• Jun 26, 2014 - 13:58

Musescore does a lot of amazing things that really tickle me. But, we tech users are so spoiled that we can never be satisfied. I have an issue with the way rests are entered automatically into the measures. Yes, that is a great idea as a foundation for the program because the amount of calculation involved in writing and reading a score can be so unweilding that it seems to make sense. It certainly helps keep track of where I am in the score. However, it appears to be too time consuming to learn to deal with because it is so unnatural. When i begin a score on paper, I don't start out by putting rests into each measure of the score and then going through the score erasing the rests as I write. This program chooses for me what it thinks I mean for note and rest values and it is too often incorrect. I would rather be able to switch to a manual mode and place rests exactly where I want them - just like notes. I see a quarter rest icon on the Note Entry bar but it seems that it should work exactly like entering a note, unless it conflicts with the foundational system of having whole rests throughout the score. And why not have the other rests displayed there, just like note values? I would like to write one quarter note, place two quarter rests (not a half rest) and then end the measure with a quarter rest - in that order, just as if I were writing across the line. The automatic calculation for each measure and it's relation to the next is great, but I would like to turn that calculator off and proceed manually. If I want to check my calculation, I could turn the calculator on.

Or maybe I just need more time to learn how this works? Even so, such a feature would reduce the time needed to learn how to use Musescore.


I think the last sentence sums it up nicely :-) The program actually behaves extremely simply and logically; if you are finding it is choosing "incorrectly" how to respond to your input, that's really just a matter of your not having figured out the proper input to get the results you want. It may be different than paper and pencil, but in most ways, it's much *better*. No need to draw barlines or clefs, notes space themselves automatically, copy and paste that automatically accounts for the length of the passage, etc. All sorts of things that are only possible because MuseScore handles things for you in ways that pencil and paper cannot.

That said, there are two fundamentally different ways one can design a music notation entry system - the way MuseScore does it on one hand, and something like the way you describe it. Of the "big two" commercial programs, Finale does it more or less the way you describe, Sibelius does it the way MuseScore does. Either ends up being confusing and awkward if you are expecting the other, but very simple and natural once you get used to it. I spent 15 years using Finale and was similarly frustrated at first with MuseScore's note entry system. Took about three weeks to get used to, now I can't go back to Finale (although I'm sure I'd get used to it again if I dedicated another three weeks to it).

But FWIW, yopu *can* place notes exactly like you do rests. Instead of typing "G" to enter a G, you type "0" to enter a rest. Everything else is identical. Sounds like maybe you are using the toolbar and drag & drop to enter notes and rests. That's very inefficient. You might want to read the Handbook section on Note entry and/or watch the tutorial videos on the subject to see how to do it with your keyboard instead.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Ha! That works fine. Simple enough. Thanks. :)

I thought I was reading well enough but apparently I missed that bit about rests, If I could edit that page, I would give that one sentence it's own section and also include it where it already is. I would leave it the way you have it but I would also follow up the section "Step 4: Enter pitch" with a section "Step 5: Enter rests" and in that section, I would repeat and/or expand what was just said about using the zero to place rests and any other information about adding or deleting rests. I have spent the first few days frustratingly trying to figure it out, searching the forums for the topic on rests and also reading everything I thought I should start with and also missing that little itty bitty one-liner about rests in the "Step 4: Enter pitch" section. Now that I have the instructions, I should have no problems with rests. The real problem is that it was difficult to find the information about rests. That's why I say it should have it's own section besides that one line in "Step 4: Enter pitch." That information belongs in two sections. So that people can find it easily. If they are reading about entering notes, they will see it accidentally and if they are specifically looking for information regarding rests, they can find it purposively.

I like the red highlighting for typographical errors in the reply box on the forums.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Well, I would, if I knew how. It seems to me that we have a really great program here, but people need to know how to use it and that requires the information being properly organized so that everything appears in it's most logical order. Is there a tutorial on editing pages? I wouldn't want to mess anything up.

