Fingering proposals

• Oct 16, 2014 - 07:16

There have been a number of discussions over the past few weeks on the subject of fingering. Mostly from the perspective of guitar, although we must keep in mind that fingering elements (the numbers 1-5 anyhow) are also used in piano music. I would like to see what makes sense and am willing to im on whatever reasonably straightforward changes I get a sense that people agree on. So let me get the ball rolling here. First I will summarize the current situation then make specific proposals for change.

Fingering Types

There are three types of Fingering elements in MuseScore. The ones using the digits 0-5 are the only type used by pianists, and they use them for both hands. Guitarists use these only for the LH. For the right hand, they use letters pimac. Currently, MuseScore assigns these the same text style, "Fingering". MuseScore also includes a separate "String Number" text style for the circle string numbers that also appear on the Fingering palette.

Default Position

Currently, the numeric fingerings and the "pima" fingerings use the same text style and hence the same positioning algorithm. The rule is, fingerings on single note chords are placed above the note on single staves, or below the staff for the bottom staff of a two-staff instrument (eg, piano). If this placement ends up being stem side, the fingering is placed outside the stem. For multi-note chords, this automatic placement is disabled; fingerings are placed where the text style specifies, which is basically right on top of the notehead.

The circled numbers (used by guitar to indicate string numbers) have a different text style. They appear to follow the same algorithm, but the text style applies an offset of -5sp, which as far as I can tell is never a good thing - it either places the number ridiculously high (for markings that were already above the staff) or else it makes the number overlap the note ( for markings that were below the staff).


Currently, right clicking any type of fingering element (numeric, letter, or circled) and choosing "Select / All Similar Elements" selects all three types of fingering elements. Going to "Select / More" appears to give you the option of selecting by "subtype", but it is grayed out.

Copy & Paste

Currently, when you copy a fingering marking from one note to another, it is always re-positioned according to above automatic placement algorithm, This is good is you like the default placement, but if you had applied a manual adjustment to the fingering you are copying, you might expect to keep it in the copy.


Currently, fingerings are be applied to notes on tab staves the same as standard staves. This means copy/paste from standard to tab preserves fingering, and linked standard & tab staves will show fingerings on both. You can explicitly select and hide the fingerings on the tab staff after entering them.


Here is what I propose implementing:

1) Introduce a new "RH Fingering" text style for the "pimac" fingerings.
2) Add new style option to enable/disable the automatic fingering placement for "Fingering" and "RH Fingering" text styles. This would allow you to set "RH FIngering" to be placed above the staff but regular "Fingering" not, and then you could set the text style for "Fingering" to put the fignering to the left of the note.
3) When the automatic placement is active, place fingerings to the left for multi-note chords.
4) Either remove the -5sp offset for "String Number" text style or don't apply the automatic placement.
5) Allow "same subtype" in the "Select / More" dialog to select based on text style
6) On copy/paste of fingerings, keep manual adjustments. Automatic adjustment is recorded in the score as if it was manual, so this breaks automatic placement on the copy - it would apply the original note's automatic adjustment to the new note. But hitting Ctrl+R after the copy would re-calculate the automatic adjustment to the new note (this much is already true).

None of these are particularly major changes. 1, and 5 seem like no-brainers to me. 6 is simple and seems like it's what people want. 3 is probably a good idea for both pianists and guitarists. 2 isthe best I could come up with to allow guitarists and pianists to have different defaults for the automatic placement algorithm. For 4, *something* definitely needs to happen, but I'm still not clear on the best solution.


BTW, I also propose adding a staff property setting to control whether fingerings are displayed or not. This would be like the various other tab staff property settings controlling whether stems are displayed, etc. But I will defer to Miwarre or someone else who knows the tab code better as far as actually implementing this goes :-)

Hi Marc,

thank you for these good ideas! I have been eagerly awaiting new developments concerning fingerings for quite some time now. I have almost completely given up noting down fingerings for the time being after painfully readjusting every single one and being left with horribly autoadjusted ones after copying them (or using a newer nightly build…). I will carefully read what's being proposed here!

Concerning 3) could you clarify what you mean by 'to the left'? Do you mean on the stem side of the chord? Generally I tend to position left hand (guitar) fingerings next to the note heads, for single notes as well as for chords. But that might be a personal preference.

