Piano Music

• Sep 12, 2020 - 04:35

I posted this in hopes that consideration for these issues will be given while improving the engraving capabilities in future versions of MuseScore. As you can see, almost everything can be worked around but much of this should be either automated or easier to do.

I've been working on transcribing a complex piano score into MuseScore from https://imslp.org/wiki/Mirages%2C_Op.70_(Schmitt%2C_Florent) (#21581). I have been saving it as a work in progress to my account at https://musescore.com/user/6105546/scores/6325818. This score is still under copyright in the EU so it requires a pro account to download. I always use the measures you get to when you use ctrl+f to make it easier for you to find them

This has brought up several engraving issues that should be addressed in future releases of MuseScore. I have only mentioned one place where each issue arose. Most issues are repeated throughout the score.

m1 - There is not a good L.V. tie that will look good in MuseScore so it's necessary to put grace note after and make it invisible piece by piece since it's impossible to select an entire grace note and make it all invisible at once

m2 - Take out the spacer and see the beams crash into the treble clef on staff 2

mm3-4 - take out the spacer select each of the 64th note beams and press ctrl+r (to reset them) and see them over lap notes. They should avoid notes and put extra space between the staves by default.

m11 - I had to use a voice 3 note to make the L.V. tie on the A1. When I added the grace note after it ended up on top of the main note rather than offset to just before the next note/rest as in other places. I'm not sure what causes this.

m12 - It's necessary to put invisible rests on the other staff in cross-staff notation to have the clef show up in the correct spot.

m13 - Note: don't worry about the invisible sb and se in this score, they are necessary for the person converting this score to braille. I understand it's a limitation of the conversion program rather than MuseScore.

m14 - Cannot create the time signature (Emilio is working on this, hopefully it will be merged into 3.6)

m18 - the 2 note slurs in voice 1 of the second staff had to be flipped to show up in their current (logical) position. This is due to the voice 2 note.

m23 - staff 2, such trickery with voices and invisible notes is necessary for beams like this

m24 - I could have repeated the same process as I did in m23 to make the beam bend but this was close enough for me.

m26 - staff 1, it should be possible to put a white background behind clefs for cases like this.

m35 - more trickery necessary for the beams but they're still not right and impossible to get right.

m40 - The E7 has a forced natural on it. I agree this one should be an e-natural and these should always have an accidental on them to avoid misunderstanding but there are too many scores where this is not made clear. I could have made the rest invisible but think the courtesy belongs. Having said that, the user should be permitted to make the final decision. The note on page 1 actually declares this should be an E# without an accidental, but I believe this is an editorial oversight.

m44ff - though I'm sure the 16th notes in the triplets are precisely placed according to a sound mathematical forumula, they are aesthetically ugly and could be confused for the bottom part of a chord with the 8th notes above the beam. Compare them to the same rhythm in m47ff

m50 - it was necessary to flip the ties from the grace notes to the main notes.

m71&72 - this isn't exactly engraving, but it would be very nice for re-pitch mode to work on grace notes. The rhythms are identical in staves 1 & 2 and it would be nice not to have to reenter all of the grace notes but rather use re-pitch mode.

m76 - staff 2, this is a mystery to me. I'm willing to consider better ways to notate this.

m84 - it was necessary to put notes into voice 2 of staff 2 rather than voice 1 of staff 3 because you cannot cross-staff from staff 3 to staff 1.

m88 - the f# with a courtesy accidental should be an F# not an F natural by default since it's on the other staff.

m123 - the tremolo can use some work

m178 - the bracket shouldn't extend below the second staff. Emilio has PRs to fix the other cutout issues

The remainder of the score is rather repetitive.


I just arrived at m376 and found a notation I don't see a work around for. The 8va above the top staff applies only to top staff notes but MuseScore applies it to all notes because the cross-staff notes are considered to be in the top staff.

I've tried Fix to line - there's a bug that keeps you from having an accidental when you use this, otherwise I could tediously move all of the notes in the lower staff down an octave then fix them to the appropriate line.

I tried a staff change type and the Steps offset does not allow changing where the notes are in the correct direction.

In reply to by mike320

One option, albeit clunky (since I presume the issue here is that you want it to both look correct and play correct, insomuch that the notes playing aren't an octave off or else you would've just done that and called it a day), is to have the notes that are in the correct position not actually set to play, and use invisible notes with the correct note values to play.

This, of course, assumes you have enough voices to do this.

In reply to by LuuBluum

I think the invisible notes option is normally a good one. This is all one voice, so voices are not an issue. I have a basic problem because this score is being entered into MuseScore to be turned into a braille copy. Invisible notes are problematic for the conversion program so I avoid them to the extent I can.

For Braille, the note reported by MuseScore is converted with no ottava affecting the Braille note. If this were my only concern I could lower all notes in the bottom staff 1 octave. I do want it to look correct as well so a sighted person could use the version the Braille was made from. Playback is a major bonus as well.

