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8 Notation

I have mentioned elsewhere that Rosegarden is not purely a MIDI sequencer, and that it is not possible to create or manage raw MIDI events directly. Neither is it purely a notation editor. Applications dedicated to notation typically work with notation internally, and any MIDI performance capability they have is the result of interpreting that notation and translating it into MIDI. These applications typically do a rudimentary job at best in the MIDI arena, and the results almost always sound very artificial and mechanical. At the other extreme, applications dedicated entirely to MIDI sequencing tend to have rudimentary notation capabilities, and it is often all but impossible to produce legible notation with these unless the MIDI data itself has been beaten into a state of mechanical purity that causes the results to sound just as artificial as that produced by dedicated notation packages.

Rosegarden sits squarely in the middle between these two extremes, possessing most of the features of both, with few compromises. In order to allow the richness of a human performance to coexist with legible notation, every note event, whether recorded, imported, or entered by hand, contains not one, but two different duration properties. One duration is used to determine how long the note will sound for MIDI performance, while the other is used for displaying clean, legible notation. This exciting feature makes Rosegarden the only application I know that allows you to have your cake and eat it too.

8.1 Notation Editor Overview

In order to open the notation editor, you must have at least one segment available. You can open any number of segments on any number of tracks simultaneously by selecting the segment or segments you wish to edit, and then right clicking on one of them and choosing "Open in Notation Editor" from the context menu.

Additionally, the notation editor is the normal default, so you can also open it either by pressing Enter, or by double clicking on a segment. (You can configure this behavior from Settings -> Configure Rosegarden.)

After you have opened it, you will see something a bit like this. Your screen will probably look somewhat different, because this particular example is in multiple page layout mode, which is not the default.

(I should have done this initial screenshot in the default, linear layout mode, but I chose this mode instead so I could showcase my favorite piece. This obscure, rarely-performed concerto has gotten me through some trying times, and I love it like no other.)

8.1.1 Notation Toolbars

The notation editor is just bristling with toolbars big and small. I will defer many of them until time to describe their function in more detail.

The standard toolbar includes print and save icons, as well as the usual cut/copy/paste tools.

The tools toolbar has several of the same tools found in the main window, but it adds icons for step recording and the quantizer.

The transport toolbar is the same as the one found in the matrix.

insertion cursor transport stuff in here somewhere...

The layout toolbar allows you to change the way notation is displayed in various ways. You can switch between linear layout mode, continuous page mode, and multiple page mode. The linear mode scrolls continuously off to the right, and it is the only mode that has rulers. The continuous page mode displays notation formatted as though it were a printed page, but it scrolls continuously toward the bottom. Multiple page mode breaks the notation into discrete pages, and provides a pager to allow you to get access to the portion of the wish to view or edit.

You can use the Font: combo box to choose among the standard Feta (courtesy of the Lilypond project), a bitmap version of Feta called "Feta Pixmaps," and the bitmap font used by a previous incarnation of Rosegarden, called "RG21." The Size: box functions somewhat like the zoom slider in the other views, allowing you to magnify or reduce your view (but not your printouts or exports.) The Spacing: box allows you tweak how much space Rosegarden uses when laying out the notation horizontally.

TIP: It is also possible to use fonts from packages like Finale if you prefer. See the "Note Fonts" (help:/rosegarden/nv-note-fonts.html) and "Customizing Rosegarden" (help:/rosegarden/developers.html) topics in the Rosegarden Handbook for more details.

The meta toolbar (not enabled by default) toggles the other toolbars.

The remaining toolbars need more than casual treatment, and will be mentioned in due course.

8.2 Opening Multiple Staffs

Many posters on the rosegarden-user mailing list use Rosegarden to work with piano notation, so I have chosen a simple flute with piano accompaniment arrangement as the place in which to demonstrate various entry and editing features.

I mentioned in the introduction to this chapter that Rosegarden has made few compromises in order to be able to do a bang up job as both a notation editor and a MIDI sequencer. This example also serves to highlight one of those compromises. It is not possible to display an entire piano part on one grand staff. Neither is it possible to do a good, clear job of writing multiple parts or voices on the same staff. Due to both of these limitations, you will probably want to write the bass and treble parts in different segments, and thus on separate staffs. These segments can be in the same track, but if they are exactly the same length, and they overlap each other exactly, it will be impossible to select whichever segment lies on the bottom. For this reason, I recommend putting the right and left hand parts on different tracks as well.

