Welcome Back! I hope you checked out my last tutorial, which covered how to open MuseScore and create your very first score. Now we will cover the fundamentals of score writing in computer software, which is Note Input. Once you get the hang of manual note input, you can fly by and compose with ease. Here we go!!
Step 1: Getting Into Your Score Again and Starting Manual Input
First, open MuseScore. If you don't know how to do that, look in my last tutorial. Now go to the button that looks like a blue file folder, and click. Or press Control-O. You should have made a file in your documents section labeled "Scores". That is the easiest thing to do and is what I did. I won't put a picture of this, as it is easy and simple to do. If you could install MuseScore without this tutorial, then you can definitly open your score. My score is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. So, after opening the score, you need to get into manual input. Press N on your keyboard, or click the fancy N at the top corner of the screen by the notes, above where it shows which scores you have opened. The row of notes and accidentals will be your major writing artillery. Get ready to start composing with MuseScore! (Sorry, in the screenshot, I forgot to close the Online connection screen, sorry if it gets in the way of anything :/ It shouldn't, though.)
Step 2: Mouse Input
The most common and reliable way, but not the fastest way to input notes manually is to use mouse input. Basically you click to write the notes. There are two other ways which may be helpful, but I tend to stay away from them. I will briefly describe them later. Once in note input, you can click and notes will come up on the staff. Pretty cool, huh? Before you start writing, make sure you click the type of note you want. When your ready-for-input mouse is over the staff, it will turn blue. This shows that the input will be in voice 1, and is ready to create notes. (Don't worry about voices, I will cover those later on.) As you can see in the picture, I have clicked on the eighth note, and notes are coming up as eighth notes on the staff. When a note is placed, it turns black and a rest is put to even out the other beats in the bar. If you want to exit note input, press Escape twice. If you want to edit what type of note a note or rest is, press Escape once, then click on the desired note and press one of the types of notes on the top. It will change to that even if it is a rest. If the type of note you click is too long for the bar, it will be connected in the next measure with a tie. To add ties to notes, click on the note after pressing Escape once and clicking on your note and press the tie button at the top, which is next to the quarter rest, or press Control-Plus. You can also add ties in Note input mode. If you put more than one note on a beat in the staff, it creates chords. I know it's a lot to take in, so that's why we're covering it first. If you are confused, don't worry. Read this again slowly, and it will all start to come together.
Step 3: More on Input/Other Ways to Input Notes
Change note types by clicking the next type of ntoe you want at the top of the screen. That was one thing I forgot to say in the last step. Now I will describe the other two ways of input.
1) Keypad input-
Keypad input uses the keypad to enter notes. This way is much faster but not as accurate. It is accurate if you combine the following way with it and to use keyboard shortcuts to change pitch. We will go into pitch change in the next step. Now, look at the top of the screen, and hover your mouse over one of the types of notes. It should say something like, crotchet, or some words, and then a number in parenthesis. This number corressponds with the keypad. For example, if you press 6 on your keypad, your input will now turn into half notes, or minims. (another word for half note). I hope you get the idea.
2) Letter input-
This way doesn't change the type of note, but it changes the pitch. You can put notes in one by one in a row next to each other by pressing the letters on your keyboard (A-G). This won't create sharps or flats, but they will corresspond to the key signature. You will need to skip things if you need to make rests. I personally do not like this way, but some people prefer it. Try it out. Next we will cover changing the pitch of notes and the shorcuts that go along with that.
Step 4: Pitch Change and Shortcuts
To make your song musical, change the pitch of the notes on the staff. You can go chormatically up and down to change the pitch by pressing the up and down arrow keys. To change the octave of a bar or note, click on it or highlight it, and then press Contol-Up/Control-Down. To highlight all the measures or following of a song in a certain instrument staff, click on the measure you want, and hole Control and Shift. Now press and hold the right arrow key until you reach the measure you want \or until you reach the end. You can do this for multiple instruments by clicking on a measure, pressing shift, going down to that same measure in the last instrument you want (highlights all the ones inbetween) and then hold control and shift and go right the same way. This helps if you are copying and pasting into other instrument staves. (NOTE*** When you copy and paste measures into another instrument staff, the part will transpose into music for that instrument. Its so easy if you don't know how to compose for every single instrument! BUT! The part may be a few octaves below the one you want , especially if you are converting from a low instrument to a high instrument. Using the arrow key technique helps fix some of these issues for composing for other instruments as well.) Another thing is that you can add sharps and flats the normal way by cliking on the note and then clicking the button at the top but it goes slow. The way I do my input is mouse input+arrow keys chromatically to change sharps and flats. There is no picture here to show what I am talking about, but I will show more music being written on the staff of my song.
Step 5: Off You Go!
I hope you get the gist of Manual Note Input. Yes, I mentioned things that we didn't talk about, but as I said before, I will make many more tutorials after this. So, get to work! In the next tutorial, I will have put more into my song and we will discuss tempo and the Palettes.