Concerning 4) I can only add that the circled digits are a bit unhandy themselves in my opinion. Being considerably bigger than the notehead itself, I cannot imagine a good solution for all cases, especially not for multinote chords. I agree that the -5sp offset doesn't seem to make much sense...

Adding a staff property setting to control whether fingerings are displayed or not would be marvellous too.

Thanks again!

1/ pimac seems to be only for guitar? if yes, it would make sense to mention it in the text style.

2/ This sounds terribly complicated from a user perspective. Are we just trying to solve the different placement for pianist and guitarist? If yes, it's just about the "Fingering" style. Maybe we could have two sets of numbers, with two different styles?

Something slightly related, there is a conflict between automatic placement and text alignment. We have it already for Lyrics. We left aligned lyrics for melisma "artificially", if the user changes the Lyrics style aligment, we end up with weird thing...
Capture d'écran 2014-10-16 09.54.02.png

5/ looks like a no brainer.

6/ I'm not sure I understand "Automatic adjustment is recorded in the score as if it was manual, so this breaks automatic placement on the copy". My understanding is that the automatic placement should be the default, and so not recorded in the score.

In reply to by [DELETED] 5

Regarding 2), yes, another alternative I considered was having two sets of numeric fingerings in the palette - one for guitar, one for piano. The problem would be making it clear which was which. I guess the tooltip could help with that. But it's definitiely a simpler solution. So if we went this direction, we'd actually be adding *two* new text styles: "LH Guitar Fingering" and "RH Guitar Fingering". The existing "FIngering" text style would keep the current above-the-note automatic placement. "LH Guitar Fingering" would not need special automatic placement - the text style itself would be defined to place the fingering to the left of the notehead in all cases. "RH Guitar Fingering" could use the same automatic placement as we currently use.

Regarding 6), the way the automatic placement works right now is, the adjustment is calculated and then stored as the User offset. So it's unlike how automatic placement works for other markings I had been assuing this was a deliberate conscious choice. In some ways, it's actually kind of nice, as it means you can defeat it by hitting the "Reset" button in the Inspector and get back to "default" position according to the text style. Although if we we make the changes I am suggesting, you could also defeat automatic placement by simply applying the appropriate text style. "Fingering" gets the placement, "LH Guitar Fingering" does not.

This touches on the comment about automatic left-aligment of melisma lyrics. I too have worried about what happens if the user changes the default text style in such a way that the automatic positioning no longer makes sense. I think we are supposed to check to see if the lyric is otherwise set to be centered before doing the adjustment, but that check isn't working right. Not sure if it worked right before I messed with it, but anyhow, that's a bug I can just fix. Still, if you want to *defeat* this automatic left-alignment, there is currently no way. I could make it so it only applies this for elements with "Lyrics Odd Lines" or "Lyrics Even Lines" text style.

I know nothing at all of other notation programs, and I don't generally have any interest in how they operate - but I'm a pianist, I use MuseScore to re-typeset piano scores, and the topic of fingering (and the associated use of text styles to control appearance of this element) is of great interest to me.

Is this a case where it could be instructive (or at least interesting) to examine and compare how other software handles matters of fingering for instruments in which it is a relevant concern?

In any event, it appears that the fine-tuning being discussed is something that affects and benefits guitar music. For piano music (at least of the post-Baroque era), I have found that the ability in 2.0 to create user-defined text styles generally addresses the deficits and frustrations of 1.3.

That said, however, I have often wished that the natural positioning algorithm for single-note chords could be turned off - or effectively be 'reversible' by using 'x' to toggle the fingering numeral to the 'opposite' position - i.e., above or below the notehead instead of outside the stem without regard to whether the note is in the upper staff or the lower staff.

This idea of reversing (or at least ignoring) the natural positioning algorithm is especially appealing in the context of multiple voices on the same staff. It might be borne in mind that notation of keyboard music is frequently polyphonic - something that 2.0's algorithm does not take into account and actually even contradicts.

In reply to by [DELETED] 448831

I don't know how to add fingerings in Sibelius, and have only the free Finale Notepad which doesn'/t seem to support them. So I can't answer for the competition.

Regarding the current algorithm - it *should* be the case that fingerings are always notated "outside the staff" for piano. That is, above the top staff, below for the bottom. Are you saying you are not seeing this, or that you'd prefer it *not* work that way?