For this example, I have created three segments on three tracks. I've labeled the top one "flute" and have assigned it to a device and instrument that will play a flute program on channel 1. The remaining two tracks are labeled by right or left hand, and they are both assigned to the same piano instrument, which will play using a piano program on channel 2. I have selected all three of these segments in order to open them in a combined notation view:

8.3 Notation Basics

Unless you have changed the default notation display mode, the notation view should open in its default linear layout mode, like this:

8.3.1 Notation Rulers

Just like the matrix view, there are two distinct sets of rulers here. At the top of the window you will find a tempo ruler, a special raw note ruler, which I will describe later on, and an an insertion ruler for manipulating the insertion cursor. As in the matrix, the insertion cursor determines the point at which notation elements are inserted or pasted.

In a multiple staff situation such as this, you will notice that the insertion cursor only spans a single staff. This lets you know which staff is the active target for various operations.

8.3.2 Clefs

There are at least two ways to enter a clef. Regardless of which you use, you first need to position the insertion cursor at the correct insertion point, if it isn't there already. Select the target staff by double clicking on it. Then you can use Segment -> Add Clef Change from the menu. A clef chooser dialog will appear, allowing you to choose from a variety of different clefs in different 8va configurations by clicking on the various arrows. The up/down arrows change between 8va and 15ma up or down, respectively, and the left/right arrows cycle through the various available clefs. The dialog will remember the clef you used last time, making it more convenient to insert multiple clefs. (There is no option to insert a clef in more than one place at once, so you will have to add a clef to each staff manually.)

The Existing notes following clef change portion of this dialog is particularly useful in a situation where you began entering notation before choosing a clef. Rosegarden thinks in treble, and treble is the default if no clef is present. If [x] Transpose into appropriate octave is selected, Rosegarden will attempt to find the best transposition of any existing notation relative to the new clef. (If this has undesired consequences, as it sometimes does, then you can transpose again by hand, as I will discuss in due course.)

If you prefer, you can use the Clefs toolbar. (The Clefs toolbar is not toggled on by default.)

To use the toolbar, first switch to the cursor, then select one of the clefs from the Clefs toolbar. Click in one of the staffs, and the selected clef should be inserted. If you find a dead zone near the time signature, you may need to click around a bit until you find the magic spot. Key Signatures

Key signatures are added in a similar fashion to clefs. Position the insertion cursor as appropriate, select the target staff, and then use Segment -> Add Key Change from the menu. You will be presented with a dialog that allows you to choose from all major and minor keys up through seven accidentals.

In addition to changing the key signature itself, you can use the Scope controls to change whether Rosegarden will insert the new key signature only in the target staff, or in all staffs (segments) at this point in time. You may also decide whether Rosegarden should favor the existing pitches, possibly creating new accidentals in the new key, or favor the current accidentals, which might change the pitches in the new key. Rosegarden can also attempt to transpose the notation into the new key.

8.3.3 Tempo and Time Signature

Both of these are attributes of the composition as a whole, and when they change, they affect all segments, and, accordingly, all staffs at the same time. It is not possible to have different time signatures or different tempi in different segments a the same time. These attributes can be controlled from the main window, but they can also be edited from the notation view for convenience.

I already discussed the associated dialogs for both of these in Chapter 3. To open the tempo and time signature editor, double click on the tempo ruler, or on a time signature.

If you wish, for example, to insert a time signature change from 4/4 to 12/8 at bar 3, move the insertion cursor (by clicking on the top ruler) to the appropriate time, then use Composition -> Add Time Signature Change to open the time signature editor dialog.

The time signature will appear in accordance with the various options that have been chosen.

Notice in particular example that the measure following this one did not expand to become full after this change. Time signature adjustments will not resize segments. Instead, the beats are reallocated as required, as is perhaps better illustrated by this 4/4 to 5/4 example. Instead of two measures with four beats, it has become one with five and one with three.

8.3.4 Entering Notes and Rests

Rosegarden provides a variety of ways to enter notes, providing tools for both mouse- and keyboard-oriented composers. Perhaps the quickest way to get started is to use the several associated toolbars and point and click a few notes into existence. (I will cover the other methods a bit later on.) Notes

Switch to the tool, which puts the editor into insert mode. To enter a note, choose either a standard or a dotted duration from the Notes toolbar. Then click in one of the staffs to insert a note at that location. Rests

Rests are treated as negative space, and Rosegarden attempts to pad out the measure with rests automatically. However, it is often useful, even necessary, to enter them manually. For example, switch to the 8 th note duration and then try to enter an 8th note on the far side of that quarter rest, leaving an 8th rest in between. It's impossible. You'll wind up with a result like this every time:

The trick to this is to manually insert a rest, which causes Rosegarden to subdivide the beat; giving you a place to insert your new note. To change this note into a rest, select an appropriate duration from the Rests toolbar, then click on the note head to replace it with a rest.