In reply to by Joe H

After taking a few minutes to look at the Note Entry tutorial, it seems OK to me. Nice logical flow. When learning something new, we often are in a hurry and tend to skim. My suggestions are for those anxiety ridden beginners to the software. Things are beginning to make sense now.

However, the Rest button is only representative of rests in general. Since the icon used is specifically a quarter rest, I was expecting a more literal outcome with that button. I thought that if I pressed that quarter rest button, I would automatically enter a quarter rest into the measure. But is that really logical? Using this same logic - Why not have a quarter note to represent all notes? So you click the quarter note (which simply represents all notes) and then select which value you want for the note. You see, it is not really very logical.

The functions should be consistent across the board. If there is going to be a generic Rest button, then there ought to be a generic Note button. But if you choose to have specific values for each note, then there also should be specific values for the rests. In order to maintain logical consistency.

Same thing for the palette. You cannot select an element (in this case the field where you place a time signature) and then double click the time signature to enter it. That is inconsistent. Why should you be able to select a bar line, double click a different bar line in the palette and see that entered, yet not be able to do that with every other palette feature, such as time signatures? The logical way is to have the same operation for all palette functions. I should get any palette function the same as any other palette function. I should get rests the same way I get notes.

Musescore definitely is a quantum leap for composers and musicians but it could be more logically consistent in it's operations. With the quarter Rest icon you have referred specifically to the generic. But you did not do that with notes and they both should have equal standing in the Note Entry bar and in the Note Entry tutorial.

In reply to by Joe H

Hi Joe H. You may not be aware that, as an open source project, MS allows everyone to edit and add important information including for clarity.

I for one would appreciate it if you could help with some of the changes that are obvious to you.


In reply to by Joe H


One of the tasks we will have to do before MuseScore 2 is released is to revamp the video tutorials.

If you can help with this in anyway, please let me know.

We shall, of course, require video footage of basic MuseScore actions carried out in the new UI.

We will also need people able to write voiceover scripts as well as record them.

And if you can provide a voiceover in a language other than English that would be awesome :)

It will be a little while before we start on this as we need to make sure that there will be no last minute changes to the UI before we start work.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Well, I think I hear my mom calling me for dinner! Haha. :) I was just thinking that it would be great to have all of the videos in a torrent, so a person could access them off line. I would like to just download them directly to my computer, I see that there are many videos on youtube but it is difficult to get a downloader because youtube is always a jump ahead on that. I don't know how I can help out around here. I'm not very smart. I can tell people what I think but I'm not very skilled at doing anything. I can barely write music! I might try editing a page, maybe. I'm kind of sorry I started complaining. I should keep my mouth shut. I'm just getting deeper into trouble around here. :)

In reply to by Joe H

I recognize the icons are not as well representative of the function as they could be, but it you think about it, there is actually good reason why notes and rests are treated differently. For notes, the icon merely selects a duration, but it is the position within the score that you click (or letter that you type) that determines the *pitch* of the note. Rests don't have pitch, so once you've selected a duration, the same rest will be placed no matter where you click, and there need be only one shortcut. So entry *is* inherently different.

What this means to me is that logically speaking, the icons are not labelled as well as they could be. The icons labelled with notes are *not* actually selecting notes at all. If you press 0 with a note icon selected, you still get a rest. And of course, the rest icon doesn't disable the note icon. The icons labelled with notes are really about selecting a *duration*, and that duration applies to both notes and rests. The icon labelled with a rest is actually a toggle that applies *in addition* to the duration, selecting whether a note or a rest will be applied when you click.

Ideally, it would be possible to label the duration icons with something more generic so it wouldn't fool people into thinking that it only applied to notes not rests. And the the rest icon would be labelled in a way that made it clear this was really a toggle to control whether the duration was specifying a note or a rest. I don't have any really good ideas for how that could be done, though, without requiring *more* buttons - and there's no reaosn we should need any more buttons when the current ones work just fine once you understand them. it's really just a matter of finding the best labeling to make the current buttons clear. i guess the labels on the duration icons could change from notes to rests as you toggle the note/rest button.

I think the biggest thing the existing labeling has going for it is that it matches that used in Sibelius, and indeed, note entry *works* a lot liek Sibelius. An awful lot of users have experience with other notation programs, and they will expect things to be familiar.

