A lock for editing a score

• Feb 22, 2021 - 15:08

Once we have a complete and final score version it would be good to have a lock for editing a score. This would prevent us from unintentional and unnoticed click changing something that we would not want to save. The lock could be made available in the File > Score properties...


In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

It doesn't work. As someone commented in the link that "Just dragging was enough to unlock the score."

Basically, lock voice(s)/note(s)/bar(s) is useful for assignments when the teacher's given voice/notes should be locked to prevent accidental changes.

Ideally, following is the workflow.
1. A user selects voice(s)/note(s)/bar(s) and right-click the selection, there should be an option "Lock". These locked items should have a padlock icon or something else to remind users that they are locked down.
2. Altering these locked items are disabled, unless a user right-click a note/selection and choose "Unlock".

I've been asking for this kind of thing for some while, though I'd also like a facility to selectively unlock sections - for example bars and instrumental lines - to allow further edits.

Maybe that has already been addressed. If so, it has passed me by.

Re the "accidental" unlocking with mouse or other controls - ideally some form of acknowledgement - or even a password should be required

In reply to by dave2020X

Wait. Let me understand.
I finish a score. I'm done. Yet for some reason I have it open. I accidently do something to change the score. But I don't know that I did something. When I go to close the score , a warning pops up about saving changes. Of course I don't want to save changes. I click Discard and close.

In reply to by bobjp

No, you are talking about saving files. That is not what I was talking about.
I was talking about lock down SOME notes/instruments to prevent accidental changes, while working on other parts of the file.
Often students accidentally change teacher's given notes, while completing their part. The request is for this type of scenarios.

In reply to by bobjp

Students are given voice 1 on either treble or bass staff and are required to write their assignment on voice 2 of the same staff, plus voice 1 and 2 on the other staff. While working on their homework, inadvertently some will alter the given voice and complete their assignment based on the wrong notes.
If a voice or sections of voice(s) can be locked down, that will be perfect. Thanks.

In reply to by [DELETED] 11072396

Yeah, I'm not sure I see that function coming to any notation software. It would be useful in your situation. What if they did their assignment on a different staff? And/or copied everything to a new staff? That would keep the original for them to double check. And give them practice in a score situation. Might not be practical for a complicated score.

In reply to by bobjp

You don't have one score, you have a MuseScore session, with 10 scores opened, 7 of them changed. 4 because you really wanted to change something, 3 because of accidently changed.
You want to close your session.
Instead of being able to just save the 7 changed scores you need to carefully think about which ones were intentionally changed and which ones not. Painful. Error prone. Much much better would be to have lock functionality, that way any changed score would by definition be a wanted change.

In reply to by frfancha


It would also be good to have lock funtionality down to the page and stave level. I can't understand why there's always so much push back against suggestions like this. Is it because they are technically difficult, or is it because there just aren't enough people in the development team to know how to get things done, and actually do them? Instead there's so often a reply that users don't know what they're doing, and that they should do things differently, or haven't read the manual.

In reply to by dave2020X

dave2020X wrote >> It would also be good to have lock funtionality down to the page and stave level.


I think a provision for locking scores is essential for educational purposes.

a) lock the entire score when it provides examples for students to hear—if a student were to inadverently alter the pitch or timing the example becomes distorted, and all sorts of confusion could ensue.

b) lock a staff or measure—this would be helpful for composition and arranging assignments. For instance, an instructor supplies a melody and the student is to write accompaniment. O visa versa, the instructor supplies and accompaniment and the student's assignment is to write a melody. In such cases only the "composition/arranging staff" or measures should be unlocked.

c) so instructors don't lock themselves out of a score all Saves to locked format should be accompanied with an unlocked score saved as well. I don't think password protection is an ideal solution: people forget or lose passwords.

dave2020X wrote >> I can't understand why there's always so much push back against suggestions like this.

I've seen plenty of pushback against very reasonable requests (and not just my own.) Sometimes it's clear that the concept is simply misunderstood; other times it appears that objections and resistance have inertial underpinnings.


In reply to by scorster

I haven't seen any oushback at al from any developer on this, in fact we all seem to be in agreement this would be useful, and investigation is already underway I believe.

When you do see pushback from developers, we virtually always explain the reasoning behind it. So the best way to proceed would be to work to understand that reasoning and then address the concerns raised.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I am glad that it is being considered. It is perfectly reasonable to have things on a "to do" list with an explanation that they can't' be done just now, and perhaps suggestions for alternative ways of doing things - pro tem. Personally I would find locks useful - and perhaps not just overall locks. I realised today that I can edit parts of a whole score - and those changes are reflected in the score. That can be both a good - and a bad thing - depending on how that is used - and by whom.

