Entering longer row of tuplet notes

• Apr 10, 2015 - 17:26

I'm watching the "MuseScore in Minutes" YouTube video series. Its fifth lesson demonstrates a MuseScore's quirk which slows down note input. If you want to enter more tuplet notes of the same duration, you have to re-select the tuplet parameters after each tuplet is completed, otherwise you get unexpected results. This is demonstrated at about 3:20 time spote of the MuseScore in Minutes: Lesson 5 - More Input Ideas video.

Entering tuplets should be done like this - using a triplet as an example:
1. Select a note value to be divided, most often a quarter note, i.e. 5.
2. Select a number of notes in a tuplet with Ctrl+number, in my example Ctrl+3 (Mac users will substitute Command for ctrl)
3. And now I should be able to enter as many notes as I wish, tuplet should be cancelled by selecting a note value or by quitting note input mode..


In reply to by Nicolas

If I wanted to enter an eight-note triplet followed by regular eights, I'd expect to be able to do following:

5, Ctrl+3, c d e 4 f g

And if I wanted two eight-note triplets followed by 4 regular eight notes, I'd do following:

5 Ctrl+3, c d e f g a 4 g f e d

Currently, I have to do this:

5 Ctrl+ 3 c d e 5 ctrl+3 f g a 4 g f e d

Isn't that extra "5 ctrl+3" kinda superfluous?

The idea of "sticky tuplet mode" comes up from time to time, and would indeed have the advantage of speeding up entry of long stirngs of tuplets, at the expense of slowing down a single set of tuplets - you'd now need to take explicit action to leave "stick tuplet mode". So I'd prefer it be a separate command of some sort if this is ever implemented. It's way way more common for me to enter a single truplet than a whole string of them, so the current system is in fact pretty much optimal. Having lots of triplets in a row is, to me, a sign that the piece probably should have been notated in compound meter (eg, 6/8 or 9/8) in the first place. But, no denying it does happen from time to time.

Meanwhile, do check out repitch mode = the button right next to the "N" on the toolbar. If you do have a situation where you need to enter multiple tuplets, you can enter one tuplet, use the "R" command to duplicate is any many times as necessary, then use repitch mode to replace the pitches.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I'm a music teacher, and series of triplets are common in etudes, not talking about such peaces as the second movement of Beethovens Sonate Pathetique and many other peaces, where it's better to have melody in simple quarters accompanied by triplets than having a 6/8 measure and melody full of dotted quarters.

And there's another aspect for us, whose keyboard layouts have numbers accisseble with shift key. I'm used to enter note values with keypad, but you can't use ctrl+keypad-nums to enter tuplets. And if you use your MIDI keyboard to enter actual music, it's quite a pain to lift both hands off the MIDI keyboard just for entering tuplet again and again.

And thir dpoint - note value shouldn't change of its own. an 8th triplet note is a different value than normal 8th, so it's quite natural if you want change a note length from triplet 8th to normal 8th, you just select that note value. As are normal note values sticky, tuplets as additional note values should be (maybe optionally) sticky as well.

In reply to by TomVal

Yes, as I said, no doubt, extended triplets *do* happen. I'm just poitning out that so do does the case of individual triplets. In my personal experience, individual triupelts happen more - a *lot* more. But I could imagine if you you are primarily dealing with solo classical piano literature, you might find disproportionately higher percentages of extended triplets.

Anyhow, the specific numbers don't really matter. The point is, both are common enough to be worth considering, and it would be a mistake to make a change that favored one case at the expense of the other. If we are to make a change, it should be one that supports *both* cases well. That's all I'm saying. The current system is already optimal for the case it was designed to handle well. Now, maybe we should focus on coming up with a new second system that is optimal for this other case.

BTW, your point about MIDI raises yet another possibility - there should be a way to assign "triplet" (the original version or new sticky version) as a MIDi command, just as is already possible for other durations.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

'extended triplets *do* happen. I'm just poitning out that so do does the case of individual triplets'

Indeed. But most frequently, after an individual triplet of 8th notes you have "normal" 8th note.
And after entering a triplet of 8th notes in MuseScore:
4 ctrl-3 a b c
MuseScore puts you back in 4th note length, not 8th.
So you have to press a key anyway, MuseScore could as well leave you in triplet entering mode you woudn't have more key to press.

In reply to by frfancha

Not sure what you mean - the sequence you described doens't enter triplet *eighths*; it enters triplet *sixteenths*.