In any case, if you mainly use the keyboard for note entry as most non-beginners do, you forget the rest icon even exists, and it becomes easier to see the note icons as really just selecting a duration.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

That idea is good. No more buttons are needed. The buttons could have a label over them saying "select a value." The label could change when in Rest mode to "select a value for the rest." or the icons could change in the values from notes to rests. Then the rest button would become a mode button with an icon of a note on top and a rest on bottom "note/rest". And a label over that "Mode." This system would not require any more buttons. Two modes is all that is needed. I'm getting the hang of it the way it is. But consider that with a clearly defined system, there would be no need to post questions and answers. It is a matter of having the time to put forth the effort to understand and practice the correct way. Anything that can make it simpler to understand faster will encourage the new user.

OK. I finally got it and yes, it is simple. But the instructions are not very clear in the handbook. There needs to be a revision of the handbook. But I am not experienced enough to do that yet. Maybe a little more time here and I'll try editing that page. At least there is now a thread specifically about rests. I don't know if I missed something in the handbook? I did notice that the Note Entry page begins with this
Select your starting position for note entry
Select Note Entry mode
Select the duration of the note (or rest) you want to enter
Enter the pitch (or rest) using keyboard shortcut, mouse or a MIDI keyboard

Maybe I just should have started at the beginning? But I didn't do that. When I was confused about how to place rests, I went looking all over the world for info on rests. I suppose I expected that since the Rest function does not work like the Note function that there had to be some special information hidden somewhere and did not expect it to be in the first paragraph of the Note Entry page. And rightfully so, since a rest is not a note. Is there a generic word for both "note" and "rest?"

What the note icons really are (and I think this was mentioned) is duration and not notes. Hmmm. I think the Rest button should be transformed into a Mode button and the icons in the Note buttons should include images of rests, just as there are images of notes. Just like on my keyboard I can use the same keys in two modes, either masculine or miniscule letters (capital or small letters.) So here I am using two modes across my keyboard: QqWwEeRrTtYy. The entry of notes or rests should work like that in two modes. Then the explanation can be simplified in the handbook page because the functions have been simplified. Along the top row of my keyboard it shows what you get in each mode:
! @ # $ %
1 2 3 4 5
I simply depress the shift key to change the mode.

Now, I am not saying to use the shift key. I am saying there should be two modes. If you hit N to get into Note mode, then maybe you could hit R to get into rest mode? Or just 0. Well, that works fine the way it is. But it should be explained as such in the handbook, since it is not graphically displayed in an accurate way on the Note Entry bar. So that bit at the beginning of the page should explain the modal function first - N or 0.

However, I would have missed that because the graphical display is so confusing that I went around the world trying to figure out why rests were acting so obnoxiously. :)

In conclusion: We should edit that page so that N designates the Note mode and 0 designates the Rest mode, right at the beginning of the page and throughout it. That will do for now. Then whether we (you, because I don't know how) want to adapt a modal function and change the graphical display is a question for discussion.

In reply to by Joe H

I realize that when you're new to a program and just finding your way around, a lot of things seem confusing at first, and it's easy to think a certain different way of doing it would be an improvement. But when you really consider the full ramifications of the changes you suggest, you'll find they would actually be a significant step *backwards* in terms of efficiency of note and rest entry. And while it might seem more intuitive to you right now, it won't be to the millions already accustomed to the current method because of experience with Sibelius, other programs, and/or the current versions of MuseScore. This is a wheel that doesn't need to be re-invented - it just needs to be documented better.

In particular, more modes is definitely the wrong answer when it comes to efficiency. It would be very inefficient to constantly have to switch back and forth between "note entry" mode and "rest entry" mode when entering music. Again, most experienced users will be entering notes via the keyboard not the mouse. And having only mode, as we do now, is much more efficient. Press "N" to enter the mode - call it "noterest entry mode" if it helps - and then you are done changing modes. From then on, it's just a matter of pressing a letter to enter a pitch or pressing "0" to enter a rest. There are no more modes at all. Perhaps you are misunderstanding the function of "0"? It doesn't do the same thing as pressing the rest icon on the toolbar; it simply enters a rest but leaves you in exactly the same mode you were in. You basically *cannot* improve on the efficiency of this.

