Back To It!

publishedabout 1 month ago
2 min read

When I first launched the Mastering MuseScore Community back in May, I had lots of big ideas for things to share with you there. However, family takes precedence, and I put much on hold for the last month while I was with my parents in Florida. Last week, I shared the news of my father's passing and mentioned a solo piano piece I composed in his memory. You can view the completed sheet music and my performance of it on

I'm back in Colorado now and eager to kick things into gear again in the Community. So if you haven't done so yet, please join us, either with a free Basic account or as an All-Access member (which automatically enrolls you in all my online courses as well)!

MuseScore Café

This Wednesday in the MuseScore Café with Marc Sabatella, we continue with our first-Wednesday "Ask Me Anything" series. So come prepared with your questions, and if you have specific scores you want me to look at, please post them.

Music Master Class

This Thursday in the Music Master Class with Marc Sabatella, we continue with our Sonata challenge. There have been some submissions I haven't been able to get to, so I will be focusing on those. It's not too late to add yours. Even if it's just a fragment of a single theme, it's great to be able to share and learn together!

Tip of the Week

In piano, guitar, and harp music, it is common to have an arpeggio with the first note (usually a bass note) sustained. This is sometimes notated by showing it with two stems - one showing the function of the note as part of the arpeggio, the other showing the function of the the note as a sustained bass note. Here is an example:

example of double-stemmed notes

In the passage shown above, the arpeggio is made of sixteenth notes, while the bass is a half note. Normally by default MuseScore will not merge a sixteenth and a half note into the single double-stemmed note you see here, because the head types differ and in some contexts this could be confusing. But the intent should be clear enough here. You can get this effect by selecting the notehead for the sixteenth note and either making it invisible by pressing "V" or explicitly setting its "Head type" to "Half" using the Inspector.

In Theory

The piece I wrote for my father uses a lot of my favorite musical devices. One particular "go to" for me is a bit of voice-leading that works over dominant seventh chords where you want to create a sense of motion without actually changing roots. The line consists of 4-3 in one voice along with 9-b9 in another. I associate this technique with Bill Evans although I'm sure he didn't invent it.

example of 4-3 / 9-b9

In this example, the second half of the measure is a C7 chord voiced with the thirteenth (A) sustained in the melody, the seventh (Bb) along with it in the RH, and the root and fifth in the LH. The inner voices move from F and D on beat three to E and Db on beat four - so, 4-3 (F-E) and 9-b9 (D-Db).

There is a ton of this kind of information in my online course, Harmony and Chord Progressions, so check it out (and remember All-Access members are enrolled automatically)!

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