Avant garde

• Jan 25, 2023 - 15:44

As a composer of modern concert music, I find it challenging to find a notation software that incorporates the use of "new notations." What has/can MuseScore offer to composers like myself?


What do you consider new notations? As you have found out, most notation software must abide by certain rules. What software have you looked at?

In reply to by bobjp

There are a number of possibilities that I would be interested in, but far too many for a short message to handle. Karkoshka's book on new music notation (now about 50 years old, actually) is a good place to start for examples. A few examples that I am interested in include compositions in which there are no time signatures, or compositions in which articulations can be more specific (for example, a guitar part where I can indicate string pulls or hammers, use of nail or no nail; or percussion parts where I can indicate types of mallets without long verbal directions), Neither Sibelius nor any other software I know of offers these sorts of things.



In reply to by pauledoniger

I think most of those notation requirements can be done with Musescore. However don't expect to just press a single button to achieve each of them. Some may require a bit of fiddling.

Scores without time signature - Time signatures can be deleted, or made invisible or their display turned off. Measure lengths can be adjusted and can be as long as you wish (at least, I don't think there is a limit). Measures can be joined or split. Some of these techniques are also relevant for early music - see https://musescore.org/en/handbook/3/early-music-features for example.

Notation of "special" articulations - if the articulation symbol is already present in SMUFL (see https://www.smufl.org/version/) then it should be available in MuseScore's Master Pallet - see https://musescore.org/en/handbook/3/master-palette. Such symbols can be added to a customised pallet for ready re-use. Symbols not in the Master Pallet can be added as images - see https://musescore.org/en/handbook/3/images and can also be added to a customised pallet.

Note that what I have described only achieves the notation you were asking about. Musescore is primarily a notation editor and so getting Musescore to interpret and reproduce special articulations during playback is another matter. Some may be achievable using the standard sound libraries. Others would need the user to identify and install a sound library that includes the desired sounds. MuseScore's playback capabilities are being developed and have been greatly enhanced in the latest major update. However, that enhancement is more in the realisation of standard basic expression and articulations, but playback capabilities are likely to develop further in the future.

The best way to find out what Musescore can do is to download it and try it - it is free after all. There is a large user community many of whom may have already achieved what you are hoping for. Just ask for advice in the forums if you are stuck.

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