An interview with Thomas Bonte on the release of MuseScore 2.0

News

MuseScore 2.0 new features

Q: Would you like to comment or elaborate on MuseScore 2.0’s new features and describe their purpose and intent? (Answered mostly by Nicolas Froment, MuseScore co-founder and CTO)

MuseScore co-founder and CTO Nicolas Froment (L) demonstrating MuseScore
MuseScore co-founder and CTO Nicolas Froment (L) demonstrating MuseScore

Dynamically linked parts

This allows you to create parts and sync them with the main score. Any edit made in the score will be reflected in the parts and vice-versa. This feature is intended for band, choir or orchestra scores and it gives more workflow flexibility for these types of scores.

Guitar tab

Tablature support was one of the most requested features. It was wanted so badly that some users were creating tablatures by hiding notes in a standard staff, adding a sixth line, and positioning fingering numbers manually, one by one! Fortunately, Maurizio Gavioli was interested in implementing lute tablature and somehow, guitar tablature was a by-product of his implementation.

MuseScore 2.0 now supports tablature for guitar, bass, lute, ukulele and more. The number of strings and the tuning are customizable. The appearance of the tabs can be changed from displaying rests to using letters instead of numbers for fret markings. Tablature staves can be linked with standard staves the same way linked parts are linked to the score. A notable new feature is also import of Guitar Pro files (GP3, GP4, GP5 and GPX).

Guitar tab in MuseScore 2.0
Guitar tab in MuseScore 2.0

Start Center

When you start up MuseScore, you get greeted by the Start Center window. It lets you chose to start a new score, learn how to use MuseScore through a worksheet, or pick up your previous projects. If you’re online, the Start Center will feature a MuseScore user and one of his or her works from musescore.com.

Inspector

The inspector gives you access to all properties of one or more similar elements in a score. This is much more powerful than the 1.x implementation, where editing properties was behind a contextual menu. The inspector also lets you edit properties in a single place that many elements have in common, such as color or visibility.

inspector
A MuseScore score with the Inspector fixed on the right side of the screen

Custom workspaces and palettes

Together with note input, the palette is the principal way to add elements to a score. With MuseScore becoming more powerful, the number of elements has grown substantially, making the palette unwieldy. So we introduced Workspaces, which comes by default with a basic and advanced workspace. The Basic workspace gives a slimmed-down version of the complete palette and should be suitable for the majority of users. The Advanced workspace gives access to all the symbols. Creating custom workspaces is also possible, allowing for the creation of a custom palette. For example, a teacher might want to make an even more basic workspace with just the treble clef and the 3 accidentals. Workspaces are exportable, so they can be shared.

workspace

Continuous view

Adding a continuous view was among the most requested features. Users working on larger scores need to see their score in a continuous strip.

A score in Continuous view, new in MuseScore 2.0
A score in Continuous view, new in MuseScore 2.0

Selection filter

It is now possible to select all elements of the same type, e.g. all articulations, in a single voice, staff, range selection. It’s very powerful since you can then move them all and change their color, style, and more with the inspector. The selection filter comes on top of that and lets the user choose which voices are selected in a range selection, or if the range selection should contain dynamics, for example.

Explode/Implode

This was a popular plug-in in MuseScore 1.3, and it has now moved into core. It lets you explode chords to staves, or implode notes from staves into chords. It’s a time saver for creating piano reductions, or creating individual SATB lines from piano scores.

Engraving improvements

During the development cycle of MuseScore 2.0, Elaine Gould published Behind Bars. Obviously it had an impact on our development. Many engraving improvements have been implemented by Marc Sabatella following Gould’s advice. Here is a non-exhaustive list:

  • Seconds in multiple voices are now handled better
  • Accidental stacking
  • Tie shape and direction
  • Dots in multi-voice context
  • Beam angle, subbeam direction, cross staff beaming
  • Vertical position of rests in multi-voice context
  • Lyrics alignment with melismas, hyphens
  • Grace notes layout improvements
  • Automatic spacing of chord symbols

These improvements came together with visual tests to make sure no regressions were introduced during development. These tests were generated automatically for any modification in MuseScore’s source code.

Measure spacing options in MuseScore 2.0
Measure spacing options in MuseScore 2.0

Playback improvements, swing control

MuseScore now plays single-note or two-note tremolos, appoggiatura, and trills. Of course, many of these markings are played differently depending on the instruments or the period, so MuseScore makes a choice. MuseScore also features a new audio architecture and a new SoundFont for overall better playback.

Image Capture (graphic export)

It’s now possible to select a part of a score and export it in PNG or SVG format. It’s also possible to paste the selection directly into a word processor. This feature is meant for teachers or book authors who need to create lots of score snippets and include them in a text document.

image-capture
Using Image Capture in MuseScore 2.0

Repitching

In MuseScore 2.0 you can re-enter the pitches without changing the rhythm. (I think it was implemented after our trip to New York and a chat with a music engraver who happens to be my interviewer now!)

Section breaks

Section breaks make it easier to create several pieces or movements in the same score by resetting the measure count, the key signature, and more.

Some more new features

  • Flexible chord diagrams — so you enter chord symbols using any common spellings including support for German and solfege note naming and lower case minor chords
  • Dynamic text styles — changes automatically apply to all elements with that style
  • More supported notations — support for Steinberg’s new open source Bravura music font, more flexible time signatures, pedal change markings, grace notes after (trill endings), falls/doits/scoops/plops/bends, bagpipe embellishments, figured bass, ambitus, early music notations, and a huge set of additional music symbols from Bravura
  • MusicXML import/export improvements — greater compatibility with other applications, ability to control degree of layout preserved
Chord symbol input in MuseScore 2.0
Chord symbol input in MuseScore 2.0

Comments

  1. don

    no SCORE?!?

  2. Tom

    What about copyrights?

  3. Bob Zawalich

    To the MuseScore guys: I installed MuseScore 2, and I must say that it feels a lot more “real” than 1.3 did.

    I liked the linked notation/tab staves that change when you change the other staff, and looping playback is also something I miss in Sibelius.

    I will play around with it some more, but the first impression is quite favorable, even to someone used to working in Sibelius.

  4. Ralph L. Bowers Jr.

    Have not installed on my spare system as yet, but will in short order to test.
    One question: I have enjoyed having 1.3 as a Portable Apps….very handy.
    When might we expect a MuseScore 2.0 Portable Apps?

  5. Nicolas Froment

    PortableApps version is now available
    https://musescore.org/en/download/musescore-portable.exe

    1. Ralph L. Bowers Jr.

      Thanks for this…..good news as I have in the past used the portable apps version far, far more often than the desktop installed version of MuseScore.

  6. David Goethe

    My question is: which software/app would allow me to use my Samsung Tab Pro 12.2. tablet to WRITE music? With a stylus. With no midi playback and no rearranging notation to what the software “thinks” I meant to write (a problem I had with NotateMe). I would like to use software to use on my tablet as if it were paper, but with the advantages of digital storage, editing etc.

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