Feature Request - Allow measure selection right out of the step input mode

• May 4, 2020 - 16:34

I'm not sure if this has been discussed, but i have a following request and suggestion for improving the workflow:
To allow selection of the measure through shift + arrow, right out of the step input mode, without having to press the "esc." button. It's a very common scenario, to input few notes/measures and then select them for further editing, copy pasting etc.


By the way it is already possible to do the vertical selection from the step input mode, selecting staff above or below, so having the same option for left and right selection would be very logical addition.

In reply to by antonjazzsax

I would also like this. Current behaviour when using SHIFT+Left in note input mode is to move the final note that has been input (or rather swap its position with the preceding note) and that is even more annoying than just not creating a selection range.

A typical work flow might be enter notes. Then select some of the notes just entered and press S to add a slur to them (or a hairpin or staccato dots etc.). Currently, one has to come out of note entry mode before making the selection. SHIFT+Left and SHIFT+Right to make a selection is so well ingrained that more often than not I just do it automatically before cancelling note entry and then have to chase the note I just moved. I would guess that the user wants to select the notes to the left of the current entry point much more frequently than moving to the left the note just entered. Perhaps the telemetry results will demonstrate whether my guess is right.

In reply to by SteveBlower

And what is more, the SHIFT+Left procedure to move notes results in odd stem lengths and missing beams like this.


Bar 2 is what I got after entering what you see in bar 1 and then while still in note input mode with the E highlighted I used SHIFT+Left 4 times.

So even if moving notes is useful, what we have now makes a hash of it.

Edit: Bar 2 rectifies itself after a save and reload, but it is very disconcerting to see what looks like a score corruption happening before your eyes.

Attachment Size
Moved.png 11.62 KB

Interesting. I had no idea that a step selection like this was possible. It will be interesting to see if I have a use for it. Until a solution is found, wouldn't it be much easier to hit "N" instead of going all the way up to "esc"?

To me the real question here is, what would you actually do with that selection? Copy/paste isn't supported in note input mode, and not just because you can't do a selection. So that would also have to be changed. And once it becomes possible to perform operations on range selections, it's worth considering what's the point of actually having separate modes? I'm not saying this to say I think it's a bad idea, but to point out that it's really a pretty big change proposed, and one really needs to think through all the ramifications of it.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Well personally my approach is, "if it isn't broken, don't fix it". I might have expressed it a bit confusingly, but what I really meant is not inroducing selection function into the note input mode, but to make a switch between the two modes more easy and automatic. In this case: in the note input mode, pressing "shift left" would automatically exit the note input mode and create a range selection. That is what i mean by integration of editing modes and a smoother workflow. It might not feel like a big thing, but really it does make a difference at a certain work speed. I see a few things like that in the musescore and again, i believe it's not about anything global, or fundamental. It's those small things that cumulatively make a big difference.

In reply to by antonjazzsax

"What would you do with that selection?" ... Add a slur, add staccato, flip the note stems, transpose, etc. etc. etc.

My real difficulty is the two different beaviours of shift+left, in and out of note input. Out of note input it makes or extends a selection. In note input mode it moves the last entered note which is very different behaviour and really needs a different shortcut (or disabling altogether as it doesn't currently work very well - see my earlier post).

Hmm? can I change that shortcut just for note entry mode in preferences? I will investigate next time I am at my PC.

In reply to by SteveBlower

I was so excited by my idea of disabling Shift+left in note input mode that I went straight away and tried it. And yes, it is possible. So, now I have Shift+left (and Shift+right) doing nothing in note input mode but still extending the selection out of note input mode. I am happy!

In reply to by antonjazzsax

Ah, I was imaging you were talking about actually allowing range selection in note input mode and then inventing a whole new interface for how you might do things with them.

As mentioned, it's trivial to disable Shift+left/right in note input mode if having that feature bothers you. I'd prefer to see us actually fix the feature to not require the durations to match - the necessary framework is all in place I think to work more generally, just needs to be fully hooked up and tested.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Well, apparently disabling shift+left would not be enough. You still need to exist input mode to do a range selection then. But allowing to do range selection right away, effectively exiting input mode by pressing shift+left is a little but helpful thing. But of course not a big deal. Again I think at this point of development, it's those little things that make a lot of difference.

