Anyone for Coloured notation?

• Jan 23, 2013 - 20:02


Perhaps this isn't a feature that many people would use, but learning to play guitar through colored notation
has made my learning curve skyrocket! It is just as useful on other instruments as well. Yes, it is a crutch to be weaned off in time, but it has allowed me to quickly play songs by referencing the score, and is ending my frustration with learning to read sheet music. If more instructors used the Candida Tobin Colour Method in their lessons with beginner students, they would likely progress much quicker, have more fun, and be less likely to quit in the early months.

Although I have been playing the guitar for close to 2 years, I've had difficulty in quickly recognizing the note on the score and translating it to the proper fret position on the guitar. For this reason, I had been primarily referencing TAB, as do most other amateur guitarists. When my new instructor provided the sheet music with colored notation, I just had to recognize the color of the note (rather than having to quickly and accurately distinguish the actual name of the note) and play the fret with the corresponding colored sticker on the fretboard. This method essentially eliminates half of the mental process required to play the instrument. The mind quickly learns where the 7 colored positions are on the fretboard, and playing suddenly begins to become automatic.

Anyway, the obvious problem is that sheet music isn't provided with this colored feature, so anyone using the method has to get a set of colored markers to fill in the proper note colors on the paper score. It would sure be nice if there was a feature on MuseScore that would allow for the colorization of the notes (A=blue, B=green, C=yellow, G=red, D=purple, E=orange, F=brown)

I suppose this feature would be low on the priority list, but then again, it may set MuseScore apart from the other products available, and more instructors might start to use the Tobin Colored Method in their teachings. Unfortunately, she passed away before it really gained much widespread use. My instructor Steve Dell, has been using the method for 13 years, and he swears by it! In his words "The genius of the Colour Music Method makes my job as a guitar teacher not only so much easier, but much more enjoyable, as it accelerates the learning process immeasurably. Candida's system for teaching music is the best thing ever contributed to music education."

Anyway, I hope you at least consider it for an added feature.

Thanks for listening!



I have been interested in getting the Tobin Music System colours in MuseScore for a few years.
Managed to alter one of the plugins myself.

A simple issue is not being able to distinguish between enharmonic notes.

Yesterday I created two files one to colour notes when the key contains flat and one for the sharp keys.

I have attached these files. They must have the .txt changed to .js and then copied to

C:\Program Files (x86)\MuseScore\plugins\
C:\Program Files\MuseScore\plugins\

Restart MuseScore if it was running.

I would love to make the plugin colour only the selected bars, staves or notes but my JavaScript coding isn't up to it.

Attachment Size
tobincolourssharp.txt 4.56 KB
tobincoloursflat.txt 4.53 KB

For me the coloured notation, one colour per note name would be great. I teach percussion ensemble and want the triangles on the top "F" line =blue, Castanets on 4th "D" line= green, Tambourines on 3rd "B" line =red, Drums on 2nd "G" line = brown, cymbals on bottom "E" line = yellow.

In reply to by James Brigham

do you know if there's any way to apply a certain colour to a selection of notes? I'd like to pick a selection and assign a colour, not necessarily always the same colour for the same notes.
I'm rewriting a colourstrings book so it's a very basic stave (2 lines or even 1 sometimes) as it's solfa based.
The notes look always the same as the melody are played on one srtring, if you change the colour, the string is different.

BLUE for A string notes
ORANGE for D string notes
GREEN for G string notes
RED for red string notes

in the photo is the version for violin, I'm doing a cello version.

Attachment Size
unnamed (1).jpg 629.31 KB

In reply to by James Brigham

Hi James, I am coming back to this again. I really have absolutely no computer knowledge, and really need something handed to me as basically as possible. Is there anyway you could step my through how to get the percussion score colours into my plug-in.
I do use the colornotes plug-in already for glockenspiel and bells, but would really like the percussion colors as well.

Heck yeah! Most of my music is in rainbow colors! :P Tee hee
On another note (cheesy pun I know), I also created a system to learn note reading on piano with shapes and colors as well as on the violin to learn how to note read music for people to be able to easily learn how to read notes...feel free to check it out if you'd like since it is related to music education. :) Here's a link to a video for a demo : )

I actually created a system to learn how to noteread on piano using shapes and colors. I made my own sheet music for it as well for 5 difficulty levels to eventually be able to read standard music.
I also created a 2nd ssystem for violin with shapes and colors and made colored sheet music of Suzuki violin songs (lightly row, for example) because Suzuki is a popular method many students use.
So if you Google "note read with shapes and colors" or "noteread music with shapes and colors Adria sorensen", you will find videos on YouTube that I created for people who want to learn music online...
I attached a file as an example for you.

Very well said Jeff. This move to a universal color coding system for musical notes has been going on for a very long time. The issue has always been that these two seemingly identical proportional languages have a great deal of anecdotal correlation between them, and a universal has been elusive. I believe that is changing, as there are mathematic and scientific correlations which point to a color "starting point", and just as I have been teaching my music color system for visual learners, for almost three decades now.

Check it out, you might like using it.

I've modified the Color Notes plugin once again to apply the Tobin Music Scheme colours in MuseScore 4.
Simply unzip the file to the MuseScore4/Plugins folder
Open MuseScore 4 and click on Home and then Plugins to enable it.
It is called Candida's Colours and has a row of the 7 colours on a white background - chosen to avoid any possible copyright comeback.

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