Rhythmical Note Input

• Sep 3, 2015 - 13:40

Hi all,

I would like to propose a new way to input note length, that I have once used in an now obsolete music notation program, and that is very intuitive and makes note input easier, faster and more "musically logical".

The input system works best in combination with a MIDI keyboard. First, a basic note value is chosen. Then a key is pressed on the keyboard, and a note appears in the score - so far nothing new. Now the new part: while still holding the key on the MIDI-keyboard, the right arrow (or any other assigned key) on the computer keyboard is pressed. Each time the arrow key is pressed, the note value becomes larger by adding the basic value to it.
For example: I choose semiquavers as basic value. I press C, and while holding the C key I press right arrow, so my 8th note becomes a quaver. Or I might press the arrow key twice and get a dotted quaver.

The advantage of this input system becomes clear if you try to imagine inputting a song this way. You will find that key presses on the MIDI keyboard and key presses on the arrow key together form a perfect, continous base rhythm, in my example continuous semiquavers. Also, only one key on the computer keyboard is needed so all your attention can go to hitting the right note on the MIDI keyboard.

Also, implementation would not have to be too difficult IMO (but I'm not a developer); all that is needed is an assigned key that adds the chosen basic note value to the note.

Currently, only the option exits to double or halve the last note value after inputting a note, which doesn't allow for the type of note input described above.


Someone proposed something similar several month ago. It also involved a "reference duration" (that we don't have in MuseScore currently) but instead of pressing a key to add the value of the note he was suggesting a "beep" generated by MuseScore with a customizable interval. So to enter a dotted quarter and a 8th note, user could press the MIDI keyboard, wait for 3 beeps before releasing, press another MIDI key, wait for a single beep and so on.

In reply to by Nicolas

I personally like the idea as stated in this thread more than the beep idea. I think I'd find the beeps annoying and also hard to be accurate with (sometimes I need longer to enter the next note, other times I don't). Simply pressing a key 3 times to mean dotted quarter or whatever lets me work at my pace while still keeping this "musical" aspect of thing. It has the advantage (for me, anyhow) of nicely mimicing how ABC notation works. C3 D E4 would be a typical way of entering dotted quarter, eighth, half, and in the system described here, it would be

C ; ; ; D E ; ; ; ;

(or whatever the special key is - but I don't particularly like the idea of having to hold the key for the pitch while pressing the special key).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I would say a key works more intuitively than the beep, because you could choose your own tempo. Also, physically pressing a key adds to the rhythmical feel of the process.
It is not really necessary to hold the key on the MIDI keyboard, the system would work just as well if you would press the add-value key after releasing the key on the MIDI keyboard. However, in my opinion, holding the key would feel more intuitive because you can "feel" the note whose value you are adjusting. But again, it works work just as well the other way.

Here's the original request for advancing the note on a beep (basically real-time MIDI): https://musescore.org/en/node/23691

I suggested using the sustain pedal as an alternative to the beep.

Either way, once the user has entered a full bar of notes they can be passed to the exiting code for interpreting MIDI files - voices and all - as shown in this mock-up animation.

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