Ghost notes (bass)

• Sep 26, 2017 - 07:50


I don't know if this exist for other instruments, but with a bass a ghost note is a note that you play while muting the string with the left hand, in order to get a percussive attack but no real pitch usually just before the real note to emphasize it.

I can write a sheet with ghost notes, but when MuseScore plays the sheet the real note is played.
1 - do I use the right way to create these ghost notes
2 - Is there a way to have a percussive sound instead of the real note ?

Thanks in advance

Attachment Size
Ghost_notes_musescore.jpg 139.53 KB


In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

1) Yes
2) There is currently no native feature in the program that allows to easily transform one note or more small sequence of notes in ghost notes with good playback
Using the mid-staff change feature would probably become unmanageable in this case of multiple small passages or ghost isolated notes. As it's very common in bass scores.
bass ghost.jpg
So, I would rather use a second invisible staff with a Palm Muted guitar sound in the Mixer (with reduced volume). And of course, after disable playback of ghost notes of the first staff
It takes a bit of work, of course. And it is not completely satisfactory, expected, as sound result.
See: Electric bass.mscz

NB : and if there is systematic patterns (as image above), it will be probably better (and faster!) to disable playback of these notes with Select → More. With a tempo high/relatively high, common case with this effect, the result (for my ears!) is better that hear these « ghost » notes.

A sample file: Selection.mscz
The same after disable playback: Selection1.mscz

In reply to by lstelie

My name is Alfonso, I have been reporting your solution to how to write and play the Ghost notes.
I tried to follow your directions but I did not succeed in the intent.
You could, please, give me the step by step procedure on how you made the file "Electricbass. Mscz".
An early Thanksgiving.

In reply to by pops1901

This file? Electric bass.mscz
So, again, just a workaround (and a bit consumer of time). But you will have wanted it! :)
So to achieve this:

1) Add a second instrument (ie electric bass) : 1Electric bass.mscz

2) Copy-paste the content of first staff in second staff: 2Electric bass.mscz

3) Second staff: right-click on a note with "normal" notehead -> Select -> all similar elements in same staff -> Cut (Ctrl + X). So, only the ghost notes are now kept in this staff: 3Electric bass.mscz

4) First staff: right-click on a ghost note -> Select -> All similar elements in same staff -> In Inspector, untick "Play" 4Electric bass.mscz

5) For the second staff now: open Mixer (F10): change the sound of the second instrument: ie choose "Palm muted guitar (instead of Fingered bass) + Reduce strongly the volume let's say eg keep more or less 30 percent, according to your preference 5Electric bass.mscz

6) And so back to square one now: press "I" (Instruments dialog) -> Untick "Visibility" for the second bass - OK
Final result, as the first file: 6Electric bass.mscz

In reply to by cadiz1

CADIZ1, you've been extremely precise. I managed to realize what I had to.
I don't know, really, how to thank you...
I apologize for abusing your time and sending you my most cordial greetings.

In reply to by cadiz1

I cannot get this method to work. I downloaded your file and I see that selecting all similar "X" notes works. But in my score with guitar tab, all notes including those with normal heads get selected. I tried copying to a regular staff but the X note heads are lost.

Do you know of a way to select only the X notes in guitar tab? I am attaching a copy part of my score.

Attachment Size
X_Note_Example.mscz 10.95 KB

In reply to by rskret

The x noteheads in a tablature staff are not the same as x noteheads on a standard staff. You need to
open the instruments dialog by pressing i.
click staff 1 under the Guitar [Tablature].
Click the Add linked staff button.
staff 2 will be added to the instrument. To the right of staff 2 is a dropdown that says, Tab. 6-str. full, click this and select standard.
Click OK

You now have a staff with notes on it. There are several ways to do the next step, but I'll only explain one.

click a note that corresponds to an x note on the tablature staff. You may press ctrl and click additional note heads to fix several at once or just do one at a time.
In the inspector under the Note section is a label that says Head Group: and the dropdown says Normal. Change the dropdown to Cross. This will change all selected note heads to an X
Once you are done changing note heads to X you can right click an x note head and choose Select>All similar elements and then follow Cadiz1's instructions above for fixing playback.

Once this is done, you can open the instruments dialog, select staff 2 and click Remove to get rid of the unneeded staff. If you add the standard staff again, it will remember the X note heads.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Is there any feature bounty page for Musescore? I'd be willing to contribute $100 to anyone who can land a patch that makes ghost notes (aka dead notes) work without hidden secondary instrument staffs and mixing tricks. Eg, add a property that says notes with the "cross" notehead attribute will use a special voice or something like that. I'd be happy to pay that even if it worked only for bass. Perhaps if enough of us pledge it will become attractive enough for someone to work on it.

Further down in this thread someone submitted a work-around that sounds great to me, but involved way too much trickery.

I have struggled with the same issue and have fineally found the sound in musescore that I think is very close to perfect, although it requires a lot of steps...

First I make the ghost notes a different voice, that voice I give the sound of the 'acoustic bass'. (you can change the instrument sound of an individual voice by adding 'staff text' right click on the text and go to staff text properties, select voice one, in the first bar, select voice 2 in the second bar and make that one 'slap' it is then connected to the 'slap bass' in the mixer, where you can change the sound.)

After that, I add a 'staccatissimo' articulation to every ghost note.

Then fineally I change the velocity of every individual ghost note to '-40%'

that's how I got the ghost note sound I like, it's a lot of work but if you really need the audio to be correct and you have time, it's worth it. I'll include the the musescore file in the attachements. I made everything I didn't want to see invisible, otherwise it would be quite messy,

Hope this helped.

Attachment Size
ghost notes.mscz 7.21 KB

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