Create Custom Clef

• Nov 1, 2018 - 22:05

Hello, it would be a very useful and awesome feature if the user could create a custom clef, with a customized number of lines on the staff and custom note assignments to the lines and spaces.


Here too:
Why and for what purpose exactly?

See, this too is open source: you need to convince the core developers about the usefulness of a certain feature

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Instruments like viola d'amore mix different Types of clefs in one staff. Especially they mix normal clefs and scordatura. For traditional clefs: changing a clef means to redefine the range of pitches which can be expressed with the five lines. However in the the case of the the viola d'amore the clef can be a scordatura clef which completely changes the meaning of the lines.

In the example attached the fifth between the first two notes stand for D and A (it is a bass clef) In bar three of the third line the scordatura clef is introduced and a chord with three fifths is introduced. However The meaning of those four notes is D-F#-A-D. Here the two notes from the beginning do not mean a fifth anymore they stand for a third. Later down the page (line 5) the writer introduces another scordatura mode (A kind of 8va mode) by introducing a "fl" and a wave-line. which, again, changes the meaning of the lines.

I am not so much a musescore-pro so there may be a solution for this. Maybe it is not a missing feature but I do not know hot to do it with the on-board features of musescore.
Initially I tried to use a piano-like approach with different staffs. One staff for each kind of clef. But this approach is not really practical. The main disadvantages are
- It leads to a lot of unused space and
- It may lead to more than two staffs. Already the sample piece may end with a score of the size of a string quartet. Which is not funny to work with - neither with a printed version nor with a screen and a foot-pedal to switch pages.

In reply to by damorecasades

That's quite confusing if you don't understand all of the details. Since I'm not familiar with the Viola d'amore without scordatura adding it makes it even more confusing. I do have some observations though. I seems that the scordatura while identified by the clef is not by itself defined by the clef but that the accidentals before the initial bass clef help to define the scordatura.

The bottom line is that MuseScore doesn't support scordatura. There is really no way to make it work with scordatura at this time either. There are things that could make it work with a minor tweak to the code but I've been told there are workarounds (they don't work for this) so I won't waste my time going down that road again. Someone else is welcomed to fight that fight.

Another thought: If I'm not wrong, MuseScore is using symbols of SMufL ( If your missing clefs are common symbols of music notation, discuss it there. So maybe it's easier, that they will available for MuseScore.

The reason it would be very useful, is because I am writing music in a different form of notation similar to Chromatic Notation, which I have included a picture of, that is designed to make it easy to see the correct distances of intervals between notes. This is especially useful for sight singing, and combined with shape notes, makes singing together a glorious and divine experience for all to enjoy. It is much easier to teach others who do not understand standard notation, and then more people get to experience the joy of singing harmonies together.

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In reply to by Anzick

if this could be added to Musescore 3.x that would be absolutely amazing for me, as then I could also take advantage of the dynamically changing shape notes, which I think is a very cool thing, as in 2.x, with the plugin, they do not change dynamically.

In reply to by Anzick

...and unfortunately, the dynamically changing shape notes in 3.x, means I cannot use it with my altered staff since the noteheads change as I move them. So as of now I have to use 2.3.2 since I can put the notes in the right spots, convert to shape notes, and then move them onto the 7 line chromatic staff without them changing shape. As it sounds, it is a time-consuming process that would be avoided if there were a chromatic notation clef with C in the middle. What is the likelihood of this being added anytime soon? How quickly could a software developer feasibly add it to the code? I am about to begin putting together a new tunebook of public domain hymns with this chromatic system + shape notes, and would like to start as soon as possible. Thank you.

In reply to by Anzick

Realistically, all focus right now is on getting to MuseScore 3 to the point where it feels ready to release, which means mostly fixing bugs, also adding whatever few missing features are deemed most essential. Adding new experimental features only likely to be used by 0.01% of users - well, I think that percentage probably also works as an estimate of the likelihood of seeing it "soon". That's the sort of thing I'd maybe expect to see after the dust settles on 3.0 and we start thinking about 3.1 or whatever. Then they'd have to be prioritized with other feature requests.

As for how quickly it could happen once work started, I can't really answer that as I don't know the current state of the work that has already been done. I might as well be predicting next summer's hurricane season. But f you want a slightly educated guess, this seems like something that would make a good Google of Code project if defined narrowly enough, which is to say if work began in spring it could conceivably show up in fall. Absolutely no guarantee whatsoever that this would happen in 2019, but my crystal ball says this is how it would most likely happen in whatever year it does happen.

