Custom Palette items - help? Inconsistency (need for organ pedal marks) mscore2.0

• May 14, 2015 - 07:32

Can anyone point me to some more detail on custom palettes? This may lead into a discussion about fingering, but rather than ask for something fancy here, I started with a palette. But it doesn't work quite satisfactorily however I try.

Most of my work with Musecore is with either organ or with choral + organ accompaniment. We notate pedal marks with symbols such as this:

Right foot = V = toe , U = heel; usually positioned ABOVE the note/stave
Left foot = up the other way and possitioned BELOW the note/save (I'll use Λ and ∩ in this post they might not come out for you)
Or also O = heel. Position shows which foot.
There are some other more complex variations, eg U-V or O-V would indicate to start on heel but slide or rock the foot to finish on the toe without repeating the note. Similar to how you'd show finger substitutions)

So there are two issues here. One is the symbols, the other is the default positioning (offset to note).

So Symbols

Bravura font has all the appropriate symbols in it, so I started by trying to drag from the master palette each of the symbols. Success here. I can then drag from my workspace to the note, and two things wrong.
- the size is way too big. Just looks ugly and obtrustive. And the size can't be changed that I can see! See attachment mscore2_Symbols_toobig.png

In Musescore 1.3 I used to do much the same thing, using Z to bring up the Symbols window and then dragging onto the notes. The size was still maybe a little bit on the large side, but I could live with it. See mscore1.3_Symbols_smaller.png

Aha! I think. Maybe I can format a text item. So in Musescore I try Ctrl-T, put in the appropriate symbol and format as Bravura, 10pt. Great, and with the inspector I can change the font size to anything I like.
And I can drag this item to the custom palette. So I replaced all my pedal marks.

But now, oh no! When I drag off the palette onto my score, I can't attached the symbol to a note! Well, *that* was useless.

So I guess that's question number one. How do I either:
(a) Change the size of a symbol dragged from master palette? Not the size it displays IN the palette (which is possible), but the size it is on the score.
Or (b) Attach a text object, which I have sized correctly, onto a note?

Needless to say, I would like to be able to get the default size correct, because I have to put in a LOT of pedal marks sometimes.

And the second question, can I set the default offset from the note so I can get the V U positioned above the note, and Λ ∩ positioned below. Like Pause marks and ornaments know how to.

Of course, if I can have anything I want, I'd like a fingering mode that works like Lyrics, so I can select a note, go into "fingering mode" and start typing 1 2 3 4 5 (for fingers) or V U A O etc (for toes) and have it magically put the right thing in the right place and move to selecting the next note. But that's probably just dreaming right now.

Sorry no screenshots of my palettes in Musescore 2 right now, I'm seated at the wrong computer for that.

(First poster, be kind.)

Attachment Size
mscore2_Symbols_toobig.png 19.09 KB
mscore1.3_Symbols_smaller.png 64.15 KB


Forgot to add, I'm a programmer by trade and would be happy to edit some kind of config file in /usr/share/local/mscore2 or wherever, if it is XML or JSON or soemething; but not right now equipped to go and try and hack at the code to fix it!

I'm not understanding what the problem is you say you are having attaching these as text. Could you post the specific score you are having problems with and precise steps to reproduce the problem? I can't think of any reason it shouldn't work. note that dragging from the palette isn't particularly efficient, although it should work; the better way to add elements to your score is to click the note then double click the palette item.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for the prompt reply I'll have a go later (at work right now). I didn't try the double click method but I tried pretty hard on the drag'n'drop. Now you mention it, I did sometimes use double click in 1.3 in preference to dragging, for some reason - but it is more mouse activity to do the same thing.

Note this still doesn't solve the 'default offset to note' issue though. I'll have another poke around there, although from a quick glance (all of 2 minutes!) over github looks like positioning of fermata/articulations - which works nicely - is handled specially with code, so maybe I'm out of luck. This would have to be is something stored per palette item. Maybe if I have a poke around looking for where customer workspaces/palettes are stored (*.workspace file?) I might be able to comment more intelligently!

Also - this is Musescore 2.0.0 on Linux. Windows may behave differently (although QT is usually consistent) and I might update to 2.0.1 first - nothing in the release notes about this topic that I can see, but you never know..

In reply to by waltern

Double clicking is *less* mouse activity than drag & drop. That's why it is the preferred way of adding things. But drag & drop *does* work. It's just a matter of waiting until the note highlights.

If you create the markings as text, then the default position is a simple matter of your text style setting.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

As noted, neither doubleclicking nor dragdrop works for me for as yet unknown reason(s). Text styles "sound" reasonable but haven't managed to get this far.

[ As to how much work: click on note, move mouse to palette, click twice = 4 mouse actions; mouse down on palette, drag to note, let go = 3 (and that's counting the mouse up, so it's arguably only 2). But arguing this isn't the point of this thread! ]

Also on whether text or symbols (if there is actually a difference), if the text is editable, that's a bonus because it would be possible to put in substitutions like "Λ – ∩" ... or chords (rare as they are) without creating a separate palette icon for every possible combination.

In reply to by waltern

My two cents: drag-and-drop takes more effort because a) you have to hold down the mouse for a while as you move it, so more tension in the hand, and b) if you miss, you have to start over from the beginning. But, as you correctly point out, that's not the point of this thread. Sorry. ;-)

In reply to by waltern

Arguing isn't the point of the trhead, but making things work well is :-)

Your count is off in several ways. First, you forgot to count the mouse motion to *reach* the palette. Second, the drag / drop action requires more precision and is thus slower. But most significantly, you have to do a separate drag & drop operation for every time you add a symbol, where double click lets you had severla, dozens, even hundreds in one operation.

