Alternate notes

• Sep 8, 2018 - 06:11

My question concerns the appropriate method for entering alternate notes in a score (and how this may be implemented in Musescore- I haven't discovered it in the manual). The situation is where the melody is basically the same from one verse to another of a song, but there are a couple of places where it varies slightly, either to accommodate the lyrics, or just for emphasis, feeling, or variety. Is there a way to represent these small variations, perhaps with smaller-font notes (like grace notes) or with a gray font, so that they can be seen and understood by the musician without the music for the entire verse needing to be repeated and unnecessarily adding pages to the score? It would be nice to show the variations without having them affect the timing or notes of the original verse, both during entry (for later printing of a score) and during playback. Does such a capability exist?


In reply to by mike320

I'm afraid I wasn't clear. I am referring to the alternative to the high A for the mezzo who may feel safer with the F. I should have used voice and piano staff directly from score.
I understand that you are demonstrating "second verse." Is the solution the same?

In reply to by penne vodka

The second verse is only an example of the use. I have seen your case notated two ways. With a smaller note in the second voice as I demonstrated or make the note a chord with the F, in this case, in brackets. The brackets in either the note heads palette or the accidentals palette work fine for this. Select the note head and double click the brackets.

In reply to by mike320

Got it! I recall seeing all of these. Interesting that the first time I did it I used brackets on the alternate note, but I did not realize the brackets were in the palette. So...I made two opposing parentheses ( ) in the system text and pulled them down with the inspector. (I suspected this was wrong. Alas...)
Thank you.

What Jojo suggested is something I've often seen in published scores. The difference between verses is two eighth notes in one, but a quarter note in another. The one that is not the verse 1 rhythm is put into voice 2 (see voices for further information on using this). The notes (actually the chords) can be made small by selecting them and checking the box in the inspector (Press F8 to toggle it).

In reply to by mike320

Yes, the situation I faced was similar to what you described. Thank you for your kind help and suggestions. I did make the notes smaller, which helped a lot- otherwise, they were on top of each other and a lot harder to read. As a further measure to help distinguish them, I changed the color of the unique notes in the second verse to gray. This was also a help, although a bit painful to implement. For some reason, other changes to the staff, such as expansion or contraction of measures, caused the color of parts of some notes (e.g. the stems) to revert to the original black color, while leaving the rest gray. I was able to select those parts again and change them back successfully, but it happened more than once. I also noticed that the "okay" button at the bottom of the color selection menu screen sometimes disappears, making it impossible to select a new color. The only way out of this that I found was to exit the program entirely and start over- but that seemed to work each time it happened. I'm not sure if these are issues with my computer configuration (running on a MacBook Pro) or if others have experienced the same challenge, but I eventually made it work...

In playback mode, both voices obviously play together, since that is the purpose of the different voices feature. My guess is that separating them by verse for playback is not an existing feature, although it would be a nice one for a future version. My main goal was to make the printed music easier to read, and I have accomplished that. Thanks again for your help!

In reply to by schrammrj

Someone posted elsewhere today that they have decided to make a major effort to implement an improved repeat playback system that will eventually allow for selecting which instruments get played on which repeat. This will not happen soon, but perhaps it will be finished in time to make version 3.0 when it comes out. In version 3 it will be simple to separate voices on a staff, so you can independently control voice more.

Your issue with the color selector growing on a Mac has supposedly been fixed. I'm not sure which version you are on, but 2.3.2 is the latest. I don't know enough about Mac to know which version will run on which operating system.

As far as stems changing colors, this does not make sense. Once the stem color is changed, it should stay changed. Perhaps you can be a bit more precise on what you did to cause the color change to happen so it can be fixed if it's a bug.

In reply to by mike320

Thanks again for your feedback and information- I will look forward to the new capabilities in the future. Meantime, this is a great tool.

I am running version 2.3.2, on a MacBook Pro running MacOS High Sierra version 10.13.6. As I mentioned, I am not entirely sure if the problems I encountered are related to my computer configuration, my mistakes as a user, or if there is actually a bug in the software.

The problem with the color selector seemed to show up after having selected and changed several notes, stems, beams, etc. in multiple measures- the menu window just changed such that the confirmation box was no longer visible. It may very well be an issue of the size growing and hiding the lower part of the window, as you suggested, but I am not sure. Once it happened though, closing and re-opening the color selector window did not help- I could only reset the problem by completely closing the program and starting over. I should also mention that I made several iterations (saves) of the file along the way, as I was trying to get the notes and timing correct between the verses of the song.

