Ignored figured bass line height

• Dec 2, 2015 - 02:09
S4 - Minor
by design

There are bugs when a figured bass starts with a space or a line break.

If we change the line height % in Style->General->Figured bass, this setting is ignored if the text starts with a space character (Ctrl+Space).

This might be related to the fact that if I want to have an empty line at the beginning, I need to enter a space character (Ctrl+Space), otherwise line breaks are removed from the text.

In this screenshot, all lines should have the same space between them, but 67 and 44 are misplaced because they start with a line containing a space.
Continued bass.png


Is there a use case for having an empty line at the top of an f. b. item? As far as I know, this is not how f.b. items are usually placed.

The items you refer to are parsed as non-conformant, and for this reasons they are not considered f.b. items (if you note, they do not even have a duration indicator above them) but standard text items and f.b. properties are not applied.

(Incidentally, the example provided is very unusual as a continuo part; I imagine it is just a demo.)

Hi Miwarre.
Yes there are use cases : making accordion tablatures.


Since I got no advices to help me develop real accordion tablature (see request https://musescore.org/en/node/24695), I managed to find an alternative way. It consist of adding the fingering of the notes by using figured bass (thanks to cadiz1 for pointing me in that direction).

So I understand this is not the intended purpose of the figured bass, but this is the only working solution currently available for diatonic accordionists who needs to write tablatures.

But as you can see in the screenshot, the last small issue to make it looks nice (in the middle on the box vertically) is the line height not working when the first line is empty.

So could the actual behavior be changed to accommodate diatonic accordeonists?

Status (old) needs info by design

Well, diatonic accordion has nothing to do with figured bass. Your commitment to arrive at diatonic accordion scores is laudable but, for what is worth, I have reservations on this approach.

Figured bass is today practically a closed corpus; the little of 'new' continuo parts which are written today are only didactic and usually follow the historic practice. So, supporting figured bass to me means supporting what has been actually done in continuo parts of the 17th c. - 18th c. period.

Accommodating a totally unrelated application does not look like a very compelling reason for altering this support.

Why do not try simply using texts on a 2-line (regular) staff with enlarged line distance. It should be relatively easy to devise two (three?) text styles which place the strings at the correct places. There is some manual work involved, but the same would apply to any attempt to divert any given feature for an use for which it is not intended.

P.S.: I did miss your other post about diatonic accordion and plucked instrument tablatures, sorry. I'll try to comment there too.

I tried to use texts or lyrics, but then, we can't get the text to overlap the staff lines of the tablature (as opposed to the example in my previous post). So the only working solution for now is to use figured bass.

I understand that figured bass isn't meant for accordion tablatures, but it works well and we don't want to use an other program, since we can achieve great results with MuseScore.

I understand that empty lines might not be common in standard bass figures, so we can deal with entering a forced space (Ctrl+Space).

But could we at least fix the bug of line height ignored if the first line contains a forced space? That would have no impact on the normal use of figured bass, but it would allow accordionists to adjust the line height of all their numbers.

To be clear: I do not think there is any "empty first line bug" in figured bass; that feature works as it is intended to work.

About using texts, this a quick sample I contrived from your example using staff texts on a violin staff, modified to have only 3 lines with a line distance of 3 sp, no clef and no time sig. Two text styles are used: both with a font size of 13pt and vertical alignment at the top edge, the first with a vertical offset of 0.25sp and the second with a vertical offset of 3.25sp. By creating new text styles, each text can be quickly positioned simply by assigning its style through the inspector (several selected texts can be assigned a style with a single command):


In this sample, button texts are attached to the lower staff; this requires setting pauses in this staff at the relevant ticks to attach texts to, which is additional work.

In this other sample, texts are attached to the top staff, where notes are already there to attach texts to; styles are similar but vertical offset are 10.25sp larger than before to accommodate the greater distance from the top staff to the final position. This requires less work in preparing the second staff, but offset values in styles depend on the distance between staves:


I have no clear idea if this suits your needs or not, but to me it looks like an acceptable approximation. Does this mean that it is possible to use texts? I don't know but to me it is still a reasonable assumption.

Thanks for writing samples! Visually, they looks fine. When you talk about using text, what kind did you use? Because when I try to add lyrics (Ctrl+l), I can't manage to get the text over the "tab staff". That staff keeps moving down to avoid overlaps.

The interest in Lyrics / figured bass is we just have to press Space to move to the next note. With long partitions, that's essential.

As for the line height space, that's definitely a bug, otherwise line height would adjust accordingly to the defined style (Style->General->Figured bass).

Steps to reproduce :
- Click on a note
- Press Ctrl+g
- Press Ctrl+space
- Press enter
- Enter a number

The distance between the "space character" and the number never change, even if we choose a different height.

In my samples of #5, "texts" = regular staff texts ([Ctrl]+[T]).

Your description of the "bug" is precisely as the feature is supposed to work: if the text of a f.b. item cannot be parsed as such, all f.b. specific layout characteristics (digit centring, accidental left- or right-'hanging', shape composition, interline distance and so on) are not applied and the text is rendered as input.

Note that this also applies to an item containing an apostrophe, which does not follow f.b. convention.

Finally, while making my samples above, I also tried using Lyrics and I noticed the reason why lyrics do not suit your needs is because of the extra spacing that lyrics add to the staff distance. Again, this is how the feature is designed to work.

Figured bass, lyrics, chord symbols and so on are specialized features, designed to fulfil a specific function and specific needs; if they by change happen to fulfil also other needs, good! But I remain convinced that diverting them from their intended purpose to fulfil other purposes they are not designed for is not a good idea.

My suggestion is that for new specific purposes, new features are implemented as such, for instance in this case according the suggestions I made in this post or in any other way found suitable.

I don't understand why MuseScore shouldn't apply f.b. layouts even if the user input doesn't fit in the standard criteria. That's rather misleading for the user. Nowhere it says or shows that the figured bass is invalid. Moreover, the font is correctly applyed to the text.

So from the user point of view, there definitely a bug somewhere.

In addition, MuseSocre allows entering forced spaces in the first line. How can a user knows it's invalid?

I'm quite sad that for just a small layout issue, we'll have to duplicate a whole set of code...

If I start copy-pasting the functions, will I loose my time or we'll it be accepted by the project leaders ?

Another solution : How about simply renaming the figured bass : "figured bass & tablature" ?