Proposal regarding chord symbol playback defaults

• Aug 9, 2020 - 23:05

Hi, I am one of the developers who helped (if indirectly) make the chord symbol playback feature happen. We knew it was a feature that many users had requested over and over and would welcome enthusiastically, but most would never know the feature had been added if it didn't work automatically. But we also realized that some users might have become accustomed to not hearing chord symbols play, and might thus be taken aback by the change.

During the release testing (alpha / beta / release candidate) testing phase, we tried to get feedback from as many users as possible, so we could determine what made the most sense. After some lively discussion, the consensus among those who chose to take part in the prerelease testing was that having it enabled by default for all scores made the most sense, and to have a style setting to disable it for any given score (or make that your default for all new scores). But of course, now that 3.5 is released official, those users who did not choose to take part in the prerelease testing are seeing this for the first time, and quite a few are expressing concern.

I hear this, and am trying to come up with the best solution that meets the needs of those many who have long pleaded for this as well as those who are now being unpleasantly surprised by it.

In the following discussion, I'll make a proposal.


My assumption remains that far more people will want to have chord symbol playback than not. While there are definitely more who have complained than otherwise here, that's to be expected - most people seldom post except to report problems. I also continue to believe that I'd rather the feature call attention to itself so that people who want it know its there and don't go on not being able to use it simply because they don't know it is there. The people who don't want it find out it is there immediately, so they at least know to ask how to turn it off.

I also need to reiterate a point made in previous discussions of the topic, which is that it actually won't work to just have a single global preference to control chord symbol playback. The reason is, then you will have no way of know the actual state of your score. If you upload it to MuseScore, you won't have any way of knowing if others will hear chords playback or not. Same if you share your score with others any other way, And conversely if you receive a score created by someone else. We want a user to be able to expect any score he creates will sound the same on or when otherwise shared with others as it does on his own system.

I also think it makes sense to divide scores into two categories here:

1) scores created before 3.5 - we know for all of these, the chord symbols were not playing back when the score was created (even if the creator may have wished they did)

2) scores created using 3.5 or later

Taking all of these observations together, my proposal (which I have already implemented and submitted a PR for - see is this:

  • the default remains as is, so the thousands who fervently wished for this feature for so long get it without having to guess that it has been implemented or how they might need to enable it

  • a preference is added to force the chord symbol playback style setting off upon loading an older (pre-3.5) score, so that if you have existing scores where you don't want to hear the chords play, you can have that, and then as soon as you save the score, that setting is "locked in"

  • a preference is added to force the chord symbol playback style setting off when creating a new score, so you can continue to create new scores with chord symbol playback off, and again, that style setting will be saved with the score and thus "locked in"

In reply to by BSG

In order for this scheme to work, the site would honor what is in the file. So it would be as if the preference was off - no artificial disabling of playback, simply
honor what is in the file. So whatever the user hears on their computer before the upload is what they and everyone will hear on the website.

But yes, conceivably the folks responsible for the website could choose to disable playback if someone uses an older version to do the upload.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Correct, the preference isn’t stored. But the style setting it controls is. The preference - when set - doesn’t just say “don’t play chord symbols“. It says “force the style setting off”. That’s the key difference between this and the original proposal, which did not affect what was saved to the score at all.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Well, it’s not 100% clear to me what the default should be for the backend any more than it is for the program itself. Do we want to maximize the number of happy surprised or minimize the number of unhappy ones? But probably the tradeoffs are different and it could well continue to make sense to have the default behavior for the backend be more conservative.

But I don’t think I have any direct control over the behavior of the backend

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Principle of least surprise. You have a score with cord symbol in 3.4.2 or older and upload to -> no chord symbol playback. Such a setting would need to get embedded in the backend, by the site admins.
For scores uploaded with 3.5 (or later), playback by default, but honor the style settings.

For any local install of MuseScore 3.5 (and later) this is different (and not an issue for 3.4.2 and older), you have direct feedback about the chord symbols playback and can then decide whether you like and want it or not and disable/enable as you like.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

It would be pretty horrible if you are using 3.4.2 and upload your score and the site turns on the cowbells and you have no way to stop it other than to upgrade to 3.5 and put OPT COWBELLS=NONE in every such score. Maybe that's one of the reasons you didn't want to upgrade to 3.5.

