Grace notes not properly working - I think

• Apr 15, 2022 - 10:14

I notated some bagpipe music - see attached file.

As far as I can tell, the grace notes are not interpreted properly.

This can be checked by looking at the piano roll editor.

Is this a bug? A feature? Is this known?


Attachment Size
bagpipe_tunes_Scots_Wha_Hae.mscz 11.07 KB


I have had the same problem - the single grace notes behave like appogiaturas, sounding half the value of the note they apply to. This is a known problem - see e.g. You can get around the playback issue by changing it to an acciactatura, the one with a slash, but then it looks wrong.

Purely out of interest, where did you get that tune? As a "Scot wha is" I don't recognise it as "Scots wha hae..." :)

In reply to by Brer Fox

Thanks for this. I'm not a Scot - "wha is" or otherwise. I found it in a bagpipe tutor book from the College of Piping.

I'll check out the piano roll editor again - to see if I can fix things there. Also using the acciaccatura - which might fix the playback, but notationally it will be wrong.

This should be fixed - though I'm not holding my breath.

Attached modified version - with most of the grace notes replaces by acciaccaturas as you suggest. This does sound better.

Attachment Size
bagpipe_tunes_Scots_Wha_Hae-acc.mscz 11.14 KB

In reply to by dave2020X

This actually cannot get fixed. It is just that bagpipe musing seems to interprete these differently than other , standard, music. So "fixing" it tor bagpipe would break it for the rest of the world (and that world is way larger).
For multiple subsequent grace notes it was possible to fix though, so that had been done.

In reply to by jeetee

Mayba changing this:

if (graceChord->noteType() ==  NoteType::ACCIACCATURA || nb > 1) { // treat multiple subsequent grace notes as acciaccaturas

to something like this:

if (graceChord->noteType() ==  NoteType::ACCIACCATURA || nb > 1 || instrument == "Bagpipe") { // treat multiple subsequent grace notes as acciaccaturas, single grace notes too, when for bagpipe

Mind though that instrument == "Bagpipe" is pseudo code... and it'd might be far more difficult to at that point in code get to the Instrument being used.

In reply to by jeetee

I'd rather not see the instrument name itself used, that seems way too specific. Could be a property for the instrument. Could also be a property on the grace note itself. To me the latter makes more sense sense, as it would also eventually be the way to distinguish on the beat from before the beat acciaccaturas, 50% versus 66% appoggiaturas, etc.

In reply to by dave2020X

I've just realised why I didn't recognise the tune - as well as starting in the middle you have the wrong key signature, so that major thirds have become minor. Presumably there has been some confusion with the transposition. It should be written in D major, looking like this:…

For playback I wonder if there is some workaround whereby you set up a score with two staves, write the tune first with the proper bagpipe embellishments, then copy+paste it into the second staff and change to acciaccaturas where necessary - then hide this second staff while turning off playback for the first staff? I don't know if this is possible but see

It would be great if the Musescore experts could fix this, but I appreciate that there are so many other demands on their time.

In reply to by Brer Fox

Thanks. I'm looking at the score in the book I recently borrowed, which dates from the late 1980s I'd say - based on some of the adverts. For example, one refers to Chanters: Winning the 1985 Glenfiddich Championship & Inverness Gold Medal. The Foreword of the book dates from June 1953. On page 36 I see the 'Second Part (or Measure_ of "Scots Wha Hae".' It is written as I copied it into MuseScore - in C/Aminor - probably it is A minor.

If this "problem" is well known, and there isn't going to be a specific fix for bagpipes, then as you mention it should be possible (but more work) to set up the score with two staves - one using accacciaturas and the other with the better notation. Then make one invisible,, but with playback turned on. The other stave should have the playback turned off. Then the score should look OK, but playback will hopefully be better.

If you are a bagpipe player, perhaps you could tell me, or give me a link, as to what pitches the drones are tuned to.

In reply to by dave2020X

I am not a piper but my late father was. The drones are all tuned to A, the bass drone an octave below the tenor ones. Because he played from memory, I never actually saw how the music was written. According to, "Highland bagpipe music is written in the key of D major, where the C and F are sharp (despite the key-signature usually being omitted from scores)". This explains the confusion! If you want it to play correctly (approximately) in Musescore you will have to write it out with two sharps in the key signature.

The grace notes are pretty short - here is an example on a practice chanter


In reply to by dave2020X

Although the version shown in the last post (15th April) is better, I think that only some of the grace notes are short. Some are still quite long - if they come from under the note.

Maybe that is stylistically correct - I don't know. This can be checked both by ear, and by looking at the piano roll editor. The version is a rough approximation of what might be hoped for.

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