Tab key for chord entry?

• Dec 26, 2022 - 08:46

Why is the Tab key function disabled when entering chords? Tab now cycles through menu items while in chord edit mode. This is completely weird behavior.


In reply to by Epibreren

Actually Ctrl+Right, same as measure navigation in normal mode.

There are actually only a small number of changes. This one, also tie changing from + to T, also special characters changing from F2 to Shift+F2 and edit mode changing from something I could never remember to F2.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I find this change pretty baffling and I don't understand it. Needing to input the next chord in the next bar by pressing a combination of 2 (!) keys takes out all the speed of editing. Why did they do it like this? Tabbing through the score while inputting your chords was always a pleasure, now it's a slog.
People used to Sibelius and Finale won't be happy with this change.
Can key bindings be edited in Musescore 4? I'd like to revert it back to Tab.

In reply to by Epibreren

As mentioned, you can edit the shortcut indeed. The reason for the change is simple: accessibility. Tab is normally expected to be the way to move about the user interface and is relied upon by blind users for this purpose. It really is not good to reuse this as a shortcut for other commands.

As mentioned, Ctrl+Right was chosen instead since it is already the shortcut for next measure in both normal and note input modes. It’s also the usual shortcut for next word when editing text. So it should already be comfortable and familiar from those usages.

But if for some reason you are finding it not comfortable despite its common usage in those other similar contexts - perhaps your particular keyboard makes this more awkward than it is in most, so it isn’t a good choice for any of those uses? - you can change it as mentioned.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I tried to edit the shortcut to be Tab because I 100% prefer it. It's one key to jump to the next chord. I have such a fast workflow when writing charts of which I have to write a lot and often! It's not straightforward how you assign TAB to "Go to next measure / move text reight quickly. When you find the action in the list of shortcuts and you hit the define button, when you press TAB to assign it, it doesn't accept it. Nothing happens. Weirdly, if you hit shift TAB, it assigns just TAB to the shortcut. I have no idea why. So now I've assigned TAB to jump to next measure but I can't figure out how to assign "shift TAB" to go to previous measure. Any suggestions? Seriously, it makes a world of difference in workflow speed when you hit only one key to move to the next measure while entering chords. It's muscle memory at this point and pressing two keys is really off-putting. Other than that, really enjoying MuseScore 4!

In reply to by the_mnbvcx

Thanks! I just did it and altered these two:



I also made sure to remove the shortcuts for these two:



Unfortunately, even though now it shows up correctly in shortcuts it still doesn't work. So it shows Shift Tab as the combination for Go To Previous measure/ move left quickly.. but it doesn't work. I think the problem is that when you're editing a chord it's kinda like in text edit mode so when you do shift Tab it just looks at it as if you're doing a shift Tab while editing text and it creates a space or something instead of taking the command as you want it to.. very strange...frustrating too.. Using Tab with my ring finger was the fastest way of jumping to the next measure while adding chords and shift Tab just works perfectly because your pinky is right below the ring finger and sits perfectly on shift.. This is so irritating. I mean, I'm editing the xml.. why isn't it working? I understand the need for improvements but so many people use this amazing software and shortcuts really become ingrained into our process.. change it up without giving us the possibility to change them back is really throwing a wrench in the works and you know what? The default key on mac is Command Right and Command Left.. I put them back to the defaults.. those don't work either.. what's the point then?

In reply to by pmzilfo

Unfortunately Tab is special, because blind users rely on it to move around the user interface. So it's not normally available to reassign. Accessibility is very important; MuseScore is one of the only notation programs that is usable at all by blind users.

I'm still not understanding how needing both hands to navigate chords is probelmatic - surely you are already using two hands to type your chord symbols? But if for some reason you are truly already using only one hand to type the chords themselves and then also want to use one hand to navigate, then you are welcome to assign some other single key. Like, for example, try the backtick, which for me is right above Tab. or some other key easy to reach on your particular keyboard.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi Marc, thanks for your reply. There really is a great community here. Regarding Tab use for the blind, surely this can be an option that can be turned on under some kind of Accessibility settings that would allow the small percentage of visually impaired users to turn this feature on. This seems to make more sense to me at least since the majority of users are probably not visually impaired. I think it's really cool that MuseScore is the only notation program that is usable by blind users. Kudos for that.

Regarding using both hands to navigate chords. The majority of my time spent on MuseScore, is for writing charts while listening to a song or piece on YouTube. I have to learn new songs all the time for my live gigs and so it's common for me to have my right hand on the mouse and the left hand on the keyboard. Even if I am using both hands, if you are in a normal typing position with your fingers over ASDF and JKL:, pressing tab and shift tab can be achieved easily with the left hand without moving the right hand from its position. Using a modifier with an arrow key for example requires me breaking this position by moving my right hand to the arrow keys. It seems lazy and nit-picky, but when you spend a lot of time writing charts, it just scales up and is time consuming when all it took was a small movement to jump forwards and backwards.

I took your advice to assign some other single key, such as backtick which would have been perfect, the problem is that when you are entering in chords, you are essentially editing the text of the current chord, so if you hit any key that is could show up as text in a text editor, then it does.. so I enter Cm for C minor and then I hit and all I get is Cm even though I've assigned it as a shortcut. I've tried other keys, and the result is the same. I believe the fact that you're editing the text of the Chord (the chord turns blue as you edit it) it looks at your key inputs as text related. I don't know what changed, it worked perfectly before. I also tried, Alt Tab, Ctrl Tab.. no luck.. also, on Macs usually Command Right/Left Arrow or Ctrl Right/Left Arrow is a shortcut reserved by the OS for switching between desktops etc which is why the MuseScore4 default shortcut for jumping between measures doesn't work.