In reply to by BSG

Even if the site chooses the conservative option, God help anyone who downloads such a score into 3.5 and hears something very different and has no idea how to turn it off (although it's in the FAQ now).

In reply to by BSG

If someone has 3.5, then chances are your particular score is not the first or only score they are going to encounter. They will most likely have already had the opportunity to learn how to deal with this.

Also, I would note that the backend could choose to actually resave the score on upload with that change in place.

But I also think this misses the big picture. You are focusing on that subset of users who will be unpleasantly surprised rather than the enormous numbers of users who have been missing this feature for years. Whatever arguments you make about how some users might need to take some sort of extra step in order to get what they want and thus the default should be X, turn it over and you have the exact opposite situation for everyone else, and they will then prefer the default be Y for the exact same reason.

No matter how you slice it, someone is going to have to take an extra step to get what they want. My proposal here is based on the ideas that:

1) discoverability is crucial (hence, it's better to make people who want the feature turned off to take the extra step than to make people who don't even know the feature exists take an extra step to turn it on)

2) the extra step should be made as painless as possible (hence, a preference you can set and forget rather than needing to manually change the style of every score one at a time)

3) the set of people who write chord symbols and normally wish they were played is at least as large as the set of people who write chord symbols but normally are glad they are not (even though the latter of course will be more vocal in the forum right now, because they are the subset facing the unpleasant surprise)

In reply to by BSG

The whole point of this preference is you don't need to do any such thing. If your score was originally uploaded using 3.4.2, that audio is already generated, no chord symbol playback. If you have 3.5 and you know most of your scores will be better off with no chord symbol playback, you simply set the preference once and you're done. Any scores you don't update remain exactly as they are on - no chord symbol playback. Any scores you decide to update for whatever reason have chord symbol forced off the moment you load into 3.5, so it remains off on upload. So it's completely painless - there is no incenvitve not to update, quite the opposite - it's clearly in your interest to do so, so you have control over how your scores play back.

The only question is what happens to those people who deliberately choose not to update for whatever reason, which should be a minority. As I said, I'm fine with the idea of the website forcing the playback of chord symbols off when generating the audio. I'm fine with it also choosing to resave the score to "lock in" that setting.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

My two cents:

The point that thousands of users have requested this feature does not mean that other thousands of users use the chord symbol only for notation and do not want the playback functionality in their scores. So I understand why playback should be on by default, but there should be an obvious setting to deselect - it works by defining it as a style, but it's not obvious.
For a better workflow and user experience - I've already mentioned it - I would like to see such a setting in the toolbar in a future version, so that you can easily turn chord symbol playback on and off. This would be useful for those thousands of users who simply want to turn playback on and off during the composing or arranging process while creating a score.

In reply to by kuwitt

What you describe does indeed seem useful but it something rather different than the problem being discussed here, which is how to avoid needing to toggle a button for each and every score but instead have a single override for all older scores (and potentially another for all new scores), and yet still have the setting be part of the score so it's guaranteed to sound the same when shared. What you are describing is more of a compositional process issue, and for that purpose, I'd actually suggest the answer is to just mute / unmute the chord symbol channel in the Mixer. A toolbar button toggle that did the same is not a bad idea either. Reconsidering how the playback workflow functions is a big part of the WMuseScore 4 plans of course,

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

That's fine except when you have:
1) A score with lots of chord symbols sprinkled throughout different instruments (ie a big band score with many improvisational sections) -- there are lots of instruments to sift through and turn off chord playback one by one.
2) A small monitor or slower computer -- a docked mixer that needs to be opened fully and possibly twelve different instruments that need to be expanded/muted is very time consuming, and can only be done after chord symbols are added so it can't be done as part of the initial setup.
3) An expectation that playback will sound a reasonable approximation of what the ensemble playing live will be -- (most MuseScore users cannot audiate their own scores in their heads and rely on playback for feedback in the creative process). In my experience there's usually not fourteen piano players banging away chords on every downbeat during a performance.

In reply to by Alex Burr

I think there is some confusion here. As mentioned, you never have to turn off chord symbols one at a time. It's a style setting, so turning it off for all chord symbols in a score takes only seconds. That's already the case - it only takes a few seconds to turn off playback for all chord symbols in a score. But you have to spend those few seconds on each score you want to turn them off for. My proposal here is a way to make it so if you know you will want chords off by default for all scores, you only have to spend a few seconds once.

