small 8va on small notes, easier cues

• Oct 8, 2015 - 20:28

One often wants to use 8va in cues, to avoid excessive ledger lines, but the 8 is not small if the notes are small to start with and does not become small if the notes are made small, even by way of the small chord command. (Scaling to the staff size is irrelevant. The way to set its size is obscure, but I found it.) After changing the size from 12 to 9, say, if you go back to work and later check the size, it still shows as 12 though it is actually 9 (a bug, I think). If you select all similar elements and then edit the size, to guarantee consistency and save time, only one 8 is edited. (Typing in 8 gives something different from the tag or meta-tag or whatever it is when you change the size, even though the font shown is the same, another bug?)

One feature request is that 8va attached to notes be scaled to the notes. (That may apply to other attachments also. I seem to remember a similar problem with trills in the lines palette, and it still seems to be happening.)

Another request is more convenient cue entry generally. My friends like lots of cues, and the time I spend entering them seems disproportionate when MuseScore handles just about everything else I want to do so slickly (albeit after helpful hints sometimes thank you!!).


The problem would be, what if the notes are not all the same size? I think changing the font size manually is the way to go. BTW, intead of using 8va, I think the more common solution would be to simply change clefs, would it not?

As for the size change not appearing to stick, I suspect you are talking about this bug: #66741: Ottavas: "Line properties…" displays the wrong value for font-size

What in particular are you finding difficult about creating cues? Should be pretty straightforward. Maybe you are not taking advantage of some feature that could be helping, but without knowing what you are doing, it's hard to guess what you might be missing.

8va: I am entering a piano RH in a bassoon part. I could change to treble clef and back, which seems fussy and possibly unfamiliar to bassoonists and takes space, so 8va seems preferable.

To enter a cue in a measure where the receiving instrument is not playing, working in the score, I copy the cue and change voices. I then hide the cue in the score. In the part, I make the cue small, including rests, flip and shorten the stems, and adjust the placement of both instruments' rests. If I am entering a cue in a measure where the receiving instrument plays after the cue, I usually enter it directly in voice 2, but not by copying (so I may have to transpose, always dangerous). Alternatively, I switch voices and then copy it in as voice 1, but if there's a tie to the next measure in the receiving instrument I have to switch voices again and reinsert the tie. Whatever I do, rests have to be moved or hidden. I may have forgotten something and/or gotten some of that wrong--I tell by looking--but is there an easy way I am missing?

In reply to by jwpratt

Why are you messing with voices? I usually just copy the part, use the Inspector to mark it small and silent, end of story. If you want to show rests as well, sure, you can also exchange voices, and this will automatically get the stems in the same direction, so no additional step is necessary there. I guess some poeple like to hide cues in scores, but this seems pointless and indeed ocunterproductive to me, so I never do it. Even so, higidng notes is dead simple - press "V".

So the bulk of what needs doing can be done in seconds. I guess the detail of dealing with measures where there is overlap - cues for part of the measure, real notes for part - might take a ferw extra seconds of fiddling, but that's exactly the sort of thing that is subjective and couldn't realistic.

Maybe you have some unusual special cases I don't normally encounter that makes things harder - an actual example would help. but I don't ever remember spending more than about 15 seconds creating a cue, and I've created probably hundreds of them.

I definitely want rests for the receiving instrument and shortened stems for the cued instrument, because that is proper as I understand it. As an already overloaded pianist I definitely do not want to see notes not being played in an instrument's part, as I think I have said previously. So I doubt I would find entering cues as easy as you find it even if I followed your suggestions and didn't slip up along the way. I can imagine that to automate what I really want would be difficult, although I do think sizing an ottava according to the note it starts on would be sensible, since all the notes it applies to are normally the same size. (When the notes are small, both the number and the hook are too large, btw.)

But I do seem to have another problem. When voice 1 has a full measure rest and I enter an ottava starting on the first note of voice 2, regardless of size, the ottava begins in the middle of the measure, and I believe is attached to voice 1. If I start with an ottava on notes in voice 1 and then exchange voices 1 and 2, the ottava even moves over! Correcting by Shift <- moves to voice 1 in the previous measure. One can correct by Ctrl <- of course, but the correction goes wrong if the measure is expanded or shrunk. This seems to be issue #29736, but it is very much not fixed in my (automatically updated, I think) 2.3.

In reply to by jwpratt

Regarding the ottava sizing, maybe file a bug report. I don't know that it really makes sense to do this automatically because as I said, the correct behavior depends on context. Sure, for cues, you want them small, but that's not the only situation where small notes occur. Better, perhaps, to simply add a "small" attribute for lines.

For the other ottava issue, can you start a new thread with sample score and precise steps to reproduce?