If you do enter triplet *eighths* - which is to say, you start by typing *5*, not *4* - then you are left with eighth note still selected as the note value, exactly as you would want when entering a series of eighth notes that is occasionally interrupted by triplets. So no, you don't need to press anything after completing the tupelt in this extremely common case. After entering tripelt eighths, you can continue entering eights with no additional steps required.

In reply to by TomVal

'And there's another aspect for us, whose keyboard layouts have numbers accisseble with shift key'

MuseScore is quite smart with keyboard entries, on a AZERTY keyboard you can do [CTRL]+["] (the sign ["] on the same key as [3] on the normal keyboard, above the keys [Z] and [E]).
It will understand ctrl-3, you don't need to enter a "true" 3.
This is extremely convenient.

You're not the first to have complained about this.

You may be interested in the thread I started on this around 18months ago.........


Until the developers can bring this to the top of their priority list, do try the workaround Marc suggests. I now use this method when entering many triplets, and it takes much of the frustration out of the process.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I don't know about all the programming issues, but I can tell you I've wasted a massive amount of time trying to enter and odd number of notes within a given time frame (beats). The present system is only good for relatively simple tuplets (triolets) which occur on a single beat. I think the idea should be to have the ability to enter a specified number of notes within a given number of beats, regardless of the time signature other then the fact that the time signature designates the type of note that gets 1 beat. For example given the present entry system where you chose a note or rest of a certain duration, it just doesn't work. It's not only unintuitive, but a complete train wreck. To duplicate or describe the problem enters into the realm of the absurd as the behavour of the program is completely illogical and totally erratic. I would like to suggest a method of input where "the annotator" chooses the number of beats involved, and then the subdivision of those beats. For example 13 notes in the space of 2 beats. Let the program figure out whether to use 16th's or 32's. Taking my example. If the two beats would normally occupied most simply by a half note, two quarters, eight 16ths, or finally sixteen 32nds. 13 notes is closer to sixteen than it is to eight; therefore the proper note choice would be thirteen 32nd notes spaced over the duration of two beats, not 13 16ths.

As I have indicated the present method is mostly a complete time waster where much experimentation only leads to a complete failure in the end result. I don't think the programmers can think too much about anchoring to the past, as the present method is overly simplistic and is completely lacking in sophistication. There absolutely needs to be a better way of entering an odd number of notes within a specified number of beats. You should not be choosing note duration values, but beat values which would mean the ability to enter any number of notes within any number of beats. Maybe something as absurd as 2 notes over 17 beats. However the opposite would be more likely - 17 notes in the space of 2 beats, once again this would be 32nds in common time as 17 is very close to 16.

As it is now, the baby should be thrown out with the bathwater.

In reply to by gBouchard

I guess that you are upset. But relative simple triplets? Yes, sure.


I guess it all depends all your brain is wired.

You want 13 notes in two half notes? That's 13/16. Choose a half note and enter 13/16. And you have your 13 32nd notes in the time of half notes.

Capture d'écran 2016-01-22 22.51.31.png

Two notes overs 17 beats? In 17/4 ? Sure, create a 17/4 measure and select Notes > Triplet > Duplet.

17 notes in the time of two quarters? that's 17/16. Choose a half note and enter 17/16. And indeed, there are 32nd but you don't need to figure this out.

Capture d'écran 2016-01-22 22.55.28.png

Instead of waiting your time, take a look to https://musescore.org/en/handbook/tuplets and this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJquDsYMUq0

In reply to by Nicolas

I probably was not clear. In Common time, (4/4) Two notes evenly spaced over 17 beats. Or in Musescore think, 2 notes over the space of 17 quarter notes. In your half note example of you have to think of a half note as being 1/2, 2/4, 4/8, 8/16, 16/32/, 32/64 and finally 64/128. It's true I wasn't thinking that way at all because I think of music largely in relation to beats, not so much in terms of sub-divisions of sub-divisions of measures. Perhaps my brain is miss-wired. I will experiment with the advice you have given, and see if my end results improve. Perhaps you have unlocked the door to understanding what is happening.

In reply to by gBouchard

Okay, I experimented with it a bit. It works, but it's very hard for me to think of it in this fashion. Now there are some bugs: First the bracket will appear, and then disappear leaving only the numeral. Secondly it's not proper using the short cut Menu. I you highlight a whole rest and then choose (ctr+7) you get seven quarter note rests when under my warped logic you should clearly get seven 1/8th rests as 7 is closer 8 than it is to 4. Seriously, the erratic illogical behavior of the program really makes it hard to figure out using ordinary common sense combined with intuition.