Now, if you use the mouse instead of the keyboard there *are* indeed two "submodes" of the "noterest entry mode" - one in which clicking enters notes, another where it enters rests. So there are *already* separate submodes. And that is one reason why the mouse is inherently less efficient than the keyboard already. Adding still *more* modes would just take an already less-efficient entry system and make it less efficient still.

You *could* change the system to not have two submodes but instead have a whole row of rests like we do for notes, and you'd save one click in the cases where a mouse user is not only changing from a note to a rest but also changing duration - but in the same step, you'd be penalizing keyboard users because they would now need an *additional* keystroke over what they require now. Plus it would require more buttons (thus taking up more space), more shortcuts to learn when you eventually outgrow the mouse as your method of note entry, and as I mentioned, you'd be destroying the familiarity of the interface for the millions of people familiar with this style of note entry already.

The problem, again, is not how any of this actually works - it's a question of how clear the documentation is. Luckily, this is open source, so anyone sufficiently motivated is welcome to work on improving documentation.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

just reread your previous comment while you were posting your last. It seems that we are almost on the same page about revamping the icons. When you talk about a "toggle" isn't that the same thing as a mode shift?

The documentation is not as simple as i might say. It is very difficult to categorize things musically. The Note Entry page includes stuff about rests scattered through it. But who is going to look at a Note Entry page for info on rests? Another way to organize that page is to just have two sections - one on duration and another on pitch - but then the reader would have to read through both sections to place one note!

However, we don't call a measure a "bar" and neither should rests be lumped together with notes. It might be good to rename that page "Notes and Rests." And not only cover rests with notes but pull all info about rests into one section. There is no reason why there can not be alternative pages. there could be a page that is specifically divided into duration and pitch. That might be the answer. We could have a link to it on the Note Entry page, and keep them both linked in the Handbook index.

In reply to by Joe H

Yes, a separate page on rests makes sense to me. But since it *isn't* a whole separate entry system - it's just some commands within note entry mode - I think the "Rests" page could mostly be an quick overiew and then provide pointers in the more detailed discussed under "Note Entry". And consider - wouldn't most people look up info about notes before looking up info about rests? I do think a section called "Note Entry" *should* include about rests, since they are intimately connected and since every other notation program I have ever used combines these. And if people read that section carefully in the first place, they'll never need to look at the "Rests" section. So the audience for the "Rests" page would hopefully be pretty small.

Btw, not sure what you mean about not calling a measure a bar. The two terms are completely synonymous. "Measure" is more common in the US, "bar" is more common elsewhere in the English-speaking world. Within the US, the term "bar" is at least as common as "measure" in the jazz and rock worlds; probably more so. The lesson here is, one has to be careful about assuming one's own experiences will be representative of the world at large.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

well, I remember my music theory teacher telling us that the correct word is measure and not bar. Regardless of what jazz musicians called it, and he was a monster fan of jazz. A bar is the line that divides measures. A note is a note, a rest is a rest, a bar is a bar, and a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. Now all we need to do is put that to music and we'll have a hit.

In reply to by Joe H

In England, a bar is what you call a measure, and a bar line is what you call a bar. Your music theory teacher may have been correct in his own culture, but the English language is rather flexible. And a note may be a note, but a crotchet is a quarter note ;-) . I have had to learn a little American in order to understand the MuseScore forums and documentation.

I realize that there have been a lot of people involved in producing the Musescore project and tons of hard labor involved. The little bit that I am contributing here are only minor changes.

The word "Notation" is so broad that it includes palette items. So the Note Entry bar, the Note Entry button, the Note Entry page and the Palette, can all be called Notation Bar, Basic Notation page, Notation button and Notation palette.

The Basic Notation page deals with rest and notes. And 1) because the calculation of duration is so fundamental to this system, 2) because a new score begins with rests, 3) because both rests and notes have duration in common (not pitch) and 4) because duration precedes pitch in the sequence of operations, we should begin the page with the concept of Duration.