Regarding "V", it is true that noteheads and stems can be hidden independently. Is that your question?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Regarding v, my point was that to hide everything but whole measure rests, one needs to select the relevant measure or measures, press v, and then select the whole measure rest or rests and press v again. One v is not enough.

I think the only ottava sizing issue you regard as a bug has already been reported. I will explore the attachment to the wrong voice further and then file a bug report on that.

I managed to make the 8 smaller by hand-editing the XML in the .mscx file, but I could not make it grey, only the line:

(I had to replace the angle brackets by double angle brackets here because stupid idiotic Markdown doesn’t allow me to use them in a preformatted text block but also doesn’t unescape the ampersand form…)

@@ -17676,11 +17754,12 @@
         «Ottava id="113"»
           «color r="102" g="102" b="102" a="255"/»
+          «lineColor r="102" g="102" b="102" a="255"/»
-            «text»«sym»ottava«/sym»«/text»
+            «text»«font size="10"»«/font»«sym»ottava«/sym»«/text»
-            «text»«sym»ottava«/sym»«/text»
+            «text»«font size="10"»«/font»«sym»ottava«/sym»«/text»

If you don’t use an Ottava elsewhere, it’s a simple thing of search and replace. Otherwise… hm, could try copying the already-small ones?

Simply editing the text doesn’t work; in contrast to headers/footers, MuseScore wants “</font>” here, not “&lt;/font&gt;” which is what that would insert.

One thing I didn’t get smaller was the Doppelschlag (turn). I found no way to do that. On the other hand, I was able to get that one grey.

In short, we need much more formatting for many more pieces. Adding “<font color="#808080"/>” support to the text parser (I found the file in libmscore where it was manually parsed…) would also help a bit (as it would in other places).

In reply to by mike320

Aaaah, so a color and a foregroundColor attribute inside the beginText (and continueText) element. I didn’t get that idea, and I was unable to produce that with the GUI application.

Lemme try it…

… yup, that does the trick. (MuseScore auto-inserts “<style>Ottava</style>” but that’s not a problem.) Thanks!

I also notice you use a size tag instead of the font tag with the size attribute inside the text block. The OP mentions some problems with the size, is that perchance related?

In reply to by mirabilos

If you are talking about the font size reverting to 12, that must be what he was talking about.

I'm not sure what you mean about using the size tag instead of the font tag. The only things I changed on the font were the size and the color in the text section. I now realize that right clicking my sample is useless, because it only displays the default settings. Fortunately I had explained what I did, or you'd still be cussing me and pulling you hair out rather than reading this reply.

In reply to by mike320

You think you might have explained it, but I don’t know what you mean with it. I did not understand a single thing of that.

However, I was looking inside the .mscz file you posted, in which there was an .mscx (XML) file with the (outside-of-MuseScore-the-GUI) solution I could use.

So I still have no idea how to produce that in the program itself, but hacking the XML ended up giving me the output I needed (except the turn symbol is still big), and it persists across saves from the program.

In reply to by mirabilos

To do this from the program, right click on the ottava and select line properties. This will bring up a dialog that shows the ottava symbol with 3 dots to the right for what is displayed on the first line. Below that is an identical set of symbols for what is displayed on the continuation of the line. There is more stuff below this that is not important at the moment. If you click the dots on either line, you will be presented with a new dialog box that allows you to change the font, size, color and several other things. This can be used to change the appearance for that line (the the original line or the continuation line). I changed the font size to 6 in my example to make it smaller. I then clicked on the spotch of black with the word color: next to it. I set the color to some shade of gray that was light enough you could tell it isn't black. I pressed OK on the color, OK on the Text Properties dialog, and OK on the Line Properties dialog and the 8 was smaller and gray. If you right click the ottava and click the same 3 dots as you did before, the font size will be back to 12 and the color will be back to black. If you cancel out of that, nothing will be changed, if you press OK to get out of these boxes, the 8 will return to font size=12 and the color will be black again. At this point the line was still black. I made sure the ottava was selected and looked at it in the inspector (pressing F8 toggles it on and off). About the midway down in the inspector window is a black splotch with the words Line Color: next to it. I clicked the splotch and changed the color to gray and pressed OK. At this point the ottava was as seen in my uploaded file. Going into the XML is not necessary to accomplish most tasks in MuseScore. Changing sizes and colors in the XML should never be necessary.

Edit: You can select several ottavas at once by pressing ctrl-left click to add ottavas to the selection and change all of them at once.

In reply to by mike320

Aaaaah, the ellipsis linked to a dialogue in which these properties can be set (and the bug here is that it doesn’t read the correct size out from the file, but also doesn’t change it unless requested). I didn’t see that, and I can live with that.

I tend to go to the XML because it’s often quicker/easier to do.

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