Marc Sabatella


published3 months ago
2 min read

Hello! This week we're taking a guided tour of the MuseScore interface, digging into corners to find windows and dialogs that you might not have noticed before. I will confess to have an ulterior motive here: I also want to remind myself of everything we need to be sure to cover in the documentation for MuseScore 4, which is getting closer and closer to an "alpha" release suitable for testing purposes. You'll be hearing more about MuseScore 4 over the coming months, and I want to make sure everyone is ready to take advantage of all it offers when the final release happens (no official word on when, except "when it's ready"). So stay tuned for more information as it becomes availale!

MuseScore Café

This week in the MuseScore Café with Marc Sabatella, we take a tour of the MuseScore interface by looking at the different windows and dialogs in the program. Some of them you probably use often, others you may have never opened before. Let's explore!

The MuseScore Café is live on Wednesday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

Tip of the Week

Another really simply little command to highlight today: Ctrl+F (Cmd+F on Mac keyboards) to "Find" a particular measure. You can also reach this command as Edit / Find. The command displays a small box at the bottom of the window where you can type a measure number or rehearsal letter, and the view will jump directly to that measure. You can also type "p" followed by a number to jump directly to that page.

Music Master Class

This week I will continue to give feedback on recent submissions with a focus on harmony and chord progressions.

The Music Master Class is live on Thursday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

In Theory

In the my recent workshop on chord progressions, I concentrated on major keys, anbd you may have seen me comment elsewhere that minor keys can be hard to work with. On the other hand, there are other aspects of minor kyes that are easier. I want to spend a few moments reflecting on this.

Major keys are probably more familiar to most people than minor keys, so that alone can make them simpler to deal with. They also don't have that funny business with scale degrees six and seven, where depending on the context you might want them to be "natural" or "raised" (and thus require accidentals). There are also just more familiar-sounding options for basic harmonic idioms like the motion from the tonic chord to the ii chord (ii7b5 in minor keys) - at least a dozen common options in major keys, just a small handful in minor keys.

On the other hand, the fact that there are really fewer harmonic options can make minor keys simpler. But also, minor keys are where so much of action is harmonically, even when ostensibly in a major key. You often hear me go on about the minor iv chord in major keys - that's a thing because it's "borrowed" from the parallel minor key. Also the use of b9 and b13 on the V7 chord (ubiquitous in jazz but all in plenty of classical music) is all about the fact that these notes come from the same parallel minor key. That is, even for a piece in C major, the iv chord F minor chord as well the Ab and Eb in G7b9b13 all come from the key of C minor, and they add a ton of color.