Annotations

• Nov 28, 2015 - 22:36

For use in a music education settings, also for music editors, annotations would an extremely useful feature. That is, the ability to add markings that are visually distinct from the score itself and can perhaps be enabled/disabled in one stroke. To some extent, the visually distinct aspect is doable by using text styles - colored text, possibly a frame with colored background. And the enable/disable aspect would be doable with layers if this feature were truly supported (and worked with a broader range of markings). But we would also need a basic set of drawing tools - circle a note, for instance, or draw a box around a given measure, etc.

I propose adding a new Annotation element and some sort of UI for basic shape drawing - maybe just line, circle / oval, and rectangle to start with. Unless we want to truly support the Layers mechanism - and make it easy to use! I would also propose a menu item to enable/disable display of them. Unlike View / Show Invisible et all, this would affect print, not just onscreen display.

If we can find the right balance of simplicity and utility, hoepfully it would not be a very large implementation effort. It is something I would be interested in trying to make happen for 2.1. Thoughts?


Comments

Great idea! Looking at software like xournal (http://xournal.sourceforge.net/) might be helpful. Xournal indeed works with layers. I especially like the highlighting mode for example, although this works best in free hand drawing mode (see the screenshot below).

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Several times I used Xournal in order to prepare MuseScore PDFs for educational purposes. Of course, it would be marvellous to have similar annotation features directly in Musescore!

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In reply to by jschwalm

jschwalm , Thanks for your insight! May I ask what annotation features are of primary concern for you? Are you a music teacher? I myself have worked with xournal and feel that having the possibility for some amount of annotation in MuseScore would be a great idea :)

This would be a great feature and would enable collaborative composing and open transcription projects. It would be particularly helpful if comments could be added online via MuseScore.com (even if general score editing is not supported). There are actually a number of relatively simple things MuseScore.com could support to make collaboration easier, but I realise that's not the purpose of this discussion.

To return to the present discussion of annotations, if MuseScore does support layers then would that not require each layer to have a separate annotation layer? Perhaps a mechanism more like "show invisible" is required so that annotations would actually belong to the note they are referring to.

An interesting extension of this feature would be the ability to write music inside the annotation or (perhaps easier to implement) insert a "suggested" measure that appears in a different colour and is meant to replace an existing bar, perhaps with an option to "approve" or "reject" the change.

In reply to by shoogle

Musescore.Com already supports notes in the score. You can add a comment and a rectangle around a note, measure or more.

About annotation in MuseScore.
As you know staff texts are linked to a tick position. If we do add support for a circle around a note, or a box around a measure, it will need to (1) survive reformatting (line breaks, continuous mode etc...), (2) (more a consequence) be somehow linked to the element in question (measure, note, system etc...). If the annotation system doesn't support this, I fear it's out of the scope of MuseScore and better done in a graphic editing software.

In reply to by Nicolas

I saw the in-score note feature on the Goldberg scores but I didn't realise it was available to everyone.

Other useful features for online would be a Github style ability to fork and merge scores via pull requests. (I'm not talking line-by-line editing here, just a way of saying to the original score creator "I made some changes. Here's the updated version in case you want to update the main copy.")

If there was a way to declare a score "open" and give others permission to upload new versions directly that would be good too. Of course, multiple versions would need to be saved to allow any vandalism to be reverted.

In reply to by Nicolas

Good point about the need to survive layout changes. All the more reasons to keep any such feature limited in scope, and probably implemented more like articulations (attached to chords, or maybe even notes, rather than tick positions). I guess the question is, would a system last mited enough to work well be broad enough to actually be useful. I can't speak for anypne else, but for me, text and those few simple shape primitives really would be. But as others have mentioned, tying it to multiple layers could be even more useful, to allow collaborators to keep their own annotations separate.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I think attaching to chords and rests should satisfy most use cases. Even if the comment is in reference to something else out wouldn't matter as long as it's nearby.

If images could be inserted into annotations then that would facilitate pretty much any use case imaginable, and implementation wouldn't be much different to the existing image import.

As for keeping comments separate for each author, why not just store the author's MuseScore.com username as a tag with the comment, or some other form of ID if they don't have an account. That's how annotations work in office programs. There could be an option to hide annotations by username.

Oo I like this idea. I could definitely use this, mainly because I have a non-standard set of rules for my compositions, and a popup note on such quirks would be helpful to anyone who reads my scores.

Some thoughts on the matter:
1. I like the idea of a separate layer that can be toggled on/off with the click of an icon or key shortcut.
2. Would like the ability to add text or graphics (which could be imported but not edited except maybe for size).
3. What about annotations that pop up during playback as notes for the listener? What about the option to pop up the annotations but muting all the staves during playback? (I might want someone to follow the score, but listen to a better rendering in an outside sound file, but the comments appear at the proper place and time during the third-party playback. Useful for instruction or clarification.)
4. Can annotations appear for mouseovers in the PDF export of the score? If not, perhaps we could have an option for transparency level when exporting to the PDF format.

I hope this progresses, at least in an external plugin. I could really make excellent use of this possible feature...;)

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