That might be even more important in a shared environment - with locks applied on a personal as well as other levels. Imagine an orchestral score. It would be good to have a definitive version which could not be changed, or at least not by someone not having significant authority, such as an editor or composer. However for performance it might be perfectly reasonable to distribute the whole thing - perhaps in a copy version - and for individual members to edit/annotate their own parts. There could also be situations in which different players use the parts on different days - which could happen with some theatre or opera performances, so the players might want to be selective about which annotations they put into the parts - and also which they read and use.

Their might be many selective modifications which those using the scores might want to make. For example a conductor might mark up the part for a singer to allow for different singers. There are many ways in which selective editing - and also selective locks - could be very useful.

In reply to by dave2020X

Note that the current facility that only partially works is per-score, so it wouldn't be useful directly for locking a single staff or a given section of a score. If that is a commonly desired feature - and I could see how it might be - then it would be productive to start brainstorming designs for how that might actually look to the user - how you'd go about specifying what to lock.

In reply to by dave2020X

Dave, I'm trying to understand your orchestra example. So each person in the group has a computer in front of them. They make an annotation on their part. That change is reflected in their score. So?
Groups that I play with do so from a PDF on a tablet. I see only my part and can mark it up as I see fit.

I'm not sure there is any value to every member having the complete score.

Again, I'm not saying locks wouldn't be useful. Still haven't seen a compelling use. The OP seems to be the closest. I asked how he uses MuseScore because my wife works for a company that sells educational technology. One thing they offer is a panel that can display a (for example) question to be answered virtually or in person. Or both. Students can answer the question, virtually or in person, but can't mess with the question. Which would be an example of a lock on the question. Though the teacher didn't put it there. And it is just the way it works. It is limited to the teachers copy, and not however many copies are in the hands of students.

In reply to by bobjp

That's the use case I am most interested in. I produce lots of educational worksheets, but usually tell people, unless you really know you're way around MuseScore, best to print them and complete them by hand because the risk of messing up the entire worksheet is too great. That would be difficult to really address in a meaningful way, though.

The simpler use case is just having scores you are done with and are loading just to print or playback etc. You literally don't want to allow any changes in that case: except maybe altering track volumes in the Mixer, and perhaps transposition. Again, could be tricky to define exactly the right semantics here, but it's a lot simpler than the first case.

In reply to by bobjp

I agree that you can currently use PDF versions of parts, and annotate those. However that functionality could be brought into MuseScore. It's not very likely that most players would want to have full scores on their tablets, though I can imagine occasions where some might want to have two parts - for example 1st and 2nd flutes - if they are not on the same score already. That can be very helpful.

I was actually thinking of something like the group sharing facility in Word. Individual users could have their own annotations - which could perhaps be added to or edited by others. For example suppose a particular note sounded wrong to a player - that could be noted - and checked against other sources. Possibly the player might play an alternative note - but the original would be locked.

If the scores are thought of as completely frozen then they should be locked anyway - but if they are still in a state of composition or development - then selective locks might he helpful. I think some composers work directly with performing groups and may make changes as they go.

A lot would depend on ways of working - but MuseScore should not be restricted to just a few specific use cases. Having changes to parts reflected in the full score might make sense in some situations.

In reply to by scorster

c) I agree. Provide two scores for students. One to work on and one for reference.

Nobody is saying some kind of lock is a bad idea. I might be wondering how effective it would be.

Personally, I use MuseScore for composition. I can't think of any use for a lock. I can understand it in an educational setting. Yet, there are always different way to do things.

In reply to by dave2020X

As the owner of the only pushback in this thread, let me just say that it was an offhand comment. Sibelius has a lock format function. But like MuseScore, it is not absolute, and can be easily unlocked. I think what you need for educational purposes is a lock that only the instructor can undo. As long as students use the same software as the teacher, they will be able to do and undo what they want. If you give students a staff and have them add notes, even in another voice, I'm not at all surprised that things get moved around by accident. And if you lock that staff so that notes can't be moved around, how are any note going to be added. Well then you have to talk about locking voices.
Work-arounds are give as a way to do something until a new function is implemented. What's wrong with that?

In reply to by bobjp

I would often find a lock useful - and preferably a selective one - rather like a mask in a photo editing package.
That way I could avoid making accidental changes to scores I've already worked on.

For my purposes I don't need a strong lock with a password which I might have difficulty remembering, but simply the ability to lock a file against my accidentally changing parts of it.

I hadn't specifically thought about the student use case - and the possible need for a stronger lock or a secret lock. One possible scenario is to have a strong lock, and let the students "sort it out", but then would they get credit for computer software production or hacking, or music? There is a story - possibly true - of a university department setting the following software exercise - or something very similar.

"The marks for this course exercise will be the marks found in the university course records system on DATE/TIME."

In reply to by SteveBlower

Hi! Maybe if we have a parameter to "lock element" in Inspector tool, just as easy as toggling its visibility. It also would be interesting to set a password to enable or disable the alterations. It will be easier to make exercises for students in which some parts of the score must remain unchanged.

