Optimize size of Play Panel when docked

• Apr 27, 2019 - 17:21
Reported version
Graphical (UI)
S5 - Suggestion
PR created

When docking the Play Panel below the Inspector area, it takes too much useful space, especially when using MuseScore in small sceeens such as in a laptop, where display area is at a premium. Even if it can be shrinked a bit by dragging downward its top handle, there is a minimum size attainable, shown in the screen capture at the left. As can be seen, there is a large and almost empty rectangle whose only use is to show the playing time in measures:beats and h:mm:ss. If the font size were large, there would be some justification, but at the current size there isn't.

In the figure at the right, a proof-of-concept version is shown, where the rectangle has been removed and the play time has been relocated above the play control buttons. This allows showing more relevant information from the inspector.

By the way, some items of the Play Panel seem to be slightly uncentered. Consider that the vertical strips of the faders dominate the visual balance much more than the sliders.

Play_panel.jpg ------------------> Play_panel_optimized.jpg

Workaround: 1) Remove the Status bar, 2) Go to the full screen view (don't forget to shrink again the Play Panel). These actions will show more inspector area. However, with the change suggested, even more would be shown.


In beta3.1 the Play Panel has got a little wider still. (But also with one extra feature, entering volume by dB - see https://github.com/musescore/MuseScore/pull/4609). I've had a go at making it more compact while keeping the recent addition. 3.05, the current beta, and the proposed changed illustrated in attachment.

I've created a pull request with these changes, though, clearly, there may be more (and better) ideas for refining the Play Panel. https://github.com/musescore/MuseScore/pull/5012


In reply to by Startled Bee

I like your compact version, it saves further valuable space for the inspector! But I'm afraid that removing the word "volume" from metronome could cause some confusion among users, who may think the slider is for changing the tempo (since tempo setting is the primary use of metronome), even if there is a tempo slider.

I see three more areas of improvement:

1) There is repeated information: the bar:beat almost repeats the bar:beat:tick at the bottom, with the additional problem of being inconsistent. When playing, bar and beat are the same in both versions, but when in edit mode the top version indicates the last played position while the bottom one indicates the selected one. The former is irrelevant since when playing again it will start from the current or last selected note, and not from the last played one, except if no selection has been done, in which case both are identical; so the above information makes little sense. Leaving just one version makes room for "metronome volume"
2) MuseScore uses the American English version measure instead of bar as the British. For consistency, if there will be a clarification (which is welcome since it may not be obvious for non-MIDI-conversant users) it should be Meas.:Beat:Tick.
3) In line with other request I've filed earlier (https://musescore.org/en/node/288968), when the measure number has been modified by the user, user's numbers should appear instead of correlative ones.

@fmiyar's 0th issue:
Can't it be


i.e. 2 lines? Like "Metronome\nVolume". And horizontaly centered.
Or just rely on the tooltip "Metronome volume"

In reply to by fmiyara

@fmiyara - thanks for feedback. "Metronome Volume" text restored, but now over two lines.

On your (1), I'm not sure I follow all of this. I've adjusted how what was in the existing Play Panel is displayed. For this PR I'm not proposing to further develop functionality. I have taken steps to reduce the "jitter" when the position and time is displayed though. In my earlier screenshot the footer bar positioning is very close to the Play Panel. But this won't always be the case, e.g. in the Play Panel is higher up or detached. One useful thing about having the position and time in the Play Panel is that the info is very NEAR to the sliding scrubber. And, as it were, you want to be looking at that when you are adjusting and not, say, at the foot of the screen. But, as I say, that's previous design and out of scope for this pass at improving the appearance.

2) I've changed the label to say "Position:". I got other feedback about bar. (What can I say? I live in Scotland. A measure is something that relates to drinks :).) The lack of TICKS is consistent with previous version of PlayPanel.

3) Sounds fair. And I think out of scope for this pass at improving the appearance.

most compact (B).png
wide (B).png
tall (B).png

...bar. (What can I say? I live in Scotland. A measure is something that relates to drinks...
Well, a bar too, it relates to something were drinks are served ;-)

In reply to by Startled Bee

Regarding 1), I'm not saying to add functionality but to relocate the measure:beat:tick (or whatever you like to call it after taking a couple of measures of whisky in a bar :) ), which is already present at the bottom of the play panel, moving it to the scrubber area instead of the redundant measure:beat thing.

In reply to by fmiyara

@fmiyara - I'm not sure I'm following you. I'm wondering if my earlier screenshots might have confused, because they all show the Position Indicator that is part of the status bar in them and it looks as if the status bar Position Indicator is part of the Play Panel. (In hindsight was a bad call on my part.) Later screenshots in this thread (including the latest in this post) were grabbed with the Panel Position higher up the SideBar.

So, the revised play panel only has the Time and Position Indicator once and are just above the scrubber.

If I've got the wrong end of the stick here, please help me out.

Play Panel (Sentence Case).png

measure.beat.tick is shown in the far right corner of the status bar. And as such can show directly below the mixer (if that is shown below the inspector, which seems the default)

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Oh! You are absolutely right! I thought it was part of the play panel precisely because of that default position. Startled Bee docked it above the inspector so he did not catch what I was saying.
So its duplication is a direct consequence of the existence of the status bar. Now I'm convinced both are necessary. It is an intrinsic part of the status bar, but also a must in the play panel. The status bar could well be disabled) and the play panel should still show it, and, as correctly points out Startled Bee, it should be close to the scrubber.

In reply to by Startled Bee

Startled Bee: Yes, you are right, sorry. See my answer to Jojo-Schmitz.
But I still think the ticks should also be shown in the Play panel. Considering it is already available in the status bar, it doesn't seem to be new functionality and needs only to be copied and pasted. The reason is that many times one wants to begin playing from somewhere in the middle of a beat, and without the ticks it is rounded to the beat so not very precise.