Play Panel as study guide

• Feb 21, 2022 - 18:17
Reported version
S5 - Suggestion

I'd like to see MuseScore’s Play Panel refined and enhanced to offer a streamlined and comprehensive set of tools for practicing and studying music with a collection of tools that allows teachers to design detailed study guides.

For instance a teacher could create:

• a list of looping sections (any loop could be a full measure, a group of measures, or from any beat or note to another)
• the student can click any loop to practice along, and manually adjust the speed
• the student can choose zero pause between loops (the default)
• the student can designate x seconds pause between loops with the option of metronome count-in clicks

And there would be automatic features designated by the instructor or study guide designer:

• auto-play through the listed loops, with x repeats per loop
• auto tempo-increase at various stages of progress
• yet the system could be semi-automatic, is the student can intervene at any time :
      • click to jump to any particular loop in the list
      • choose to spend a longer period in a particular loop
      • intervene to alter the tempo

Years ago I worked on a UI design for such a project, which resulted in this control panel:


Other thoughts on the MS3 Play Panel:

• Presently one can can control the tempo override only in Play Panel. I’d also like to see an instance of the Play Panel's tempo-offset slider optionally visible in MuseScore’s main toolbar. My students would greatly benefit because they wouldn’t need to clutter their screen with the Play Panel just to use the Tempo offset feature.

• I'd also welcome a "remember tempo offset" score property; currently tempo-offset is a session setting and is discarded when the score is closed.

If the Play Panel housed a significantly broader range of practice tools I could imagine students wanting it open on screen ... but the Play Panel currently offers only two features not easily accessible elsewhere: 1) metronome volume 2) tempo override. So its presence is hardly worth the real estate it consumes.

I think there's wisdom in starting an entirely new design for a Practice Panel entity. And gearing it to engage students and assist them in practicing.



Is there currently a design plan for the MuseScore 4.x Play Panel? Presently the old Play Panel is subsumed, partially that is, into the new Playback Toolbar.

The initial post here suggests that MuseScore expand the Play Panel to include new additional features so the play panel can function as a study guide practice tool for teachers and students.

So a few questions:

Is there a design discussion anywhere, perhaps on Github, about further refining, fixing and expanding the Play Panel?

Now that the v3 and v4 behaviors have diverged (or the v4 has numerous bugs) I'd like to know if MuseScore has a solidly expressed design intent ... or if there's an ongoing a design discussion regarding the future of the Play Panel in v4? [Update 2023-03-10: I posted a Github request] but I have not yet consolidated all the points from this post.

Here's a some questions that have come to mind:

Most importantly, before the enumerating the list of questions, I'll emphasize that loops should playback without a delay from the end to the beginning. This has been a longstanding intermittent problem on MS3. Brief experimentation in MS4 suggests that loops are not prone to tail-to-head delays.

1) Should the Loop Off/On state toggle via a spacebar keystroke? (It does in MS4; In MS3 it usually does, but frequently does not.)

2) Should the Loop Off/On setting be global for all open documents? (It was in v3, and to ill effect. I haven't looked into how/if that applies in the multi-instance app situation in v4.)

3 Should the loop selection require a "range selection"? (It does in v3 & v4, and there have been numerous posts from users confused after selecting and individual starting not and an individual ending point. Seems like that should reasonably suffice.)

4) When Loop Playback is enabled, should the flags update whenever the user makes a new selection, so the flags directly encompass that selection? (In v3 the flags fail to update until the user starts playback.)

5) should users be able to drag the loop flags to define the extent of a loop? (Not possible in v3 or v4)

6) During loop playback should the user be able to set a new loop by making a new selection, or by other means? (Not possible in v3 or v4.) The Flag buttons work only with individual notes in v3 and v4. In v3 or v4 we get very curious results if one presses the start flag and end flag while a range selection exists. This is somewhat dissonant with the range selection requirement of No. 3

7) Should the user be able to commence playback from a point outside the loop? (Doesn't work in v3; Does work in v4, which I think is good.) If that's desirable, should the loop take over when playback enters loop? I think so.

8) Should the Play Panels tempo offset control have an input field in addition to the slider? v3 had both. v4 only has a slider.

Aside from these questions, casual use of Loop playback in v4.01 (or earlier) reveals many bugs and oddities. It would be great to see the behavior become more rational, more predictable and fully documented.