• Jun 19, 2022 - 23:05

Can Musescore enter pinches in tablature?


In reply to by Jm6stringer

Thank you for the reply. That's exactly what I mean.

Now the only problem ... for me, at any rate... is that I want to see the stem connect the first string with the fifth string.

Musescore is dern near everything I want it to be. My only reservation is the way it handles stems in tablature and (don't see this in the handbook) being able to create stand-alone tablature. Oh, and I wish the tuning of each string could be 'stacked' to the left of the staff.

I like this program and perhaps my reservations are simply the result of familiarity with other conventions.

tab example.jpg

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I know that is true but the difference in the way stems are handled by Musescore


and the way i am used to seeing them (as in the the jpg) attached to my previous post) is stark.

Or maybe not, I guess, depending on whether this kind of thing means anything to anyone but me. I know and understand that tablature is not the focus of this software but....

Just the way stems are handled with the pinches... kind of drives me nuts.

Thank you for taking the time to link me to that section of the handbook. I appreciate it. I had, however, already seen that section and unless I'm missing something (again) nothing there will address my issues.

In reply to by DWFII

To get the style where stems are dran all the way through the staves, just select that option in Staff/Part Properties / Advanced Style Properties. Or change to the "Full" style in Edit / Instruments.

This is indeed documented on the page linked above - see the part that talks about "Stem style"

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for your time.

Went to Staff/Part Properties/Advanced style properties and the through staff option for Stem style is greyed out.

Tried edit/instruments and that did work although it doesn't really look like my example above, and what are the two double diagonals in the middle of the stem indicating?

In reply to by DWFII

The stem style is grayed out unless you actually choose to show stems at all - see the control further up.

There are tons of different tab styles out there and everyone has their favorites. MuseScore tries to support as many as it can, but that does mean there are a lot of options to sift through. The preview there in the dialog is extremely useful as you experiment with different settings.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I understand... I've seen 'old time' banjo tablature that is remarkably different than what seems current and ubiquitous among contemporary players. I'm just saying that one of the reasons I am hesitant about Musescore is that I want to print out and share music with others. I suspect that is at least a small part of why the program exists. And you do offer different styles of tablature, that to me, at least, seems a little arcane.

But the resulting tablature that I'm trying to get a handle on seems a little opaque the way it is. Not entirely so, just enough to raise questions.

In reply to by DWFII

As I said, the problem with tablature is is that there are so many styles in common use. What's ubiquitous in your corner of the world might be arcane to others; what's common to others might be unfamiliar to you. Unfortunately there simply is no One True Tablature Style familiar to all. But not to worry - again, MuseScore allows for great customization. So whatever it is you are trying to make happen is probably possible - just keep asking questions! Actually, best if you can post a link to a published example showing the style you are wanting, and people can probably tell you exactly which options to use to best emulate that particular publisher's style.

Once you've set up one score the way you like, you can simply save it to your Templates folder, and then you can use that as your starting point for all new scores, and it will already be set up the way you like.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Very kind and very understanding.

An example of what I'm trying to achieve is in the third post of this thread (20 June). That comes from Sebastian Schroeder's book on 2 Finger Banjo. But it is also consistent with the output from TablEdit. I see mostly that kind of output on

I have been looking at several programs that do tablature but overall Musescore is the most elegant and interesting, (although more powerful than I will ever need).... not to mention the best price. xD

I just wish....

In reply to by DWFII

Yes, I saw that, but it's an extremely short example so I don't necessarily see the full extent of everything you're looking for. And unfortunately, the link you gave doesn't take me directly to a tab example, seems to require me to do searches or downloads and installs or something. Would be great to just see a direct link to a full example.

As it is, it sure seems like simply setting half notes to "none" and stem style to "through staff" as mentioned should do the trick. If not, please attach your actual score in addition to a link to an good full example so we can understand and assist better.

In reply to by DWFII

Thanks, it's helpful indeed. I actually two distinct styles here. Most are using through stems through the staff. So simply making that those settings accomplishes this as far as I can tell, unless there is some detail I'm missing. Interestingly, there isn't a single half note to be found in any of those examples, so it's impossible to say if they'd have used slashes or short stems, but those are the options you can select from.

If you continue to have trouble, please attach the score where you've tried those settings and explain what in particular is still missing for you.