Now you can change to an 8th note on the Notes toolbar and enter the remaining note in the correct location.

Notice as you do this that the insertion cursor advances to the next beat division. Remember that you can reposition it using the insertion ruler. What you cannot do, however, is move it to an arbitrary point in time. It always snaps along beat divisions, depending on how the measure is divided, and it can sometimes be a bit fiddling getting a not just where you want it. Particularly if you're adding a new note to existing notation, as when turning a single note into a chord, for example. Chords

When using the toolbars and other graphical tools to insert notes, creating chords is as simple as clicking in a new note above or below an existing one.

You can also select a series of notes spaced out over time,

then use the icon...

to pull them into a chord. Nudging an Incorrect Pitch

In the preceding example, I entered what was trying to be an F major chord in the key of Eb. The easiest way to fix the errant A b from here is to nudge it with the arrow keys on the keyboard. First select the note in question, then raise it a halfstep by hitting the up arrow key once. (I could also have avoided writing the note incorrectly in the first place, as I will explain later on.)

You can transpose individual notes or entire selections in this fashion, one semitone at a time. The accidentals along the way will be based on the key signature. Flats in a flat key, sharps in a sharp key. If you want to write a sharp in a flat key, you'll have to change it manually, as I will explain further on.

You can also raise or lower pitches an octave at a time with Ctrl+Up/Down. Erasing Notes

In order to pave the way for the next example, this is a good time to introduce the cursor. Select it and then click on individual notes to erase them. To follow along at home, remove the F major chord and step back to a time when there was just an Ab here. Avoiding Multiple Voices

Rosegarden cannot handle situations involving multiple musical lines written on the same staff very well at all. From a MIDI performance perspective, there is no reason why you cannot have an entire violin concerto in a single segment, and you can manipulate this data to your heart's content with the other editors, but the notation editor will never produce good results attempting to interpret data like this into legible notation. It attempts to display the notation as a single line, and this can lead to a great deal of awkwardness. For example, select a dotted 8th note duration from the Notes toolbar and then add a note above the first quarter note. Rosegarden splits and ties the quarter note and displays the whole mess as a chord.

You can undo this if you do so immediately, but if you wish to go back later on and erase the top note, the bottom note will remain a split-and-tied pair permanently, because it has become two separate events.

If you erase both of these notes, you wind up with some unwieldy looking rests.

All of these problems can be solved, and no permanent harm has been done, but the fact remains that Rosegarden simply is not able to cope with this kind of situation elegantly.

NOTE: Part writing is one of the most often-requested features, and is almost certain to be implemented in some fashion at some point in the future. Making Selections

Just like in the other views, you can select groups of notes to isolate them from the rest of a staff. Each note will sound as you select it.

Switch back to the tool. You can select individual notes by shift clicking them, or you can make a sweep selection by clicking and dragging the blue selection box until it includes the notes you want.

You can select an entire measure at once by double clicking it, or you can select an entire staff by triple clicking.

As elsewhere, you can also hold down Shift while clicking on notes to make a non-contiguous selection of scattered, individual notes. Collapsing Rests

If you find yourself in an ugly situation such as the preceding example, you can instruct Rosegarden to recalculate and collapse the rests. First you will need to make a selection, then use Adjust -> Rests... to tidy things up.

If you choose Normalize Rests, (or use the Ctrl+N shortcut) Rosegarden will attempt to reduce the rests along beat divisions.

If you choose Collapse Rests, Rosegarden will squeeze them down into the smallest possible space, irrespective of beat divisions.

TIP: I find I have to normalize rests quite often after erasing notes or otherwise rearranging rhythms. Rosegarden can come up with some pretty strange looking results sometimes, but a select-and-Ctrl+N usually fixes it right up. Accidentals

I already mentioned that you can nudge an errant note into place with the arrow keys, but what if you need to enter an accidental intentionally? The Accidentals toolbar allows you to control the accidental state of entered notes.

The default "No accidental" mode will enter notation that follows the key signature. You can override this with any of the other choices.