With the changes I am currently working on, you would be able to completely defeat automatic fingering placement by simply selecting a different text style - the automatic placement will only be applied to the specific text styles it is designed to work with. Other text styles will simply be honored with no automatic repositioning.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The current algorithm functions as intended, but, as I described in my previous comment, 'outside the grand staff' (above the top staff, below the bottom staff) isn't universally desirable or even viable. It seems to me that 'outside the grand staff' is instead a simple and basic principle for an idealized situation in which neither hand plays more than one note at a time - and it governs that situation perfectly.

Unfortunately, much or even most keyboard music is significantly more complex. Specificvally, 'outside the grand staff' is often impractical for multi-note chords, and it's generally inapplicable to polyphonic music where there are multiple voices within a single staff.

In reply to by [DELETED] 448831

Understood. See my longer post with news on my progress, including the screenshot. No getting around the fact that more complex piano music will require manual adjustments, but hopefully the changes I have made will be welcome. Both the new automatic positioning for chords (if I can work out the spacing issues with fingerings to the left of notes) and the fact that it would become possible to defeat the automatic positioning by using a different text style (including, if you like, the "LH Guitar Fingering" style).

In reply to by [DELETED] 448831

About competition.

Sibelius. See (I don't understand the language but the demonstration is nice).

Finale, (2011) Fingerings are considered as Articulations. "Articulations can be dragged once they are entered. That will be necessary when 2 fingering numbers are required..."

An interesting forum post about "stack" vs "left of notehead" which looks like "modern" vs "classical" practises.…

Based on the feedback I have seen thus far, I have tentatively implemented a version of my proposal. I made some refinements based oin your suggestions and based on my experiencewd as I played around to see how it feels in practice. I think what I have done accomplishes most of what I hear people wanting, with very few code changes required to implement any of it. Here is what I have done so far, using the numbering from my original proposal.

1) I added LH Guitar Fingering and RH Guitar Fingering text styles. I changed the "pimac" fingerings on the palette to use RH Guitar Fingering text style, and added six new fingerings (0-5) that use LH Guitar Fingering. The intent is that the regular Fingering would remain primarily for pianists, but guitar players are welcome to use it if you want the above-the-note placement. How we advertise that not clear, but the tooltips do read "Fingering" and "LH Guitar Fingering", and of course you'll see the different layout if you try them out.

2) The automatic placement now works for Fingering, RH Guitar Fingering, and String Number only - *not* LH Guitar Fingering or any other text style you may wish to assign to a fingering element. For LH Guitar Fingering and any user-assigned text styles, the text style is simply honored normally relative to the notehead as for all other text - no special automatic positioning. I set the default for LH Guitar Fingering to be right-aligned with a -1sp horizontal offset, so these fingerings are placed to the left of notes by default. RH Guitar Fingering is a carbon copy of the regular Fingering style; it was added just for the sake of #5 to allow you to selected these separately.

3) I modified the automatic placement algorithm to place fingerings 1sp to the left of the note if it is part of a chord, rather than basically overlapping the note as it does now.

4) As mentioned, I kept the automatic placement for String Number for now, so it continues to to be placed above the note for single string notes. However, I reduced the offset in the text style to -2sp, so they aren't so crazy high above the notes. This is just enough to clear a RH fingering also placed above the same note. I'm still not as sure about this, but it seems OK to me.

5) You can now select fingerings by subtype (right click, Select / More / same subtype), thus allowing you to work with just the regular Fingering, LH Guitar Fingering, RH Guitar Fingering, or String Number elements.

6) Copy/paste of fingerings now preserves the existing "user" offset. That means if you've done manual positioning, it is preserved. It also means if you *have* done manual adjustments, the copied fingering is placed by default in the same relative position it was in the source note, even if that's the not the correct automatic position for the destination note. You can always press Ctrl+R to re-calculate the automatic positioning. In previous discussions, people said they don't copy fingerings for any reason *except* to preserve manual adjustments, so hopefully this will be OK

I also set the defaults for the fingering text styles to use "sp" units rather than "mm". Almost everything else uses "sp", I can't see why fingerings should be different. Is there some compatibiltiy issue I need to be aware of?

BTW, I don't see an easy / useful way to special case multiple voices or notes with accidentals (keep in mind, in a chord with several notes and possibly several accidentals, avoiding the other accidentals is going to be more an art than a science). BTW, cadiz - here is a case where I think you'll be happy that adding a fingering leaves the newly added fingering selected. That measn you can adjust its position immediately with the arrow keys.

