Partially surprised — MS 4.1 raises capoing to new heights!
Many thanks to the individual or team that implemented MuseScore 4.1’s new capo element and updated and expanded MuseScor's capo functionality which now includes partial capoing. It's welcomed that MuseScore 4 abandoned its prior approach was managed by a kludgy text object properties and it's quite heartening to see a new stringed instrument feature in MuseScore!
I’ll list pro and con observations on this development below, but first I'll underscore that the newly added partial capo option is wondrous! Surely the partial capo features will prove valuable to many guitarists and those notating for guitar. I love it!
Here’s a partial capo score I created late last night:
Multiple simultaneous capos please
The next major improvement for capoing in MuseScore 4 would be support of a full capo plus a partial capo—this is because we change keys with a partial capo primary by adding a full capo "beneath" the partial capo. Also the need for multiple partial capos is not far fetched, as discussed here:
Here's a piece I wrote that is playable in the following three ways:
• with the guitar retuned to CGDGBG
• with a single partial capo 002220 over Drop D tuning (DADGBE)
• with double partial capos 024442 with the guitar in standard tuning as illustrated by the double partial capo image at the top of page 2.
Regarding fret numbering with Partial capos MuseScore almost got it right. But there’s a serious issue with uncapoed strings.
Fret numbering relative to the partial capo relative
The default fret calculation method should number all frets above the capo as relative to the partial capo. (Naturally any open string is indicated as 0, and we already have that.)
Presently frets on uncapoed strings are expressed as strictly relative to the nut. If we check with those reading Partial Capo tablature we'll surely find that nut relative fret numbering is contrary to what they would expect. Nut relative fret numbering is needed only on uncapoed strings and only as a means of indicating frets at the partial capoed fret or below it.
So then, for uncapoed strings, the partial capo fret calculation function should offer an option of governing whether the fret number is written relative to the capo or relative to the nut. And there must be a means to identify nut relative vs. capo relative frets for the reader—I could see using italic (or a user defined style that's not strictly colored) to identify notes written relative to the nut.
To be clear, by default, freted notes on uncapoed strings should display as relative to the partial capoed fret whereas open uncapoed strings should display as relative to the nut. We have only the latter. For example:
With a partial capo at fret 2 on strings 5, 4, 3:
• the open 5th string is fret 0 (and this is correctly implemented)
• the open 6th string is fret 0 (and this is correctly implemented)
BUT on any of the uncapoed strings, by default:
• fret 3 from the nut should be written as 1 (that’s the 1st fret above the capo position)
• fret 4 from the nut should be written as 2 (that’s the 2nd fret above the capo position)
• fret 5 from the nut should be written as 3 (that’s the 3rd fret above the capo position)
This makes all frets above the capo relative to the capo, by default.
Fret numbering relative to the nut
Anyone who wants nut relative fret number should have that option. And here's the obvious use case. Uncapoed strings need an option that displays frets below the partial capo AND at the partial capoed fret as relative to the nut. In some circles (and GP7) the parlance uses the term "absolute" rather than nut relative.
Partial capo documentation here
Better guitar sounds
Along with various notational improvements and enhancements for stringed instruments, MuseScore 4 needs some realistic, non effect-drenched built-in guitar samples for both nylon and steel string guitar.
• As described in detail above, a capo element/dialog supports partial capo (or as previously available, a standard full capo)
• Transposition occurs automatically, so you can notate in the transposing perspective as if there were no capo in place—a quite welcomed automatic feature!
• The capo element offers an automatic capo description based on the fret choices
• Alternately the user can write a manual description (see caveats below)
• The dialog remembers the settings after toggleing Off and ON
• No support yet for a full capo + a partial capo (Guitar Pro has that, image attached) or multiple partial capos ... or a full capo and multiple partial capos.
• Double-clicking the capo element quickly toggles its dialog opened and closed.
• There’s no option to move the dialog from its default position. (Is that an unwelcomed step toward mobile UI?)
• Similarly there's no option to move the element from its default position. A single click opens it.
• Weirdly there’s no OK/Apply options. Just Escape or click outside of the dialog to dismiss it. (again, seems like mobile design leaking into the desktop domain.)
• As mentioned under pros, there’s an option to enter a capo description manually, unfortunately there’s a typing limit of 40 chars.
But after closing the capo element dialog the displayed text only only 35? chars show.
The manual description affords no option for line breaks (despite the default description displaying on two lines.)
Despite the issues discussed, the new capo functions are a much-welcomed harbinger of expansions and improvements of stringed instrument notation and tablature!
I'm looking forward to more guitar, stringed instrument and tablature enhancements. Thank you and please keep 'em coming'! Robust guitar features will undoubtedly contribute significantly to MuseScore's popularity.
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