Of particular note is the "Follow previous accidental" mode, which will enter the note with the same accidental as was last used for this particular line or space. If you enter an F# in bar 3, then click on the F line in bar 6, it will be sharp if the Accidentals toolbar is in this mode.

To enter this phrase from J. S. Bach's Concerto in Dm, first enter a half rest to divide the measure in half. Switch to the 16th note duration to enter the E. Select the sharp from the Accidentals toolbar to enter the F# and G#, then switch back to the "No accidental" state to enter the A. Choose the natural to enter the B natural, then switch back to "No accidental" once more to enter the C. Finally, switch to the 8th note duration to enter the D. Respelling

In Bach, I often encounter situations where a passage is written in a different key without a key change. Rosegarden will use flats in a flat key, and sharps in a sharp key, but this sometimes reads poorly. Take this passage for example (in the key of Dm):

The second measure here could read better if the Db were respelled as a C#. To correct this, Notes -> Adjust -> Respell with Sharpis just the trick. (Otherwise you would have to arrow the note down to C, transposing it in the process, choose sharp from Accidentals toolbar, then click on it to sharpen it. Or else erase the Db and put a new C# in its place, and lose any human performance duration in the process. I will cover the last point in some depth a bit later.) Cautionary Accidentals

To make the passage I just demonstrated resemble the score I have in front of me, it is necessary to adjust the way Rosegarden handles accidental changes. The original score notates a flat on both Es, and puts a natural sign on the first E natural in the following measure. Producing this result requires changing two of the default behaviors and then closing and reopening the notation view to see the new options in action.

Accidental behavior is configured via various controls on the Settings -> Configure Rosegarden -> Notation -> Accidentals page. To achieve the particular results I want in this case, I need to make accidentals only affect the octave in which they are written, and I need to require explicit cancellations in the following bars. (There are also options to use cautionary accidentals in parentheses in these cases, as opposed to explicit accidentals.)

Making these changes, then opening a new notation view yields just what I want to match the score in front of me: Triplets and Tuplets

There are several ways to enter triplets and tuplets. One choice is to enter some number of ordinary notes, then select them...

Then use the icon (or Ctrl+R) to transform them into a triplet...

It is also possible to do tuplets of, say, 5 in the time of 3 in similar fashion...

Enter five notes... then use the icon or (Ctrl+T) to generate a tuplet dialog allowing you to specify just what sort of tuplet you wish to create. Keyboard Entry

For those with a lot of notation to enter, it is probably worth learning the keyboard shortcuts to speed all of the actions I have described thus far. Select a Duration

First, ensure a notation tool is selected to indicate the duration of note (or rest) you wish to insert. You can avoid the toolbar, and select the various note types using the number keys.

Keyboard Key


British Duration


Double Whole Note



Whole Note



Half Note



Quarter Note



Eighth Note



Sixteenth Note



Thirty-second Note



Sixty-fourth Note

Hemidemisemiquaver Dots and Double Dots

After you have entered a note, you can use Ctrl+. to cycle through the stages of "dottedness" and add one, two, or zero dots to the duration. This is actually the only way to generate double-dotted notes from scratch, as there are no double-dotted duration icons on the Notes toolbar. Quicker Triplets

As a shortcut to entering the notes as normal durations and then tripletizing them, you toggle in and out of triplet insert mode using the G key.

You can also toggle this using the icon if you prefer. Both this icon and the status bar will change to reflect the fact that you are in triplet entry mode, and the duration you have selected will effectively be 1/3 of the normal duration. If you enter 8 G then you will be inserting triplet 8th notes, and so forth.

NOTE: For tuplets other than triplets, you will have to use the icon (or Ctrl+T) and associated dialog box. Chord Mode

You can toggle into chord mode using the H key or the icon. The insertion position will not advance, and each new note you enter will be added to the chord until you turn this mode off. Quick Pitch (Do Re Mi) Mode

The translators will have a hard time with this part. In the English-speaking world, we have names for the relative pitches of a scale. Anyone who has ever seen "The Sound of Music" knows the "Do a deer, a female deer" song. You can enter pitches in this fashion in Rosegarden, providing a quick way to enter notes relative to the tonic note of the key you happen to be in. (Unfortunately for foreign readers, most other languages ascribe absolute pitches to these words, so "do" = C. In the English speaking world, "do" is only C in the key of C major. In D minor, do = D, and so on.)

