count 1+2+3+4+

• Mar 16, 2015 - 18:36

Is there any way of adding the counts to the measures so you see which note comes on 1, on 2+,...? I'd like to have 1+2+3+4+ over every measure so I don't have to write it by hand for my kids.

Thanks a lot for your help!


In reply to by schepers

using chord for beat count will play the core during playback. for example, 1 e & a, the playback will play the E and A chord during playback. the work around for this is to mute CHORD track using the mixer panel.

I think create a plugin for the count would be desirable

I would also love this functionality. When showing the counting for compound signatures I like to use
1 + a 2 + a etc. This can be done with the chord symbol text, but the 'a' gets capitalised. Can't see how to turn this capitalising off.

As it turns out, I was also wondering how to to do this and I think this would in fact be a plugin that would be useful to many users.

I wish I knew how to make plugins, as I would definitely make this one.

Since I'm new to MuseScore, may I ask.... What is the usual route to "request" a plugin from this community? Do people in need of plugins offer to pay programmers, perhaps?


In reply to by Adinol

No formal process, just post here and maybe someone with extra time will offer.

Meanwhile, though, did you see the suggestion for using chord symbols? WOuld be a very simple matter to enter the counts that way in a matter of seconds (enter them for one measure, copy/paste to others).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks. Oh, yes, I did see the comment about entering the count as the chord symbols and I even tested it, right away. However, I can't seem to be able to figure out how to copy/paste those from one bar into the other. What I do is this:

I enter the 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & as explained above
To select I first select 1, then hold the command key (on a Mac) to select the others.
When they are all highlighted in blue I do copy
Then I select the note in the next bar and do command K
Then when I do paste nothing happens

Also, with this process the spaces between the 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & are uneven. This is just cosmetic, of course, but if someone were to do this plugin perhaps it would also be an opportunity to make some adjustments so that the spaces are even.

Again, since 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & is such a common teaching process I think this kind of plugin would be used widely by anyone teaching music.

This morning I looked a little bit on this site at those guidelines that explain how to make plugins, but since I have absolutely no experience writing any type of code, I don't have an understanding yet. But in principle if I had any idea how to do this I would give it a shot.


In reply to by Adinol

That should work, not sure what went wrong. Try again?

But FWIW, maybe a better approach would be to enter the chords in an empty score and save it, then just copy and paste from there any time you need to do this.

It's normal for music spacing to be uneven - half notes don't take twice the space of quarter notes. But if you've evntered the chords correctly - the numbers on the beats, the "&" on the offbeat (you can use Ctrl+4 to advance the cursor by eighth notes) then the chords themselves should even out the sapcing reaosnably well in many cases. But if you wish to force it to be even, consider adding invisible eighth notes in voice 2.

Feel free to attach your score so we can see what is going on and assist better.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks again for helping me.

I figured out how to paste. I just have to do paste after selecting the first note of the beat, but without first doing command K.

I did read your earlier tip about doing Ctrl+4 (on my Mac its command instead of control) and that is how I was advancing by 8th note spaces.

I made a screen shot, as you've advised.


This is also TAB-ed for kids on a 4 string guitar. Again, it works, but visually I can see that spaces are uneven. I'll try that invisible 2nd voice trick to see what happens. I'm not sure if that will somehow insert additional numbers on the TAB, though. I'll try.

In reply to by Adinol

I did some work after posting my reply. I tried rests for the 2nd voice, so that nothing shows up on the TABs. He rests.png re''s a screen shot.

Although it did force some spaces to be resized I still see that the spaces in the part 2 & 3 in the 1st measure, are not as even as the same spaces in the 2nd measure.

Hope I don't sound picky. I'm simply experimenting with options.


In reply to by Adinol

You're right, it's still not 100% even. A plugin wouldn't be able to accomplish that any better though - they don't have control over MuseScore's layout algorithms. You could also try filling the extra voice with sixteenths or shorter values. Chances are you'd still need to fine-tune manually to get it perfect, though.

In reply to by benvpdrum1

Best way to do it still depends on the specifics of your particular situation. If it were me, I'd probably use the "new" (since this thread was started) Roman analysis feature to enter the counts. You can use Ctrl+4 shortcut to advance by eighth note, and unlike chord symbols, the text is "plain" and won't be altered. Actually, the default font for RNA has some formatting built-in but you can override that font using the Inspector and set a new as your style.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I just figured out I can use Ctrl+3 to advance by 16th note. However, when I write the letters "e" and "ah" they are capitalized, like so:

1 E & Ah 2 E & Ah

I tried figuring out through the inspector how to make it appear like this:

1 e & ah 2 e & ah

...but I can't make it appear with lower case letters.

What is the solution?


In reply to by Adinol

That's because you are using chord symbols. As discussed, that's not a good choice, since these aren't chord symbols. You'll also be disappointed to see them transpose! Instead, use one of the other facilities, like the Roman numeral analysis facility I mentioned above, with a text style set to some font other than Campania since it will impose its own formatting.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Spaces are designed to be uneven, AIUI… even in Elaine’s book.

As for the plugin ideas: I recently had the need to reimplement the barbeat code in JS/QML for a plugin.… contains it, somewhat: first you run buildMeasureMap(score) and save that away; then, showPos can use the map to figure out the barbeat under the cursor.

Maybe this helps. It’s a start, nowhere near enough needed for this, but probably something direly needed as foundation for this.

