New Shortcut Names

• Nov 27, 2018 - 00:44

I customize nearly every application i can, especially the keyboard shortcuts. This is usually based on my exposure to and use of other applications which do similar actions.
I have always liked the fact that we can now edit the shortcuts in MuseScore (i think there was a time when we couldn't), but the list of shortcuts seem to be strewn about without much sense, except in a few contexts. Plus, when going thru the list to assign your own shortcuts, there are nearly 400 as of version 2.3.2!

So i wanted to propose that we change the NAMES of the Actions that can have shortcuts assigned. I have come up with a way to logically group these Actions to make it easier for the new or intermediate user to customize this part of MuseScore. By renaming the Actions, then, when sorted alphabetically, the user won't need to sort thru the list to find the corresponding Actions to similar elements, or the corresponding elements to similar Actions.

Attached at the bottom is the spreadsheet of the proposed changes (you'll need an app that can open XLS — common Excel — files). It lists the current names, and the corresponding NEW Action name, sorted alphabetically by the new name, so you can easily the logic in it.
I'm hoping there is a way to link the old names to the new ones, so MuseScore veterans won't need to re-assign their whole list again, should the modifications be adopted.

When creating the new Action names, there were several criteria i used, all of which makes it easier to find the Action in the shortcut list:

  1. Whenever possible, each new name starts with the context in which the Action would take place. This would group these Actions together when sorted alphabetically. So, for example, we have these list entries:
    Application: Quit
    Application: Reset Preferences
    File: Open score
    File: Save copy of current score
    File: Save current score
    Score: Page settings
    Score: Print
    Score: Redo
    See the List of Categories at the bottom of this post to get a better idea of how i chose these.
  2. Use the same, standardized word for the same action on different objects:
    ENTER: Input something at the cursor, overwriting anything there
    INSERT: Input something at the cursor, pushing forward everything after
    APPEND: Input something at the end of the set, without affecting the set
    GO TO: Move the input cursor to some other location
    ADVANCE: Move the input cursor to a relative location within the same mode
    MOVE: Move the selection to a new location
    ADD: Include something in the given selection
    MERGE: Combine, keeping what's there
    JOIN: Combine by append, overwriting if necessary
    APPLY: Use a given context setting on the selection or set
    RESET: Cancel customization
  3. Combine objects with same Actions but different results (for example, "Go to element, next" and "Go to element, previous" rather than "Go to next element" and "Go to previous element"). This makes it easier to find and customize shortcuts that do nearly similar actions on the same object, within straying too far from normal English.
  4. Make sure that MuseScore-specific terms are kept, so they're easy to search for, such as Explode, Implode, Start Center, Inspector, etc.)
  5. Use efficiency in Action names to briefly describe the Action. For example, instead of Lock Score (which needs more description), i used "Score: Disable editing (Lock)", which is brief, descriptive, and keeps the original keyword. In another example, instead of "Enter notes with a mouse or keyboard," i used "Note-Input begin, current method."
  6. When possible, assign indexes to note lengths, so that they will list in order of length (when the list is alphabetized). So, a 128th note is note duration 0 and a longa (quadruple whole) is note duration 9.
  7. Use '...' when an Action opens a dialog window or entry box.

Some Actions i had problems with, listed here:

"Enter rest (TAB)" and "Note Input: Rest (TAB)"
"Enter rest: and "Note Input: Rest"
What's the difference in these pairs? Each pair was listed separately in the current shortcut list.

I couldn't seem to get this to work, no matter what i selected or didn't select. In what context does Find perform a search?

"Move the cursor forward in real-time input mode"
Since i don't enter notes in real-time, i wasn't sure what this was alluding to. Anyone know?

"Timewise delete"
Tried using this in and out of note input, but all it seems to do is delete the measure of the selected element. Is this usable? There is nothing in the manual about it.

Yes, i can surmise the problems that might come up if the changes are adopted.
Help files: Some of the pages in the help file (at least the PDF) may need to be updated to reflect how it may be shown in the shortcut list. For example, "Lock score" is described perfectly in the help file, but it's not listed in the proposed shortcut list. "Regroup rhythms" also has a place in the help file, but you'd have to do a search to find it in this list. (In both of these cases, however, i included the keywords used in the help file so the user can run a search for it.)
Transferring shortcuts from old to new: I don't know how the shortcut assignment table that MuseScore uses is filled, but i'm hoping that veterans of MuseScore won't need to re-assign the shortcuts they've always been using to the newly named shortcut Actions. A new subroutine may need to be set up by the devs to transfer the list.