Keyboard Key


International Interval



tonic (I)



super tonic; second (II)



mediant; third (III)



sub-dominant; fourth (IV)



dominant; fifth (V)



sub-mediant; sixth (VI)



leading tone; seventh (VII)

To raise the pitch by an octave, move an row higher on the keyboard, Q W E R U I O. To lower the pitch by an octave, move a row lower on the keyboard. Z X C V B N M. (This was designed for standard QWERTY layouts, and often does not map out very well at all on other keyboards. Unfortunately, the mapping is hard coded, and is not configurable.)

Holding Shift or Shift+Ctrl before pressing a letter will sharpen or flatten the pitch as appropriate. (Some intervals already involve a halfstep, so you can't sharpen mi and ti, or flatten fa and do.) Rest Mode

You can quickly switch between note and rest mode using the T and Y keys. Or else press P before inserting a note to make it a rest instead. Step Recording Mode

You can also enter the pitches using a MIDI keyboard in step recording mode. Use the above keys to select a note duration and other factors such as triplet or chord mode, then...

Toggle step recording mode via the mode. In this mode, pitch will be recorded, but notes will take a default velocity as configured elsewhere. Changing Incorrect Note Durations

If you have entered with the wrong duration, you can replace it by selecting the new duration, then clicking exactly on the note head. Alternatively, you can use Ctrl+[duration shortcut] to change it on the fly.

For example, you've entered a quarter note that should have been a dotted 8th note.

Select the quarter note (or catch it while it is still selected, just having been entered)...

Then use Ctrl+8 to change it to an 8th note, then Ctrl+. to give it a dot.

NOTE: By default, this Ctrl+[number] behavior affects both notation and performance duration. To change only the notation duration without affecting performance, add the Alt key. Ctrl+Alt+8 for example.

8.3.5 Ties, Slurs, and Other Groups

Ties, slurs, other groupings, and a few miscellaneous actions are accomplished using the Group toolbar. As these actions are designed to affect groups of notes, most of them will be disabled until you have made a selection. Slurs

To slur a pair or a group of notes...

Select the notes to be slurred...

Then click on the icon to slur them...

You can also use the ) key to create a slur, or Ctrl+) to create a phrasing slur if you prefer.

As you can see from this example, sometimes the layout algorithm doesn't quite know what to make of a given situation. One solution is to adjust the beam directions, as I will mention in just a moment. Another thing to try is to flip the slur up or down with Notes -> Indications -> Slur Position... which allows you to specify the desired orientation, or restore the computed position.

In this case, the results might still be improved. Stem Direction

If you need to change the computed stem direction, use Ctrl+PageUp/PageDown or Adjust -> Stem Direction -> Stems Up/Stems Down.

Going back to the slur example, sometimes results of a badly-positioned slur can be improved by changing the stem directions around. I flipped the first four notes stems down, and the slur came out much better this way.

If you wish to restore the computed direction, use Adjust -> Stem Direction -> Restore Computed Stems. Micro-Positioning of Notation Elements

If you have some particular reason why you would prefer not to change the stem or slur directions around, it is still possible to improve our badly-rendered sample slur. You can re-position virtually any notation element to take matters into your own hands and give things a nudge when required. Simply select the element or elements you wish to reposition, hold down the shift key, then drag them wherever you want. Their new positions will be remembered, stored with the composition, and printed, although this micro-positioning is not exportable to external notation formats like Lilypond.

You can take this to ridiculous extremes if you wish. I'll show you one example of a way to work around one of Rosegarden's limitations by taking advantage of the no-holds-barred nature of this feature later on, but it is not usually terribly useful to abuse your power to this degree:

However, when used in a reasonable fashion, this gives Rosegarden the ability to produce quite satisfying results. In this case I have gone back to the original stem and slur directions as computed, and have moved the wayward slur just a trifle.

From this... to this...

If you find you've made a complete mess of things, you can use Adjust -> Fine Positioning -> Restore Computed Positions to revert the position of the selected element, or elements to normal. Moving Notes

Now that I have mentioned micro-positioning, I should point out that you can also move notes and some other notation elements in time as well as space by dragging and dropping them. Notes can be moved to any visible staff, and to any point in time. If you are dragging a selection, only the "root" element will move, and the remaining notes will fill in on either side of it, as appropriate.

For example, I entered a bit of notation in the first staff, then selected alternating notes.

Then I dragged the center note and dropped it in the next staff down, right over the bar line. The remaining notes took their places on either side of it. Ties

Ties work just like slurs, except that they must occur between two notes of the same pitch. If you attempt to tie two notes at different pitches, this will fail silently. No tie will appear, although the first note will actually have a "tied forward" property, and if you subsequently drag it in line with another note, the invisible tie will spring to life. This can be a source of confusion if you forget what you did.