Here are how things currently look for me, with guitar using LH / RH / String Number and piano using Fingering:


I know there are will be issues with the vertical position of fingerings placed on the staff and how they intersect with staff lines, but these will eb be very dependent on your actual fonts and so forth, so I'm thinking it might not be worth trying to do much special casing here.

Oh, I did *one* manual adjustment here, and that was to add leading space before the first note so the guitar fingering didn't collide with the time signature. I can see about making that automatic, but that's one downside of placing fingerings to the left of notes that I hadn't anticipated.

Further comments welcome!

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In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc, maybe I should emphasize that my critique was of the idea of 'outside the grand staff' being uniformly applicable; I did not intend it as a criticism of the fingering placement algorithm or the modifications proposed. As I wrote initially, I find that the algorithm (combined with the ability to create text styles) works very well.

Regarding your last comment, I agree about not trying to 'special case' beyond the fundamentals.

FWIW ... I use a customized template with the following extra text styles for fingering, and they cover all situations I've encountered ... with some occasional extra manual manipulations:

Fingering-L: for multi-note chords, to reposition the numeral laterally.
Fingering-U/D: for multi-note chords, to reposition the numeral so that it is centered on the notehead - whence it may be slid vertically in either direction to create stacked fingerings.
Fingering-Small: a reduced point size for fingerings of fioriture, etc.

This is what serves me for Classical and Romantic piano repertoire; I don't have any customizations or workarounds or fixes that would apply to the specific issues of Baroque music (polyphony, etc.) or modern music (who knows!).

In reply to by [DELETED] 448831

It occurs to me that instead of placing fingerings to the left for multi-note chords automatically, I *could* simply place them exactly where they would have been for single note chords. That would make it fairly easy to create the stacked / outside the staff arrangement I think is probably most common. Maybe that's better than what I've done here? For "LH Guitar Fingering", it could still be to the left, or wherever you placed it according to yur style (again, there would be no automatic repositioning).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I couldn't say whether stacked fingerings are most common for chords in keyboard music (as opposed to laterally positioned numerals). In my own experience, I believe lateral positioning is probably more frequent. Stacking 'outside the grand staff' requires space, obviously, and adequate space isn't always available between systems due to all the other competing elements (slur lines, staff text, articulations, pedal indications, ottavas, etc.).

In reply to by jpfle

I've already described the very frequent practical limitations on stacked fingerings in keyboard music. For what it's worth, I don't regard Gerou and Lusk's book as particularly authoritative in general.

Here's just one reason, and it also concerns an aspect of ... fingering! On p. 69, they refer to finger substitution - a standard terminology that piano and organ technique share in common, and very likely other keyboard instruments as well - as 'alternating fingerings'. To me, it verges on the ridiculous that they either wouldn't know or wouldn't employ a standard term for a standard procedure; their idiosyncratic term 'alternating fingerings', on the other hand, sounds like a reference to alternate fingerings or alternative fingerings. There's no reason to introduce that sort of confusion in a professional resource, in my opinion.

But back to stacked fingerings: one of Gerou and Lusk's mandates - that each note bear a fingering numeral - is contrary to the common-sense approach of including only information that is actually useful to, and needed by, the musician. If a chord is a common one in which hand position is easily perceived save for a single internal note or perhaps the top note, no performer needs to see the visual clutter of extraneous fingering indications that are so obvious as to be redundant.

More importantly, the bottom line here transcends one's preferences or what one or another 'authority' recommends: MuseScore must have the flexibility to enable multi-note chord fingerings that are either stacked vertically or displaced horizontally from the notehead. Both are routine in engraving practices that go back centuries, and there's no definitive basis for strictly hewing to or rejecting one in favor of the other.

In reply to by [DELETED] 448831

But back to stacked fingerings: one of Gerou and Lusk's mandates - that each note bear a fingering numeral - is contrary to the common-sense approach of including only information that is actually useful to the musician.

What is meant is that when we want to add fingerings for a specific chord, each note of this chord should have a fingering. Say that we have a chord composed of four notes. If we add only one fingering, we would not know what note is concerned, so in this case we must add four fingerings (one for each note).

Obvious chords or patterns don't need fingering. See page 70:


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In reply to by jpfle

If we add fingering to only one note of a chord, then obviously we don't stack it - it would be positioned laterally. Examples of precisely such usage are legion in classical repertoire.