In reply to by antonjazzsax

Shift+left/right in note input mode was designed to allow you to quickly swap two note, so if you enter C followed by D but meant D followed by C, one click and it's fixed. Great, except the command only works if the C and D have the same duration. The command is disabled otherwise. It was disabled because the original implementation didn't work correctly and could corrupt your score, and it was easy t disable than to fix. That's an OK decision if you're under the wire trying to get a release out, but in the years since then this really should have been fixed. But, it's not a command many people actually use, so there are very few complaints about it and it hasn't been priority.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Swapping notes in note input mode seems like a useful thing, but it indeed very rarely used. Anyway. Why not making it possible to do an instant range selection instead? After all swapping notes feature could be assigned to something less common that "shift + arrow" l, which I think is associated with the range selection much more often than with swapping .

In reply to by antonjazzsax

Certainly it’s possible to kick the user out of note input mode and start a range selection instead. Whether it’s advisable or not would require some usability studies to understand better. I would fear it would add to any potential confusion over the modes if the user found them switching willy-nilly, which is why I originally assumed you meant somehow meant to support range selection in note input mode, which is a whole other can of worms.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"I would fear it would add to any potential confusion over the modes if the user found the switching silly-billy".
Don't underestimate the users :). The ones that have learned to work fast know exactly what they are doing and when and will appreciate having less obstacles to do what they want.

I think it just simply a matter of muscle memory and quickness, that any experienced user would intuitively press "Shift + arrow" and expect a range selection, because that is what happens everywhere else, except the note input mode. While I have nothing against the feature of swapping notes in the note input mode, having the very same combination of keys for it I find confusing. Of course you can get used to it, but why not to make it more coherent.

In reply to by antonjazzsax

Yes, the ones that learn to expect this may learn to take advantage of it, but having modes that suddenly change themselves without warning could be a real stumbling block to new users trying to understand how things work.

Not that you or I might not appreciate this particular hack, but it really is important to look at the bigger picture. Designing an interface based on what happens to seem like it could be useful to a handful of people is exactly how you end up with designs that make no sense to anyone else. So it really is important not to rush into decisions like that that can potentially have a major negative impact on usability for new users.

That said, I certainly agree having Shift+left do something different in the two modes makes little sense.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"Designing an interface based on what happens to seem like it could be useful to a handful of people is exactly how you end up with designs that make no sense to anyone else. "
I think there is a rule of thumb about that, which is, if you aim at a highly evolved "instrument of notation" , than it is good idea to orient on those who work fast and do more complex notation work (which will be less in number indeed). Like with the musical instrument, you can always downgrade complexity of what you are doing, but still
you want to have an instrument which is fast and responsive and helps you to achieve the desired results in the most efficient way. You don't wan't to make piano mechanics slower, in order not to scare those who haven't learned to play fast yet.

I would be curious to see though what the realisation of the "blurred" modes as you seem to imagine, would look like.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

As a compromise, would not it be possible to just add a feature that would allow that quick range selection, so in order to activate it, one would need to disable the "swapping notes" feature. If the swapping notes are not disabled, than everything remains as is. That would at least allow the "usability study"

In reply to by antonjazzsax

The existence of the action "swap note" with default shortcut shift+arrow is absolutely no reason to not implement the action "range selection".
I'm not saying that action "range selection" should be implemented in note entry mode or not, but if it should, the only influence of the other action is that we can't assign as default shift-arrow without introducing a breaking change. But users would be free to associate any key to any action.

In reply to by frfancha

To me as a keyboard user the main point of note input mode is to have a clear cursor indicating next input position, which is semantically
distinct from any notion of current selection. I’m sure it be possible to design an interface that somehow blurred this distinction and worked in a a way I could eventually accept in hindsight as “intuitive”, but for me the current model is what I’m accustomed to in other programs as well and feels very natural.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The thing there are just too many use cases that could potentially benefit from having the ability to switch back and forth more quickly.

note input a passage _ range select _ then:
- add a slur, or
- add articulations, or
- copy paste, or
- make a passage into a second voice, or
- change noteheads type, or
- toggle slash notation
- make small,
- add tremolos
- add a pin, or any other element from "linels" palette, like 1st or 2nd ending, 8vb , etc.
- add an interval
- change properties in inspector
- add arpeggiato to chords
- delete (yes sometimes we change our mind)
- change (most often diminish) note durations of selected notes using numbers

So if it saves just one keystroke but for this many operations, that's a lot of keystrokes!

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