Implement a note input mode with a guitar fretboard

• Jul 10, 2015 - 08:08
Reported version
S5 - Suggestion

Currently, others software allow a note entry with keyboard and fretboard
For instance:
- Sibelius: fretboard

Sibelius Fretboard.jpg
and keyboard

Sibelius Keyboard.jpg
- GP (Guitar Pro): fretboard (as expected...)

GP fretboard.jpg
but also keyboard (little less expected!)

GP Keyboard.jpg
- Musescore: keyboard

MuseScore keyboard.jpg
but no fretboard :(

So, considering in particular that MuseScore has since the 2.0 a Tab feature - oustanding :) -, the implement of a note entry via a fretboard would be "logical", desirable, expected, etc.
In a next version, of course! :)
Eg, for 2.1?

For another expression of the same request, see:


I have an idea for a sideways way to enable this that I might be able to implement some time in the next few months. It would be a web page that would allow you to input via graphical fretboard(s) and export MusicXML that you could download. In that regard, I have a few questions:

1) Would this be useful? Or does it need to be integrated into MuseScore.

2) looks very promising for rendering the generated MusicXML in the browser, which will need to be done as you click on the fretboard(s). Does anyone have any experience using it?

3) How simple is it to generate the MusicXML notes if I have a MIDI pitch number, a duration, a string number, and a fret number? That's all I need, right? I could generate notation and/or tablature staves. I'm not going to get into articulations or anything else, as you're going to import this into MuseScore and do that there. This is a simple note entry mechanism.

4) I assume that MuseScore uses the same toolbar buttons to choose note duration as it does for qwerty keyboard and mouse note entry. I want to confirm that there is no need for live input with a click track, which would be very difficult with mouse/touch, even more so for fretboard. It would also be extra work for me. Graphical buttons with note symbols on them are an easy way to do it in a web page too - it's a set of radio buttons.

That is not really about a full solution, but still: new features of plugins framework in MuseScore 3.3 (Release Candidate currently) make it possible to implement a simple guitar fretboard tool as a plugin to MuseScore. Please check out my new plugin on this, it is rather simple currently, but if you find it useful feel free to leave any feedback on it (probably the best place to do it currently is the plugin's issue tracker).

Wow, what a surprise! Thank you :)
First feedback: nice job ! I like the design (the red background/fretboard, why not, it goes well with the dark theme), but that's not the most important thing.

At this step of first tests, it seems work fine and to correspond to the main goal: to be an instrumental input mode, so a virtual fretboard, an alternative to the virtual keyboard.

One thing right now is unexpected for me : when you input a chord, say for example, A major: only the first note (top note on virtual fretboard) is heard, the other two are silent - image below.
C# is heard/played, but not A and E.
It's a little confusing to type notes in silence :( This is obviously not the case in the standard staff, or TAB.

A major.jpg

Finally, I didn't really understand (the translation perhaps) about this last possibility: "- Automatic detection of tuning of the currently used staff (works only after trying to input a note to that staff, as the plugins frameworks does not currently provide an information about the used tuning to plugins)."

Could you give a concrete example, and how you do that, for more complete explanation please?

Other thing: if it were possible (?), a tooltip should be available - Guitar Pro do that - so that the note name is displayed by hovering over the frets with the mouse. Personally, it's not a problem, I'm someone in the business, I know the location and the notes name on the fretboard, but it's not necessarily the case for all other users. It would be a help, for learning, and for preventing mistakes.

EDIT: for those who would read this thread, it looks visually like:

manche virtuel.jpg

@cadiz1, thanks for your feedback! Concerning the notes being not played on input, it is indeed so, but there doesn't seem to be a reliable way to force them being played in the current state of the plugins framework. The framework certainly needs more ways to trigger GUI events, and if there is more demand on that from other plugins authors I would be inclined to implement such possibilities for plugins. However in 3.3 RC they are note available.

For the "automatic detection of tuning", probably my description indeed lacks clarity here. Plugins framework currently doesn't allow an access to information about a number and tuning of strings in the current tablature staff's instrument, and, in the same time, knowing a proper note pitch is actually required to get the note added to a score properly. So, in order to enable using this plugin not only with classical guitar with standard tuning, I had to implement an algorithm that tries to detect tuning (and number of strings) of the currently used instrument. Still this "tuning adjustment" happens only when one tries to actually add some note using the virtual fretboard, and that is partially a reason why I decided not to include features on displaying fretboard pitches in the current version of the plugin: such a feature would work unreliably currently (at least before entering the first note on the given staff). But the request is reasonable indeed. In TuxGuitar tooltips don't seem to be shown but there is an option to display note name labels directly on the fretboard. Something similar (either tooltips or labels) could certainly be implemented as a part of this plugin.

I have also created a forum topic on this plugin, so for general discussions on it we can also move there:

Hello everyone, although I have already commented in the existing thread about the plugin (, I would like to write it here as well since this is the main issue.

I have recently created an issue (, to add the function to show a guitar neck virtually, as it already exists in the case of the piano (If you access the issue I created, there I indicate the reasons that make me request this function, and I think it will be useful to many people).

Contrary to what this plugin does, I would only be interested in the part of being able to display the notes on the guitar, as was the case in the software I used (Guitar Pro). There you had the possibility to click on the staff and display the whole bar, the current bar + the next bar, a chord, or a single note.

If you look at the piano, this is now implemented, and you can display the whole bar, a chord, or a single note. I don't know if it is difficult to adapt this existing functionality to a virtual guitar.