Score Setup Dialog Box

• Nov 8, 2019 - 21:51

Good afternoon, MuseScorers!

I've got three requests to make setting up a new score a smoother process that makes the computer work harder for the user.
Screen Shot 2019-11-08 at 4.45.47 PM.png

Currently, if I am adding several wind instruments to a percussion score, I have to add all the instruments one-at-a-time, and they are dumped at the bottom of the instrument list. Then, I have to select each instrument individually and keep clicking the "up" arrow many, many times to get all the instruments moved into the correct order. This is time-consuming to say the least!

In this, the Instrument/Score Set-up Dialog box, there should be an option (e.g. a checkbox) that allows the user to request the program to automatically insert all new instruments in score order. In my screenshot here, let's say I wanted to add a 4th trumpet, I could select the Trumpet on the left and after clicking "Add," MuseScore would place it with (below, probably) the existing trumpets in the file. By deselecting the option, the current process (placing at the bottom) would be retained.

If I DO have instruments that I need to move to a new place/order, I should be able to click and drag the instrument up and down the score list. Currently, clicking and dragging simply just slides the selection from one part to the next and to the next. That's not really useful for anything.

I should be able to Shift+Click several adjacent parts to move them en masse, rather than needing to move them individually.

Have at it, friends! Let me know your questions!

-- Ryan


How 'bout selecting an instrument (if there are any) with the mouse in the right-hand column, and inserting the new instrument after it?

In reply to by BSG

This is a great layer to add into the conversation.
How does that best function?
As radio buttons to choose where to add new instruments: "At Selection" - "Score Order*" - "At Bottom"?
I thought about it being a dialog box that pops up upon the user choosing to add a new instrument - except (in a case such as mine, working with many scores and many instruments in one shot, I would be living in dialog box hell). So I think my mind comes back around to the radio buttons.

*The score order option, as mentioned by Daniel in a post lower in the thread, is one that should be a separate definition, either on score setup or at the top-level of this dialog box.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I don't see the connection. Yes, I understand what templates are and what they do, and they do not address the problem of saying "Gee, I'd like to add a flute" and having to "Up" it to where I want it unless I have precreated solutions to every need I might ever have. Having to type "up" many times is just a minor nuisance, not a major one.

In reply to by BSG

In the situation where a user is only occasionally setting up a new score, you aren't incorrect to say that the process is a minor nuisance.
In my situation, I'm working with as many as 6 or 7 large ensemble scores on a daily basis. If I'm doing so in a collaborative setting, that's adding several minutes to my workflow every day. I would approximate that the score setup process takes 4 to 5 times longer having to manually place every instrument, one click at a time.

From a larger perspective - any nuisance is a nuisance. :)
To place Musescore up against other applications, the score setup is unrefined and a bit laborious. A little bit of reimagining the flow can help to streamline the process and to level the playing field between the applications.

In reply to by BSG

With some types of ensembles (ex: Marching Band) the Musescore templates will get you about 85% of the way there.

There is customization needed for solo or small ensemble sections that might be separate from the rest of the ensemble, etc.

Something as simple as adding one more instrument forces you to toggle the up/down arrow keys 20-30 times just to get to the right place in the score. This could more ideally be a drag & drop action that would place the new instrument immediately in the proper order.

In reply to by Daniel

And you can make your own templates, too, towards your own needs. I can't believe that the ensembles differ wildly every day. But when there are many staves, indeed, just adding one instrument can be onerous and error-prone. "At selection" is needed.

In reply to by BSG

In this case, I have made my own template that - like Daniel said - covers most (about 70-75%) of my situations. But when I need to add - let's say an upper woodwind or two - it's a process that's laborious.

Offering the user multiple options at Score Setup makes the application much more universally streamlined.

In reply to by Ryan

I can't see why "put it at the end" is ever more useful than "insert at selection", unless you always add bass instruments, although whether "before or after" and "what happens at the endpoints" are fair issues. An option/mode switch seems overkill and the addition of UI complication.

I do feel like this screen is overcomplicated and shows more information on the top level than the user needs. It makes it a very noisy screen when the overwhelming majority of users do not alter these instruments from default settings.

A lot of this information can be hidden on a second level, still easily accessible for those that might want to drill down.

I also think at Concert Order button could be incredibly useful. Clicking this button would automatically re-sort the order to fit standards of concert order. Which concert order to apply could be configured in Settings.

In reply to by Daniel

The "Clef" definition on this box is extraneous, in my opinion.
The only place where clefs are variable (that I can think off the top of my head) are tenor brass or the Tenor voice. Everything else is standardized. The tenor brass is already clarified in the instrument definition itself.
What's more, the clef column is not a setting or a property - it's just information (and again, information that should be known/understood).

The Staff Type drop-down on the right doesn't give me the options I expect: I open this, anticipating seeing options for a standard size or a cue size (e.g. on solo music, the piano part has the solo include, but a smaller size - 60%). I do like that this menu eliminates the need to have guitars listed twice each: once for notation, once for tab.

The additional staves (linked or no) is an interesting model that the other programs don't have. The only example I can think of is in Sibelius, where you can choose to add an "ossia" staff - that is, an alternate part. This is useful for large ensemble scores where you may have a solo part for a short time, or the occasional need for an alternate (simplified) part, as is sometimes the case of academic/education music.
Most commonly, instruments that use grand staff (Keyboards) usually have the choice of single staff or grand staff as a part of the instrument options. It seems to me that, by eliminating the additional staff function altogether, it eliminates the need to have two lines for every part. The option for Grand Staff versus Single Staff could be incorporated into the Staff Type drop-down.
Sure - you can eliminate the additional line by closing the expand/collapse arrow on the left - but a score with 20 parts requires 20 clicks to close those arrows. That isn't user-friendly. If the expansion arrows default to closed, that leaves information unseen. For a user who is new to the application, this will slow them down - they'll want to figure out what's under the arrows. Simplest way is to eliminate the need to have that altogether. Like Daniel said - it overcomplicates the window.

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