I don't see a point to debating the merits of stacked vs. laterally positioned fingerings, at least in this thread. Any experienced pianist, organist or keyboardist will have preferences, and they're not relevant to what the software can do and needs to do.

In reply to by [DELETED] 448831

OK, now I understand what you meant in your previous comment by If a chord is a common one in which hand position is easily perceived save for a single internal note or perhaps the top note [...].

I didn't realize that save could be used as a preposition to mean except.

In reply to by jpfle

I applaud with both hands the turn that takes this thread. :)

As already said, I have already expressed my opinion largely about fingerings and on various occasions. I will not do so any unnecessary repetitions.

All proposals go in the right direction, especially one that allows to select fingerings by subtype (right click, Select / More / same subtype). Really great, and desired since a while, rather since a long time !

And the one that will avoid very unpleasant collisions in a multivoice context.

I'm really looking forward to try this new configuration.☺

In reply to by [DELETED] 448831

Interesting discussion! Obviously, there is not going to be a one-size-fits-all algorithm that will work for everyone. So I have no illusions that I will find one. That means whatever I do come up wwill be a compromise of some sort and I fully expect people will need to to override it one way or another - either via manual adjustments, selection of a different text style, or both.

My goals is to find an algorithm thag best balances three concerns:

1) decent results in many cases
2) relatively easy to override to get some other results
3) not too hard to implement

Right now, the algorithm I already have is as good as I have been able to come up. Even though I realize stacking above/below the staff is probably a better rersult much of the time, the unfortunate fact is that it is a lot harder to implement. The only other scheme that is reasonably easy but makes the job of creating the stack arrangement outside the staff any easier would be keeping it as it is, and realistically, it saves only one keystroke per fingering. I suspect people will generally like my algorithm better as there is at least some chance the default results are usable, whereas the existing behavior *demands* a manual adjustment for each note in a chord.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

A detail for guitar writing and vertical assembly of three or four fingerings Left-hand.

The fingerings are always placed to the left of the note heads (see "Behind Bars", example, p. 376)

There are some exceptions, particularly in the presence of numerous accidentals ("Behind Bars", example, bottom p. 377). And yes, in this case, I can use the arrows to avoid (or circumvent) collisions! :)

In reply to by [DELETED] 5

Nice idea! I looked at doing this in the default styles, but ran into a snag - the box is just slightly too tall even with all size settings at 0, so the box "eats" part of the line above/below for markings on a line. Works great for markings on a space, though.

BTW, it also occurred to me that since I am right-aligning the LH Guitar Fingering markings, 1sp is more space than I need before the note. If I knock it all the way down to 0.5sp, it still reads OK, and it helps a little with the problem fingerings on the first note of a measure colliding with the barline or time signature. But not enough, and taking this setting down enough for the fingering not freel crowded against the barline makes it feel crowded against the note.

I think that solving this problem more generally - actualy taking fingerings into account when calculating spacing - is a bigger change than I'm willing to make right now. A reasonable workaround might be to increasde the "Style / General / Measure / Barline to note" setting in scores where you plan to add fingerings. We could consider building this into the guitar templates.

One more thing I'm wondering as I think about multiple voices. Again, I can't fully solve the problem, but I can maybe improve the defaults for the automatic placement algorithm (used for Fingering / RH Fingering / String Number - not for LH Guitar Fingering). It's easy to chekc to see if a measure has multiple voices. If I find there are are, I could do one of two things that might be better than what we do now. Either move the markings to the left as I am now proposing doing for chords, or place fingerings above for upstem voices, below for downstem voices. Gould kind of recommends the latter, although it's pretty obvious there be plenty of cases where this risks collisions in inner voice voices. Still, it's easy to implement and looks nice enough when it works:


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In reply to by [DELETED] 5

Just tried this - all settings should be set to 0, save (except, lol) 'Border radius'. That is:
- R-click on fingering element, select 'Text style...'
- with 'LH Fingering' text style selected (or any yours custom), check-mark 'Frame' at the bottom of the window, and preferably 'Box'
- set 'Border thickness' to 0 (zero)
- set 'Text margin' to 0
- select 'Background colour' of your choice
Done. Border is sometimes too big (see attachment), so a tighter contour (1 px silhouette ?) would do. Though this might still not solve such issues.

