Something is coming...

publishedabout 1 month ago
2 min read

... and a hint: the goose is getting fat! OK, that's a pretty obscure reference (to an old English holiday song), but let it serve as a heads-up: next week I'll be inviting you to join me for a fun project to round out the year. It will be a quick but intensive "boot camp" on doing simple jazz piano arrangements, using songs you already know and love. So stay tuned!

MuseScore Café

This week in the MuseScore Café with Marc Sabatella, we'll look at MIDI - how you can import and export MIDI files, or use a MIDI keyboard for input and output. I'll also tell you about the conventions of MIDI you need to know in order to take full control over playback in MuseScore, even if you don't otherwise use MIDI files or keyboards!

The MuseScore Café is live on Wednesday at 12:30 PM Eastern (17:30 GMT), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

Tip of the Week

MuseScore has supported single note dynamics - the ability for a note to get louder or softer (or both) while it sounds - ever since version 3.1. But with that has come an issue that has bitten more than a few people over the past few years. In order to support single note dynamics (SND), MuseScore uses special versions of sounds labelled "expressive" (Expr) that respond to particular MIDI messages to control volume, rather than the old-style "velocity" settings.

This means, among other things, that if you are writing for an instrument that supports SND (like most winds and strings) and you wish to change to a different sound in the Mixer, you need to be sure to stick with other the Expr sounds. And conversely if writing for an instrument that does not support SND (like piano), you need to be sure to avoid Expr sounds. Otherwise, you may find that dynamics don't work at all! So if you have a score and you're having trouble getting dynamics to work, go to View / Mixer and be sure you're using the Expr sounds correctly.

Music Master Class

As usual, I'll be talking about things that interest me musically, and giving feedback on music you've submited. If you've got music you'd like me to look at this week, be sure to post it!

The Music Master Class is live on Thursday at 12:30 PM Eastern (17:30 GMT), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

In Theory

When I teach about rhythm - whether to beginners just learning the concept, or to musicians who have been playing a while but who aren't experienced in writing music - one of the most important concepts I discuss are the eight basic rhythms. These are the only eight ways you can fill a measure of 4/4 with notes that don't require breaking up a beat (so, only quarter notes, half notes, dotted half notes, and whole notes). Not everyone realizes there are only eight such rhythms - and fewer people still understand how fundamental this is to how we notate and read all rhythms:

Here are those eight basic rhythms:

eight basic rhythms

And here is an excerpt involving complex syncopated sixteenth note rhythms, showing how those basic rhythms can be seen within each beat:

excerpt involving complex syncopations

For much more about the significance of this, see the handout I created for my Basic Music Theory course - and then see the course itself for even more :-)


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