That said, Cripple Creek is using a different scheme from the others. In that one, quarter notes are drawn beside the staff but eighths are drawn through. I don't think that style is supported directly in MuseScore.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I will have to check and confirm it but I think the thing that bothered me the most was the pinches. The stem should go through the staff to connect the first string with the fifth string.

Here's another that might help ...although I suspect it's 'carrying coals to Newcastle.' I apologize for that.

tab symbols.jpg

In reply to by DWFII

Thanks, that's helpful too. So, the short stem option for half notes, then, is what you would want, except apparently it's only available when drawing stems beside the staff. I guess the publisher that put out this guide was not one of the ones consulted when this feature was developed. But it's a reasonable request for a future version. Meanwhile, I'd recommend picking the "None" and if you wish to see the short stem, adding that as a separate symbol.

"Pinch" is not a term I was familiar with here - I guess it's probably specific to banjo? I think you'd need to add that as a separate symbol as well.

To access the Symbols palette, press "Z". Then see if you can find an appropriate line using the search box. If you don't see anything that's a perfect fit, then probably it's not part of the standard for music notation fonts, SMuFL, so someone would have to con act them to get it added. And then MuseScore would automatically support it (we generally keep current with the latest version of SMuFL).

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Well, I am now starting to make a new 'tab' arrangement for my score. I want to do pinches.

While editing my tab, I converted a quarter note into a pinch by adding a string note on the fifth string directly below the string note on the first string.

I didn't really do anything special--I didn't "enter those two notes as a chord".

When I played that measure back it kind of sounded like a pinch--two notes ringing at the same time albeit a little weak.

Do I still need to enter those two notes as a chord or have I got my pinch?

In reply to by DWFII

Multiple notes played at the same time is a "chord", in ordinary musical terminology. The word "pinch" is apparently a banjo-specific word for the exact same thing. So yes, if you entered what you are calling a "pinch" by putting two notes on two strings at the time, then yes, you have created what is more normally called a chord. In MuseScore specifically, though, there is also a distinction to make - it's only called a chord if the two notes were entered into the same voice. If you "didn't really do anything special" - if you didn't change voices between when you entered the first note and the second" - then it's definitely a chord.

If you want to make notes sound louder than the surrounding notes, the standard way to indicate this in music notation is add an accent mark. And MsueScore will honor that in playbacl.

Adding the TAB feature to MuseScore was a major task requiring many decisions complicated by the different conventions used.
See, for example:

Regarding "pinches" - specifically concerning any (missing?) stem portion between the 1st and 5th strings.

That stem portion between fret marks is another "difference" which was considered. It is more obvious on pinches because of all the "air" between the markings.
Back then, option C was chosen.

Regarding such choices, as Miwarre later stated:
"Ideally, it would be a configurable choice, but we cannot go on indefinitely adding parameters and choices (the TAB config. dlg box is already quite complex). I believe that a choice has to be made here; then, more parameters can be added in future releases if there are requests."

In reply to by Jm6stringer

I got lost in there somewhere, although I read it several time... bottom line, is there a way with the current program to make the stems of pinches go from the first string to the fifth?

Parenthetically, i read that but about flattening the beam and didn't know what it meant. If I can make the stems go through the staff and the beams flat, then the only things missing from this tab style is the variable length stems to denote duration and the pinch.

I understand that this isn't a priority now or in the past and that you are happy with Musescore the way it is. It's a very complicated program for someone as ignorant as I am and i kept wondering (like the issue with flattened beams) if I was missing something.


In reply to by DWFII

I just have to say that despite my druthers and my ignorance, Musescore is a beautiful and brilliant program. It is very coherent and well thought out.

I've looked at three such programs and just the interface is miles ahead of anything else. IMO.

The devs should be extremely proud.

In reply to by DWFII

For how to get the variable length stems see comment above: . To return the now angled beams to horizontal, select any one, bring up the Inspector if necessary (F8), and in the menu under "Beams"), tick "Force Horizontal". To the right of that you'll see a little x enclosed in a round arrow, then the letter S. Click on the S to apply the style to all beams.

For a possible temporary workaround (= kludge! ) for pinch lines see the attached score.

Attachment Size
banjo_test.mscz 14.27 KB

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