Writing scores fot the melodeon/accordion – chords playback criticisms and a new feature request.
OK, I am a melodeon player, and I use MuseScore mainly to transcribe the tunes I play on my instruments for my own use.
No, I don't try to create any sort of tablature. I can read and write music, and I know the keyboard layout of the instruments I play. I can pack into a simple score all the informations that in a tablature require a different graphic staff.
Given this, when I saw that the new MuseScore 3.5 finally offered the chance to playback the chord symbols, that's the extra bonus offered by the notation programs that can create melodeon tablatures, I was really excited, and downloaded it in a haste. Testing it left me really disappointed.
I admit I had not read the discussion about the topic in the forum, but I actually agree about a number of the criticisms that were expressed.
First, really the chord playback shouldn't be on by default.
Second, there should be a chance to control its use globally for a whole score. To select all or part of the chords and then activate/deactivate them in the explorer is self defeating.
Third: to use just the piano sound to playback the chords is unsatisfactory. I understand that giving
the user a chance to choose any instrument at will could create problems with the older scores. Yet, the piano is an instrument with little sustain. The option to hold a chord until the next one makes sense for an instrument that sustains – an organ, a reed organ... -, so at least we should be offered the chance to use one of them as an alternative to the piano.
A further criticism from the melodeons players' point of view: it's nice to be able to choose among the root only, close chords, drop2 chords and all the other options, but what about chord swithout the thirds? We box players have a limited number of chords, that usually are either major or minor triads, so the modern design instruments have a stop to mute all the thirds to enable using them both as major and minor chords. Please add a powerchord option!!
By the way, I don't know who looks after the Italian translation of the program, but please suggest him to buy a dictionary. “Root” could be translated as “radice” if we were talking about a tree. Talking about a chord the correct term is “fondamentale”!
Back to the point: if the chords without the thirds option was available I could mimick a left hand pattern as played on a melodeon, but that would imply using three or four chord symbols each bar, selecting half of them to play the root only, and I would have no control on the note/chords durations. Sincerely, to write the basses and the full chords on a second staff would take more or less the same time, and give by far better results.
Beyond the criticisms, I'd like to make a concrete suggestion. Why not implementing for the melodeon/accordion players a left hand staff to playback the chords according to the conventions used in the printed scores for the acccordion? You know: just two octaves. The lower one (stems up) is used for the basses, and since if you can alternate the fundamental and the fifth, or even play a bass notes run, they should be played back as written. The upper octave (stem down)is used for the chords: just the fundamental of course. The chords symbols tells the player, and should tell the program, if the chord is major, a minor, a dominant seventh or a diminished chord. Add an option for the chords without the thirds, and system could work fot he melodeon as well. And of course such a staff could be used for a vamping piano part as well.
Right, as an American friend of mine used to say... just my five cents!