how to avoid unintentional score edits

• Apr 28, 2019 - 15:11

When I take a score and try to add new features (eg, fingerings, tablature, new instrument, new voice, etc) to it, I invariably make unintended changes to the score.

If I notice these mistakes as they happen, they are easy to correct using undo. But if I don't notice these mistakes right away, they are tedious to discover and correct. I find that I very often don't notice such mistakes right away because I'm focused on the elements I am adding.

Are there features I can use to avoid modifying the existing score when adding to it? Any way to "lock" or "freeze" instruments or voices or staves, for example? Perhaps some manner of "append" mode vs "edit" mode?

I may be more clumsy than some, but surely I'm not the first to encounter this. I'm hoping this problem has already been solved and I just need pointing in the right direction.



I'm guessing, that your unintentional edits are moving things. As long as you haven't changed the pitch of a note, then selecting most items and pressing ctrl+r will restore them to their default locations. This can be useful when it's too late to undo. If you change the pitch of a note, the only fix is to move it back, MuseScore assumes you know which note you want. I thought moving a note played the new note, but I guess it only plays a note if you move it with an arrow. If you accidentally double click a note head and drag it or move it with arrows, then ctrl+r will return the note head where it belongs.

Feel free to further explain if you have different situations, we'll see if anyone else has the issue and a good workaround.

In reply to by mike320

Thanks. It makes perfect sense that MuseScore assumes I know the note I want.

The ctrl+r feature sounds very useful! I will give this a try. I will also pay more attention to my ears as I'm editing.

I have not worked with second voices a lot, but when I tried it I found that I thought I was moving or deleting a note in the second voice, but had accidentally selected an adjacent note of the first voice. Of course, it's not MuseScore's fault that I selected the wrong note. But it would be helpful if I could somehow protect the first voice while mucking about with the second.

To clarify, I'm not just talking about notes. I've ended up with missing slurs, for example, that were there before I started my edits. I'm not sure how I've done this but I assume that it has to do with selecting a note to anchor some operation like adding fingering, and that somehow I've deleted or moved the slur when trying to delete or edit the fingering. It's difficult to notice this in real time. Is there some way I can compare my edits to the original file while I'm editing?

In fact, it's difficult to notice in proof-reading, too. Is there a way to "diff" two versions of a score?

In reply to by edrmiller

In version 3 there is a score comparison tool so you can see all of the edits made from one version to the next. It gives you a list of changes, but this is text and probably not useful for what you are trying to do.

Currently, when you turn off the score comparison tool, it leaves you in split screen mode. You can drag the top of the bottom viewed score and you can look at the two versions of the score and see the differences visually. This might be useful.

I have not played with the score comparison tool until I was answering your question. There is a bug report (#287708: The "Score Comparison Tool" tool should revert from "Documents Side by Side" to whatever mode had been set before) that says when the score comparison tool is turned off, the screen is left in split screen view. Perhaps this should be considered a feature rather than a bug since it allows you to do a visual comparison of the two scores. What do you think?

In reply to by mike320

That is a very interesting comparison tool! I'm sure I'll be making use of it. I like how I can double-click on a change in the comparison and it shows the location in the old and new version of the score, and the two views are nicely aligned.

Now if there was an easy way to revert an edit? (I suppose reverting a single edit in the middle of a sequence of edits could lead to some interesting cases.)

Is there any way to get a summary of the comparison? I'm thinking along the lines of: n notes added, p notes modified, q notes deleted, r slurs moved, s fingerings added, t string numbers modified. I imagine that a summary per voice could be useful. I'm sure more experienced users would have better suggestions.

To your question: I like the idea of the split screen view when not using the comparison tool, but I'm not sure how useful it would be if the two views don't keep aligned. If I'm editing a measure, I need to see that measure aligned in both views. Having to stop working to drag two windows around until they align makes this less useful, as is.

In reply to by edrmiller

I was thinking you would use it after your session ended to see the accidental moves you made while adding to the score.

As for accidentally selecting the wrong voice is concerned. This should be very obvious, unless you are color blind. When you select a voice 1 note it turns Blue, when you select a voice 2 note it turns green. If you are color blind this may be a problem, but in Edit->Preferences in the advanced tab, you can change the color of different voiced notes so you can tell the difference. This feature was requested so color blind people would not have a problem.