As for big band scores, I agree it seems potentially problematic that multiple chord symbols might play at once. A simple solution here is to turn mute the harmony channels for all instruments but one. I'm looking into a way of automating this as well.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hundreds (at least +418 and counting) of my specially constructed little bands were made in version 3.5 for my jam group to practice with. The chords playing have ruined them. Yes, be proud of what you've done...ruined lots of work. You mentioned that lots of people wanted it. Ever hear this? "If a million people have said a silly thing, then a million people have said a silly thing." It wasn't broken. Now it is. Easily fixed by making chord sounds not play by default. Those that want that 'feature' on should be able to do it in the prefs permanently. As for those that want their score heard with chords, then send it off with instructions to turn them on. Why are you making life so miserable? This is a no brainer. Or do you wish for me to visit every score to turn it off. As a finger picking guitar player, classical player, rock player, bass player, dulcimer player, and musican...I want the chord sounds off by default. Am I asking for too much?!?

In reply to by jorge.santini

I'm confused, how did you create 418 scores with version 3/5 when it's only been out a few days? Or maybe you meant an older version? If an older version, then my proposal here should meet your needs. As I said, just set the preference and older scores will have chord symbols turned off.

Chord symbols failing to play wasn't broken for your purposes, but it was for millions of others. No matter which way the default is, someone is going to need to take steps to change it. But at least with my proposal here, it's one step taken once, not over and over for every score. So it should meet your needs completely, does it not?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

1) the version that provides that feature isn't out yet, and 2) every one of his students will have to make the change, and in the meantime, if they load 3.5, they break unless they learn the suppression formula, for each and every score. I do not think it is fair to say "it hasn't been working ever for the people who want chords", esp to compare that with an incompatible breakage. For those who yearned for cowbells, it was never any good at all.

In reply to by BSG

Again, someone is going to have to spend the extra time - an extra 10 seconds once in their entire life to change the preference under my proposal, not for each and every score - dealing with this. The only question is who is going to have to spend those extra 10 seconds once in their entire life. I'm still not seeing any particular reason to believe it is somehow worse to put the burden on the subset of people who want these notations not to be played by default than it is to place that burden on everyone else instead.

Just as I would not understand why people who explicitly put cowbell notations into their score should have to then go out of their way to say they want more of it also.

In reply to by BSG

OK, but that's not much of an argument then. We can't change do anything about 3.5, we can only change what goes into 3.5.1. The point of this thread is to discuss my specific proposal, not to continue to debate whether there is a problem currently. I agree there is a problem that needs to be solved. Do we also agree ()I thought you said you did) that my proposal does in fact solve the problem?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Oops! Yes, you should be confused. +18 and counting. But I do have hundreds, if not nearly a couple of thousand songs I'd prefer to review again just to turn off chord playing. IMHO I would like that feature off in 3.5.1 with an obvious option to turn in on for those that wish it. One thing for sure, there has been a lot of publicity gotten about this chord playing feature. Now I sit and wait...or, work on TablEdit to get those lyrics into those mountain dulcimer tabs. Yes, it can be done but it is painfully slow.

In reply to by BSG

Ten seconds once out of their lives too, still seems like not a big price to pay. Once again, someone is going to pay the price one way or another. If you want to save your students that trouble, you batch process your existing scores to turn off the play style setting and redistribute them. And really, that's what you want - you want deterministic results, not results that depend on someone's preference settings.

That said, I could imagine keeping absolutely everything about my proposal as I described, except changing the default for the preference "disable chord symbol playback style setting for older scores" to "true (disable them)". We keep the discoverability because new scores at least have it on by default, we keep it easy (just those ten seconds once in your life) for the thousands of people who will want old scores to benefit also, and people with older scores that they can't be bothered to update don't have to worry about students who can't be bothered to toggle the preference hearing chord symbols they don't want. It's not ideal for anyone actually, but at least the small amount of pain that exists is spread out more.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

That's harmony to my ears. (The issue is not "how can they not be bothered taking 10 sec?", but "how could they ever figure out what the problem is and where to look to even begin to learn how to fix it, if they assume it's fixable at all?" But somehow, the instant gratification without documentation or telling of them that love their chords in old scores seems compelling to you...).

