Historic TABS: Request for comments on bass string notation
I am currently working on implementing the notation for bass strings in historic tablatures (lute and sim. or viol) along the guide lines outlined below. If anything goes well, it is targeted at MuseScore version 2.1.
The resources I can invest on this are limited, then not all documented formats will be (initially?) supported, but only the most common.
As I am mostly familiar with viol tablatures (which are only of the French type), comments and suggestions from lutenists and players of other Renaissance/Baroque plucked instruments are very welcome (some familiarity with early tablatures and with current MuseScore tab implementation is assumed).
1) French tablatures: letters with prefixed slash-like strokes right under the tab body (i.e. 7th string: "a", 8th string: "/a", 9th string: "//a" and so on, all in the first position below the tab body).
2) Italian tablatures: numbers with 'ledger line'-like segment of string above the tab body (i.e. 7th string: "0" one position above the tab body with one 'ledger line'; 8th string: "0" two positions above the tab body with two 'ledger lines' and so on); the format where the number refers to the string rather than to the fret will not be supported (initially?). Comments from lutenists on this are particularly welcome:
3) Only via keyboard: by moving the note entry cursor below (French) or above (Italian) the tab body, 'shadow' slashes or ledger lines will indicate the target string to which the fret mark will be applied; pressing one of the fret keys, will enter (and lay out) the note on that string.
4) Mouse note entry will not be supported (initially?): as in the French notation the vertical position does not correspond to the string, pointing via the mouse would be counter-intuitive anyway.
5) For open strings, only 0/a will be accepted as fret mark; any other fret mark will be converted to 0/a.
6) For the French notation, only one bass note will be properly laid out for each chord: if there are more, they will be all lumped on a single spot. I do not remember any example of French tablature with more than one bass string per chord, but my experience might be limited, so comments on this point are particularly important.
7) Italian notation will support multiple bass notes, but the width of ledger lines may not accommodate fret mark of greatly different width.