Entering piano music - best practices

• Jan 25, 2021 - 13:11

How do people enter piano music? More specifically: how do you deal with the multiple voices per staff that piano scores are so full of, with voices beginning and ending in the middle of a measure. I've been toying with two different models:
- enter one voice at the time, completely, then go back and do the next one. The problem is that it is so easy to miss those pesky little one-note middle-voice entries (much easier with choral scores, where everything has to be notated precisely for each singer),
- enter one measure at the time, with all voice details. The disadvantage is all the back-and-forth, and the switching between voices all the time.

Which method do you use? Or are there other and better ways?
(This should have nothing to do with input method - midi keyboard or computer keyboard, the problems would be the same, no? - but if it has, what I'm interested in is computer keyboard input)


Mostly, I enter piano music starting with one voice until I reach the end of the system. Then I return to fill in any others.
If it's a complicated piece with more than 2 voices on a staff, having a dense texture (with complex note timings) , I may plod along single measure by single measure. My "piano" instrument is electronic and so it can produce orchestral sounds which sustain longer than piano; and therefore a score which "mimics" an orchestra often has voice entry/exit timings (polyphony) which require greater attention to enter accurately.

N.B.: I am not talking here about composing music from scratch.

I typically work a measure at a time with respect to the notes themselves, but entering other markings later. Switching voices takes a small fraction of a second via keyboard shortcut and seems a practically insignificant part of the time spent. But if I were forced to enter notes with a mouse, that would perhaps change my thinking.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I agree - it's not really that much of a problem, other than the problem that the practicalities of piano music creates...
That said, there may be room for improvement. One quite frequent situation is this example:
Screenshot from 2021-01-25 19-05-33.png
Voice 1 has some line, voice2 enters in the middle of the measure. One then has to switch to voice 2, enter a rest, hide it, then enter the music (and then hide rests for the rest of the measure.
A great improvement for piano music would be if there were some command: "Add to voice2 at this place only" - something vaguely similar to "Add note to chord".
Anyway, I'm glad to hear that my working method isn't entirely off. Thanks!

In reply to by [DELETED] 1831606

Marc: agreed - it's not that bad. But still: some information is there already (i.e. the exact position in the bar) but is "discarded" when one changes voice, so one has to navigate back to the same position in the new voice. Using that information directly would have been an improvement.
BSG: can you do that? Move notes from one voice to another while still in input mode? I can't find it. And you would still have to go back and make the rests invisible manually, right?
In any case: since (a) this is not an uncommon situation with piano music (I've learned; why can't people just write vocal scores...?), and (b) the way to get around it is by using hacks that only expert users know of, there might after all be potential for a feature request here.

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