In reply to by mirabilos

I guess you could also make a separate stave - for audio.
(***) Record the words "one", "two", "three", "four", "and" etc.,
and then assign these to notes in a specific soundfont. then you could make a count-in and if anyone really wanted it keep going throughout a piece - in playalong mode, of course.

(***) or "un","deux", "trois" or perhaps
"uno", duo", tres" or what you will.

In reply to by mirabilos

Getting the timing right with the words - "one", "two" etc. might be tricky. I'm not sure which part of each word we use to trigger our responses, though maybe most of us compensate quite well if we hear the words in a sequence. It'd be interesting to see if you can do it and if it can be made to work as well as a teacher shouting out the numbers. Do we react to the beginning of each word utterence or somewhere in the middle? It'd be great if you could check that out.

Possibly one would need both the words and the metronome sounds to get a really accurate outcome.

In reply to by dave2020X

Probably also needs multiple versions, depending on how “fast” the attack is.

Would be interesting, but I don’t have the time to persue this (especially as I can’t simply “shake this out of my sleeves” as I have almost zero audio-processing knowledge).

In reply to by mirabilos

Maybe we could try this together. I could probably do the audio. What have you done for the metronome? Not sure how you did that. If I understood that - which currently I don't - then it perhaps wouldn't be so difficult to do a variant soundfont for the metronome. Maybe it wouldn't be too quick to do - though I could probably get a rough set of "One", "Two" "Three", "Four" up and running very quickly. If I understood how MS implements the metronome sounds then perhaps I could do that - but right now I don't understand the workings of the metronome.

In reply to by dave2020X

I can do one-two-three-four-and-… in several languages as well, but… time is an issue. I’m barely doing my hours for $dayjob at the moment.

For the metronome, I already had samples, but even there integrating was tricky… the Polyphone tutorial is very basic, and I experimented a number of times until I had it working well.

You’d still need to add this as separate “instrument” to the score, but a plugin could probably do that, definitely at least fill in the counting track.

In reply to by dave2020X

fwiw, I did just exactly this for myself awhile back and it works very well for both count-in and in those cases where my little group and I need some practice with holding long ties or learning complex rhythm patterns. I'd give you my soundfont, but I'd be embarrassed to have you hear my voice! lol

In reply to by dave2020X

I'll go ahead and share what I have and how I made it. In fact I've created a repository on my GitHub for the files. Maybe folks will contribute and we can collectively make something better than what I did. countin


Please note that I didn't attempt to make it very high quality because I just wanted to see if the idea would work. But what I ended up creating has proven good enough that I haven't yet bothered to go back and improve it.

How I Made the Counting Soundfont

  1. I figured I needed to pick a max tempo to count at. Given that I, and my little neighboorhood group, are beginner/intermediates I decided that for our purposes we could top out at 140 BPM.

  2. I set my metronome to 140 BPM, put on my headphones to listen to it, and counted into a microphone to the metronome beat. I counted a dozen or 'streams' of numbers - "1 2 3 4 5 6," pause, "1 2 3 4 5 6," and so on. Then I did that again trying to make emphasis counts for the downbeats. I also did "One Measure," "Then," and "On." This enables me to have the countin in instructions to kick off with - as in "One measure, then on 3."

  3. In my case I'm a Linux guy, and I use Ardour as my DAW. So I brought my audio file into Ardour and spent probably 2 hours or so picking the best sound samples for the counts and editing them for the proper start and endpoints. I didn't even try to normalize levels, which will be obvious if you try my sound font.

  4. I wrote down a 'map' for each counting sound sample and the notes to assign them to - in my case using the key of D. Key of D because I am a mountain Dulcimer player, so 90% of all my tunes are in that key, thus it's convenient to use that for my counting. So, for example, D4 is the sound "One," E4 is "Two," F#4 is "Three," etc.

  5. I distinguish between normal beats and emphasis beats by using the midi volume parameter. If you set the note's volume above 86 you get the emphasis sample, below that you get the normal sample.

  6. As one should always do when making a soundfont, I named each of my little sound samples with a consistent naming convention and brought them into Polyfone to make the sound font.

  7. Then, of course, on Linux to use the sound font in musescore I simply copy the sound font to the user/share/soundfonts directory. Then Musescore just sees it. When I want to use it I create an instrument I call "count," select my 'CountIn' soundfont in the mixer, and away I go.

  8. What I do is add a few measures to the beginning of the song. My habit is to leave the 1st measure empty to have one measure of silence to begin. Then I have a measure which gives the instructions - e.g., "One measure, then on 3." Then I have the countin measure. I set the 'Actual' number of beats in this measure to match the total countin. So, for example, in a 4/4 tune that begins with 3 pickup beats I'll set the measure to 7 actual beats so that I have a countin that goes: "1 2 3 4 1 2 3."

  9. I also generally produce audio files with 3 verses for practice purposes. So, as needed, I'll add repeats in the appropriate places so that the playback does that. (Often making use of the 'Play count' property on a measure with an ending repeat.)

Assets and Examples - see on the github repository: countin

Example_Old-Irish-Blessing_120bpm.mp3 - example of an actual audio file using my counting soundfont.

Example_Old-Irish-Blessing_4midi.mscz - The Musescore score used to create the example mp3.

CountIn_v01.sf2 - My counting soundfont

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.