In reply to by mike320

Yes, I do like the split-screen + comparison tool for checking at the end of an edit session.

No, not colorblind. I think I trip over this because I'm more focused on my source material while typing in the notes.

I'm still learning MuseScore and I'm sure I'll become more proficient over time. I think I can generalize two sources of error that lead to unintended score changes:

(1) When mousing, it's easy to select the wrong object if the score isn't simplistic. Going for a notehead, end up selecting a stem or slur. Selecting a bar, end up selecting a rest or barline. Scores are busy things.

(2) When typing, a single typo can have surprising effects. When almost every key is bound to some kind of edit action or mode change, it's easy to think I am entering notes but somewhere I've made a mistake and hit a non-note key, and I have to figure out how to get back to where I was. (This reminds me of emacs a bit, where a typo can put you into some unfamiliar mode.)

So, density of scores ⨯ density of key bindings ⨯ my lack of coordination = mistakes. ;)

I'm pretty sure the comparison tool will help me a lot. I expect I'll be using during edit sessions as well as at the end. Thanks again!

I often make them while moving in the score. Using a laptop, I don’t have a scroll wheel and thus am forced to use dragging around, unless I know a measure number (Ctrl-Home/End don’t work, they do mark the first or last element but don’t make the score jump, and there’s still no jump to the selected element(s) command either).

In reply to by mirabilos

Your laptop doesn't include a touchpad or other device that supports touch gestures - eg, two-finger swipe? I guess I've seen thinkpads with the old "pencil erase" style pointer, maybe that's the sort of thing you have.

Not sure what you mean about Ctrl+Home/End either, these work fine for me. Maybe your keybaord is not sending the correct codes?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I buy my laptops chosing the model by it not having a touchpad. (I hit these by accident way too often, and 99% of the time I work in a terminal anyway, so the IBM nipple is the best for me.)

Ctrl-Home/End “work” in that they select the first/last element. But they don’t make the score display jump there (at least not in 3.0.5).

In reply to by frfancha

There have indeed, and there are some quibbles with some of the specifics of the various commands in page vs continuous view. But still, the bottom line remains, in 3.0.5, the Ctrl+Home and Ctrl+End commands do reposition the score, in both page and continuous view. Ctrl+Home does exactly what I'd expect; Ctrl+End does not, but End does better. And in 3.1 / master, they behave better still. Are you saying you find otherwise?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yes I find otherwise.
The shortcuts work indeed perfectly the first couple of times you use them, but after a while ctrl-home seems broken and put the middle of the first page in view instead of the top. Once MuseScore is in this situation I can do ctrl-end ctrl-home as many times as I want, it is always the middle of page one who gets shown by ctrl-home instead of the top. The only solution I have found is to close MuseScore and reopen. I have tried to find a reproducible scenario but I can't. Nevertheless I can reproduce the problem by just playing with navigation (including page up/page down). Version is

In reply to by frfancha

“The shortcuts work indeed perfectly the first couple of times you use them, but after a while” is the same thing as is happening here (I just tried to reproduce it and can’t do it offhand, but I know it happens often). This excludes hardware issues (which I’d have noticed otherwise anyway) and wrong keycodes. I also do not use AppImages, only Debian packages (and frfancha seems to use Windows builds, so this is also not OS-specific).

Two computers here, too.

In reply to by mirabilos

Interesting! Well, again, from what I know of the source, I can't imagine what MuseScore could possibly be doing to cause this, but maybe there is a bug in the Qt libraries.

Of course, shortcuts will work differently / not at all depending on what mode you are in (normal vs note input vs edit), also navigation differs page / continuous / single page. So it could be you were just in a context where this isn't currently supported?

In reply to by mirabilos

That's odd. Ctrl+Home places the score at the top of the window when I do it the first time. When I then type Ctrl+End, the score is moved so I can see the end. But if I type Ctrl+Home again, the score is placed in the middle and I cannot see the start.
However, if I hit the Home or End keys the score is positioned so I can see the top or the bottom depending upon which key I hit. (I'm using Windows 10 BTW.)

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