I treid your worksapce file, and all I get are empty boxes. Is it possible you have an older incomaptible version of Bravura installed on your system? it works fine it if I add symbols myself.

The point of using text is that you can set the size however you like.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

very quickly - I got a chance to grab some screenshots.

drag_text_object.png shows dragging and attempting to drop a TEXT based object from a palette to a note - here I am holding mouse pointer over the note. The note doesn't light up and if I let go nothing seems to happen.

drag_symbol_object.png shows the same thing only using a symbol dragged from the master palette Symbols section. Notice the drop target is proposed with dot and dashed line etc. If I drop on a note then it attaches to it, and I can move into position.

text_obj_properties.png shows the properties window from right-clicking on the palette cell.

Also attached:
Fingering.workspace is the workspace file. This is before I re-added the symbol so only text objects in my "Organ Stuff" pallete. Example of one of the text objects defined as:

  <Cell name="Left toe mark">

And finally although I'm not sure what use it is really, Praeludium_und_Fuge_BuxV142_wip1.mscz
is the score I was working on. It is (a) work in progress and (b) a bit messed up with all these experiments (including accidentally transposing so a lot of C-naturals are now B-sharps!) . Most of the pedal markings are of the symbol kind.

As mentioned before, on Linux (Ubuntu 15.04). I can't upgrade to MS 2.0.1 right now, I get from deb vivid main which is still serving up 2.0.0 and I'm not in a position to install a nightly right now.

In reply to by waltern

As I mentioned before, the worksapce seems bad - all I got when I loaded it was empty boxes for those palette cells. But then on restart I did get symbols, and indeed, it doesn't seem to work to add them to the score. Yet symbols I add to the palette myself work fine. They are stored different in the XML file. How did you create that worksapce? Some method other than simply Ctrl+Shift+drag from the Master Palette?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

As in my first post " Ctrl-T, put in the appropriate symbol and format as Bravura, 10pt. Great, and with the inspector I can change the font size to anything I like.
And I can drag this item to the custom palette."

This seems a reasonable way to put any sort of oft-used annotation in the palette - in the past I've wanted things like rit. or rall. or cresc. for instance, obviously text objects.

Indeed if I drag a symbol from the master palette it is fine, but then I can't resize them. But maybe I could edit the workspaces.xml to do things the UI cannot.

In reply to by waltern

I'm not sure what you mean about using the Inspector to change font size - there are no font size controls in the Inspector. But right click, Text Properties should work.

Anyhow, it looks to me the workspace you posted here was not created that way - it used symbols, not text. Which is why I was wondering how you created it. But if you really did try using Bravura in the middle of a text element, that could be problematic - this is what BravuraText is designed for. And in particular, the Special Characters palette (F2) that is accessed while typing text is the support way to add the symbols. Not that this itself would have caused the apparently corrupt worksapce you created. I'm just trying to better understand how you got into this situation.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Very briefly - I've had limited time to look over weekend. I couldn't reproduce those FSymbol again but definitely used F2 to find the symbol (that's how I accidentally transposed the score!) and definitely created that workspace I posted completely inside MuseScore ... somehow.
When I tried the same thing (Ctrl-T, F2 to insert symbol, Shift+ctrl-drag to pallete) this again yesterday, I got StaffText elements on my palette as expected (even when I deliberately picked Bravura for font over Bravura Text).
I thought of trying to hacking the workspace.xml to add something like (this from memory so don't bite me):

<Cell name="organ right heel"><Fingering><text><sym>keyboardPedalHeel1</sym></text></Fingering></Cell>

This worked an absolute treat! except that the font size is now too small - it chose the "Fingering" style which is 8pt and 10 (or maybe 9) would be correct. Also the positioning is by keyboard rules (whatever they are exactly, related to clef or note stem or staff property of some kind). I tried adding Organ Pedal Above (the style defined as "Bravura Text", 10pt, with vertical offset+/1 about 2sp) but it either ignored this entirely or I got a "Title" style instead.

So looks like whatever happened before, I can get symbols of the correct size and shape as staff text (Not sure if they can be added properly to notes or not: they can't with Ctrl-T directly but maybe if added via palette it does). Getting the default positioning automatically correct is proving a lot harder.
Thanks for all your help so far.

In reply to by waltern

Custom styles cannot be used with palette items, because the custom styles are part of individual scores and won't necessarily be present next time you want to use the palette item. But modifications to text via right click / Text Properties should be preserved.

I assume the reason your text is being treated as Fingering is that the tags you created ask for that? It should work to create the custom palette items normally - create staff text, set it up as you like (including use of Text Properties to override style settings), Ctrl+Shift+drag to the palette.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi thanks Marc,

I haven't forgotten this but have had a lot of other things to do. Yes, hacking the workspace.xml with fingering tag was a deliberate attempt to see if I could get something the engine underneath might support but the user interface could not. It worked "perfectly" except solved neither size bor position issues .

I managed to get text-type items which have the correct font sizing, using only the UI. Of course that does not solve the problem of default positioning, every single one still needs to be manually adjusted. Also the palette items don't attach to a note/chord, but only to a staff (although that's just semantics, it seems to be ok from a typesetting point of view).

This is an aside, another feature that would assist in usability here would be assigning keyboard shortcuts to custom palette items. Then all the debate around mouse activity would be moot because the procedure would be, click note, press Ctrl-Cokebottle-U, click next note, Ctrl-CokeBottle-V etc. There are keystrokes for 1-5 already. Maybe there is a way to assign arbitrary Javascript snippets to a key now? From a quick glance, looks like what I want is within reach of a plugin, although none of the existing fingering plugins are suitable starting points. (and for 4 symbols, I'd probably need 4 separate plugins?)

I probably can't look closer at this for a couple of weeks.

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