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Yes obviously. But when your tool changes the result of your work without you expecting it, the problem lies with the tool manufacturer. The fact that this change isn't discovered until someone sits down to a workflow they're familiar with, only to discover (after some time working) that the results are unexpected after they both add chord symbols and playback -- without any indication that something has changed or what they need to do to get it back the way they expect it is what is disconcerting.

If I bought a replacement hammer after using hammers for years, only to find out that every sixth swing of the hammer caused a needle hidden in the handle to be ejected into my eye socket, I would not shrug and go "oh I guess I need to learn my tools better".

My "learning" process on this was:
1. Work as normal in good ol' reliable MuseScore
2. Get quite a ways into a score
3. Hit playback and go "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON"
4. Search around for a while, while annoyed, until finally figuring it out
5. Sit back and go, "Wait do I have to do this every time from now on?"

I have noticed that a large part of this issue was a discussion as to should it be a part of the preferences.

Might it not make sense to have it as a switch in the format menu?


In reply to by xavierjazz

Yes, that too - and there is already, I think, a PR to make that happen. But still, that doesn't completely resolve the issue for those who don't like the chord symbols playing by default, because you need to set the style in each older score you load, or each new score you create (unless using a template or customized default style that has this set). The preferences I am proposing here are the equivalent of going into that dialog to turn off the style option immediately upon loading an older score or creating a new one, thus potentially saving some people a lot of time.

FWIW, if for whatever reason it was decided to change the default to be off, we could use a similar preference to make it easier to force it on. But I continue to not favor this, because I think many people would simply never realize chord symbol playback was even possible. Plus changing the default would break all the scores already created in 3.5 (including alpha, beta, and RC) that rely on this.

In reply to by xavierjazz

That's definitely a possibility too, but in order for this to really be meaningful and produce predictable results, it would need to be tied to the score, to turning it off and then uploading means it is off on too. And then we're back to needing to do this for each score, rather than just once. And that's the whole point of my proposal here - to make it easier for people to turn it off once and have it automatically reflect on all their scores, if that's what they want.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Why do you have no sympathy for the people with hundreds of scores over years that will now be broken and have to be fixed one-by-one when they "discover" the breakage, but limitless concern for people who "might not discover" the new capability lest it be thrown on universally? This seems to go against every principle of feature management I've ever learned. "If you wanna make an omelet, you're going to have to crack some eggs", Vladimir Ilyich said....

In reply to by BSG

Who are you talking about? I hope not me. The whole point of this proposal is to make things easier for that subset of users. It seems to me it address the issue pretty completely. Set the preference once, you're done, you never need to think about it again if you don't ever wish to use the feature.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I have a friend in a European country who sees no sense in the fact that states elect presidents. Yes, the site and the product are run by a Binity, two organizations in one, two natures in one organization, that no one except a MuseScore theologian can explain fully. But any solution to this problem, esp if "turning it on without being asked" continues to be a desideratum in at least some cases, will require a design and approach for the whole life-cycle of a score, including the site, and "we have no control over that" won't seem any more logical to visitors than how more people voted for the person who lost the election. This has to be designed comprehensively, not piecewise.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc, for whatever its worth, here are my two-cents. I like having chord play on by default for the very reason that it is on - so that I now know it's a feature. I also like the compromise about pre-3.5 scores. I would agree that maybe there needs to be a button on the front page of the U/I that allows you to toggle it off/on. How does Finale/ Sibelius do it? For the lazy bastards who can't push a button, I quote the Grinch "boo-hoo, boo-hoo".
BTW: It would be nice to have a chord identifier built into MS. I think Finale does. The plugin that someone programmed, works great but is not perfect.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Am I missing something in this convo? Are there people who aren't reading that you only need to set the preference for OFF once and all scores will follow that preference in the future? You don't have to "fix" hundreds of scores. "Fix" one and they will all follow that.
All programs (go to Excel, Word,) have features that are turned on automatically when you start the program, even though a small % of people won't like that feature. The program designers, through customer feedback (which Musescore has done), determine the features that people want automatically turned on. I see no big deal. Try pissing and moaning to Microsoft because you don't like the tab setting when you start the program. The same bitching went on with Microsoft when they forced everyone into the 21st century with their "radical" menu ribbon. Yes, it took a while to get used to it and slowed down typing documents for about 10 minutes. Microsoft ignored them and now we have the ribbon and everyone is using it and we have moved on.
Musescore is a wonderful FREE program that is the best free music notation program in the world. Did I say it is FREE. Fortunately, (or unfortunately for the developers who have to listen to the pissing and moaning) Musescore listens to customer feedback and tries to do something about it. HINT to developers: Ignore the complainers. They will eventually accept the changes, they will not stop using Musescore because it's FREE and live will move on.