And we should also explain it as it was designed by the developers and as it actually works. So, because the developers did not begin by assigning 4 as a Quarter note or 1 as a whole note or 8 for an Eighth note, but began with the idea of 0 for silence, that is how duration should be explained. The Rest button should be renamed the Silence button because 0 denotes silence and not a rest. The silence does not become a rest until we assign a duration value to it.

This is my first draft of the introduction of the Basic Notation page:

Basic Notation

Here we will explain how to enter the notation of rests and notes. Other notation is covered in the Advanced Notation page.

Every rest or note has duration. We have assigned the keyboard numeral of 0 for silence. A rest or a note is assigned a specific value with the keyboard numerals from 1 to 9.

Table of duration
1 = 64th
2 = 32nd
3 = 16th
4 = Eighth
5 = Quarter
6 = Half
7 = Whole
8 = Double Whole
9 = Longa

The duration keys (1 to 9) are the top row of numbers across the keyboard or the numbers on the keypad on the right hand of the keyboard. The duration buttons are displayed as notes of differing duration values on the Notation bar. These durations apply to both notes and rests.

The Silence button is displayed with a Quarter rest icon and is employed in the notation of rests.

1) Select your starting position by clicking on a measure.

2) Use either the Notation key (N) or the Notation button (N) to begin notation. Now you can begin notating either a rest or a note.

Next, you must determine the duration of the rest or note.

a) To place a rest press one of the duration keys and then 0 (or the Silence button displayed with a Quarter rest icon).

b) To place a note, press one of the duration keys (from 1 to 9) or one of the duration buttons displayed with note icons.

3) You can now place either your rest or note into the selected measure.

4) Place the note at the desired pitch level on the staff.

Compare that with what is now written on the page:

1. Select your starting position for note entry
2. Select Note Entry mode
3. Select the duration of the note (or rest) you want to enter
4. Enter the pitch (or rest) using keyboard shortcut, mouse or a MIDI keyboard

Nowhere in these four steps prescribed does it mention the Silence button or the 0. Therefore, it is actually impossible to place a rest with those instructions. You would have to know it in advance and some of you do know it because you are developing it. But you actually need to have a beginner explain it because maybe you are taking too many things for granted in your explanations.

The whole focus of that explanation is upon pitch rather than duration. That is illogical as an operational sequence. Silence is the natural beginning for this page because all music begins there. Duration is the next step in either process of placing rests or notes. Pitch is the last thing you select when placing a note and not even used when placing a rest. So, again, it is more natural to explain duration before pitch.

Then the explanation goes on to Voice. That belongs to the Advanced Notation page.

The term "Starting position" appears to be unclear , incorrect or even an equivocation. The expression "First, select a note, or rest on the score as your starting position for note entry" is an unnatural sequence. Such an explanation belongs on the Advanced Notation page for users who already have notes placed in their measures. The starting position for a beginner who has never placed a note into a measure can not be a note. You select the measure and that automatically selects the whole rest that is already in the measure. There can be no note in that measure until you place one. A beginner starts by selecting a measure as a Starting position.

The whole of Step 1 actually belongs in the Advanced Notation page because it deals with overwriting when we have yet to write anything! Step 1 talks about adding measures when we don't need to add measures because we have an empty measure in front of us that still wants a note. Step 1 also talks about copying and pasting and moving passages. Nothing at all in Step 1 is where a beginner would start with notating. If it is necessary to mention overwriting in Step 1 then it should specifically deal with overwriting the whole rest that is supplied automatically with every measure and not with notes or any other rests, because the only thing a beginner can overwrite in a new measure is the whole rest.

Steps 2, 3 and 4 are logically placed in the sequence of execution. The introductory information just needs to be reorganized into it's natural sequence and clarified with the proper generic and specific terms.

In reply to by Joe H

I'm sorry, but I think you are still misunderstanding something pretty fundamental here. There is no separate concept of "silence" as you describe it. "0" really is a rest, nothing more and nothing less. Every time you press "0" you get a rest, just like every time you press "G" you get a "G".