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In reply to by [DELETED] 5

Just tried this - all settings should be set to 0, save (except, lol) 'Border radius'. That is:
- R-click on fingering element, select 'Text style...'
- with 'LH Fingering' text style selected (or any yours custom), check-mark 'Frame' at the bottom of the window, and preferably 'Box'
- set 'Border thickness' to 0 (zero)
- set 'Text margin' to 0
- select 'Background colour' of your choice
Done. Border is sometimes too big (see attachment), so a tighter contour (1 px silhouette ?) would do. Though this might still not solve such issues.

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Fingering nos. with Box.png 8.94 KB

This comment is for finger picking tablature for banjo and guitar. Instructional finger picking tabs have RH fingering for every note and a few LH fingerings, but they are rare.

When all notes are numbers (tab staff) and grace notes are small numbers and left hand fingering are smaller numbers, the last thing you want to do is write more numbers for RH fingering in the tab staff. I have over 50 tab books I've collected over the years and every single one has RH fingering written below the staff and below the beams. They all use TIM, not PIM.

I think musescore tablature should ignore Sibelius, Finale, Lilypond... and look closely at tablature standards. Check out -- they solved this fingering problem (in tab) 4 decades ago. A simple rule has evolved over the years -- the tab staff is for fret numbers and slurs/slide/tie markings and everything else goes above or below. RH fingering below. LH fingering above.

In reply to by stevefullerton

To be clear, none of what I am proposing is likely to apply to tablature at all. I am talking about standard notation only. I am proposing we add a style parameter to control whether fingering appears on tab staves at all, and by default for most tab staff styles this would be *off* - at least, that seems to be the consensus.

Currently, tab staves do use the same fingering layout algorithms as standard as far as I know. As a separate effort, we could look at what unique requirements there might be for those people who wish to use fingering on tab staves, but that's not part of what i am working on.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The option to turn tablature pluck/fingering *off* would be great! And, having it set to *off* by default is definitely the way to go for tab.

Tablature pluck, fingering, bends, releases, pre-bends, harmonics, strums, slides, pull-offs, hammer-ons, muted notes, slurs-to-top-of-chords... all need to be addressed in a future release.

I went ahead and submitted a PR for things as I have them now:

That includes everything I discussed doing in this thread. So anyone interested should be able to build from the branch and give further feedback.

BTW, because of how the automatic positioning for Fingering / RH Guitar Fingering / String Number is implemented, none of those changes will apply to existing fingering markings unless you select them all and do Ctrl+R. Probably just as well at this point.

Also, if you are using a custom workspace, you won't see the palette changes, so be sure to regenerate it or just switch to one of the predefined palettes for testing.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Wow! I am a happy man today! ☺

I begin to try the fingering improvements.

What I see at the moment works well, and in line with expectations, ie: there is less collisions between notes and fingerings in a multi-voices context (ok for bass and treble, but still in the intermediate voices for the chords, I'll get used)

And finally, bliss (!), it is now possible, by the "Same subtype" to differentiate LH and RH fingerings (that which is, for the guitar litterature, really an essential feature)
I continue my tests ... there so long that I expect this improvement ...

Thanks Marc :)

The PR for my changes has been merged. As of 4189822f54153277fd90b1971958a39f4dbe339b, you should be seeing new behavior when working with fingerings. If you are using a custom workspace, you may need to create a new one in order to see the palette changes. Fingerings in existing scores should not be affected by default.

Here are the differences you should see:

- New "LH Guitar Fingering" text style, with new elements 012345 in palette (in addition to existing 012345 elements using "Fingering") style.

- New "RH Guitar Fingering" text style applied to existing PIMAC elements in palette.

- Improved (I think) default positioning for all fingering and string number elements, with "Fingering" optimized for piano (should work well for other instruments too) and "LH Guitar", "RH Guitar", and "String Number" optimized for guitar. Actually, the "LH Guitar" auto-placement is do-nothing - it honors the text style directly. But the text style is reasonable, I think.

- Right click / Select / More... now allows you to select all fingerings by subtype (text style).

- Copy & paste of individual fingering elements preserves manual positionining.

Currently, there is no no way to defeat the auto-placement for the pre-defined fingering types. However, the automatic positioning is applied as a "user" offset, meaning you can actually remove it after the fact using the "reset" buttons next to the horizontal and vertical offsets in the Inspector. The "Layout / Reset" command (Ctrl+R) re-calculates the auto-placement.