Also some of you might have a problem with the naming conventions:
TAB: This has multiple meanings and even in the context of music composition, it can be confusing. So i substituted "Tab" with "Chord Diagram". Not as short but very specifying.
Chord symbol: I have never heard chord names on a score called "chord symbols," and none of my music theory books refer to it as such. They are simply called "chord names." When i think of chord symbols, i think of the chord diagram used for guitars or other stringed instruments (tabs). To avoid my own confusion, i changed "chord symbol" to "chord names," but this is open for debate.
Chromatic/diatonic: In many new Action names, i included the word diatonic in many what would seem to be obvious contexts. When setting up my own keyboard shortcuts, i had to learn thru trial-and-error how certain note Actions affected the score or selection. I wanted to take out the error in trial-and-error whenever possible. The only downside to clarifying "diatonic" in the shortcut names is that it lengthens them, for some of you maybe unnecessarily.

If you see any other wrong or misleading new Action names, comment on them here. I'm interested in the whole community's input, especially the new or nearly new users who have been trying to customize the shortcuts.

I hope we can arrive at some consensus at redoing the shortcut list to something more logical. If any dev needs me to set up a file in a certain way with all these proposed changes, let me know. I want to make it easier to develop the program if i can.

Some of you may be wondering how i arrived at the categories to be used in the new Action list. I want to describe my thinking here.

General Categories
APPLICATION: Actions that do not affect the score or files but cause the application to change what it does or how it does it.
FILE: Actions that manipulate files or treat this or other scores as files, but does not affect the current or any open scores.
SCORE: Actions that affect the score layout in a general sense (but with some particular sets), or Actions that affect other Actions that affected the score (Undo, Repeat last command, etc). Anything involving modifying whole measures, staves, or systems are listed in this category, and only if not found in the Specific Categories (below). A selection does not need to be made for Actions in this context. NOTE: The reason i didn't have Measures or Staves as separate categories is that a broad variety of actions can take place with these sets, from the very general ("append measures") to the very specific ("Full measure rest"), and often without knowing if something needed to be selected ("Decrease layout stretch"). This would have made it harder for users to find the right Action name.
PLAYBACK: Actions that only have to do with all aspects of real-time playback or recording, including display, loops, and navigation.
SELECTION: Actions that will only work if there is a selection. It would be impossible to come up with Action names that described (briefly) WHAT needed to be selected, so the object names would imply what would need to be selected (if it wasn't obvious). This negated the need to overspecify, with contexts like Elements, or Key Signatures, or Notes. Any Actions that affected the selection (that aren't listed elsewhere in the Specific Categories, below) would be found here.
NAVIGATION: All Actions that move the cursor but do not affect the score start with "Go to". It was very important to group the go-to targets together. These may or may not require something to be selected. Any navigation Actions that require the same input mode to remain activated will be found under those contexts (such as entering lyrics and chord names).
VIEW: Actions that only change the display of the score or application window are listed in this context. Most View listings have a sub-context, such as Toolbar, Panel, or Window, to give you an idea of what is displayed when this shortcut is used. All View Actions are toggles (switch between two possible modes), with the exception of the Zoom Actions.
NOTE-INPUT: By far the largest context (over a hundred Actions), these Actions are those that are ONLY used when inputting notes into the score, including the different methods and elements. There are sub-categories to group element types together, like durations, note names, articulation marks, and tuplets, to name a few.