In reply to by gBouchard

Tuplets fit more notes into a period of time, rather than whatever is closest. So you'll get three eighth notes in the space of a quarter note, and never three sixteenth notes, even though three sixteenths is closer to one quarter than three eighths is. Or, to cast it in MuseScore's terms, you get three eighth notes in the space of two, rather than three sixteenth notes in the space of four.

In reply to by Nicolas

Regarding this tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJquDsYMUq0

With all due respect to the church organist, could we have a shorter musical intro - like about 3 notes, not 1/2 a minute or 30/60 seconds of Bach?

Regarding tutorials I think the one that came with this installation of Muscore (Linux 2.02) was extremely helpful. It really unlocked how to begin entering notation, which I had previously found rather perplexing.

A similar tutorial score showing how to successfully enter tuplets would be extremely helpful.

In reply to by Nicolas

Regarding the https://musescore.org/en/handbook/tuplets from the handbook:

The second example itself is illogical for the reason that there are normally four 16th notes in a quarter.
or eight 32nds. It seems if you were going to write such a figure the correct note value would be 64th notes as there are sixteen 64ths in a quarter note. 13 is much closer to 16 than it is to 4, likewise eight in the case of 32nds. So let's knock off the beer and get back to basics.

Anyway thanks for the clarification. I understand the concept now, but the program is riddled with bugs in regards to this exasperating issue as the output is not what one would expect or actually want.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I could suggest CTL+SHIFT+(tuplet numerator) to turn on 'sticky' tuplets, and maybe CTL+SHIFT+0 to turn the function off again. It might also be a good idea to have a pop-up warning appear ('Sticky Tuplets are ON--press CTL+SHIFT+0 to turn them OFF') somewhere out of the way on the screen.

EDIT: I had originally posted this message with an illustration of something I did not think MuseScore could do, but after reading some of the comments posted while I was working on that, I realised I had missed something in the method--I had entered the wrong value in the second field under 'relation'--so I have deleted my comments about the inability of MuseScore to create tuplets containing more than 9 notes.

However, I would add that the custom tuplet dialogue box is somewhat counter-intuitive (a fancy way of saying 'confusing'). When working in 4:4, a whole 'beat' is ONE quarter note, so to create an 11-note tuplet played over one beat, I would expect to enter '11' in the first field and '1' in that second field (11 notes in 1 beat--logical?). In addition, I find that in order to create a 32nd-note-beamed tuplet, I need to enter '8' in the second field even though the duration of the entire tuplet is one whole beat (a quarter note). If I enter '4' in that field, I get a tuplet beamed as 16th notes for the same actual duration of one beat.

Very 'counter-intuitive'. ;-(

In reply to by Pentatonus

First: I don't know how it is done in Sibelius and Finale.
But in PriMus, ScorePerfect and django it is done in the following way:
You select triple, septole or whatever tuplet you want and use eighths or quarters or another note length. Then you will input triplets or septoles or whatever you want with the note length that you set.
If you change to another note length in the first two programs the length is again in normal, non-tuplet mode, in django you will have to change that manually.

The advantage of this procedure is, that you don't have to think of the following notes if they are the same tuplets. You change that, if you want to change it.

The way to input tuplets in MuseScore is quite sophisticated and easy, if you have understood it. And it takes care, that the notation stays stringent.
Anyway I often get disturbed, if I want to input a row of tuplets.

Here there is imho a certain break in use: normally the note length you enter will always be the same, if you do not change it.
But in tuplet mode it is actually changed automatically after e.g. the triplet you have entered. And also you can't change a tuplet for a non-tuplet note easily: you first will have to delete the tuplet and then enter the other note ...

So in consequence I would like to have the possibility to write a longer row of tuplets without first establishing (e.g. for triplets) a row of quarters (what btw would be much easier, if more than one notes could be changed regarding note length at the same time).

In reply to by MLutz

To get back to sticky tuplets: So long as we don't have them I work around like this: I set up a triplet (or whatever it is): 5 / cmd 3. This gives me the triplet with all rests in it. I select the three rests: click / shift click. Then I copy/paste forward as many times as I need (cmd C, then arrow / cmd V repetively). Finally I go back and fill in the notes.
Seems quite fast to me.

In reply to by azumbrunn

You can make it even faster if you replace "arrow / cmd V" with "R" - this does the same thing in just one keystroke. So select the tuplet, then press and hold "R". It's pretty darned fast and easy. I still wouldn't mind seeing a sticky tuplet mode some day as well, though.

One thing to work out - how to best handle cases like a "triplet" with an eighth and a quarter in the space of one beat. I mean, this works now, but how this would work in the context of a "sticky" mdoe is an open question to me.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.