Linking note range and string data

• Sep 9, 2012 - 10:47

I have noticed that there is no apparent link between note range and string data.

For a guitar the default tuning is E2 for the 6th string to E4 on the first and the note range is E2 to B5 (ie open 6th to 19th fret on 1st string). This is fine and is the maximum range on many classical guitars in 'standard' tuning.

However, if you edit the string data the note range does not change. Dropping the 6th string to D2 is very common but just changing string data and entering a D2 on the staff you end up with a note which is out of range. It would be very convenient if one change in configuration changed both settings. So for the guitar the lower end of the range would be the same as the 6th string tuning and the upper end would be 19 semitones above the first string tuning.

Obviously the calculations would be similar for all fretted instruments with the upper end of the range governed by the number of frets available for the highest string.


You are correct as far as guitars (and similar instruments) are concerned.

However, there are some cases where things are more complex.

Lutes, for instance, can have a number (up to 8, if I am not mistaken) of unfretted strings below the fretted ones. Generally speaking, you reasoning still holds: the available range still starts from the lowest string (either fretted or not) and goes up to highest string + num. of frets.

However, at the moment, including the unfretted strings in the string data creates problems with tabulatures; as a consequence, the range of the instrument might be different than what string data imply. It is my intention to add support for non-fretted strings sooner or later, as they are needed for historic tabulatures, and this would allow automatic linking of range to strings; but for the moment being, this is the situation.

As an aside, even with unfretted strings taken into account, the range will still be approximate: unfretted strings are usually tuned diatonically: assuming a 'standard' lute tuning in G, the first one is commonly tuned F# or F (according there is F# in key or not), the second E and so on; this leaves 'chromatic holes' in the available range, but I do not think MuseScore will ever support this.



In reply to by Miwarre

Thanks for the response.

I understand all your points - although not the detail of why unfretted strings cause tabulature problems. I assume there's just one string type and no distinction between 'stoppable' (whether fretted or not) and 'always open' strings.

I'll continue to change both settings manually for the time being.

I do appreciate that non-fretted strings on lutes and similar instruments (including some many-stringed guitars) are tuned diatonically. I'd only considered the range functionality to be a method of quickly establishing the band of potential notes rather than something to prevent using unplayable notes within that range so wouldn't have expected Musescore to support that.

In reply to by brod

I'm glad we seem to understand each other :-) !

About unfretted strings: yes, currently there is only one type of string, which is precisely one of the problem with current tab code: it may attempt to fret an unfretted string and yield unreasonable results. The other issue is to let the TAB know which instrument string correspond to which tab line as well as which instrument string correspond to NO tab string (historic tabulatures may tabulate unfretted strings but with special marks).

Step by step, I hope to fix all of this. At the moment I am focused on display, to address needs of modern tab users, who are possibly the majority.


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