But it is true that you start by selecting duration, so that aspect of the organization makes sense. After selecting duration, you either press a letter to enter a note of the currently selected duration or "0" to enter a rest of the currently-selected duration. In that sens, he origianlly four steps are more accurate than yours. The only issue is that it fails to mention what the rest shortcut actually is. But the steps are correct in the original: first select position, then enter Note Entry mode, then selct duration, then press either a letter for a note or 0 for a rest.

I think issue is you are confusing the steps for mouse entry with those for keyboard entry. That is something that needs to be explained more clearly.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

We agree that the documentation could be better. we agree that the terms are failing a bit. we agree that the buttons could operate or be depicted in a better form.

The way you describe it, I cannot get a rest because if I press 0, I get nothing. I must press 0 and another value to get a rest. I cannot place a rest the way it is described in those four steps either because the four steps say nothing about a Rest button or using a 0, I am using a keyboard. The key board is the most accurate way to operate. The things that you are saying and that the handbook says are correct except that you are not paying close enough attention to the order of process. You left out steps in your description and the previous description you gave in this thread. I didn't take but an hour or two to learn notes. The rests took days to learn because it is not well defined in the Notation Bar nor in the Notation manual and the terminology is unclear.

In reply to by Joe H

If you are in "Select" mode, on a note or rest, and you press a duration, that duration will appear.

If you are in "Write" mode (press "N"), you need to first select the duration of the next event you are going to notate. If it is a note, that note will appear with the duration you have commanded, otherwise the program has no way to know what you want. In the same way, once in "Write" mode, pressing "0" will produce a rest of the selected duration at the cursor.

In reply to by xavierjazz

:) :) :)
At least you are identifying the modes. It has seemed to me that there are two modes. But there is a disagreement about that. Yet you have two modes - Select and Write, neither of which I have heard of until now. If there are two modes, then it should be stated up front.

In your description, there is the same assumption that the measure is not empty. So you are jumping ahead. We want to begin with an empty measure. No buttons have been touched. We have no notes or rests on the page except those rests supplied by the program. What you say probably applies to that whole rest depending on what mode we are in. What mode are we in if we have just downloaded Musescore and have not touched anything? All we are assuming is that we have a page up with an empty measure on it. Now, how do we begin to notate a rest of any duration? What mode do we have to be in? What do we do after that? The explanations in this thread do not cover the entire process. And it is a process.

The last thing that Marc Sabatella (who has been kind enough to reply) said was that a 0 is a rest. 0 cannot become a rest until it has some duration added to it. For example, 0 + 5 = Quarter rest. That is accurate and will give the desired result. A plain old zero is going to do nothing. So such an explanation is problematic. And that whole description of the first step is has nothing to do with first steps.

Step 1: Starting position #

First, select a note, or rest on the score as your starting position for note entry. Note entry in MuseScore replaces the existing notes or rests in a measure with your new notes (i.e. overwrites rather than inserts). However, you can insert new measures at any point (see measure operations, "Insert"), or use copy and paste to move a passage of notes.

This is incorrect. it might make perfect sense to you and I'm happy for you but I am a beginner and it makes no sense to me at all. I have never seen the program before in my life. I have not performed any operation upon the measure. There is no note on the measure yet. So how can I select a note for a starting position? I cannot copy and paste a passage since all I have is an empty measure. I don't need to add another measure yet because I still have to fill the one in front of my eyeballs. This information is entirely out of place. Is it right? Sure, it's right. There is just little regard for process with this kind of description. So from that point of view, it is wrong. It belongs somewhere else and not in Step 1.

