Guitar in re-entrant tuning

• Jun 20, 2024 - 09:59

Attempting to write tablature for a 5-course baroque guitar which has a 're-entrant' tuning (the fifth course is tuned an octave higher than standard). Unfortunately when I change the base pitch of string 5 notes above fret 5 transpose downwards. I've tried starting with other base instruments but the same happens when I enter a re-entrant tuning. The same problem occurs when attempting tablature for a standard guitar in 'Nashville tuning'. I attach a file which illustrates the problem.
Is this a bug, and is there a workaround?

Attachment Size
problem.mscz 22.07 KB


Something odd going on, possibly a bug.

I did this in Musescore 3.7 but might give some clues.

Start with Classical Guitar, delete the lowest string 6, change 5th string from A2 to A3 - number of frets "automatically" changes from 19 to 24 after which you can't take the 5th string beyond the 4th fret.

Standard re-entrant instruments such as Ukulele don't show this problem.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

It's definitely a bug, but I think I've found a workaround. Using the Classical Guitar tablature template you can adjust the 'number of lines' to 5 in stave properties, but still leave all six strings listed in the 'edit string data'. This creates an invisible 6th course. The 5 visible strings can then be tuned to any re-entrant tuning with no problems.

In reply to by dylbonner

Well it turns out the bug may have done me a favour. I was trying to work out how to notate the double octave 4th course so the sound represented the music as written. Turns out that the 'invisible' 6th course of the tablature can be tuned to the upper note of the octave and supplied with 'invisible' notes which provide the upper octave in the linked treble clef stave and the playback but aren't visible in the tablature. Strikes me the same idea can be applied to 12 string guitar for which there is currently no template available.

In reply to by dylbonner

Could you please attach the relevant score in .mscz format, or simply an extract (after selecting a few initial measures, then menu File / Save selection) where you apply what you say. I play baroque guitar (a bit) and I'd like to have a look at some things and check them out. I suppose this might also be of interest to other guitarists in this kind of situation. Thanks.

In reply to by dylbonner

All right, thanks. Indeed, the Italian tablature-style inverted display is not the most common, so it takes a bit time of getting used to.
With your workaround, I unfortunately see a problem with printing, since the ledger lines cannot be hidden - see the image. Which makes for a rather bizarre effect...
Sans titre 1.jpg
But if it's only for your personal use and listening, it's not something that's prohibitive.
What's more, as I'm sure you know, there's no absolute standard for courses to be tuned to octave or unison. It depends on the country and the composer - see this non-exhaustive example in the other image.
guitare baroque.jpg
As far as I'm concerned, audio rendering isn't the most important thing (in any case, the sound of a baroque guitar is so unique). I'd rather not bother with all those octave possibilities, and keep the tuning of a classical guitar (with 5 strings, of course!).
What does bother me, however, is the bug already mentioned above. I'd been following this feature request for the banjo (and as I also play the banjo a bit, I wasn't unhappy!), but unfortunately all and full implications escaped me. And I'm a bit angry about it :(

In reply to by cadiz1

Thanks for the comments. I hadn't actually printed it yet so I wasn't aware of the ghost lines under the stave. i too am not so worried about playback (though it's handy to check for bum notes). On the other hand the crosses or 'ledger lines' do create a visual reminder that the upper octave will sound on certain notes. I'm strung in French tuning for the moment and still find the upper octave a bit disconcerting when it wanders in and out of scale passages particularly in 'campanela' passages (ringing scales using adjacent re-entrant strings) where single notes sound the upper octave often inappropriately. I suspect I might eventually settle on a fully re-entrant 'Spanish' tuning to avoid this problem though I am new to baroque guitar and want to explore the possibilities. It may just be that the unexpected upper octaves are part and parcel of baroque guitar and we should suck it up and learn to live with them. I never really got used to them on 12-string guitar but it never seemed to bother Leadbelly. Have you ever tried a 6 string in Nashville tuning? - similar problem to get your head round. For the time being I'm having enough struggle trying to cancel 50 years of playing classical guitar (nails, high wrist and thumbs well out) and replace it with lute technique (no nails, low wrist and thumb usually under).

In reply to by dylbonner

"Have you ever tried a 6 string in Nashville tuning?"
"For the time being I'm having enough struggle trying to cancel 50 years of playing classical guitar (nails, high wrist and thumbs well out) and replace it with lute technique (no nails, low wrist and thumb usually under)."

Good luck!😂

In reply to by cadiz1

I think you have your background colour set to off-white (edit/preferences/appearance). I don't know why this is the MuseScore default but mine is set to pure white so I don't see any discrepancy. The black dots are inevitable but don't show when printed (at least on my printer). And yes I am happy with the result. I can read the tablature easily and the stave notation at least reflects what I'm hearing.

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