Other invisible items are not an issue for the Braille conversion program. I routinely put invisible text to explain unusual things I've done that are exported to the musicxml used for the actual conversion.

I think I've found a solution for this. I created a line that looks like an ottava for me then put a bunch of invisible ottavas on the notes that need them. Basically there are two 16th notes on the top staff followed by 2 on the bottom for 3 measures. Now the ottava only affects the top staff notes.

I'll still accept suggestions for a better way.

I'm editing the score now and ran into the notation that inspired this thread but I forgot to include it in the original list.

mm364, 366 & 367. There are hairpins under the grace notes. This is impossible to notate in MuseScore without workarounds. You can probably even make it play back correctly with enough finagling but that would make the musicxml quite confusing.

m378 - beat 2.75 staff 1, the D should be a D# automatically since the D on beat one is a sharp and they both have an ottava on them. If you remove the sharp, it becomes a D natural which is wrong, a natural accidental is required to turn this into a D natural.

Wow! That's one dense score, with a lot of complex notational problems! I was trying to go over your comments, comparing your score in Musescore.com (which appears to be unfinished?) with the Durand edition on IMSLP--although there are no measure numbers in the Durand, and I believe there is a numbering problem in yours (mm.17-18?).

Although my own scores are vastly simpler, I have complained about several of the points you brought up.
1) The laissez vibrer curve (is it technically a tie or a slur? I've never been sure.): there is no good way to create it in Musescore; it is standard notation, and one shouldn't have to resort to a workaround to achieve it.
2) The double time signatures in mm. 13-15. I use those a lot in my own scores, and I brought the issue up in prior thread; and was--rather rudely--questioned why I should ever want to create such time signatures, or whether they had any logical validity to begin with.

Schmitt uses a lot weird beamings--how did you create those in m. 22 and mm. 34-35?

A friend of mine once suggested trying to typeset a piano score by Debussy or Ravel as a test of Musescore's "completeness" as a notational program--and I would say that M. Schmitt's work would qualify. I do not know his music at all, and you have piqued my curiosity about it. Looking briefly at his scores on IMSLP (at least the ones in PD in the US), in the later ones he uses that weird beaming a lot; cross-stave beaming which crosses three staves; as well as time signatures like 3 1/3 over 4, or 3 1/2 over 4. A real test, I'd think.

In your post, you mentioned a user/developer named Emilio--I don't remember seeing his name before.

In reply to by wfazekas1

This is still a work in progress that I'm updating occasionally as I progress.

The strange measure number is because I omitted counting the measure number from the second half of the split measure then I haven't done that since. I need to finish this because I add measure numbers to scores that will be turned to Braille.

I call the LV curve a tie because that's what I use to make it because this is the easiest way. I have a shortcut for adding the grace note after so I enter the note, add the grace note then press + and I have the tie. Only problem is making it invisible as I mentioned.

I didn't read through my entire post but someone is working on making the complex time signatures. Hopefully they'll be in 3.6. I'm working with him to fix some problems. Because one person doesn't think you need a capability doesn't mean everyone feels the same way. Everyone is entitled to their opinions.

in m22 I used 2 voices and made the first note head of the voice 2 group invisible. I adjusted the beams so they look right. If you select the entire measure you will see voice 1 in blue and voice 2 in green including the faded (invisible) C that starts the beamed notes.

In mm34-35 I simply used cross staff notation and adjusted the the beams so they look right. If you select the entire staff 1 measure, you'll see what I put into staff 1 then select the entire staff 2 measure and you'll see what I put there.

I guess I did mention Emilio, he posts in the forum under elerouxx (I didn't look that up while I was typing my post). If you look at the issue tracker for issues with a status of "PR created" you'll see what he's been working on in the first few results. I think he's a bit optimistic to say their status is PR created because the time signature PR is definitely not ready to merge (be incorporated into the program) but is a great start. I haven't seen the cutout PR yet but his demos are impressive.

I agree that Schmitt is a good test of MuseScore's capabilities and is the reason I decided to make this post. I even missed a few more things that I've been adding as I find them while I triple check everything I've entered. I was't familiar with Schmitt before I was asked to enter this score for a blind user. BTW, if you find anything that needs mentioned feel free to add it to this or start your own thread. User feedback is the way the developers know what is needed. While I did create some specific issues related to this score much of this is already being worked on and I wanted make sure @oktophonie is aware of them.

Impressionist works are quite challenging to enter no matter the capabilities of the program. It would be easier if I had a midi keyboard, but I don't do enough piano music to justify buying one. One of the slowest things I enter are huge jumps from one octave to another (I use the computer keyboard for note entry), they really slow me down. Complex rhythms that don't require me to continually change the octave of every note are easy for me, I enter them then go back and fix beams afterwards with as few keystrokes as possible.

In reply to by mike320

Mike, a little trick I learned earlier was turning Grace-after notes into whole notes quickly with 'W' and it then makes it a little easier to make invisible afterward since the duration doesn't really matter as it is. That way there's no need to deal with stems/flags.

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