notes with two stems (one up and one down)

• Jun 1, 2018 - 16:18

A commonly used device in 19th C. 5-string banjo notation is to place an upwards flag on notes played open on the 5th string (G, in modern gCGBD tunings). This is actually a fingering guide as that note may also be stopped on the 1st string, 5th fret (again, in typical modern tuning) or elsewhere on the fretboard.

At the moment, I'm entering my notation into musescore normally and then creating a 2nd voice to add this flag to notes where I desire the flag to occur. This is a labor intensive process...esp. if I have a larger score with potentially hundreds of "open G" flags to insert. It also creates issues in that the second voice is a 'fake'. When I cut/paste the notation into tablature, I get two notes in the tab staff...and some squirrely beaming.

I've learned to create notation as basic, cut/paste to the tab staff and then add the flags to the notation staff afterwards. Linking the two staffs simply creates more issues than its worth.

Is there a shortcut (or better mousetrap) to achieve that double stem on a given note? Using voice 2 fills the staff with rests (if the note is other than the first beat) that have to be deleted, etc.



Out by curiosity, could you attach an image (or pdf) of a published score showing notes with two stems (one up and one down)

In reply to by madsmith

In this example, the tuning was eAEG#B (5th thru 1st). The open 5th string is the E above middle C (and although not notated, it is written an octave above true pitch). This notational standard was prevalent from ~1860's to the 20th C. in America...but is transposing notation as the banjo was generally tuned gCGBD from the 1880's onward. Brits published in C (for reading gCGBD directly). Americans didn't start that officially until ~1907. The stacked fingering (with the smiley in between the numbers) indicates a 'snap slur'. The upper number is the starting fret or position, the lower is the finish. Typically positioned over the terminating note of the slur.

As you can see, lots of double stemmed notes!

FWIW, it's easy enough to delete all voice rests at once, just right click one, Select / More / Same voice.

But maybe a more clever shortcut

1) click the note you want to double
2) Alt+1 to add another note of the same pitch to the same chord
3) Esc to leave note input mode (since Alt+1 enables it)
4) Ctrl+Alt+2 (or click voice 2 button on toolbar) to move note to voice 2

Done - no pesky rests, etc.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

So, maybe a better answer is to simply fake the upstem & flag using a symbol. And actually, this is a much better answer, since it doesn't mess with stem direct either.

So, click the note, press "Z" to display the Symbols palette, type "16th" into the search box, and double click the symbol showing a sixteenth note with upstem. This will be placed directly on top of the existing note and should line up essentially perfectly (especially if you are using Bravura as your musical font in Style / General, but it close enough to perfect even with the default Emmentaler.

If it you wanted, you could even do this for all of the top space E's at once - right click one, Select / More / Same pitch, OK. Then add the graphic as described above.

So, you could literally add these to all top space E's in about 10 seconds with no additional cleanup required, except to remove the symbol from the E's that are not meant to have it.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

First, thanks for attaching this excerpt. I could not remember this notation (which I had overflown a few years ago with my own banjo!)
This A. Baur's book (The Banjoist's Budget) is written in standard notation only.
From what I understand, you also use a second TAB staff.
Rob McKillop (a well-known performer) recently did an identical editing work. Just adding a TAB and thus clearly identifying the open string is enough to solve the problem, right?
In other words, how would it be useful to literally copy the staff in standard notation, when we have the information in the TAB.
So, I think it's a lot of extra work for a very few thing (if you use standard + TAB again). For my part, I will avoid this extra work since again the TAB displays the information the player need.

In reply to by cadiz1

Small world. I provided Rob with a copy of my "The Banjoist's Budget" years ago and have worked with him on a number of projects over the years. Good friend and amazing player!

Yes, I personally use TAB alone, no need for notation (other than to key it in). However, in my most recent case I wanted to emulate the original notation as well as provide a TAB staff. The person I'm doing this for will choose what he likes best for each piece. Some are short and look good on one page with two staffs, others are a full page in either notation or TAB and he may not want to use two staffs strung over two pages, etc. I would probably go with notation on one page and TAB on the facing page...

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks Marc, that worked perfectly. I haven't figured out how to keep it from populating the TAB staff with flags...but removing the unwanted ones from the TAB is still a lot easier than what I was doing. I selected both "same pitch" and "same value" as that is what the original notation has (flag of the note value), so I had to hit all the 16th notes, 8th notes and 4th notes separately. Easy peasy.
Thanks again!

In reply to by madsmith

Actually your posted example always uses sixteenths for the upstem notes even for durations of eighth or dotted eighth, but I can believe other publications might do it differently.

If the tab staff is linked, then indeed the symbol will appear there too. You could hide them (right-click one, Select / All Similar Elements in Same Staff, presss "V") or just not use linked staves but instead copy/paste content between staves.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yah, that was just an example I pulled off the web. The scores I'm working on have note-value 'upstems'.

I'm not using linked staves, I copy/paste the content. Regardless of when I actually add the symbols, it always populates the TAB too. Meh. Very easy to delete them.

Just for fun, I created a TAB score for "Baur's Favorite Clog" took me 30 minutes to enter the notation and another 5 min to add the upstems (note-value, just for drill). Very easy. Much easier than I've been doing (for 10 years) on TablEdit.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

You can enter the 16th note in voice 2 and make the head invisible. Use the filter selector (F6) and uncheck voice 1, Shift+click to select the entire note (invisible items need to be shown for this to work), copy it then paste it where ever you need it. You can then right click a rest in voice 2, select all similar items the press Delete to get rid off all of them, the voice 1 rests won't be affected. Remember to check voice 1 in the filter selector prior to closing it.

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