Extending a note length WITHIN a part that has conflicting shorter notes

• Mar 25, 2024 - 15:28

I score arrangements for classical guitar which is typically done with two "parts": the right-hand fingers (i-m-a) are the "treble" part 1, and the thumb (p) is the "bass" part 2.

The problem is that one often has different length notes within a part. The only way to accommodate that situation, that I know of, is to create third, fourth, etc. parts to hold those different length notes - which creates a big mess in the score with lots of extra rests for those extra parts which then have to be deleted. It's not really an extra part - it's just that you can hold notes of different duration on a guitar. It's normal. (Using a second part for the bass/thumb notes makes sense in terms of stem direction.)

I'd like to be able to force an increased length of a single note within a part (yes, violating the total duration of that part within the measure). For example, see the attached image. The circled eighth note should actually be a dotted quarter. But since there are three other part 1 notes within that dotted quarter duration, I have to indicate it with an eighth note.

Again, I realize that I can create a part 3 to hold that single dotted quarter, but that leads to annoying overhead that I'd prefer to avoid. I'd like to disable the part 1 duration counting within that measure to allow that single note to be longer.

Perhaps this is a feature suggestion rather than a question.

Attachment Size
extend-note-within-part.png 11.21 KB



If I'm understanding correctly ...

It's common that scorists write guitar parts in two voices (maybe 3) and want to hear playback ring as though interpreted by a skilled guitarist (as opposed to durations sounding literally, according to the notation) as discussed here:


a) In MuseScore 3.6.2 and 3.7 your can use the Piano Roll Editor (PRE) to manually set play durations to be longer or shorter than the notation's written face value.

b) You can use the TAB Ring plugin in 3.6.2 and 3.7 to automatically create guitarist play durations.

NOTE: Development failed to include the PRE in MuseScore 4—and it's not a surprise that there's been so many requests that it be reinstated. And while the PRE has been recently updated in v3.7, MS4's PRE remains in limbo—ergo, no manual editing of play durations is possible therein; additionally there's no option to run TAB Ring or benefit from it's impact.
The TAB Ring plugin works its magic by altering the notes Len property ... but MS4 ignores that property. This means, even if you enhance the Len properties in v3.x (via the TAB Ring plugin, or do so manually) you won't hear the effect when playing your 3.x score in MS4. Said differently, processing a score in v3.6.2 or v3.7 produces net-zero if you want to hear the result in MS4.2.1.

If you don't need MS4 features like Muse Guitars you can open your MS4 guitar scores in MS 3.7 and use the TAB Ring plugin there and to good effect. For example here's an Irish harp tune entitled Eleanor Plunkett. It contains the Len play durations imbued by TAB Ring in MS 3.7. But since a) MS3 can't run Kontakt b) MS4 ignores Len values, I resorted to a MIDI export and imported that into in Logic Pro.

I'd prefer to have an "all in MuseScore" solution. But that option will exist only after MuseScore 4:

     • reinstates the Piano Roll Editor
     • updates the Plugin API
     • honors the Len property

Here's a Github discussion regarding the need for these PRE related improvements in MS4


In reply to by scorster

Thanks, I was talking about notation, not playback. I'm not concerned with how the playback sounds - it's just a way of double-checking the notation for me. But playback does, in fact, reveal the cases where I need to work harder on the notation, like adding a Part 3 to achieve an extended note duration. I'd just like the ability to override the note duration in a single part rather than adding a third part to get the correct duration, which is what this post was about. But it's not a huge deal.

You could use a single stave (part?) with voice 1 for the treble strings and voice 2 for the bass, then hide all rests in voice 2. Hidden tied notes can also be useful with this to sustain sound without visible clutter. It's not as clean as the TAB Ring solution but if you're on MS4 then it may be a usable compromise.

In reply to by sammyjava

I've started scoring in a single voice and then applying TAB Ring to do the heavy lifting. There are controls to limit the ring if required. This score has has many short notes which ring out more realistically by using TAB Ring:


and this shows a direct comparison of 'face value' playback vs TAB Ring. In this case there are 2 voices but the melody voice needs to ring without any extra manual work; no hidden tied notes, no extra rests to tidy up:


There is also a "Let Ring" line in the standard MS palettes but it works like a piano pedal so it's a bit simplistic for guitars.

In reply to by sammyjava

The notation in your image is already correct. Your proposed changes would produce incorrect notation.

Violating the total beat count in the measure, (as you say you want to do), would be very confusing, especially in a score that has separate voices for bass and treble. The rhythmic clues would be wrong in the measure and make counting quite tricky.

You could add a text at the top of the score to remind players to sustain notes where possible, (i.e. "Let Ring"), although this would be normal practise for guitarists anyway.

If you really want to notate as you suggest then using more voices would work. Yes, you would have more rests but the rhythm info. would be correct. I'm not convinced that such a score would be any easier for a player to understand; it might even be harder.

In reply to by yonah_ag

Guitar music has mixed note durations to indicate individual held notes. One effectively has five parts for the four left-hand fingers notated 1, 2, 3, 4 (index, middle, ring, pinky) plus 0 for open string. But it's annoying and overkill to use five parts in notating each finger and open string separately. Plus, it is traditional to use stems down for the right-hand thumb (p) and stems up for the right hand fingers (i, m, a). So two parts makes sense for right-hand reasons. What I do is use an extra part for the longer (or shorter) note, then delete the extra rests, which MuseScore thankfully allows. So I get exactly the correct notation, but with more work than I'd like. That's all. You can look at my tune "Mi Rumba" to see this particular example notated correctly.

In reply to by sammyjava

I'm struggling with "Mi Rumba" because in some measures it's not so easy to see where beat 3 is in the treble notes, for example in measures 4, 8, 10 and similar. This makes it tricky to count and know when to play the notes. The bass lines beats in these measures are clear.

I play classical guitar but I am not familiar with rumba so maybe this is something peculiar to rumba style.

Measure 33 is tricky in both treble and bass. I guess this must be normal for rumba so I'm not the best judge.

Measure 15 is particularly tricky.

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