Regarding the color change reverting to the pre-change color (black, in this case), it is also hard to say what caused that issue. I remember having changed the color of several notes in one measure to gray (magnesium, to be exact). I then went to another measure (which I think was on another page, as well) and changed some notes there to the same gray color. When I next looked at the previous changes, I noticed that portions of some of them (stems or beams) had reverted to the original color. I had also made the gray notes smaller as part of the same series of operations. In each case, these different notes and rests in gray and smaller size were entered in the 2nd voice (to distinguish them from the first verse). I did notice that adding the new notes in the second voice caused the automatic measure formatting to expand the measure and move it to the next page initially. I later went back and contracted the affected measures to return them to their original location on the same page. I also then re-selected the changed notes to make them gray again, and they seemed to stay the correct color in the end... but it is really hard to say which operation was responsible for either problem, or if they are related or two separate issues. I hope this is enough to provide some clues...

In reply to by schrammrj

Flash update. I just tried making some new edits to the same score. In the first case, I changed a small, gray note (second voice) from a quarter note to an eighth note. This immediately caused the note size to become large again, and the stem reverted to black. I used the inspector to change both the size and the color back to gray (magnesium), and that worked. I then cut and pasted two adjacent existing notes in the same measure, same voice, moving them over (left) to eliminate the eighth rest that resulted from changing the duration of the first note. I next re-entered the corresponding lyrics for the second verse, to re-align them with the changed notes above. This change to the lyrics also caused (portions of) the corresponding notes to change color and size (heads became large, stems turned black again). I hope this helps narrow down the bug...

In reply to by schrammrj

The only thing I can significantly respond to on your first answer is that when you reenter notes, they default to their original display (size color...), but I think you figured that out. I will do some test to see if I can reproduce problems described in the second one.

In reply to by mike320

Yes, that makes sense that changes to notes cause them to revert to the original size and color. Having changes to lyrics (e.g. moving them to line up with changed notes) affect the notes themselves is a bit more puzzling. In retrospect, that could well have been what caused the changes I noted the first time. In addition to the adjustments to measure properties that happened automatically when I changed the notes, I did go back and move the lyrics to match... Thanks again for your help and kind attention to my questions!

In reply to by schrammrj

Moving the lyrics does not affect the note colors or the parts of the notes. In my testing there was some movement of notes to accommodate the location of the lyrics, but color and size changes were not affected. What you say you have done does not sound right. You must be missing something.

It sounds like you are moving notes to make them line up with the lyrics. This is not necessary and leads me to believe you are doing some odd things. Attaching a sample score and explaining what you are doing will help a lot. It is likely that just seeing the score will tell me what you did.

In reply to by mike320

Okay- here is a copy of what I am working on. It is an arrangement of "Stand By Me" that I have simplified from some of the others already posted, for the benefit of some beginning music students who like the song. I have not moved any notes to match the lyrics- it is really the other way around. I added the grayed and smaller notes in the second voice to match the slightly different melody and lyrics of the second verse of the song in a few places, after having first entered the music and lyrics for the first verse. I then added the second verse lyrics to correspond with the slightly altered (second voice) notes of the second verse. This was an iterative process to get the second verse notes and durations entered correctly, with several "saves" along the way. In my most recent post, I changed (shortened) the duration of a couple of these second verse notes. Doing this caused an undesired rest to appear immediately after the shortened note, which I corrected by cutting and pasting the rest of the notes in the measure to fall immediately after the shortened duration note (starting at the position of the undesired mid-measure rest). Once I completed this process, I had to delete and re-enter portions of the lyrics in the second verse to get them to line up with the proper notes again. That is when the changes to the notes themselves occurred, as mentioned in my last post. I hope this helps...

In reply to by schrammrj

It is now clearer what is happening. In measure 9 for example, I changed the first voice 3 note to a 16th note as a test of what is happening. The new flag and rest that were created returned to their default color (in this case black) and the altered beam on the rest of the notes also returned to its default color. Since these were not previously there, MuseScore does not know that you intend them to be the same color as the rest of the note. Sorry, computers just aren't as smart as people. MuseScore is also programmed to minimize the number of assumptions it makes.

Unfortunately shortening a note leaves rests after the shortened note to fill in the space the note previously filled. There is no shift to fill in the empty spot at this point. Version 3 alpha was only released today and I'm not sure how this works there yet. There are some insert and delete note options, but these leave the measure with a different duration and would not help in this case.

In reply to by mike320

Your explanation of what is happening makes sense. It looks like it was just a matter of me not understanding how the program’s logic is designed. While I would probably have chosen a different logic path (i.e. maintain the existing note formatting during edits, unless explicitly changed), now that I understand this feature, I can work with it in the future. Thanks again for taking the time to investigate this issue and educate me!

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