Select two notes...

Use the icon (or the ~ key) to tie them.... Beaming

You can beam or un-beam notes as required using the icons, or Ctrl+B/U.

For example, Rosegarden's automatic beaming doesn't quite match the score I'm copying. I need to fix it.

I select the first group to beam...

Then use Ctrl+B to beam them...

Then I finish the job by selecting...

...and beaming the remaining pairs...

It is sometimes be a bit fiddly to achieve the desired results. If ugly things happen when you beam manually, you may need to break up an entire group (select them, and use Ctrl+U) before you can rearrange its beaming successfully.

NOTE: Changing the beaming of slurred notes causes the slur to be re-computed. If you have micro-positioned the slur, your manual adjustment will be destroyed, and you will have to reposition the new slur. It would probably be best to get the beaming straight before adding slurs.

8.3.6 Marks, Slashes and Fingerings

The Marks toolbar contains too many icons for me to possibly describe each in detail.

Rosegarden does not try to be your mother, and it will let you add an absolutely insane number of marks in ridiculous combinations to a note.

To undo a mess like I've created above, use Notes -> Marks -> Remove All Marks.

There is also a text mark that can be used to stick any arbitrary text onto a note.

produces... Slashes

Although it functions a bit differently, a logically-related idea is to add slashes to note stems. Notes can have up to five slashes. Select the notes, then use Notes -> Slashes... to add an appropriate number, or to cancel them. Piano Fingerings

You can add piano fingering marks to notes by selecting them, and then using Notes -> Fingerings... to pick the desired fingering notation (or to remove all fingerings.)

You can use the Alt+ 0 through 9 shortcuts to make quicker work of this, or you can use ...Fingerings -> Add Other Fingering to do something from scratch.

When reminding myself how to play the trumpet, I found it useful to do indicate the valve combinations right on the notes:

8.3.7 Hairpins

To create hairpins to indicate crescendos or decrescendos (diminuendos), select a note at either end of (or the entire) range...

and then..use the icons or the < or > keys to create a hairpin.

8.3.8 Text Events

Rosegarden allows you to insert a variety of text events into your composition. All of these behave in basically the same way. For example, to insert dynamics on either side of the hairpin we just created...

Switch to the tool and click on the first E in the series. A text insertion dialog like this appears:

Since we are inserting a dynamic here, we'll use the default style. After inserting the dynamic on either end (the second one inserted on the rest after the last E) the hairpin shrinks up a bit to accommodate these, and the result looks like this:

NOTE: If you wish to interpret the hairpins later on, the procedure I have documented here is not quite reliable. I can obtain better results by putting a dynamic under the first E, then another dynamic under the last E, then selecting the range from the F# to the C and applying the hairpin to that selection. I should eventually rewrite this bit here to reflect the preferred procedure, but I feel for now it is sufficient merely to mention it in passing. Text Styles

There are a variety of text styles for various purposes. While all of them are intended to serve different musical functions, they are really just text of a particular style and size oriented either above or below the staff, depending on the type.

TIP: To get the example above, I had to make heavy use of the micro-positioning feature to smooth things along a bit. If text overlaps something else, hold down Shift while clicking and dragging it. Annotations

Annotations are a special type of text event meant to resemble little post-it notes. They can be toggled via Settings -> Show Annotations if they are not already visible. Lyrics

At their heart, lyrics are just text events of type "Lyric," and you can add them one by one in this fashion if you wish. Rosegarden also provides a simple lyric editor that allows you to write down all the lyrics for a segment in one place. The Lyric Editor

Start with a segment that has some notation to which you wish to add lyrics, then open the lyric editor via View -> Open Lyric Editor . You will see something a bit like this:

Rather than reinvent the wheel, here is what the Rosegarden Handbook has to say about the lyric editor:

The lyrics you enter should follow a particular format. Bar lines are vital to avoid the editor getting confused, and are represented with a slash ("/"). Within each bar the individual syllables are separated by spaces (at least one space: the editor doesn't care about any extra whitespace). Each syllable in turn will be attached to the next subsequent note or chord within that bar (although at the moment the editor can get quite confused by chords that are not exact, i.e. that require smoothing or quantizing).

If you want a note to have no syllable attached to it, you need to provide a dot (".") as the syllable for that note. (This is why the default lyric text for a segment is usually full of dots.) Remember to separate the dots with spaces, so that they are clearly separate syllables.

