Add option for four hands piano duet layout

• Jul 5, 2020 - 16:55
Reported version
S5 - Suggestion

Piano four handed duets - i.e. 2 players on one piano - are very common. IMSLP lists over 1300 original works and many more arrangements. They are laid out so that the 1st (primo) part occupies the right hand (odd numbered) page and the 2nd (Secondo) part occupies the left hand (even numbered )page. In order to get something close to this currently with MuseScore there are only a couple of very inconvenient options:

  • Write individual pages for primo and secondo consecutively on a single grand staff - e.g. bar 1 - 20 secondo followed by bar 1 - 20 primo, then 21 - 40 secondo followed by 21 40 primo.

This has quite a few problems that need to worked around, for example having a time signature at the start of each part, indenting the first line, having to decide at the outset where page breaks will occur.

  • Make a score with two grand staffs, one for primo, one for secondo and then create individual parts. Then insert page breaks so that the two parts have simultaneous page turns. Then print the individual parts, collate them taking a page from each alternatively and use sticky tape to assemble them. Or alternatively print to pdf and use a pdf editor to do the page collating.

This makes it easier to get the appearance satisfactorily but page numbering is a problem. And using sticky tape...? or an external pdf editor...?

It would be nice if MuseScore could facilitate this layout. If implemented it might look like this to the user:

  1. User creates a score and selects "Four hand piano duet" as the instrument. This generates a score with two grand staffs.
  2. User enters the notation.
  3. User creates parts from the file>parts dialogue. This creates a single part with alternating pages of secondo followed by primo. Automatic page breaks are added in the same bar in both parts, their position being determined by whichever part requires a page break first.
  4. Adding or deleting page breaks in either the primo or secondo parts adds or deletes a page break at the same bar in the other part.

1 can be accomplished using a template perhaps but identifying a four hand duet as a "different" instrument might make 2. and 3. easier to implement.

Perhaps this can be implemented as part of the engraving improvements in MuseScore4. It seems such a commonly used layout that it seems surprising it hasn't been asked for before - or has it?