How do you move notes or rests horizontally?

• Jul 20, 2022 - 23:09

Hi all. I'm just starting out with Musescore and music notation. I consider myself a beginner in music overall.

I'm taking trumpet lessons, so I created a blank Bb trumpet score. I've looked at the documentation, but so far I'm mystified as to why I can't move things horizontally. I have two notes followed by a couple of rests; all I want to do is drag a rest between the two notes. I can find no way to do this.

Also, as you can see from the screen grab here:

the on-screen movement limitations appear to be quite inconsistent. Sometimes you can drag the rest to the left, sometimes not. And the measure has now grown horizontally, and I can find no way to restore it to its minimal/default/calculated size.

The messiness of the layout is secondary to the main issue, of course, which is: How do you reorder notes and rests?




In short, dragging is the most dangerous way to move anything. If you have notes in the wrong place, simply re-enter them in the correct place and delete anything left over.

How do you reorder letters in a Word document? Mainly by deleting and re-writing them. Then, as you get better at typing, by thinking ahead and entering them in the correct order to begin with. You could use Copy and Paste in some situations, but not dragging. You drag one thing and you need other things to shift around to accommodate it and this can leave you with a worse mess to sort out except in the simplest of cases.

In reply to by underquark

If you have letters or words selected in a Word document, you can move them by dragging. Not my preferred mode of operation for word processing, but it has been easily handled for decades.

This has nothing to do with "thinking ahead." I placed some notes, played them through, and didn't like the cadence. So all I wanted to do was move a note to the other side of a rest. How does that create "a mess?"

In reply to by stokestack

Actually, not really - probably no word processor in existence 20 years ago let you drag individual letters around. Probably not even 10 years ago. And most text editors don't allow it today (for instance, I can't do this in the text editor I am using to type this). Dragging individual letters would be a really awkward way to try to edit text, and even more so for music. With text at least, it's always clear if I drag a letter to the left (using one of the very small handful of programs that allow this to begin with), I don't want to leave a hole there. It's perfectly fine to just slide everything afterwards to the left. With music, in most cases, this is not all that often what you want. If you've entered a whole bunch more music after the note you are dragging, you don't want the rest of the music messed up - you usually want it to stay exactly where it. But probably some notes you do want to move. Can the computer guess which notes you want to move and which you don't? No, only you know that. This is why cut and paste really does end up being more reliable / efficient / accurate.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Those are absurd assertions. I was a technical writer 30 (not 20) years ago, and I can assure you that Word for Windows (as it was called at the time) was fully capable of this simple action. Even decades ago, Word featured an entire development language (WordBasic) that allowed you to write "macros" that amounted to small applications, complete with dialog boxes.

So... you will not tell me what word processors could or could not do at any moment in time. Your comparison and apologism is invalid on every level. If I drag a note to the left, it's equally clear that I don't want to "leave a hole." In fact, it's impossible to "leave a hole," because a measure's contents must add up the the specified number of beats. Moving a note from one side of a rest to another should be a trivial exercise that "messes up" nothing.

Again you fail to explain WHY downstream music would be "messed up." This kind of recalculation is exactly what computers are good at, and of particular value to musicians. Why don't you just get a whiteboard to write your music, if you're going to accept such crippled or dysfunctional software?


In reply to by stokestack

OK, fine, if you are positive Word allowed dragging individual letters, fine, I believe you. But the point is, it's not an efficient way to edit text, and it's even more problematic for music, for the reasons stated. You mentioned you are a beginner at music. Please be respectful of those people who do have experience when they try to explain that's not as simple as might appear at first.

The fact that it's not really an effective way of editing music is also why hardly any notation programs do this - it's just not something that really models how music works very well. I'm not saying it would be impossible to design and implement - just pointing out that in practice, once you get a better idea of how music notation works, you'll also begin to see that it's not a very natural way to go about editing.

So, I'm simply trying to help you edit music more efficiently. Instead of worrying about why some particular method doesn't work, I'd rather focus on what does work efficiently, accurately, and reliably: cut and paste, and other editing commands. We're happy to help you learn to use these.

In reply to by stokestack

By your own admission, you know nothing about notation, or notation software. This is nothing like a word processor. Why would you think it is. A word processor doesn't care what you drag around or why or where. Notation software has to maintain the integrity of the format. It makes little difference what you think the software should do. The reality is that you can't drag anything and not have problems. Learn how the software works before complaining about it. If you want to know something about MuseScore, try the manual.

In reply to by bobjp

Who are you replying to? I'm not the one who compared it to a word processor.

Nothing about dragging a note to the other side of another one violates "the integrity of the format," which once again you're decrying without saying WHY.

Nor have you said WHY you can't drag things. Why not? All there is in this thread is fear-mongering about "problems" and yet not a single specific "problem" has been specified.

I ASKED about how the software works, and what I got was a bunch of FUD and excuses. If you can't drag a note from one side of a rest to another, it's shit. Nobody has provided a shred of evidence to support that level of dysfunction.

Wallow in your insular world of apologism and dysfunction. I'll go get some competent software.

Over and out.

In reply to by stokestack

If you are reading this please know that I am impressed by you feigned level of indignation. The software doesn't work the way you think it should. Therefore it is dysfunctional. Really? The software doesn't have to work the way you think it should. Are you able to sit at your computer and put virtual notes on virtual paper and play it back? You can drag things left and right. Just not notes and rests. This is not inconsistent. It's how the software works. This open source software. That means that you can modify it to your taste.
Good luck finding what you are looking for.

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