Bossa Nova setting/plugin?

• Jan 15, 2022 - 18:38

I recently started jazz lessons & a jazz group at my school but am super new to it all, so I have been using MuseScore to create practice tracks for myself to speed up the learning process with pitches, chords, etc. We are doing one piece in a Bossa Nova style and I was wondering if there is a setting or plugin I could use to make the music play back in that style (like it does with the Swing setting)? I wanted to make an mp3 with it just to make sure I'm on the right track with the feel of that sort of rhythm.

if a plugin doesn't exist for this I have no clue if this is even something capable of being one or if it would always have to be done manually, I just saw it can be done with the Swing setting so I was wondering if this would work similarly.


What exactly would you want such a setting to do? The "swing" setting doesn't add new notes or really change any notated rhythms, it just plays the second eighth of each pair a bit late, which is how swing eighths work in real life too. I'm not aware of anything comparable for bossa nova - no simple adjustment to the timing of notes that turns an existing rhythm into bossa nova.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

He might want something like automatic comping. This can be done with external programs like Band in a Box or MTH Pro, and then importing the midi files into MuseScore. It would be great to have this function directly in MuseScore, even in a very simplified form. For example, generating a Bossa Nova bass line could be done very easily from the chord names.

By the way, it could be done easily manually if we had a very simple opportunity: when a note duration is shortened, having the choice to get either a rest or a not for the complement. For example, if we have an A half note, shortening it to a dotted quarter (Shift+Q) inserts an eight rest after it. Having the choice to get an eight-note (the same pitch) instead would be great. Having the choice between the same pitch or the pitch of the following not would even be better. But perhaps there is another way to get the same result. (I mean generating rhythmic patterns from chord names.)

Working the other way, such as generating dotted-eight - sixteenth pattern is much easier. One just has to use only eight notes, and then increase the duration of every other one with Shift+W, which automatically changes the next one to a sixteenth.

In reply to by Pierre-Yves Saumont

Hi Pierre-Yves, I made something similar, for the very same purpose. But it is not in MuseScore. I say it here, in case of. It is build with SuperCollider. It generates an endless bass line for the grid you've specified. The added value over an App such as iRealPro, it is that (among others, and if you plug a microphone) it will also analyse what you are playing and tell you if you are in-tune or not.

To remain strictly in MuseScore, you can also check my Scale Workout Builder plugin for MuseScore.
That plugin generated scores fro practising your melody. You give a grid such as "Cm6;Fmi9;D07;G7#5#9;Cm6" (from Kenny Dorham's Blue Bossa) and design some patterns (such as 8-7-5-3-1) and it generates a score with this pattern repeated over the entire grid.

In reply to by parkingb

I hadn't previously noticed your Scale Workout Builder, but this mention of it prompted me to have a look at it, as it seemed like it might be very useful for creating practice exercises, etc.

Unfortunately, when I installed V.2.2.0 It would not show up in Plugin Manager. I tried running it in Plugin Creator and this gave an error saying that selectionhelper.js could not be found. So I tried copying the version of selectionhelper.js from your excellent Solo Analyser plugin to the zparkingb directory of the new plugin and then it seemed to work fine.

This could be a very useful plugin for when I eventually get time to do some practice - it's always nice to be able to quickly generate some patterns to play through all keys, etc.

In case you are looking for any suggestions for further versions, could I suggest adding a "Bass Clef Instrument" option to your list of Transposing Instruments. (Also, I've just noticed a little spelling mistake - what should be spelled as "reversed" is being printed as "reserved" when the pattern is generated.)

But this is another very useful plugin. Many thanks for making it available, and I look forward to seeing how you might develop its features in the future.

In reply to by MarkWWW

I've updated the packaging. I've changed my packaging approach for the new versions of all my pluging's (I'm so used to the easiness of Maven when packaging for java, and I wished I was able to replicate this with qml/java, but unfortunately, I wasn't).

I've noted you suggestion about "Bass clef instruments". Are they transposing instruments (like a Bb-Clarinet would be) or is it that they are using another clef ?

In reply to by parkingb

I was thinking of instruments like Cello, Double Bass, Electric Bass, Trombone, Bassoon, etc.

Whilst these instruments aren't transposing instruments in same sense as a trumpet in Bb, they traditionally read from the Bass Clef rather than the Treble Clef, so when generating exercises, etc, for them it is currently necessary to apply a clef change (and usually an octave shift) to the output from workoutbuilder. It would just be nice if the plugin could do it itself, by choosing an option.

I had in mind the way playalong books are typically available in four versions - C (Concert Pitch) Instruments, Bb Instruments, Eb Instruments, and Bass Clef Instruments. You've very nicely dealt with all the common transposing instruments, and also some less common ones, but it would be nice if bass players, trombonists, etc, could choose a setting that would produce output suitable for them too.

(I can confirm that the repackaged version now works fine on my system.)

In reply to by MarkWWW

My first investigation showed that the clef's details aren't available from the API. Same as for the KeySig.
And intermediate solution would be to pitch everything down, like 2 octaves without changing the clef. I'll have thought about it. Thanks for sharing your feedback ! Much appreciated.

In reply to by parkingb

Actually, looking at it again, it works better for me to change the Instrument under Stave/Part Properties to "Acoustic Bass" and then change the pitch by a couple of octaves.

But it's no great hardship to do this manually if the facilities to do it automatically aren't available in the API so the plugin can't do it.

Many thanks again.

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