Specific Categories
BEAMS: Actions that affect beaming on notes
BREAKS: Actions that introduce breaks or frames, affecting the layout of the score and positioning of the systems on relation to each other.
CHORD DIAGRAMS: Often called (guitar) tabs, these Actions add or modify chord diagrams. Some of these share the same Actions as standard Note Input.
CHORD NAMES: Currently called Chord Symbols in MuseScore, these Actions are all navigation commands to allow chord-naming over many chords in progression.
CLEFS: Actions that add or change the ruling clef in the given staff. In the future i hope we can add more clef type entries.
HANDLES: Actions that affect the movement of handles, which would only be found when an element has been opened for editing (such as a note stem).
LINES: Actions for entering lines of different types (currently only crescendos, decrescendos, and slurs have an input Action associated with them).
LYRICS: Actions for entering into or navigating within Lyrics mode, a special type of note-anchored Text mode. These Actions allow the user to stay within Lyrics entry mode.
STYLES: Actions that affect the current or other Styles that the score is using.
TEXTS: Actions for entering Text into the score.
TRANSPOSITIONS: Actions that allow selected notes (or the score) to be transposed a given amount. These were separated out of other categories because of the universality of this Action. Anything having to do with transposing notes is maintained in this category.
VOICES: Actions that apply or modify voices within a staff or selection.

Attachment Size
MS KBSC Worksheet upload.xls 67 KB


Making finding a shortcut by purpose would be a great improvement. The search feature is fine if you know the name, but organizing them like you suggest is much better.

Re: TAB, chord diagram, chord symbol confusion
Nice job with the spreadsheet!

You wrote:
TAB: This has multiple meanings and even in the context of music composition, it can be confusing. So i substituted "Tab" with "Chord Diagram". Not as short but very specifying.


(Both the image and the text shown above are taken from the Handbook.)

In addition to strings and fret numbers, rhythm (note durations) may be entered into TAB.
Instead of substituting "Tab" with "Chord Diagram", why not substitute "Tab" with "Tablature"?

You also wrote:
When I think of chord symbols, I think of the chord diagram used for guitars or other stringed instruments (tabs).


(Both the image and the text shown above are taken from the Handbook.)

As you can see, 'chord diagram' and 'fretboard diagram' refer to the same thing.
One cannot enter durations into a chord/fretboard diagram (as your MS KBSC Worksheet would suggest), but one can enter durations into Tablature.

So... again...
Instead of substituting "Tab" with "Chord Diagram", why not substitute "Tab" with "Tablature"?


In reply to by Jm6stringer

Thanks for the clarification, JM. I didn't know or had forgotten that MuseScore could do this kind of notation. In that case we should keep the Category as Tablature. I concur on this point.

Concerning "Chord diagrams," i think we should change the category name to "Fretboard" because it is shorter and even more descriptive.

In reply to by harbinger

Earlier you wrote:
1. So i substituted "Tab" with "Chord Diagram".
Then, you more recently wrote :
2. In that case we should keep the Category as Tablature.
3. Concerning "Chord diagrams," i think we should change the category name to "Fretboard" because it is shorter and even more descriptive.

The MS KBSC Worksheet upload.xls file I am viewing shows category 'Chord diagram' entries from B25 thru B55. For those entries you should keep the category as Tablature -- i.e. all the 'Add fret', 'Note duration', etc.. -- since they are all directly input onto a TAB staff.
B25 thru B55 are the ones you refer to in your statement #1 above, yes?

If yes - and they are now considered as category 'Tablature' -- then there will no longer be any 'Chord diagram' category at all. B23 thru B55 will become 'Tablature' (instead of 'Chord diagram'), as per your statement #2.

At this point, 'Chord diagram' or 'Fretboard' (re: statement #3) become irrelevant. Both have vanished.
Fretboard (chord) diagrams in MuseScore are images constructed and attached to a score. They have no shortcuts. They are not playable in the sense that Tablature is playable.

BTW: I also prefer 'Chord names' over 'Chord symbols'. The latter can get confused with fretboard diagrams.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The only time I've ever seen it is in older versions of MuseScore.
Though still in this century, yes? ;-)

From the OP's original post, in the section 'Criticisms', he writes:
"Chord symbol: I have never heard chord names on a score called 'chord symbols', and none of my music theory books refer to it as such. They are simply called 'chord names'. When i think of chord symbols, i think of the chord diagram used for guitars or other stringed instruments..."

See? The OP, for chord symbols, envisions the chord diagram used for guitars or other stringed instruments.

