non chromatic tablature (dulcimer)

• Jul 17, 2015 - 15:48

is it possible already or would it be possible to create a nonchromatic (dulcimer) tablature? Trying to do this using the bazouki sort of works but it ends up with the wrong tablature numbers since it is normally not a chromatic instrument. There are also optional frets that are included on some instruments like 6+ that is the half step between fret 6 and fret 7.


ive been talkin on a different thread i think they are going to try and put it in for the new update. ive been using the mandolin tab and just change the string number and names but i too have ran into the half step problem.

I cannot clearly figure out all the implications, but at first glance it seems to me that, the graphical similarities notwithstanding, this is a structurally different system than the lute/guitar tablature system and implementing it would not simply imply add a few symbols, but creating a different kind of relationship between pitches and symbols, in practice an entirely new type of staves. I would not held my breath on this...

In reply to by Miwarre

My purpose this morning was to create a score for a dulcimer.

In particular, see this paragraph:
Appalachian dulcimer.jpg
So, we have this most common tuning and scales:
dulcimer scale.jpg

My aim was not to get a correct playback: I do not want to give a headache to our dear Miwarre! :)
But essentially to get a correct notation (I know TablEdit allows this feature for the extra-fret and playback, and I believe Finale too, but that's not the topic of the moment)

So, my starting point was this published score:

For now, I obtain this (seems to me very acceptable, and for the 6+ , a workaround makes the trick, as explained in the score, measure 8). BTW, a '+" with staff text also.
dulcimer test.mscz

Once again, playback is not correct or course, but just mute the second channel in the mixer, that's all. So, we hear the melody (the essential) and we have the Tab for the dulcimer.

For the record, it's by entering in measure 3 the last D in the Tab (a dotted quarter note instead a 8th, my mistake!) that I encountered an issue (recalling: no issue with the 2.0.2), reported here:
#84806: Crash in Tab staff with cursor by adding higher note values to those in the standard staff before crossing the barline

See also:

In reply to by Miwarre

Isn't there already an alternate tab for French Lute or something like that? It's just a graphics/font swap, isn't it? I think that that could be implemented for Dulcimers, even if the note entry would be a little weird. Diatonic tablature is also used for Sitars and other indian instruments (actually, they have movable frets.) Either way, it might be possible to solve the problem with a new font/fonts.

In reply to by joseph.branden…

Hmmm, no, I do not think font juggling would be of any help here. Numbers are already there in the fonts (and, incidentally, French tablatures use letters).

The point, as I already said above, is that the correspondence between numbers and pitches is different and some pitches do not even have a number assigned. So quite a good portion of new code is needed to manage this correspondence.

In addition, a number of other 'standard' features should be adapted. To make just one single example, commands to change pitches (e.g. the [Up] and [Down] arrows) should be adapted to go diatonically, rather than chromatically (and even this not always, because some chromatism exists in the instrument, according to the above descriptions).

So, code is needed; fonts changes are marginal, if needed at all.

In reply to by Miwarre

I meant, without coding any changes you could do something like this:
(in C for my sake)
C#=0 Strikethrough or red (because it is impossible)
D#=1^1/2 (that is, show a half-tone bend)

etc. etc. Not a LONG TERM solution, merely a patch job until the difficulties are worked out! Because ultimately I think it'd be great to have a movable fret system in order to accommodate any instrument or tuning, or any diatonic key, and that sounds like a VERY long, hard, possibly buggy job, that won't be implemented anytime in the near future.

In reply to by joseph.branden…

"I meant, without coding any changes you could do something like this:":
Well, this is done through coding (maybe less complex than a full support, but still is coding...).

"it'd be great to have a movable fret system in order to accommodate any instrument or tuning": MuseScore already supports this: number of string and string tuning are full configurable and the fret system also support transposition.

"or any diatonic key": Ha! This is the problem! 'Diatonicity' is structurally different from 'chromaticity' and the former requires quite a good deal of ad hoc code.

I am not saying that it should not be done, perhaps it would be a nice addition. But, for the amount of work involved (unless someone comes with a genial breakthrough) and the relatively few additional use cases it would cover, I suspect it to be at a quite low priority.

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