Adding lyric font-based harmonica tab to grace notes

• Jun 2, 2023 - 04:59

Greetings, ye muses!
Here's my issue-I need to be able to write 2-3 grace notes before a note and add harmonica tab indications below them in the Lyric 1 line. But when I put grace notes before a note, I can't get them to accept tab numbers . The tab is in the form of a lyric font, so you would have the same problem adding a lyric to a grace note. If this is beyond the capability of Musescore, then I would encourage the keepers of the flame to try to fill this gap and upgrade the program so that lyric-based tab can be added to grace notes.
If there is something I am missing here, please fill me me in. I have a harmonica book under contract with a leading music publisher, so I need to find a way to do this. I am using the last version of MuseScore 3, but will go to 4 if needed.
And example of a piece from the book is attached.
Glenn Weiser

Attachment Size
Childgrove.mscz 14.61 KB


Lyrics on grace notes are indeed not possible currently
However: using lyrics for harmonica tab is a mis-use, better use staff text.
Unfortunaly staff text don't attach to grace notes either... but FIngering is, and that does come quite close to tab, doesn't it?

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I have a True Type font for diatonic harmonica that I have used with MuseScore to engrave two books that are in the catalogue of Hal Leonard, the world's largest music publisher. So if that is a misuse of the program as you allege, you better put me on the MuseScore 10 Most Wanted list. :-)
All the workarounds that have been suggested are award and cumbersome next to using the lyric line. It would be marvelous if this could be remedied, as it is IMO a deficiency in the program. But if not, MuseScore is still a great freebie. Like they say, don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

In reply to by glennw1

I don't have your font so I what I see is likely very different to what you see but, even so, what happens when you skip the grace note and place two, three or whatever characters on the main note, adjust the position, maybe make the grace note characters smaller?

In reply to by underquark

That does work to some extent, but displaces the two notes within the measure, which doesn't look good.
If the notes could be realigned to have their usual positions within the measure without creating extra space I'd say we have a passable workaround.
Why, however, does everyone seem to think that amending the program to be able to add lyrics
to grace notes is a bridge too far here?

In reply to by glennw1

I think supporting lyrics on grace notes is a fine idea, but it's also not the right solution here - sticking is, as I mentioned, the better solution, once it also supports grace notes. That's because there is special handling for lyrics that really expects what you add to actually be lyrics. Sticking is designed more for the sort of thing you are doing. Or it's possible a new fingering type might be added that aligns this way. These would all make excellent feature requests for future consideration.

Anyhow, my main focus remains helping you get the job done today. Can you explain what you mean about "displaces the two notes with the measure"? When I added the fingering, no note changed position whatsoever. This is the standard grace note positioning.

In reply to by glennw1

FWIW, I'd recommend using "sticking" instead of lyrics, since it's closer to the right meaning, and is more likely to support grace notes in the future. Definitely a valid feature request either way, but sticking it's especially important, since sticking on grace notes would be pretty common, but true lyrics much less so.

But for now, as mentioned here and elsewhere, fingering absolutely positively does the job. The score you attached has no grace notes so we can't see exactly where you'd want it, but it's quite simple:

1) select a grace note
2) use Add / Text / Fingering to add a fingering element
3) type your text as you would lyrics
4) Properties / More to change the "Text style" to "Lyric odd lines"
5) position the fingering as desired

You can also Ctrl+Shift+drag this element back to your palette for easy reuse (but do it before manually adjusting its position).

Attached is a version of your score where I did exactly that, on a grace note I added to the first note of the piece just for demonstration purposes. I don't have your font so I can't verify I copied the text correctly, but it should give the idea.

As mentioned, you can also simply add a second lyric to the existing note and move it manually.

Attachment Size
Childgrove-fingering.mscz 26.29 KB

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for the explanation. I used an earlier suggestion to tab a glissando instead of using grace notes. That was fine. Still, what you you suggest is a 5-step process versus one keystroke on the lyric line with a tab font. So perhaps in the future the software could be tweaked.
To put it in perspective, I'm finishing up a 200+ page harmonica book and MS3 has been adequate for for everything I've had to do in a monthslong project. The only reason I didn't go to MS 4 was I already knew where all the functions were in MS3.
Thanks again,

In reply to by glennw1

Again, without seeing the actual score in question, it's really hard to understand - I'm not understanding the relationship between grace notes and glissandi or how it relates to the score you did post. But to be clear, the steps I list only need to be done once, that why I mentioned copying to your palette so future ones can be added in a single click.

But anyhow, yes, as mentioned, someday it's indeed possible sticking and possibly also lyrics might be supported on grace notes, especially if someone opens an issue on GitHub requesting it.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella


Thanks for your tireless attention to all this. Ex 1 shows what the harmonica tab looks like. Ex 2 shows the best result I could achieve. For this, I reduced the tab size a couple of points and double tabbed the G. But that displaces the notes to the right, and the tab is a little misaligned with the notes. If the tab/lyric could be attached directly to the grace note I would have more control over the appearance of this. To me, Ex. 2 is OK but not great. Can you improve on this with the means currently available?


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Grace note question.mscz 9.02 KB

In reply to by glennw1

I don't understand what you mean about the notes being displaced to the right - on my system they are exactly where they should be, and they don't move at all if I delete the lyrics. But I don't have the font you have, so my system is substituting something else, and maybe your font is wider and that's moving things?

I still think the fingering I have been advocating from the beginning is better - simpler and more flexible. It gives you completely independent control of the location of the tab for the grace note and the main note, and the main note tab is placed correctly by default, so you only need to manually adjust one thing. The way you've done it here, the distance between the two tabs is fixed so it's not going to line up perfectly with both notes unless you mess with the spacing of the notes as well. But it certainly works also if the distance happens to work out well. Probably won't if accidentals are involved, though (like if the G was a G#), as that will throw off the spacing.

And yes, as mentioned several times, it would indeed be better still if sticking or perhaps lyrics could be attached to grace notes, and I do recommend you open an issue on GitHub requesting this. My guess is lyrics might be a while but with percussion being a potential focus for 4.2, support for sticking on grace notes is very likely to come sooner rather than later. And as mentioned, it's a more logical choice than lyrics.

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