If you define and apply your own custom text style, then no auto-placement will be applied to fingerings that style. So if you prefer no auto-placement, you can get that behavior this way, and you should be able to set up a custom palette to make that easy. But as mentioned, LH Guitar Fingering actually does no auto-placement, so for this purpose, simply modifying that text style rather than creating your own would be effective.

Still possibly yet to come is some system for suppressing fingerings on linked tab staves - but I'm leaving that to others to worry about.

Feedback is most welcome. I'm not expecting we can achieve perfect in auto-placement, but I am hoping we now have reasonable defaults for the most common cases, and we've made it easier to manipulate things with the selection and copy/paste improvements.

Here's a sample of the new defaults, showing all four fingering types (Fingering on piano staves; LH, RH, and String Number on guitar):


If you wish to convert an existing score to use the new fingerings, you be able to do so as follows:

Piano - right click a fingering, Select / All Similar Elements, Ctrl+R

Guitar - right click a fingering, Select / All Similar Elements, Inspector, change text style to LH Guitar Fingering, Ctrl+R. If you had already entered some RH fingerings, you'll need to select those manually to assign them the new RH Guitar Fingering style. If you have been using string numbers, then instead of selecting All Similar Elements when changing fingerings to LH Guitar Fingering, use More... and select the same subtype option.

If you're done a lot of manual positioning of your fingering I am *not* going to try to claim the new auto-placement is going to be an improvement. It almost certainly will not be. But hopefully you will find the new defaults better the old - enough so that it should be less work to improve.

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In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Am working on MusicXML import / export. Pull request 1426 enables MusicXML export for both LH and RH guitar fingering. It also correctly imports the MusicXML pluck element as RH guitar fingering.

The MusicXML fingering element is still imported as fingering instead of LH guitar fingering, as the meaning is ambiguous (it can mean both piano and guitar fingering). For the time being, the workaround is to select all fingerings with subtype fingering and use the inspector to change the subtype to LH guitar.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

First of all, thank you very much for your work. The fingering feature seems a lot more plausible and consistent to me and I will now use it again thanks to your efforts!

A few more things I have on my mind:

As explained further above, it is possible to assign a small white "shadow" border that improves the readability of fingering digits a lot (and makes them look more aesthetically in my opinion, too.) However, this actually adds a white, non-opaque block behind the digit, possibly cutting other elements than the intended note lines, too. It seems to me that in tablatures, the "broken lines" feature works similarly, which in this case is unproblematic. For fingerings however, a better solution might be desirable.

Another thing concerning readability: I imagine a magnetic mode for fingerings, which makes the newest fingering always bounce of other elements, leaving 1px of space. Sounds like a more complicated thing to implement, I just wanted to express my idea and resume the discussion.

Concerning usability, I would also like to discuss the possibility to enter fingerings by keyboard. I did this some time ago by entering lyrics and reassigning the lyrics to the fingering text style, which was convenient since entering itself did not require a mouse at all. Could you imagine implementing a mode similar to the lyrics one? Especially going to the next note (of the active voice) by pressing the [Space] key would be very helpful in my opinion.

By the way, do we really need the '5' for left hand guitar fingerings? As far as I know, only 01234 are used. Is the 5 used to indicate the left thumb?

Thanks a lot again, and thanks in advance for your replies.

In reply to by jschwalm

For the fretting hand (on guitar, banjo, mandolin, etc.) - 1,2,3,4 denotes index, middle, ring, pinky respectively.

While the thumb is not normally used for fretting notes, in those instances (especially with chord forms requiring one to fret the lowest string) it's usually denoted as 'T'.

With guitar, '5' is never used as a fretting hand fingering; unlike piano, which labels the thumb as '1', so '5' would be the pinky. With this in mind, it is completely possible that a MuseScore user might prefer the look of the guitar left hand fingering style on a piano score, in which case the number '5' would be needed.


In reply to by jschwalm

"By the way, do we really need the '5' for left hand guitar fingerings? As far as I know, only 01234 are used "
Exact, I did not pay attention! That said, I am in favor of its retention. It is not a problem for guitarists (you can delete it in the palette), and it is not unreasonable to think it might be helpful to other musicians (maybe?) who, for a particular use, would like to use its main characteristic, ie, to place the fingerings to the left of the note head.

In reply to by jschwalm

First, thanks all for the encouraging feedback. This was one of the few areas of MuseScore that still felt "unfinished", so I'm happy to be able to straighten it out some.

