Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Version 2.23 Release Notes

Drum Score Editor version 2.23 is here! 


The major changes are as follows:
  • Improved appearance of notes and grace notes
  • Tooltips added to note toolbox icons
  • Irregular group ties can now be shown underneath the notes
  • Select music in block mode
  • Proportionately squeeze or expand a series of notes
  • Have Drum Score Editor take a shot at beautifying your score layout
  • Ability to vertically align notes across multiple lines

Improved Appearance of Notes and Grace Notes

Right and left hand notes now sit the same distance away from the staff line, previously there was a small gap below right hand notes and the top of the left hand note touched the line. Similarly for grace notes, some touched the line, some didn't.

Some touch up of how the flams, roughs, drags stems and beams to paint a more consistent picture.

Also nudged up where the strikes through a stem sit, to indicate a roll. For cut semiquavers, or demisemiquavers (that's cut 16th or 32nd notes for some), with 2 strikes through the stem (the pipe band norm) is was touching the top beam.

TBH most won't have noticed any of that, I just hope the scores somehow appear better next time you load them into Drum Score.

Tooltip Added to Note Toolbox Icons

Tooltips are the messages that appear above an icon if you let the mouse hover above it for a while. These have been added where missing, and extended to include the short cut key at the end of the message, in square brackets. This means when you see the following message "Toggle Buzz / Roll [r]" for example this means if you click that button, or press the r key on your keyboard, any selected notes will have the strikes put through the stem to show it as a roll or buzz stroke.

Irregular Groups can now be shown Underneath Notes

We've all seen those scores where the author has decided to write the triplet tie underneath the notes rather than add more etchings above the note heads, where let's face it, it can get really busy with accents, grace notes, roll ties, crescendo, unison markings. Strathspeys in particular where the author has not adopted the convention of just ignoring the triplet sign because it's a strathspey and everybody should now.

I'm a big fan of keeping scores looking as clean and simple as possible, I know a number of people have asked for this feature so please give it a whirl.

Select Music in Block Mode

Prior to this release the only way a selection of multiple notes could be made was in a series, or flow of notes. I.E. you select between two notes and every note in-between becomes selected, even across multiple lines.

Now (if you're a licensed user) you can switch to block select mode (check the item on the Edit menu) and your selections are now made in a block mode, I.E. if you start at the first note in the 2nd bar on one line and select up to the last note in the 2nd bar on the next line down, only the notes in the 2nd bar on both lines become selected.

Why is this useful? Well perhaps you have a 2/4 and you want to copy and paste bars 3 and 4, the middles, and bars 7 and 8, the ending to another part, you can do that with one select, copy and paste.

Also check out aligning notes vertically on different lines below, useful there too.

Proportionately Squeeze or Expand a series of Notes

Say what? This is really quite useful, for licensed users though. If you select 3 or more notes on a single line, you'll see little grab boxes in the top and bottom corners of the selection. If you click and drag within one of those boxes, it compresses or expands the selection, maintaining the same relative distance between each note, but obviously if you're dragging out the way, it's increasing the distance, if you're dragging in the way it's reducing the distance - proportionately.

So how's that useful in the real world. You've entered 3 notes, smart spacing places them the correct distance apart automatically, you then decide they're to be a triplet to you select them and hit the number 3 on your keyboard. Now they're not the right distance apart any more, they should be closer. So wait, they've remained selected after you hit the number 3 and you spot the drag handles, you click on one of the right hand ones and drag toward the first selected note, the space between the notes reduces until you're happy that's how you want them to look. Job done.

OK, would be even smarter if Drum Score re-spaced the 3 notes automatically once you've told it they're a triplet - next version maybe, but in any case you can easily set the spacing, and not just on triplets, this could be a whole bar of music you just want everything to be a bit closer or further apart and you don't want to have to adjust each note by hand. So many times I've found this useful writing scores while testing.


The beautify feature is accessed from the Format -> Music menu for licensed users. This feature takes all the notes in the music area and positions them logically where they "should" be between bar lines. So what does "should" mean?

It starts by placing the first note in the bar a short distance within and then considers the duration of that note and places the next note the right distance from it. It caters for irregular groups. Remember if you don't like what it's done you can aways use undo as per any other function in Drum Score Editor.

