New note entry method

• Dec 2, 2010 - 18:08

Hello all,

When I started using music notation software a long time ago, there was a program called Musicator, which had a note entry method that worked very intuitively and was perfect for me. Here's how it functioned (I used it with my MIDI-keyboard):
-you chose a basic note value, say, 8th note
-when a key on the MIDI-keyboard was pressed, the note was entered having that value
-when a key was pressed and held, and the right arrow key of the computer keyboard was pressed, the basic value was doubled, so you would get a quarter note
-when the key was held and right arrow pressed twice, you would get a dotted quarter
etc etc

This method worked so great because MIDI-keyboard presses and computer keyboard presses together form a continuous rhythm. In my experience, this was the best input method I ever used, very fast, with hardly any mistakes made.

Would it be possible to integrate this into MuseScore?


for me this method seems a bit limited, as you can only a) repeat with same note value b) repeat with double or half note value and c) repeat with a dotted rhythm. This - and much more - you can as well accomplish in MuseScore by keeping one hand on the computer keypad and the other hand on a MIDI keyboard. This way you have the choice of many more variations of note values at hand.

In reply to by kbundies

No, you can enter the basic note value and multiply it by any number by pressing right arrow any number of times. So, theoretically, with a basic value of a sixteenth you can enter a whole note in 4/4 time by pressing right arrow 31 times.
Of course, the possibility to switch (basic) note value with the numpad stays there. So this system could be easily integrated with the current step-tike input; all that is needed is to extend the input method by adding the option of multiplying a note's value by holding the key and pressing right arrow.

In reply to by toeter

toeter, still I don’t see an advantage, if one actually has to visually recheck on screen, that one has entered the correct value.
By using the keypad for note values you have your 5 fingers to make a decisive choice (like the other five fingers choose the note pitches on the MIDI keyboard)

In reply to by kbundies

I really don't see why you would have to check on screen. The good thing of the system is that you hardly will make mistakes with it. In my experience, you can keep the same basic note value for many bars, and the fact that you are entering notes in a rhythmical way (with keyboard and arrow presses together forming a continuous rhythm, being the chosen basic note value) makes it very logical and musical.
Another reason why it is fast, is because for long stretches with the same basic note value you only need one key on the computer keyboard (the arrow), and not all the different keys for note values and dots.

Thanks for the tips on key shortcuts in MuseScore, however this system only works if you can add the same note value multiple times to a note, it's not about doubling and halving.

In reply to by Nicolas

Yes. Did you read my post? As I wrote, it is not about doubling and halving, it is about being able to use twice, or three times, or four times, the note value by pressing the right arrow the corresponding number of times.
Apparently it is difficult to explain the advantage of the input method, since people here don't seem to understand me well. However, I think it would be a great addition to MuseScore, and easy to create. Maybe you have to experience it to see why it's useful.

In reply to by toeter

I think I understand what you mean but I don't understand wy it's more convenient.
You select "16th note" and want to enter 2 eights, a quarter, and 4 16th, let say on C.
You will

  1. hold C, and press right
  2. hold C, and press right
  3. hold C, and press twice right
  4. hold C, and press 3times right
  5. hold C, and press 3times right
  6. hold C, and press 3times right
  7. hold C, and press 3times right


In the current version of MuseScore, you can do it with a lot less move.
Press 4 C C, 5 C, 3 CCCC
In next version, you'll even be able to set some keys on the MIDI keyboard instead of 4,5,3. Once you are used to it's quite fast.

In reply to by Nicolas

Of course, it is not difficult to find examples where the number of key presses in MuseScore is less. However, the advantage of my method is that only one key on the keyboard is needed, which makes things fail-proof. And the logical musical feel about it also is one of its attractivities.
I have ample experiennce with Finale, Sibelius and with MuseScore, so the problem is not that I do not know how to input notes the right way. My point is that in all three programs I have never found such an efficient entry method as the one in MuseScore. I have to add that it worked so well because I used it in combination with the MIDI-keyboard; thus I could concentrate on hitting the notes on the MIDI-keyboard while having to pay no attention at all to the arrow-pressing. The combination of MIDI-keyboard plus usual FInale/Sibelius/MuseScore never felt good for me, su I used mouse input in these programs.

In reply to by toeter


>>>The combination of MIDI-keyboard plus usual FInale/Sibelius/MuseScore never felt good for me, su I used mouse input in these programs.<<<

I must say, I am also using (Sibelius), but I am a maniac using MIDI keyboard plus keypad on the computer for the fastest and most accurate note entry... After some practise you will get very fast and have reliable note entry. If you reach a certain tempo, whilst inputting music, each key-press less necessary will improve input speed.

In reply to by toeter

I will back you up. I also used Musicator back in the 90's.
..and there was one more feature (that maybe also works in Musescore - i have not tried)
You could use a pedal plugged in the keyboard as "enter". And you could have as many simultanious voices as you wished.
So you could take a chord on the piano with all 10 fingers, press the pedal with your foot, and repeat as many times as you wished. I you had chosen an eighth-note and pressed the pedal 8 times the result was a chord shown as 10 whole-notes.
Or you could have left hand on the piano, right hand on computer keyboard, and then one foot on the pedeal for "enter"


I think we should keep in mind that there is not really a "best" method, and so the method currently implemented isn't likely to go anywhere.

However, eventually, it could be pretty sweet to have various methods available, with an option in the preferences to choose which you like.

I've been using my midi keyboard with the above suggestion in mind (I wanted to think about it before commenting), and I personally think the above method could be really awesome. Maybe add an alternative midi input method? So that it's not the default but it's there for people to use.

I saw your comment about being a user of Musicator. I have also been using it almost every day for about the last 25 - 30 years up until recently when my Windows XP computer died. I've tried MuseScore and I have bought a copy of Sibelius First but they are horribly complicated compared to Musicator. I am a teacher and composer and find that other programs are counter-intuitive. Do you know if Musicator 6 is available anywhere to buy? I have been using Musicator 4 and it suits me perfectly. Otherwise I will have to look around for a used Win-XP computer to run Musicator 4 on. I have about 4,000 files, many of them my own compositions, that I need to get to.

Many thanks

In reply to by John_Ferguson

As with most software, there is a learning curve, but I think once you get used to whatever difference might exist, you'll find MuseScore exceedingly simple to use. Be sure to check out the tutorial videos, read the handbook, etc. Then if you have specific questions, start new threads and ask away!

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