BUT... if you read his very next word...
he confounds things by confusing tabs with chord diagrams. (In a later post, he even mentions changing the 'Chord diagram' category in his spreadsheet to 'Fretboard' because, in his words, "it is shorter and even more descriptive".
This is the wrong thing to do because TABs are not chord/fretboard diagrams. TAB scores, just as music notation scores, may include chord/fretboard diagrams.


In reply to by Jm6stringer

I think we need to distinguish between 'spoken' and 'written' here.
If i say "C seven", that is a spoken "Chord name", but if I write C7 in a score that is a written "Chord symbol".
See also:

Moreover our own Handbook calls them Chord Symbols, so I suggest we settle for that.

In reply to by neGjodsbol

Well, remember the context here is to help new or intermediate users find the Action for which they want to create or modify the shortcut. Therefore, the object is not necessarily one of semantics, but of ease of use. Our user may want to create a shortcut for entering a chord "symbol" at the selected note, but he may think the chord symbol entry (as listed) is referring to the fretboard (I did :D ).
Now, if we have a category for 'fretboard' that will help. I can say that one of the reasons I chose 'chord diagram' as one category and 'chord name' as another is that they will be listed near each other alphabetically. But if we use a Fretboard category, then 'Chord Symbol' will not be confused with 'Chord Diagram.'

Now I use all these categories as prefixes to the Action (such as "Fretboard: enter note A") so they alphabetize together, and that assumes that we're keeping a single list. If we divide the list into separate tabs or tree nodes then of course the discussion is different.

In reply to by harbinger

My point is that type of use who actually would be likely to want to enter these things knows them as chord symbols. Again, almost universally, although no doubt someone in some location might have for whatever reason learned them by another name.

So, if the point is to make them easy to find by the people who actually use them, then call them what the people who use them call them - chord symbols. I think the existing terms "chord symbol" and "fretboard diagram" are perfectly common and clear to anyone who actually uses these notations on a daily basis. I'm fine with shortening "fretboard" to "fret", but I don't see any good reason to change anything else here.

Regarding "Find", you wrote:
I couldn't seem to get this to work, no matter what i selected or didn't select. In what context does Find perform a search?

From the Handbook:
"The Find function allows you to speedily navigate to a specific measure, rehearsal mark or page number in the score."

Seems to me like it would be a 'Go to page' kinda thing in your spreadsheet.


"Enter rest" -- default shortcut "0" -- is akin to "Enter rest (TAB)" -- default shortcut ";"

On a standard musical staff, the "Enter rest" shortcut - keyboard default 0 (zero) - is used to enter rests of a selected duration.

Tablature is a form of musical notation which is common for fretted stringed instruments, and it provides a visual representation of the strings and fret numbers.
In tablature, an open string is entered as 0; the 1st fret as1; 2nd fret as 2; etc.
Since zero is already assigned to open string, the semicolon ";" is used to place rests onto a TAB staff.

Both shortcuts serve the same function: one for standard musical notation, the other for tablature notation.


I suggest that the category HANDLE, could be named EDIT, or EDIT MODE, as it referat to actions used when editing.

We should think of 'category' and 'name' as two separate properties. This will make it easier to filter by category, and at the same time order by any of the others - new name, old description, and keysequence.
It could also be possible to filter by group (i.e. Standard, User defined, and Undefined), and so set up a pretty flexible searching.

In reply to by neGjodsbol

I intentionally avoided "Edit" in the categories because that's essentially what we're doing with all the Action commands. ;) If you notice the original name of the Action it was "move," but i wasn't able to use this command anywhere except in Edit Mode as you stated. However i only saw it work when the Handle squares were visible. If there are other times when the shortcut for this Action might be used, i would agree with you. But this Action seemed to only work for Handles, and that's why i gave it its own Category.

And yes, i agree, if i had my wish we would have separate categories of shortcuts. But there may be downsides to that too. Perhaps if we can filter by category.
But if we include the category in the NAME of the action (which is what i've done), it'll be easier to find the name of the shortcut we want to customize. I did set all this up on the premise that our devs wanted to keep the shortcut methods essentially the same — simple and universally usable. But i also wanted to make it easy to find the Action's name ... that was actually my top priority in devising this list.

I went over your the Excel-sheet once more and added some comments, partly based on the discussions here.

