Tab Editing Ideas & personal implementation tests

• Nov 1, 2010 - 13:51

I've played guitar for 24 years and have a BA in music, so a good tool for guitar based notation is very important to me.

I've been playing around with TAB editing in the code base (as a learning exercise) and came up with an idea for modified tab editing. You can see a little bit here

Dragging TAB notes should have different results based on key modifiers. Here is an initial idea, of course it is wide open for suggestions, alterations or being ignored altogether :)

Drag : Move fingering on the same fret to another string
Drag+Ctrl : Keep Fingering on same string and alter fret
Drag+Alt : Move the note (in the direction of the drag) to the next string where the same note is available (this is the hardest one, but would be very helpful).

The same would hold true for moving notes with the keypad. Just replace 'drag' with uparrow/downarrow


I'm not a guitarist, but which of the three options you list would see people using the most often?

It looks like Finale and Sibelius only support the last option (move note to the next string where can calculate the fret number) for mouse dragging.

In reply to by David Bolton

I think it depends on other factors:

Since there is not currently a good way to enter TAB notes. That is, click on the 3rd string and expect it to know you want the 5th fret. (actually you can't even click on a string at the moment and get it located) Then you have to do a lot of up/down fret and string wise.

the problem is currently when you reach a crossover point between 2 strings, it always moves to the next string rather than continuing up the neck.

Don't those other programs do some sort of linking between a pitched staff and a tab staff, so that is matching the notes on the tab staff with the notes on the pitch staff (and vice versa) so you can do your pitched entry on the G clef staff and get a first stab at fingering on the TAB? Option 3 works well for this since your pitched staff and TAB should stay in sync pitch wise.

If you are entering directly on the tab, and can't type in frets with some sort of 'cursor' (see the program Guitar Pro) then changing the frets with either mouse movement or keystrokes will be needed.

I think it comes down to breaking the paradigm of entering 'notes'. You are entering fingerings on the tab that represent pitches.

Sorry for rambling and not actually answering your question :(

In reply to by Nicolas

Creation of a linked staff works this way: Press "I" to open the instrument/staff editor. Select a staff in the right panel and click "Add linked Staff" + OK.

The type of the new staff (pitched/tabulature) can be changed in the staff property dialog.

First of all, I have not tried Guitar Pro (which seems to be some sort of reference for the topic) or any other guitar software, as I would use tabulature for viols/lute and I assumed (wrongly?) they cannot be used for this, so I may easily re-invent the wheel; if so, please forgive.

I have attempted to use the current (partial) MuseScore implementation of the tabulature feature but, frankly, I could not make head or tail of it.

johngizmo's 3 implementation suggestions deal with editing already entered marks. But to do so, you have to enter these marks in the first place! And, for this aspect, I strongly agree with his remark: I think it comes down to breaking the paradigm of entering 'notes'. You are entering fingerings on the tab rather than notes.

For each fingering you need to enter, two 'coordinates' have to be set: the string and the fret. As I see it, some kind of 'string cursor' is probably necessary: 'select' a string and place a fingering it, then move up / down to another string for other fingerings in the same chord or move right / left to the next / prev chord (of course, note durations make the picture less simple; also I have no clear idea how to select one among, say, 17 or 18 different frets).

Once you have the fingerings there, you may need to edit them. On the spot, among johnnygizmo 3 suggestions, I wold rate the first as the least important (the same fret on another string usually makes no sense, unless you are correcting some trivial typo) and the 3rd as the most important. I would even suggest a shortcut key for the latter (well, two actually: same note on higher string, same note on lower string).

The tabulature / pitched-staff synch aspect does not seems to me so straightforward: converting tab fingering to staff notes is easy, the opposite is much LESS easy, as you have to take into account which positions make sense and which doesn't (or which make MORE sense and which LESS). So, using the pitched staff as a reference for entering notes is probably misleading; as johnny says: break the paradigm!

Of course, I am assuming the program will know about string pitches (for other details, see my post in this thread .

Well, me too rambling...


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