The problem seems to be that the writers are assuming too many things. They have worked on the program and already understand it. They have come from using other programs and expect this one to work the same way and the developers used those other models to avoid confusion. So maybe (I mean maybe and not positively) there is a lot of assumption here from old-timers that "everybody knows that."
Or it feels logical because you're used to it. :) :) :)

But I am a rank beginner and if i can not understand it off the bat, maybe there is something wrong? Can we agree that the word "notation" is a better word for what we are talking about? Because we are not talking about notes and that seems like a poor use of musical grammar if we say "Note Entry." Who in the music world says "enter a note in that measure" if they mean a rest? So that is the first and most obvious place for misunderstanding . To refer to both notes and rests as "notes." Are there any musicians here? Maybe they can help me out with this?
:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

In reply to by Joe H

1. "What mode are we in if we have just downloaded Musescore and have not touched anything?" - you are what I call "select" mode.

2. "Now, how do we begin to notate a rest of any duration?" - You are in "select" mode. Select the rest in the measure (bar) you want to write in by clicking on it.

There are 2 ways to proceed from here.
a) Press "n" which will transform you into "write" mode ("edit" mode). NOW, select the duration (and also, if you are dealing with voices [see the handbook] select the voice) and then press "0" for rest or use the mouse or the keyboard to write the note/rest at the duration you have demanded.
b) After engaging the rest in the bar you are writing in, stay in "select" mode and engage the duration you want. The whole rest will change, giving you a rest in the duration you have selected. When you then press "0" or demand a note, it will appear at the cursor with the duration you have demanded.

This should at least get you started.

As to poor documentation, there are very few who have any financial reward from this open source program, and those few dedicated an extraordinary amount of time and effort gratis to get this wonderful tool established (and baby, as I have expressed, I am grateful). Much of the documentation is provided by volunteers who are (as you have found in the forums) eager to contribute and help in any way they can. I'm sure we all share your frustration, and many of us have hacked our way through the underbrush, and shared our discoveries as best we can.

I'm sure I speak for many in saying "welcome" and "good luck" with your music. Also, please help! If you look at the pages of information you will see that there is a way to edit the documentation - the fact that you see a lack is insight - please share your abilities.


In reply to by xavierjazz

Don't think that I don't sympathize. It is very difficult to translate music from the old ways to the new. No matter how you turn these musical issues around in your mind, it is still a very complex thing to communicate. We certainly are lucky to have gotten this far.

Your explanation is getting closer because you have me selecting the whole rest that is already supplied in the measure and transforming it into different values. What you have said works.

But now you have introduced three modes, when it has not even been decided if there are any modes at all and what they are. I think it was said in this thread that we did not need two modes. Yet there are already three. And again the documentation of it is lacking because on the program, I can see at the bottom of the page "Note entry mode" and also "Edit mode" but it does not tell me when I am in "Select mode" or whether there is even such a thing. I could already guess that there must be three modes because two are labeled and one acts differently but is just not labeled.

What do you think of the suggestions made by Marc?
I agree that the labeling can be improved. And there was something about toggling. And I have some vague idea that the program ought to be geared toward duration and pitch in it's layout and explanations. I think Marc is thinking along those lines also. But that is not an easy thing to do. It would not be easy to rewrite that page strictly in terms of duration and pitch. It was not easy for those writers to get it documented as well as they did. I am afraid to tamper with it because once people get used to thinking about it a certain way, they may resent someone coming in and messing about with terms and definitions and descriptions.

In reply to by Joe H

I can't quite tell what you are doing wrong, but no other keys are necessary beyond what is described in the four steps:

1) click where you want to enter notes
2) press N
3) select a duration - this step is actually optional
4) press 0

That's it. You don't press 0 and then 5. The moment you press 0, a rest appears. Since quarter note is the default duration, a quarter rest appears if you elect to skip step 3.

Somehow you are making it sem far more comicated than it actually is. It totally is exactly as simple as the four steps given.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

You are right. The way I described the process is wrong. It is not 0+5, it is 5+0 to get a quarter note. But it is not zero alone.

Anyway, can we agree upon the generic term "notation?" Does that seem right to you for a start? Everything that is entered on a score is notation. And then, if that is OK, how about splitting up all notation into two sections - Basic (notes and rests) and Advanced (everything else)? The way it is now is Basics and then a section on Notation. Are we not using notation already in Basics? Seems it should be Basic Notation and Advanced Notation. That way we can concentrate on the clearest and most thorough explanations of rests and notes in the first section and revise the other material later. And let's get our grammar straightened out along the way. I know that measures are often called bars, but rests are not notes and should not be lumped together in a under the headings of Notes or Note Entry. Both notes and est and all other symbols entered on a score are called Notation.