In reply to by BSG

Ok, so its not about the score; its about distributing the score to and having the chord playback turned on. I agree that could be an issue, if the person listening to the score on Musescore. com can't turn the chord playback off. Sounds like a issue, not a program issue.

In reply to by odelphi231

Not just .com. This fellow (and others) distributes scores by email or other means; he is a teacher/leader, and has students. And if has a certain setting for playback, that doesn't (unless we make it) affect those who download from there.

For the record, my PR implementing my proposal (including setting the default to turn off chord symbol playback for older scores) is at I think there seems to be buy in that it is the best compromise we have right now.

  • by default, pre-3.5 scores loaded into 3.5.1 or later will no longer play chord symbols
  • by default, new scores created in 3.5 or later will continue to play chord symbols
  • the settings continue to be saved with the score, so what you hear in 3.5 or later will be what everyone else hears
  • if you prefer to hear chord symbols even in older scores, turn the "disable chord symbol playback in older scores" preference off (and, again, the resulting style setting is saved to the score)
    if you prefer not to hear chord symbols even in new scores, turn the "disable chord symbol playback in newly created scores" preference on (and again, the resulting style setting is saved to the score)

The preference is not actually needed, the real key is the style setting that is saved to the score. But the preferences makes an easy job of changing the style setting automatically on load of older scores or on creation of new ones.

PR is not merged yet, but hopefully will be for 3.5.1

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Correct. Now that there seems to be agreement that this is a good solution in general, we can talk about a better place for the option than advanced preferences, which are harder to access and don't have nice descriptive names (might not be translated either?)

I would probably it go in the Score section, below where you set the default style for score & parts, because that's basically what this is: an override for that for this specific style setting.

How is it going to manage the "modified" flag, if I default to OPT COWBELLS=NONE, the score is pre-3.5, and I open it --- will it modify the score, requiring me to write it out (I think it should). But I guess that would be every single old score I open, so it should not do this unless there actually are chords ...

In reply to by BSG

The description of Marc is quite clear and complete.
The program will behave as if the "play chords" that is saved score by score would have 3 values:
-not set
Every score saved by the program will always be saved with yes or no, it won't be possible to save score with "not set"
Every pre-3.5 score will be considered has having the value "not set" (attention if you save the score value will become yes or no)
Reading a not set value (pre-3.5 thus) score the program will play or not chords according to the new preference setting. And not only that, unless changed by the user of course, that "play the chords yes or no" will be saved with the score if you save it.
Once you don't own or receive or read on internet any pre-3.5 score anymore, the setting becomes unused.
At least... That's how I understand it.
I can't think to any solution that would be better.

In reply to by frfancha

The "modified flag" is the internal indicator associated with a score, represented by "*" on its tab, that means that the score has been modified, and cannot be closed without a query offering to write it out. It is set any time any change is made to a score, and cleared when the score is written out or abandoned. All document editors on all OS's maintain such a flag per document.

In reply to by frfancha

See my response below. No, the score is not marked dirty. Sounds like most people favor that. As I wrote, if enough people who plan to change the preference to allow playback of chord symbols in older scores also want to be reminded to save, I can certainly add that. Personally, I would set the preference to enable the playback on older scores but would prefer not to be asked to save on close.

In reply to by xavierjazz

IF AND ONLY IF there are chords in the score, otherwise every single "old" score you read in will require write-out. It is better that it not set the flag. If you modify the score for some other reason, or if you don't, the right thing will happen in either case.

In reply to by BSG

That's a very good question!

Currently, an older score is not immediately marked as having been modified, regardless of the setting of this preference. So that means you can close it immediately and not get nagged to save it. But if you do hit the save button, it does save, and is marked as a 3.5 score. Thus, it will henceforth always play the same on everyone's system regardless of the setting of the preference.