If you want more than one syllable on the same note, with a space between them, use a tilde ("~") instead of the space. It will be shown as a space on the score.

If you want to split a syllable across two notes, with a hyphen, you need to enter a space following the hyphen so the editor knows to treat it as two syllables. (Hyphens get no special treatment within syllables.)

Syllables consisting only of numbers surrounded by square brackets (like "[29]") will be ignored; this is the format used for the automatically-generated bar numbers shown in the editor.

As an example of actual practice, I have entered a bit of my song "Autumn Rain" here. I ii iii IV

Someone asked me how he could use Rosegarden to notate Roman numerals to indicate intervals or chord progressions. While there is no facility specifically for this purpose, chord names work perfectly well, as they are just mid-sized Roman text printed above the staff. Here I have marked off the I IV V of a typical rock chord progression.

8.4 Legible Notation from Performance Data

You should have a solid understanding how the notation editor works by now, but there are a number of more complicated issues I have held back along the way, and reserved until now. The largest challenge most people face in using the notation editor is making good looking notation out of a MIDI recording or an imported MIDI file. Good performances almost always make for notation that is almost impossible to read. Human beings rarely play notes exactly on the beat boundaries, and unless a slur or tenuto is involved, notes are seldom held for their full written duration. A notation editor that draws notes with mechanical precision will render such a performance as a completely insane mess full of bizarre short notes, punctuating a sea of bizarre, short rests.

Here is a MIDI file imported with no quantization. Most of the bar lines are red, indicating that the events inside the measure do not fit correctly, and that the measure contains too many beats.

Here is the same file after a reasonable notation quantization has been done. It still has problems, but it requires much less manual intervention than the original.


use event filter to select all 1/32 notes and make them 1/16 for vast improvement

8.4.1 The Quantizer

Rosegarden's quantizer can be quite a complicated animal to understand. "Quantization" is the process of combing through a series of note events, comparing their start times and durations to logical beat boundaries on a grid, and nudging them around to tidy them up. It can move early or late notes back on center, it can stretch or squash notes that are too long or too short into a more logical and legible pattern. It is particularly useful for rendering readable notation from an imperfect human performance, and, as I have mentioned, it can perform these operations on the visible notation, leaving the original human performance untouched.

8.4.2 Triggered Segments and Ornaments

Another way that Rosegarden lets you have your cake and eat it too is in its ability to make use of triggered segments to provide ornaments. The ornament is stored in a special segment apart from the main body of the composition, and is triggered by a special trigger note that can have marks indicating the type of ornament represented by the triggered segment. These ornaments can be recycled as well, because it is possible to have more than one trigger note pointing to the same triggered segment.

One place where this is particularly useful is when trying to clean up a nice MIDI performance in order to produce a readable score from it. My test score has ornaments that really can't be used directly if I want to reproduce the score exactly, so I will kill two birds with one stone here, demonstrating how to replace a bunch of ugly gibberish with an ornament made from scratch. Unfortunately, yes, this will alter the human performance somewhat, so there is some compromise here between an authentic performance and an exact score. Before

This is a typical example of an ornament in an imported MIDI file. The quantizer really can't really do much to improve the look of this, and it would be awkward to read even if all the short notes were written out neatly. It is a prime candidate for conversion into a triggered segment and a trigger note. The First Try

To start, I needed to change the first 8th note into a dotted version. I accomplished this by selecting it, and using Ctrl +. and then I selected the body of the ornament...

Next, I used Notes -> Ornaments -> Make Ornament , which presented the following dialog. Since this ornament is a trill up from E to F, I chose E as the base note. I left the suggested name at its default.

The resulting ornament wasn't quite what I was after. There were several distinct notes with fairly long durations bound up in that jumble, which couldn't readily be extracted. I could have set the ornament to play in a shorter duration by selecting this trigger note and changing it to a dotted 8th note, and could have added extra notes to make up the difference on the page, but those extra notes would have been extra. I wanted to preserve the accuracy of the performance while cleaning up this trill, and this didn't quite work in this case... I hit undo (Ctrl +Z) until I got back to the point before making the ornament, and then I re-selected the events, and then deleted them (Ctrl+X ). The Second Try

Next, I inserted the untrilled notes that were bound up with that ornament, and left a rest where the new ornament needed to go...

Then I notated a trill using 32nd notes, selected it...

