin has three channels (arco, pizzicato, tremolo) available because there are three distinct sample sets - so actually three different instruments displayed in the mixer/soundfont. Even this feature, which has been around for years, requires manually assigning playback channels. Perhaps this could also be made more 'streamlined' with a palette option - like your guitar effects request.

Let's see what any devs say...


P.S. In fact, the pizzicato violin found in the default soundfont is actually a sampled string section, so a 'solo' violin sound changes from arco to 'string section' pizzicato. Clearly, 'studio polished' playback is not the main focus of MuseScore. Better (and free) soundfonts are always needed.

THIS IS A MUST! not only that, but a lot of other dynamics and articulation on every instruments AND layout formats! You see, making a text change, the bank sounds, go that way, go the other way... Man that take centuries !!! This modern world is a fast-paced one, and our digital tools are supossed to make the workflow go fast and not to slow us down. Yes it is cool to have full control on all the parameters and make a custom layout, but I think this program need a strict funtional format too, to use as a base and then you can customize it if you want.

For example in Guitar Pro 5 the space for the Tittle, subtitle and composer are stric and exclusive in the page, you dont see notes or lines trespassing that space nor you need to click them and getting them out of the way with your mouse or the Inspector. With this you already save 10 seconds you could spend composing or arranging.

It is a tedious metod to go back and forth the Page design and the Style just so you can have legible pentagrams of all an orchestra to fit in one page. This could be solved with a strict margin and a command taht make all the instrument fit in the one page instead of making the one that cant fit in a second page (Again saving our time)

Palm mute is often used in alternated notes with not palm muted ones on groups of sixteenth notes, and i am talking about a whole phrase of it, not just one bar. So much time wasted there... And if you put classical notation linked with tablature oh boy... even if you have a custom shortcut for the text palmmute, you have to set with the inspector the lenght of the doted line and the ubication of the text an line...

The Guitar is a popular instrument, with a lot of techniques. AND when a composer write for the guitar, he will keep writing for it, because is challenging. This instruments needs its own pallette as the harp with its pedals.

Musescore have the pottential not to be an alternative to other programs, but to be the better program out there for writing music.

In reply to by wacha_rock1

Sounds like you have a few different ideas here, but it isn't quite clear what you are suggesting or if they are related or not. Can you maybe start separate threads for separate suggestions, and give a clear description of each one? I'm especially not understanding what the score title has to do with palm mutes.

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