cue notes for orchestra parts

• May 24, 2015 - 10:02

Quite often, cue notes are very handy in orchestra parts to remind players when to start again after a very long pause.

Here I think it would be nice to have a feature where for a given instrument, the user can specify the section of work from which other instrument is cited as a queue.

This feature will eliminate the need to manually re-type the cue when the cited part is changed. Also, this feature will allow the cue note be hidden when the full-score is printed, and only print the cue notes (in small prints) when the part is printed separately


This does seem like a nice feature - kind of like "linked staves" but only for a particualr range. Probably quite tricky to implement. Meanwhile, of course, you don't need to actually retype the passage to update it - copy & paste works just fine.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I'll second the request for a CUE feature. But--not being a programmer--I'm puzzled as to why it would be 'quite tricky to implement' unless someone wanted cues auto-generated and placed when parts were extracted from a score. That is not what I would suggest.

I would simply like to have a CUE category/element/style defined--perhaps under the ADD or NOTES menus-- that I could use to pre-format the pasted-in cue in 'small notes', invisible in the score but visible in the parts, and with an attendant staff-text label I could type in to identify the part from which the cue comes. I can do all that manually, of course, but it's a bit of a PITA that way.

The result should look something like the attached file. See both the score and Parts 2, 3, and 4.

The tricky part--if you want to get fancy--would be when a cue ends part-way through a measure. In that you don't want to add visual clutter to a score, obviously, the cue should appear only in the parts. But it's important that the cue still be written in the score so that it will show up in any future the cue needs to be set 'invisible' in the score.

That's simple enough, but if, say, the cue ends on beat three of a four-beat bar, it will replace the rests for those first three beats, and the visual result in the score will be a measure with only the fourth beat printed. I haven't figured out how to get around that one yet, btw. I tried using a second voice for the cue, but when I clicked Voice 2 in the toolbar, it generated a second voice for the whole score on that line...not just the measure in which I was working.

Any suggestions until a true CUE function is developed? ;o)

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In reply to by Recorder485

The way I understood the original request, it sounded like a feature like the current linked staves and linked parts where changes to the notes in the main instrument automatically updated the cues in other instruments. The mechanism used internally by MuseScore to link staves and parts doesn't allow you have some notes on a staff be linked but others not. This would require a whole new interface for defining that range and what the source staff is, and there would probably need to be new checks to perform in each of the many places in MuseScore where notes can be changed to make sure we update the linked copies of the notes correctly.

If something like this were undertaken, it woud also make sense to tie in to the idea of ossia - eg, small sections of music displayted above the main staff/staves for a part to show an alternate way it can be played. I could imagine this being implemented by having the music entered on a source staff somewhere and then linked to an ossia staff.

As for suggestions on doing cues, for me it is simple - copy, set small, turn off playback. I never understand why people don't want the cues to appear in the score. As a conductor, I dislike it when there are things in the parts I don't know about.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I understand your point of view on showing cues in the score, although I don't agree with it personally. I prefer not having anything showing in the score which isn't to be played. Yes, obviously, a conductor should know that small-note material in a particular line is just a cue, but in baroque ensembles, the conductor is often the soloist or the harpsichordist, and has quite enough on his plate without the added fun of ignoring cues printed in the score. I would, however, be interested in hearing the opinion of others on this point.

I would also appreciate it if you could explain about 'linked staves and linked parts' in a bit more detail. I was not aware that there was a way to link staves so that changes in the primary staff would automatically update cues in the secondary. How does this work, and where are the controls for that function?

Finally, is there any way to 'overwrite' visible rests to a portion of a measure which contains invisible cue notes?

In reply to by Recorder485

Parts are 'automatically' linked.

From the handbook:
"Parts and score are 'linked', which means that any change to the content in one will affect the other, but changes to the layout will not. When you have the parts created, they are saved along with the score (if you open the score you have tabs for the score and every part you created).
You can, however, save each part individually by selecting its tab and use File → Save As..."

You should be able to put a cue note in voice 2 without generating 'a second voice for the whole score on that line'.
Voice 2 may generate rests in a measure where necessary, but those rests can be deleted.
See measure 7 of the tenor recorder in the attachment where I extended the cue notes part-way through the measure, using a second voice.
The quarter rest, being in voice 1, will be visible over the invisible cue note.

Edit: Ooops! ... Had a problem with the attached file...

Attachment Size
CUE_EXAMPLE_3.mscz 24.57 KB

In reply to by Recorder485

In 1.3, parts were separate scores, but in 2.0, they are always linked. File / Parts, New All, and the parts for each instrument are automatically generated as linked parts. Change the score and the part updates, and vice versa. But linking is current an all-or-nothing affair - if a part is linked, it's linked throughout. There is no way to identify some passages you want linked, others not. That is what I would envision a native cue facility doing - making it so just for the extent of the cue passage, changes to the source staff automatically updated the relevant cues in the parts.

I am not quite following why the harpsichordist would find it more difficult to ignore cues in other parts than to ignore the actual *notes* in the other parts - either way, he should only be reading his own part, no? But then, I don't try to play directly from scores, and I don't have insight into Baroque performance practice.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

A conductor who has nothing to do but wave the white stick might, as you said, like to know what is in every player's individual part, but small baroque ensembles rarely have a dedicated person acting as the conductor. Whoever is leading the performance is usually also playing a solo part or improvising the continuo. The downbeat is given by a nod of the head or a movement of the instrument itself, and away they go. If I'm leading a performance while playing a solo or concertante line, I play from a part, not the score. I only use the score in rehearsals, and often I keep it on a second music stand next to me so I can refer to it as needed. There are too many page-turns in a score for a soloist to deal with in performance. Individual parts for single movements of most Baroque pieces can be laid out on two or at most three pages, which can be laid across the music stand so the musician doesn't have any page turns at all until the movement is done and there's a brief pause.