...and used Notes -> Ornaments -> Make Ornament again, then I followed up by beaming the trigger note to the note after it, and adding a tr with a wavy line. (The wavy line was not actually part of the original score if there are any purists in the audience. You got me.) The result is much improved compared to the part that has not yet been similarly doctored: Reusing Ornaments

The bottom part in this example is the same as the top, except transposed for trumpet. Having just gone to all the effort documented so far, it sure would be nice if I could avoid having to go to that much trouble a second time. Indeed, I can, and Rosegarden does most of the work for me automagically.

First I paved the way in the same fashion as before, except I filled in the spot for the ornament with an ordinary note, then selected that note:

Next, I used Notes -> Ornaments -> Trigger Ornament, which presented this dialog:

Perform using triggered segment: allows you to choose which ornament to use in the event that you have more than one. That is why you are able to name each triggered segment as you create it. Perform with timing: isn't really needed in this case because the duration of the two notes is the same, but it can be used to stretch or squash an ornament to fit into a different space of time, or to force the fit in various other ways:

Then finally, I moved the note up to the correct pitch. (Oops.) The trill followed along, and I got another trill without having to re-enter all the 32nd notes.

8.5 Tweaking Parts with the Selection Filter

I have demonstrated the selection event filter in other places, and I usually use it from the matrix view myself, but it has its uses here in the notation editor as well.

8.5.1 Bringing Parts into Range

One of the best uses I have found for the event selection filter is for cleaning up parts that were written without respect to the practical playable ranges of actual instruments. For example, I have an oboe part in a short piece I wrote for inclusion with a computer game. I knew little about the oboe at the time, and did not particularly care about writing a playable part, because I was writing music for a computer and synthesizer to perform. My handy dandy pocket guide to arranging indicates that the useful range of the oboe is from the D below the staff to the D above, so in order to make this part playable, I have to do something with the notes outside that range.

As I have demonstrated elsewhere, the selection event filter works by filtering events out of a selection. You must first make a selection to filter. So, make an appropriate selection (or Edit -> Select Whole Staff) and then...

click on the icon...

...then dial up the appropriate filter range (the Db below the staff to the D# above)...

...and set the first box to "exclude" this range...

(Yes, if you are paying close attention, I took a screenshot that displays incorrect numbers. That should be from 61 to 87 so that the low and high extremes will be excluded from the selection. I goofed, and I don't feel motivated to do a corrected screenshot.)

...leaving you with the out-of-range notes selected, so you can rearrange them as you deem appropriate.

In the preceding example, it happened that all the notes I needed to adjust fell toward the bottom of the playable range. What I encounter most often in arranging is the case where I have notes both too high and too low. In that case, I transpose the selected notes in the direction that pushes the fewest notes even further out of range, then I repeat the process of making a selection and filtering it to pick off those notes and transpose them down a couple of octaves.

8.5.2 Correcting Odd Durations

Another good notation use for my filter is to change the duration of notes en masse. For example, I found a MIDI file that imported and quantized with consistently awkward pairs of 32nd notes with 32nd rests that were probably trying to be 16th notes. I selected the notes...

...then I set the selection filter to leave me with all 32nd notes selected...

Leaving me with this:

Then I simply used Ctrl +6 to change all of these into 16th notes, leaving me with this:

Then, of course, I had to select everything again and Notes -> Beams -> Auto Beam to correct the beaming:


local transport stuff

paste types ?

copying/pasting, say performance directions or local tempi onto every part one by one.

futzing around with crappy looking imported/recorded MIDI and thrash on the quantizer in general

interpreting marks/dynamics &c. and using interpret to dehumanize machine-entered notes that were done to replace especially un-quantizeable imported/recorded; how to go back and forth between notation and matrix without ruining human performance


hack multi-verse lyrics

hack part writing? RFE 987824

mention selection filter again

double-click on thigns to edit them

stretch factor (does this print?)

note style

raw note ruler

pedal marks

ottava signs after make sure GUI is not borked

velocity ruler from here

double bar lines? (HTF does that work anyway?)

mention the pixmap backdrop thing settings -> general -> presentation

deal with transposing instruments/notation

cut and close

move elements physically, not just mico-positioning

arranging stuff using split by pitch and using selection filter to pick off notes that are out of range for an instrument and transpose/delete/copy/move them.


mention the quantizer config page in the recording chapter

show sysex example stuff using Autumn Rain

explain busses and faders and allt hat other audio/synth instrument whatnot you haven't done yet

talk about setting tempo from audio segment or a beat segment

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