Alternative way to annotate music for a viola da gamba (or 'cello)

• Nov 14, 2023 - 13:43

I'm a cellist, with a son who played viola. As a result, I can play tenor clef, but the alto clef confuses me! Somebody posted some music, for Viola da gamba by Schenck, on Facebook, and I'm fascinated with the idea of annotating music like this. (See attached.) While one could use a bass and treble clef, and move across from one stave to the other, it doesn't result in a convenient music flow as you end up with rests you don't want. It would be better if the music automatically moved up and down the stave.
I have found that it is quite easy to create an 11 line stave (stretching from the base clef up to the treble clef), but this would only be readable if one could make the middle line (middle C) invisible (or dotted, or ...). Can this be done in Musescore? I realize this is a daft thing to do, but...
I hadn't come across the Soprano, mezzo soprano or baritone clefs before, despite decades of cello-playing under my belt!
An alternative might be to colour the stave lines differently. (As is done with Kodaly Colour Strings teaching method for young children.) I have looked, but haven't spotted a way to do this.
I'm just curious and have no real purpose for doing this!

Attachment Size
Schenck_two_ways.pdf 97.61 KB


In reply to by bobjp

The annotation ought to LOOK like a piano staff, but the music ought to move from the lower lines to the upper lines without this being done manually. You need an invisible line in the middle to make it readable (as shown, in the pdf I posted - which was taken from Facebook). I am just curious, as I think it would be quite a good way to teach the alto clef (particularly if one could change the colours of the lines, individually).

In reply to by KMKelsey

I can tell you how I did it. But it is an awful lot of steps. Probably not worth it. So here it is, just for the fun of it.
Open the attached score and drag the C clef sign to your clef palette. The square you drag it to will seem to be blank. If you scroll over it, you will see the word “image”.
Close that score.
Start a piano score.
Goto “View”>Show>and uncheck “show invisible”.
Select the treble clef sign and hit “V”. Do the same for the bass clef.
Select the 4/4 and change it to “C”, common time.
Select the first measure of the top staff. Go to the layout palette and select “Staff spacer fixed down”.
Select the spacer bar that shows up. You may need to move up and down a bit to get a little box to show at the bottom of it. Drag the box up until there is just enough space for D, C, and B notes. You can fine tune the spacing later.
Select the ‘’C” and drag it a little to the right just enough to make room for the C clef you saved.
Go to the clef palette and scroll over where you saved the C clef and drag it to the first measure of the piece. The measure will turn dark to let you know it is ready.
Select the clef and drag it to the left of the common time signature.

Input notes above middle C on the upper staff. Input notes below middle C on the lower staff.

I was unable to use a C clef from the palette and put it where I wanted. So downloaded an image and then removed the background so that it looked right.
To get rid of extra rests and other things you don’t want to show, select them and Hit “V”.
Saving this as a template didn't work.

Attachment Size
gamba score.mscz 24.59 KB

In reply to by bobjp

bobjp, Please don't spend too long on it! I'm just being my usual, really daft, self wanting to do something slightly unusual! It is nice conquering something - I hate being defeated by computers - but I really do need to limit myself to my real competences. Being retired, that includes actually playing my 'cello, and learning to curl (on ice, not hair)!

In reply to by bobjp

Wow, THANK YOU for all that - it's a massive effort, which is really appreciated! I'll try that myself. However I have had another idea - using Lilypond (I used the Frescobaldi app to input the code). It's tricky too, in as much as you have to learn how to use the program (which i haven't really done), but here is the code I used for the attached png:

\version "2.24.2"

\header {
title = "L'Echo du Danube"
composer = "Jean SCHENCK"
\tempo "Adagio"
\clef alto

\override Staff.StaffSymbol.line-positions = #'(-10 -8 -6 -4 -2 2 4 6 8 10)
\startStaff a' b16( a gis32 b a gis) a4 c16( b a32 c b a) |b4 d16( c b32 d c b) c4. d8
e4 f16( e d32 f e d) e4~ e32 d( b c d b c d) |gis,4~ gis8. a16( gis32 a b a gis b a gis) a4~|
a32 g( f e d f e d c b a c b a gis fis e d c b c a b c) dis,4~ |dis8 fis'16( b) a8.-+ gis32 fis gis8 e, r4|

This is my first real effort at Lilypond, so I apologize for lack of finesse! It's not as straightforward as MuseScore, but is probably closer to programming, so one is nearer to the basic code than in a user-friendly program like MuseScore. (Transcription now corrected!)

Attachment Size
SchenckDanube_InLilypond.png 75.62 KB

In reply to by wolfgan

Thank you, wolfgan. The trouble with doing it this way is that you have to manually move the notes from the bass clef to the treble clef, and vice versa. And you end up with extra rests which then have to be hidden. So using a piano stave is not ideal!

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