In reply to by jeetee

But that fact, (having to edit it out), is a reminder that you have locked the score. I frequently lock Excel worksheets with no password just to stop accidents.

If students are daft enough to hack the password out of a score and then make changes, they could always receive an "F" grading.

I have been testing out muse score for a few weeks AND I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT THER IS NOT A WAY TO 'LOCK' a score !!! This seems like it would be an ESSENTIAL FEATURE !! ...working on a score for hours or days and not realizing you made a change accidently is a waste of time/money and incredibly annoying. In addition to locking a score there should be an option to HIGHLIGT any changes (just like in word document) with either a red underscore of highlight color of your choice. INMHO this is a major major major flaw in this program !!

In reply to by aorden

A lock feature would definitely be nice to have someday, so hopefully it gets implemented for some future release.

Meanwhile, though, I'd like to understand how you find yourself making accidental changes so often. That shouldn't really happen. Are you perhaps trying to navigate your score by dragging the canvas? That's a common thing to try, but it's indeed very error-prone. Instead, simply use the scroll wheel on your mouse, or equivalent touch gesture (eg, two-finger swipe on a touchpad). And/or the PgUp/PgDn (Fn+Up/Down on most keyboards that lack physical keys for that).

If you do make changes and wish to see what they are, see View / Score Comparison Tool. Also, remember Undo is your friend. And of course, if you have a score you've worked hard on and saved and now consider done, then you open it later for printing playback or other purposes where you don't intend to edit, just don't save it if you didn't deliberately make changes.

But again, yes, someday it would also be nice to have a lock command. I think as you get more experienced with the program, though, you'll find you don't miss it nearly so much.

In reply to by aorden

I tend to agree with you - and have asked for this before.

All I can suggest is taking very frequent copies with different file names - e.g. adding a new number each time - and maybe also using other backup software on your system.

I can understand perfectly well how even a simple error or finger problem can give rise to errors. It's a real pain trying to keep track of different versions - but that's the way it is. Do Sibelius and Dorico have this kind of feature, and if so - does it work?

In reply to by dave2020X

My older copy of Sibelius does have a limited Lock Format feature. It is not intended to lock the entire score. Nor is it absolute. Not everything gets locked. I have no idea how well it works. I've never needed it.

That said, I do as you do after each session. I save the score with a new number.

As for accidental changes? We all make them. As I've learned how to use notation software, they become much less frequent. Also I hate the laptop track pad. So many mistakes from accidental touches. I use a trackball mouse.

We all work differently. Because I use MuseScore only for composition, I have no need to have more than the score I am working on loaded.

The educational questions brought up are interesting. Students accidently moving things around is a problem. We didn't have notation software during my education. I would think that in a lesson like "harmonize this melody" the teacher would supply the file to be harmonized as well as an image of it. Pat of the lesson would be to double check everything at the completion of the assignment. As you would in real life. That would involve designing lessons around, in this case MuseScore, that work in spite of short comings in the software.

I do it by constant listening to my piece to make sure I didn't accidently change anything. Yes, it takes more time to do that. Many people seem obsessed with getting things done as fast as possible. I understand that time crunches happen. I think that there are some things that, for the sake of quality, can't be rushed.

But that's just me. Because for me a lock feature is so far down the list of things I need. Looking forward to v4. Though I haven't been able to get it to work very well. The ideas are great.

In reply to by frfancha

Time Machine in MacOS does something similar, though does hourly updates in the first day, then progressively fewer in subsequent days. However this is not much use if a user makes many changes rapidly, which can happen. Even if each updated score is saved there can still be a problem in identifying which is the one - possibly of many - which is the one really wanted.

Musescore actually does have a history mechanism built in - which can be checked by using CTRL/CMD-Z and CTRL/CMD-shift-Z. Sadly though, the history is not saved when scores are saved - which could be a very useful feature. There are other software packages - for example some image processing packages - which can save a fairly complete history, so that working can be done again and/or differently.

In reply to by aorden

Aorden wrote: "... In addition to locking a score there should be an option to HIGHLIGT any changes (just like in word document) with either a red underscore of highlight color of your choice. INMHO this is a major major major flaw in this program !!"

You can select any notes you want and change their colour in the Inspector. Or you can use (Ctrl+T) to add some stave text in a different colour. Or you can dowload the highlighter palette https://musescore.org/sites/musescore.org/files/Highlight.mpal as described here: https://musescore.org/en/node/176256#comment-661056

In MacOS you can change the Sharing & Permission privilege from Read & Write (normal) to Read-Only permission (locked).

If you set the Sharing & Permission privilege to Read-only you can't Save over it. But that doesn't prevent you from accidentally making changing while using the score. You just can't save over the score. If you want to save changes you can toggle the setting, or use SaveAs and choose a new name for the score.

You can't make this change from within MuseScore, but handle it in Finder > Get Info

I imagine there's some comparable feature in Windows and Linux.


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