Regarding the border around fingerings to make them clear staff lines: it does seem like a good idea in principle. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't see a way to make this happen in a way that looked good for both notes on lines and notes on spaces, and as you mention, other elements could be affected. I'm open to suggestions but don't have any good ideas right now.

Regarding which numebrs to make available, I did think of that, also the fact that if guitarists start using the new fingerings, we don't need the "0" any more for the piano fingerings elements. But in the end, I did also feel it was harmless enough to keep them and people might indeed want to repurpose them - using piano fingering for guitar or vice versa. Of course, these *are* just text; you can always edit them to say whatever you like.

Regarding "the magentic mode", I assume you mean to produce the "stacked" fingerings for piano chords? I actually did try something like this, but it's difficult in a number of ways. What occurred to me is that there is a much simpler approach that I think would be just as good: introducing a new "chord fingering" element. Right now, fingerings are always applied to *notes*. If there were a new "chord fingering" element that could be applied to chords, you could add one, it could automatically be positioned just above the chord, ans then you could edit it as multi-line text. The problem is right now I don't know a way to get text that tightly spaced vertically. So between needing a new element type and the spacing issue, I passed on this for now, but I think it's probably the way to go in the future. Would be less fragile I think, then any scheme based on automatically positioning individual fingering elements within a chord in this manner.

Entering fingerings by keyboard has definitely been brought up before, and is a good idea. It's just also more complicated to implement than you might think, and given the polyphonic nature of most piano and guitar music, probably not as simple in actual use as lyrics either. Definitely on the radar for some day, though. See #25288: New facility for entering of fingering for one possible idea.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I know this is an old topic so pardon me if I'm violating some rule, I'm new here.
I'm using Musescore 2.3.2 portable on Win 7 and 10, no changes to install config but the language, from italian to english US.
I'm coming here after a tour with Lilypond with which i was able to obtain this without effort (just setting a couple of flags, no manual intervention).

So i was a bit disappointed when the best i could obtain with MS was this:
LH and RH fingerings overlapping and colliding with initial bar.

I confess that “I don’t know half of musescore half as well as I should like, and I understood less than half of you half as well as you deserve”, but reading above i got the impression that this problem should be somehow solved.
So I'm sure I should be doing something odd, and before fiddling with styles and whatever, risking collateral effects, that for what I understand now could even bring to nuclear war, I'd be glad if some of you could shed some light on this.
I'm dealing with guitar didactic material, full of LH and RH fingerings, and having to manually move each finger sign to position is simply not feasible, so there must be some better method.

Thank you for you attention,

In reply to by garu57

Indeed, it would have been better to open a new post. Don't hesitate to do so in case of new question.
To answer this one nevertheless. There are many ways to change the location of fingerings.

If this is systematic, and according to your image, you can go to: menu "Style" -> Text -> RH Fingering, eg -> change the offset to 1.00 sp (Horizontal) and negative value, - 4.00sp (Vertical) -> Ok
(Note that to avoid having to do it again, you can save these settings and the score as a template)

Otherwise, when all your fingerings have been entered, right-click on a fingering (RH Fingering, eg) -> Select -> More -> Tick "Same Subtype", ie RH Fingering -> Ok
Now, in Inspector, change the offsets as wished.

We can also look at the side of a plugin, Fingering Positioner:
And a few variants (LH vs. RH fingerings):

In reply to by cadiz1

Thanks for your answer.
I tried both of your solutions, but I'm increasingly convinced that fingering positioning has still problems.
It looks that fingerings for single notes are treated differently from chords and also positioning is different for each voice.
But if I change style it's blindly applied everywhere and I can obtain correct placement only for one voice, also it looks there is no collision detection so fingering may well end over a note or any other object.
Look at the following images.
style-change.png style-change-1.png

I also tried fixRHfingering_0.qml but it has no voice detection and also in this case second voice positioning is screwed up:

PS. do you want me to open a new post somewhere else?

In reply to by garu57

"PS. do you want me to open a new post somewhere else?

You can indeed open a new post eg on the forum "General Discussion". That said, despite the efforts of improvement, we all know that the input of the fingerings is not really satisfactory, and that it is very time-consuming, eg if we want to have very precise positions (and not only)

Proposals for "Fingering mode" appear regularly, including:

I thought an official request had been submitted. In fact, I do not see it. You can fill it if you wish, in the Issue Tracker, hoping that someday ...

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