Next Step
Should we:
- Just replace the old descriptions with the proposed new names. Simple and easy.
- Change the Shortcut setup to accept both new and old names/descriptions. Requires an additional column in the Preferences->Shortcuts screen
- Go all in and create a new Shortcuts screen that will also allow filtering by category in addition to the sorting

In reply to by neGjodsbol

I took a look at your RenameShortcutsNEG.xls.

I see you have included 'Tablature' to replace 'Chord diagram'. Presumably it will be alphabetized and will no longer be juxtaposed to either 'Chord names' (as it stands) or 'Chord symbols' (to replace 'Chordnames'). This will eliminate any ambiguity with seeing 'Chord diagram' and 'Chord symbols' placed so close to each other. Also, as I wrote earlier, Tablature is definitely not a chord diagram. While it is representative of the guitar fretboard, tablature can deal with rests and note durations, unlike a chord (fretboard) diagram.

With regard to 'Chord names' vs 'Chord symbols', it's a moot point once 'Chord diagrams' is changed to 'Tablature'. My concern was having "Chord diagrams' and 'Chord symbols' listed so close to each other.


You asked about "Timewise delete". In MuseScore 2, this action is identical to "Delete selected measures", and it probably should have been removed from the shortcuts list. This action will delete any measures that contain any part of the current range selection.

In MuseScore 3, "Timewise delete" will remove the selected beats. It will only delete the entire measure if the entire measure is selected. This function is used to perform "Delete selected measures", and as a result, "Delete selected measures" has been removed from the shortcuts list, and "Timewise delete" has been given the shortcut that previously had been assigned to "Delete selected measures."

Next step:
Edit the attached shortcut.txt file, entering categories and new shortcut names. See description inside the file.
I have started on neccessary changes to allow display of both old and new names in Prefeferences>Shortcuts

Attachment Size
shortcut.txt 119.39 KB

In reply to by neGjodsbol

I'm concerned that when the list is sorted, it puts similar actions together, such as "Transpose note by 1, up" Transpose note by 1, down" as examples. If you use "Pitch Up by 1" and "Pitch Down by 1", they won't be together if we add another entry is named "Pitch Respelling" just to use a weird example.
I love the setup but i want to make sure that similar actions (like transportation or navigation actions, as examples) appear together alphabetically. Do you think that was addressed?

Also wouldn't it be better to draw the Action names from another list, perhaps assembling the Action table with a For-Next loop, so that additions can be made more easily in the future?

I do like the "Help with" feature. That was one of the things i would have requested eventually. Sometimes brief labels don't make it clear what the shortcut actually does or what's needed. It would help (if possible) if we can inform the user what needs to be selected (or not) for the shortcut to work.

All in all, it's a great step in the right direction. I'm happy to see that it's even being addressed. =)

In reply to by harbinger

Let me try to clarify. In the shortcut,txt file, the items belonging to the same action/shortcut are grouped witin braces {}. Only one of these texts is used to set the shortcuts in Preferences (the one in line 5). See notes in the first group.
The tassk at hand is to tranfer all the category Id's and new shortcut names from the Excel sheet into the shortcut.txt file, and insert them as a new line 4 and 5. They must of course be matched with the old names.
See the example.
@harbinger Do you think you can do some of this task. It would be a great help.

The category Id's will be us to look up the actual names from a seperate table. This will make the solution more flexible, and wiil allow us to present the shortcuts in a 'logical' order. See the proposed order i Categories.txt.

Attachment Size
RenameShortcutsRevised.xls 71 KB
Categories.txt 214 bytes
shortcut.txt 122.19 KB

A solution to support this has now been developed, so a formal Feature reqest has been raised in the Issue Tracker.
A short description of the solution is included.

Once the editing job is finished, and tested, the soultion will be ready to add to the Master.

@harbinger if you need assistance on the editing, please let us know.

In reply to by neGjodsbol

I am about 50% done but i got started on it about a week after i downloaded the files.
I'm also creating a nifty spreadsheet, from which future updates can be made and then saved as a text file appropriate for Qt (i.e., in the original format).
I will be devoting a lot of time to it over the Christmas-New Years week and intend to be done shortly after New Year's, if not sooner.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.