So I managed to assign Tab so far.. that's great.. I can jump to the next measure. I can't assign Shift-Tab to jump back and fix something in the previous bar if i need to.. and I can't assign any other key that might be text related. So right now my only option is whenever I wanna jump back, I have to do Shift+Space four times if it's a 4/4 bar.

For people that MuseScore often, shortcuts REALLY make your life easier and keep you focused on your work.

In reply to by pmzilfo

Yes, shortcuts are a greta lifesaver, and that much more so if you are blind, and that is why there has been such a huge focus on improving this.

An option that a blind user needs to go out of their way to enable is kind of the opposite of making the software accessible. But even if the sense of the option were reversed, the potential issue here is that the behavior of Tab is in part "baked in" to the UI processing, and is handled separately from the command processing. I'm not saying there is no possible way it could ever be changed. But meanwhile, it's worth trying to accept that maybe Tab was never a good choice for this to begin with, and to simply find a better alternative.

Good point about backtick, obviously I didn't try it. It does kind of illustrate the issue I was observing about Tab - it too is simply handled differently from other things, so it's not as simple as just allowing it to do a non-standard thing in this one special case while till having it behave in the standard way everywhere else.

What changed is, again, better accessibility. MsueScore 3 had some significant issues with how a user could move about the interface, and this required some fundamental changes to how the processing is handled. While it is conceivable that some hack could be found to allow Tab to have this one special function in this one special case while still working in the superior manner in does now method everywhere else, it's probably not trivial. So there would really need to be a strong reason to do so.

As I have observed, chord symbols normally take two hands to type anyhow, so somehow I'm just not understanding how also needing two hands for the navigation is a hardship. Is there something unique about your keyboard layout that makes entering chord symbols themselves with only one hand somehow easier than pressing Cmd+Right?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I understand better now about the complexity of this.. The thing is.. Cmd+Right is not working.. nor any other shortcuts that I'm trying to set up. I really don't know what to do. Can you suggest a shortcut that works on mac? I tried for example, Shift Z.. It just inputs a capital Z after my chord. I tried control Z.. doesn't do anything. I tried Alt Z and it adds a greek Omega character lol HELP!! Any suggestions?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

TAB is text editor doesn't move the focus but really inserts a tab.
So, no, even for blind users tab is not always expected to move focus.
Was the decision based on real feedback of blind users of 3.6 finding tab behavior in edit chords confusing (then I would understand) , or was it the arbitrary decision of a sighted designer, for example someone not liking save button either?

In reply to by frfancha

True, but there is a difference between standards for text editors and standards for ordinary commands within a more general user interface. I'm not saying there is absolutely no room for change here, but I am saying, it's far more complex than someone who doesn't specialize in accessibility is likely to recognize.

Anyhow, yes, for the record blind users did give feedback about problems with Tab as well as all sorts of other accessibility issues in MU3, and that's why there was a pretty extensive redesign around this. Again, that's not to say that everything is perfect as is and not subject to further refinement. But it's far from arbitrary - it's a concerted effort to listen to the needs of the blind users we work with regularly to improve the accessibility of MuseScore.

In reply to by frfancha

The feedback about Tab is both more general and also quite specific about behavior in various dialogs, if not about this case in particular. but in order to implement all of those suggestions, a change to the overall processing of keyboard input was required, and this impacts treatment of Tab in chord symbols as well as some other specifics. So yes, in order to achieve the overall design it was indeed a very legitimate change, and really there is no reason to insinuate otherwise. But as I keep observing, it is certainly also subject to further refinement as is any other aspect of the design.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yeah I understand.. Would like to have an option to do something about it though. I would love to assign something else as you suggested but I'm limited. Honestly I'm trying. I tried for example, Shift Z.. It just inputs a capital Z after my chord. I tried control Z.. doesn't do anything. I tried Alt Z and it adds a greek Omega character lol HELP!! Any suggestions? 😂

In reply to by scorster

Ah, I read more carefully. And see this is the action to advance to the start of the next measure:

Go to next measure action.png

But like others I'll need to edit the xml file as MuseScore won't allow me to click into the New Shortcut field!

New shortcut field.png

Is the Define Shortcut option currently broken? If so, is there a Github report? I don't see one.


In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc asked > "What specifically goes wrong for you?"

I was trying to set the shortcut to Tab. But the dialog simply closes on pressing Tab instead of offering your clear explanation: "Tab is not supported because it is reserved by the UI itself."

I'll see if I can use a different shortcut. I tried \ but it didn't work ...

Question: With a specific shortcut selected, Reset to Default only affects the selected shortcut?


In reply to by scorster

Correct - reset to the default (singular) is just the selected command. There is also a separate button to reset preferences (plural), which presumably includes all shortcuts.

But, Tab shouldn’t close the dialog, and doesn’t for me. It’s meant to navigate the dialog as it normally would, but that is known to be broken with a pending fix.

I can learn to use the and , but the fixed movements to the right no longer work. For example, when I type 4 in a chord, I get a "4" in the chord instead of moving to a new position that cannot be reached using ";" and ":". This seems to be a regression in 4.0. If so, I can write this up in GitHub.

In reply to by Aaron Grosky

I think you may be misremembering - 4 was never a special shortcut in chord symbols entry. After all, it's needed in order to enter 4 into chord symbols (C7sus4, etc). The shortcut to advance by eighth notes is Ctrl+4 or Cmd+4, and indeed, it's a known issue (with a pending fix) that this isn't working.

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