So, if you had the "disable chord symbol playback in older scores" preference at its default "true" setting, then loading the 3.4.2 score gives you no chord symbol playback, and saving it locks that in for everyone. Whereas if you had turned off that preference, then upon opening the original 3.4.2 score, you will have playback, and saving it locks that in for everyone.

I didn't do this because I thought it through and decided this was the way to go; I didn't give it a moment's thought. So if there is a desire for a change, it should be possible. I hate to mark scores "dirty" on open on account of this (thus giving you the save prompt if you try to close without saving). We get enough complaints already about doing that when importing 2.x scores. I guess I could do it only when not disabling the chord symbol playback, so people who leave that preference at the default don't see the extra prompt. But I'm reluctant to do this unless people who actually plan to flip that preference to enable chord symbols in older scores tell me they want to be nagged if they close without saving.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

If you don't mark the score as dirty that is perfect.
Do not change anything.
What could be added (if not already done?) is some kind of visual feedback (in the status bar??) saying:
Pre-3.5 score playing chords as set in preferences
Or, for people having the other preference :
Pre-3.5 score not-playing chords as set in preferences
Word preferences could even be a link to the setting...
And the text could be added to the play panel in fact.

In reply to by frfancha

Any thought on adding that text to the play panel when a pre-3.5 score is opened:

Pre-3.5 score playing chords as set in preferences
Or, for people having the other preference :
Pre-3.5 score not-playing chords as set in preferences
Word preferences could even be a link to the setting...

In reply to by frfancha

I'm not really following this. But keep in mind, a style setting is just that - a style setting. Some or all chords might individually be set differently from the style. Plus there is the harmony channel in the mixer than can be muted staff by staff. So there isn't one global bit of information that would make sense to display.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

'' I'm not really following this ''

Let me explain then.
When your proposal will be implemented, when you open a score and hear (or not!) chords you have no (direct/easy) way to know if it is a post 3.5 score with its style set, or if it is a pre-3.5 score for which the new preference is taken into account.

I'd like to have a text explicitly/clearly displayed when it is a pre-3.5 score that the new preferences is enforced.

So I know that saving the score may be worthwhile (or not).

In reply to by frfancha

I guess I'm still not getting why, of all the possible pieces of information we could extract from dialogs that already exist (Edit / Preferences if you've forgotten that setting, File / Score Properties if you've forgotten what version was used), this would seem especially interesting to duplicate and find room for somewhere else in the UI.

In any case, you can always just hit Save again - it's never harmful.

If someone really does want this - or any other - information always in plain sight, probably a plugin could be written.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Save is not harmless -- it changes the file mod-time, which may or may not be a key datum in how you manage your directory(ies). The truth is it's not really "dirty", just a little "off-color", as we say in the US -- somewhere in a spectrum between dirty and not, like the kind of humor that didn't get kicked off the air a long time ago.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yes you can search for this information.
But you must know that it is that one that you need to search and where.
Really I'm baffled by your resistance to this, it seems so much in contradiction with your desire to make things explicit to end users in general.
When you will open a score and you will hear (or not, problem is the exactly the same) chords playing, you have no way (no easy/direct way) to know if the chords play because of an explicit choice in that score (=save has been done > 3.5) or because it just happens to be your setting for how to play pre-3.5 score.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

In web apps devs tend to limit the save to "true" ones only to:
- make very explicit to end users that the save has been indeed correctly achieved which is always more "risky" though web app than local (and for local, in case of doubt you can always check on the disk)
- avoid useless traffic
- avoid users overwriting each others save, as web apps are much more multi-users by nature

In reply to by BSG

OK, to be 100% clear; chord symbols are exactly like notes. So for a Bb instrument, with concert pitch off, if you write a C, you will see a C, and hear a concert Bb. Doesn't matter if we're talking the note C or the chord symbol C. Turn concert pitch on, and now you see Bb also - both for chord symbols and notes.

There is another issue that just occurred to me (and I'm not sure of its impact). It is very possible thlat someone has made or distributed lead sheets, prior to today, whose chord symbols contain unintentional errors, either errors of incorrect notation or placement, omissions, or simply wrong or bad chords. Since the author never had to hear them played back, this is not at all an unlikely scenario. Now mistakes accompany the song received long ago.