In reply to by Joe H

My point is, pressing "5" is not some extra step above and beyond the original four. It's step three on the original list, and it applies in exactly the same way for rests that it does for notes, just as the original lists says. So the original four steps *are* correct. You were saying following these steps doesn't work, but it does. Again, the description of the four steps could be improved, but those *are* the right steps, given in the right order, and they do work, for rests as well as for notes.

I don't have strong opinions on how the Handbook should be organized or what the sections should be titled. I personally think "note entry" as a major heading is clear enough and most people would realize that includes rests, just as the term "text entry" includes spaces (a separate major section called "Rests" that simply referred people to the appropriate subsection in Note Entry would be fine by me). And I definitely agree it should be clear that the first three steps - selecting position, entering Note Entry mode, and selecting duration - are common to both notes and rests, and that only step four differs. And that for mouse entry only, step four actually requires first clicking the rest icon in the toolbar, so it's more of a five step process. It also needs to be clear that the first two steps are normally done only once, then you loop the last two steps (or just the last step for successive notes or rests of the same duration) to enter multiple notes or rests.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella


I want to react on this particular point, developped by Joe H in a message. I quote: "Note entry in MuseScore replaces the existing notes or rests in a measure with your new notes (i.e. overwrites rather than inserts)"

As Sibelius (and unlike Finale), MuseScore displays, by default, measures filled by figures of rests (whole or half rests).

I do not remember that this aspect has personally asked me some trouble when I took my first steps with MuseScore.

But this thread, and the fact to have initiated the largest number of my students to MuseScore these last months ( guitar students, but also students from fellow teachers: accordion, tuba, flute, xylophone, etc.) made ​​me remember to have met with them an initial difficulty (or mistake common enough)

Among these students: some young children from 9 years ... I never to have imagined so successful MuseScore with them ... it becomes a breeze for them ...!

So I found a small misunderstanding, at the early discovery of the software: replace (overwrite) a rest by a note is not so natural and intuitive as it may seem.
Especially the quarter rest, which occupies three of the five lines of a standard staff - the whole or half rests are a little more "discreet"-, thus, this quarter rest seems to be an obstacle that they want to avoid!


It is also possible that these musicians students are more accustomed to handling this rest by handwritten way (the 7 reversed), rather than the quarter rest used in printing. It's an other working hypothesis.

Anyway, I show you an example of a file made ​​by a student of 10 years (without my immediate assistance.) The three quarter rests are not included in the original score.

Simply remind the child or teenager need to set any against the cursor to write a note, and the problem goes away pretty quickly.

I thought about it, and I imagined of a trick: it would suffice, once the document is open, to make invisible all the rests via : -> Select all similar elements -> and make invisible. They are still there, but watermark, and that does not change the input of notes and rests (which become re-visible when the 0 key is used).

Rest 3.jpg

Perhaps there it would make this procedure more accessible (in Preferences, for example). I do not know, and I have not thought about all the secondary implications.
I repeat, this is not a personal request: I just share the fruit of my thinking after watching children and adolescents to use MuseScore in real situation.

I will not have feed-back on this approach, because the hour of school holidays has arrived! Personally, since yesterday, I like this way of doing things. Visually more comfortable perhaps.
In any case, I already know the experience that I will make with them when back to school music in September!

Attachment Size
Rest2.jpg 9.36 KB
1Rest.jpg 10.79 KB
Rest 3.jpg 12.66 KB

I realize this thread has been dead for a long time, and I don't know if Joe H is still around, but here's the main point that it looks to me like all the discussion never once stated clearly:

0 is not a number. It's a letter.

That is, even though it's in the same row on the keyboard and in the toolbar with the numbers representing durations, it's really the same thing as A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. It's treated as just another pitch. To put it another way, a rest is not an alternative to a half note or quarter note; it's an alternative to a C or D.

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