Continuo players, OTOH, do usually play from a score, but they also need to have two or three brains just to get through a normal day. I tip my hat to them all as what they do makes my head hurt just to think about. But the point here is that while sometimes they are playing from a figured bass line, other times they only have a score with no figuring and have to assimilate all the parts above the bass line so they can improvise the harmony on the fly. If the score is too dense--visually--it makes their job harder, so I like to keep cues that the instrumentalists want/need out of the score itself.

I am starting to appreciate the advantages of having the parts linked to the score in 2.0 by now, but I'm also still getting use to it. I am still not quite certain if I save a modification in a part while the PART tab is active, whether that modification will show up in the score itself. Sometimes--as with cues--I don't want it least, not in the same form. But that's a personal choice.

My ideal of a cue function for MuseScore would be something that is applied to the score, and then appears subsequently in the parts, but there would be a way to tell the program to set the cue as INVISIBLE in the score and VISIBLE in the part. The more I think about it, the better I appreciate the complexity you hinted at in your earlier post. We'd need a 'menu' page with at least two input fields (one for music; another for cue ID staff text) and a few radio-buttons or drop-downs, and ideally the whole thing could be activated with a left-click on the insert point (or a keyboard shortcut) to avoid the trouble of going through STYLE>General>Cue....

In reply to by Recorder485

I think we are both understanding each other better here :-)

One of the things on my personal "to do" list for 2.1 is to investigate the abilty to break links between score and parts on an element-by-element basis (and/or just break the link completely - still store the part in the main file, but not otherwise link it). The realities of how all this is implemented is such that we have been assuming actual notes would be off-limits - that is, there would be no way to unlink individual notes. Way too many bad things could happen if this power were misused, intentionally or otherwise. But perhaps there would be a way to somehow limit the power in a way that could be used for cue notes.

Meanwhile, you can mark the cues invisible in the score, and this won't affect the parts. This would leave you with empty measures, no full measure rest, unless you actually entered the cue in another voice. Not sure what would be expected for you. It would be possible to have a full measure rest in voice 2 if you know the trick (exchange voices in empty measure first). This much at least could probably be automated, maybe added to the Edit / Tools menu.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

As an amateur pianist who plays with other instruments, I definitely do not want to look only at my own part as I play. If the music is easy enough, I might like to have in front of me what cues other instruments have. But when the score and I get at all busy, I prefer that only what the other instruments are actually playing show. If one of the other instruments has another's notes as cue, even if the latter is smaller than small, I won't know at a glance who is actually supposed to be playing. And if another instrument has some of the piano part as cue, I will think they are supposed to be playing with me. I may even stop if I don't hear them. If the pros have a lot on their plate, you can imagine what it's like for amateurs. Btw, don't you need to enter cues in a second voice anyway to get the rests you want in the aided voice?

In reply to by jwpratt

Thank you for chiming in on this subject. As Marc Sabatella indicated, the coding required to make this sort of thing possible appears to be sufficiently complex that it's not going to happen overnight, but it's definitely a serious issue the solution of which will help MuseScore be an even better alternative to commercial scorewriter software than it already is.
The basic idea of having cue notes invisible in the score does not seem to be a major problem, and is easy enough to do manually, unless one insists on creating two voices for those measures so that the proper rests will appear in the score while the cue notes don't. But that appears to be the complex part of the issue from a coding standpoint. That second 'voice' showing the rests should not appear in the parts, just the cue itself, and my understanding is that the link between the score and the parts would not allow two voices in the score while the part only contains one. Even as one who is pretty much illiterate when it comes to writing code, I think I can appreciate how difficult it might be to tell the program to break the score/part link for some things, but not for others.

Just to reiterate the requirements for a really useful cue function, let me put them in list format:

    Create 'cue' menu item, which can be applied to selected (blue boxed) material.When applied, this function would do the following things to the selection:
  1. Set cue notes SMALL in both Score and Parts
  2. Set cue notes INVISIBLE in score (or not, allow option)
  3. Set cue notes VISIBLE in parts
  4. IF option to make cue notes invisible in score is checked, create a second voice IN SCORE ONLY to show rests of equivalent value to cue selection
  5. Set cue notes in BOTH score and parts as SILENT.
  6. Place a staff text CUE element at the beginning of the cue section, which would show up ONLY in the part. The actual text could be input EITHER in a field window (similar to LINE text) or directly above the staff, in the same way as other staff text.

I think that about covers it.

In reply to by Recorder485

I believe it is standard practice that where there are cues, rests should also appear in both score and parts. If so, I think the following a correct way to enter cues.
If the cue goes into a measure or measures where the cue-receiving instrument isn't playing, working in the score:
1. Select the cue.
2. Copy and paste it into the receiving part.
3. Make it small and silent.
4. Make it invisible if you want.
5. Exchange voices.
6. Flip stems and do any other editing needed (delete any unwanted expression marks or piano notes, etc.)
7. If you made the cue invisible in the score in step 4, make it visible in the part.
One can do the same in a measure where the cue-receiving instrument is playing by exchanging voices first, provided the cue does not extend into the receiving instrument's notes.
The reason for step 5 is to show the receiving instrument's rests in both score and part. If the original cue was not in voice 1, as could happen with a piano cue, some modification will be needed.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I love the idea of having cues linked to parts and displayed on a separate ossia staff (instead of cutting and pasting into the part itself). My workaround at the moment is to create separate parts on the score just for cues, but I have to make a separate part for each instrument that requires cues, or it splits up multi-measure rests for other parts.
Wondering if any progress has been done since 2015?

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