I don't know what to do about this. It is likely that the subtleties of the choices available and their implications will fail to reach many.

I can't follow this thread or the fine points of implementation. So, here's my feedback:
1. This is a very intrusive feature. Implementing it without telling people was a bad idea.
2. I don't EVER want to hear chords played automatically. Not when I load an old score, a new score, or when I write a score. If I want chords I will write them in as a separate instrument, with a rhythmic pattern that makes sense.
3. I don't want to have to go through a maze of clicks to turn all this feature OFF.


In reply to by DGT

I generally agree with your sentiment. But the rules have changed now! Suppose you download or receive someone's file, written in 3.5+, where he or she wants these chords to be played as part of his or her texture, and has taken the care necessary to get them right. Do you really want to shut them off?

In reply to by DGT

Understood. But for the record, we certainly did not implement it without telling people. The development of it was heavily chronicled here during the Google Summer of Code program last year. It was all over the release announcements for the alpha, beta, candidare, and actual release of 3.5, and we actively sought feedback during that months-long prerelease testing phase. We relied heavily on the feedback we received from those who chose to take part in that, and made many improvements as a result. But indeed, many people chose not to participate in any of those discussions, so they missed out on an opportunity to help shape the feature.

Right now with this proposal, old scores will continue to have chord symbols not play. If you also prefer your future scores to not have them play, you set one preference once and henceforth all new scores of yours will also have chord symbol playback turned off.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

This was the same argument made when demolishing Arthur Dent’s house. It doesn’t matter how available you make the information if your users are not in a habit of digging into those types of things and just want their dependable software to keep working as expected.

In reply to by Alex Burr

Of course. The problem is different people have different expectations. It truly is the case that we have received a very large number of requests for this, and as many people giving feedback about how much they love the implementation as those who want it off by default. So I’m just trying my best to balance different user expectations.

I would say, though, that for anyone who really does value MuseScore and cares about how it works, I highly recommend checking out beta releases so you have the opportunity to give feedback and help make sure the final release is the best it can be. We make installing beta release very simple and encourage as many people as possible to participate.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

You go me there -- I'm a musician not a software techie, I won't be reading alphas, betas, [phis, and zetas. I love the program, have wrapped my professional life around it.

P.S. WHERE is that preference. It's not listed in my preferences deropdown.

In reply to by DGT

To be clear: beta releases are not something you read - they are actual releases that ordinary users such as yourself can install and use so you can give us feedback on the new features. And it’s precisely those who depend on MuseScore for their professional work who have the most to gain by helping shape the development of MuseScore, as well as helping us identify any bugs or other issues. So, I do highly encourage you to participate in beta testing in the future!

In reply to by DGT

You don't want to hear chords?
Well guess what it is very easy, just create new scores from a template where it is turned off.
And all your existing scores will you say?
Well very soon when the new setting implemented by Marc will be available it will be as easy as one click, and in fact not even one click as he has defaulted past scores to play chords=no.
So you will be happy and all users having waited chords playback for long will be happy as well.

As this thread goes on, it strikes me that in general the divide is between:

  • those who want this program for its notation strengths (me included) and who want the chord symbol playback muted 99.9% of the time, and

  • those who want it for its forthcoming ability to replace human instrumentalists and are concerned that some new person may miss it.

As i remember, the principle reason that the MS project was started was to provide a (relative) ease of notation. Notation.

I am not in any way against adding DAW like features ans understand that many want this. Good for them, good for MS.

So, it seems to me that the best solution is an obvious button on the toolbar (rather than hidden in some sub-menu) that switches the entire state for that users set up unless deliberately changed. This is obviously important to both types of users.

A choice between those states could also popup as part of any save operation.

In reply to by xavierjazz

Unless I'm misunderstanding, which is highly possible, the suggestion is to have a big switch that decides whether the notation or DAW features "work better". What on earth would you have it not do when you choose one way or the other, and why (or is this only about chord playback)?

In reply to by BSG

I do not propose such a button. My suggestion is totally about whether the chord changes sound or not.

It doesn't have to be so large :), it just needs to be as prominent as the icons already there.

(I made an assumption regarding those who wish for a freeware DAW).

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