In reply to by Anzick

Again, without knowing more about the current state of the code already written, it's very difficult to estimate. But I did mention some specifics - when I say it's the sort of thing that could potentially be done as part of Google Summer of Code project, start in spring end in fall, that's basically saying I think it's a few person-months of effort if you define the task narrowly enough. The problem is unless it is undertaken with supervision of the rest of the team, there is almost no chance the code would be merged, leading it to be orphaned in pretty much exactly the same way the last attempt was a couple of years ago. Which is to say, even if you did pay some $30,000 or whatever for a few months of coding, you'd probably end up with unsupported build incapable of opening anyone else's scores or creating scores anyone else could open, and you'd be unable to take advantage of any future improvements.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Ok. Well, that is why I think it would be a good idea to add creating a custom clef as an option. I am now exploring the use of Finale, and it does allow for creating custom staffs and even making staff lines invisible. If Musescore could do this it would help not only me and my desire for a chromatic staff, but whatever other notation styles people may want to use. Here is another site with the same ideas I have:

Of course, if the development team does not want to add the ability to create a custom clef/staff, but would still make a chromatic staff with C in the middle, that is fine with me. Perhaps similar to the screenshot below, with spaces around the middle C.

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In reply to by Anzick

Indeed, eventually several years down the road it could be good to add a full scale customizable "invent your own notation" option as a special build, or even as a totally separate program. I was trying to suggest an alternative that could be achieved in only a few months and that would actually have a chance of making it into the regular version of MuseScore, but I can understand if that won't suit your more specialized needs.

In reply to by Anzick

I thought that was why you seemed to be rejecting the notion of an appropriately narrowly-defined version that could be done in only a few months by a GSoC student (and paid for by someone else). If you're saying that would be fine, then great, hopefully someday this happens! Certainly much easier / cheaper / more likely than what it seemed you were suggesting instead.

In reply to by Anzick

No special process, just stay tuned here (or do periodic web searches) and when you see that planning for next years GSoC has begun, voice your thoughts on the various discussions that are usually going on about it. Feel free to search on GSoC now to learn more about the program in general. Spring is when students come looking to us for ideas.

In reply to by Anzick

on the clairnote site there is actually a custom Musescore with exactly the ability to create a custom chromatic staff with C in the middle I would like: It lets you adjust the line spacing vertically, and even pick which lines of the staff show. However, it does not work with the Shape Notes plugin. Is it possible to merge the code from that project into the new version?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Allowing users to customize clefs should not be that hard. Replacing a clef with another symbol should be a rather simple process since I'm sure there are not 24 clef routines, but at most 3 with the clef symbol read from some other place to display. Making a pop up, based upon the symbols palette, should not be that hard. The user could select a symbol, MuseScore would size it according to the font size used for a clef and the user would select which note is on the top line of a staff, since it seems lines are added to the bottom of a staff. The only other option might be to allow this for pitched, percussion and tablature staves.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

This is about a totally different notation system. If the system didn't break anything from normal notation, I don't see why it couldn't be merged. Maintaining it it could be on the people who wrote the original code and anything pertaining to it that wasn't a crash could be put as low priority. All crashes need to be fixed. I'd never use this, but if someone were interested, it would make converting a score from standard western notation to this system quite easy. Who knows where music notation will go in the future. Do you know what people thought the first time they saw a treble clef and a key signature other than one flat? I don't.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hey just wondering if I'm barking up the wrong tree, but it would be very useful to me to be able to customize the Clef as well because I am doing Steel Guitar Transcriptions that frequently use different tunings and it's convenient for the reader to have these tunings at the Clef in each new line of measures for reference. My Teacher is currently doing this with Sibelius, but I'm sure Musescore has a way of doing it as well. I'd prefer to enhance the TAB line with a vertical line of tuning notes. Is there a better way to do what I'm talking about?

In reply to by aqualadius

If I understand correctly, the way to do this in MuseScore would be to create a text element witht he tuning info and simply copy and paste it where you want it. Not ideal, but it would work. If you attach your score and picture of what you are trying to do, we can understand and assist better.

Mostly related but I will add this: As a music teacher who is trying to get students to understand the system of Western music and notation on a fundamental level, I teach students how clefs work as symbols. I assess their understanding of them by using them on each of the 5 lines. My students understand that there is no fixed place on a staff for any particular pitch and the result is their ability to read any clef in any position with ease. Later, when they are composing/transposing/learning new instruments, any necessary clef changes are taken in stride. Anyway, the point is - and I know I am probably the only one - I would like the ability to put any clef on any line to reinforce the understanding and flexibility of my students.
Thinking about the requested feature, I can say this: In the past I have had students develop their own personal clefs identifying their favorite pitch to show their understanding. They do this by hand obviously, but it would be pretty cool if I could then scan their designs and incorporate them into the work I prepare for them on Musescore.
Point is: I know requests like these are not priorities, but there are people like me who dream of being able to do crazy stuff like this.

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