A few things to consider. 
  • Grace notes - these throw the spacing terribly so Drum Score tries to place the stem of the note that has a flam or rough etc as close to where it should be as possible. Obviously the grace note could push it further along than it should be. Drum Score is then in debt in terms of space in the bar, so takes as much as possible from the next note. If that's not enough it robs the next one and so on. Consider reducing the point size of your music area if your most complex run of roughs, flame and drags in a bar just mess up. 
  • A dotted note is supposed to be half as long again musically as it's value suggests. Similarly a cut note is half the duration. So when laying out notes as clinically as that I found the score looked so pointed even the most pointed of pipers would go whoah silver! So I made it 1.33 times longer and 0.66 of the duration for dots and cuts respectively. Similarly for double dots.
  • If you see notes all bunched up at the end of a bar, you've got too many in the bar. No I haven't you say! Make sure you've not forgotten that fiddly triplet group - that's the favourite think I've found in people's scores when testing, none of mine of course, ahem, cough cough.
  • Similarly if you see lots of space at the end of a bar, maybe there's not enough notes in there or they're the wrong duration?
  • Strathspeys. We all write them wrong. Every one of us, me included and will continue to do so - go on tell me you don't! It's supposed to be that each beat note subdivides into 3, and we optionally chuck a triplet sign above (or below) the group to show this. Optionally because some believe saying the tune type is strathspey is enough for folks to know when there's 3 (or subdivisions thereof) we should just know, you know. Anyway this is a long explanation to say beautify doesn't have a meaningful relationship with some of these subjective opinions yet - it will do it's job on a strathspey but you'll see quickly that dot and cut should actually be a note-rest-note setup to respect the metre. I can see this being a debate .....
Of course this means the technology is now there to maybe automatically smart space triplets when specified, and maybe warn that a bar is too long or short.

Ability to Vertically Align Notes across Multiple Lines

How many times have you looked at the first note in a bar across multiple lines and thought how do I make them all line up? OK if you're really adept at selection and keyboard work it's pretty easy, but for us mere mortals wouldn't it be good if there was a way, and what about aligning them on the note stems, not the start of the grace notes?

The good news for licensed user is this is now all possible. If you want to say align the first notes of bar 2 across the whole score, you switch block selection on (see above, Edit -> Block Select), then drag the mouse to create a block selection where the first note of bar 2 is the first note in the selection on each line, then use Format -> Music -> Left Align Selection and hey presto the first selected notes on each line align to whichever one was furthest to the left.

This approach counts grace notes, so if one line it's simple note and on the next line it's a note with a flam, then the start of the flam is the start of the note, so it may not give you what you want. In which case the Left Align Selection Stems is what you want. This aligns all the notes to the left most note stem as opposed to grace note. This is probably what most people will want.

So what does a Licensed User get that Free Users don't?

The complete list of features for licensed users is now:
  • Rudiment Libraries - save your favourite phrases, organise them and use them over and over
  • Clone staff line - make a complete copy of the staff line the cursor is on, includes all notes etc
  • 1st & 2nd time workflow - turn the current staff line into a 1st time and generate a new 2nd time line, adjusting bar markers and adding text as needed.
  • Export as PDF/JPEG/PNG/SVG - create easily emailed files or graphics for embedding in other software e.g. Word, web sites etc
  • Workspace Preferences - remembers the placement and size of Drum Score on your screen between sessions, also if you've moved toolbars around
  • New Score Preferences - allows user to preset values for all new scores generated
  • Select a block of notes over multiple lines, rather than just a series of notes
  • A tool to proportionally expand or compress a series of notes
  • The beautify tool to position all the notes and rests in a music areas where it thinks they should be
  • A way to align notes vertically, either by stem or start of note
  • Sense of satisfaction that you've contributed financially to supporting Drum Score Editor

Bug Fixes

Too many to be useful to list here. Some of the more recent ones are:
  • PDFs were still being exported at the wrong size or being cropped in certain circumstances
  • Other minor fixes

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for all your efforts! It's a pretty cool piece of script.