Writing for piano, and other thoughts

published24 days ago
2 min read

Hello! Some really great discussion going on over on the Community site - it's really gratifying to see how people are engaging and helping each other out with feedback and suggestions for their cimpositions. I'm also preparing to launch some exciting new resources specifically for all-access members. So stay tuned for that, and by all means, if you have any notion I might be able to help you learn more about music, consider joining at that level!

MuseScore Café

This week in the MuseScore Café with Marc Sabatella, we look at the use of articulations - staccato, tenuto, etc. I show how to enter them efficiently, how to customize their positioning, and how to tweak the playback effect.

We're live on Wednesday at 12:30 PM Eastern, or watch the archived show later.

Tip of the Week

If you're a jazz or blues musician, you probably write a lot of eighth notes you want to "swing" - to be played with the first eighth of each pair longer than the second. Some people try to approximate the effect of swing using triplets, or by writing in 6/8 or 12/8, but that's not the same thing, really - true "swing" is more subtle than that.

I won't claim MuseScore's playback can swing like Duke Ellington,'s band. But I can tell you that if you add the text labeled "Swing" to your score from the Text palette, MuseScore will do its level best to make it happen. After adding it, you can also right-click that text, choose System Text Properties, and then Swing Settings, to tweak the ratio of how long the first eighth is compared to the second in each pair. As a professional jazz musician, I would say that the faster the tempo, the "straighter" the eighths should be (closer to 50% ratio).

Music Master Class

This week in the Music Master Class, we'll take a deeper look at an ambitious sonata-ballade submitted by Trevor Sabourin as well as other shorter pieces. It's so interesting to me to see music submitted by people at all different levels of experience. So many people have so many great musical ideas that we can learn from!

We've live on Thursday at 12:30 PM Eastern.

In Theory

I have been putting together a set of educational videos talking about my recent composition "For Dad". Not because I am claiming it's an especially great piece of music, but because I know I employed a lot of tried-and-true compositional concepts in writing it, so it works well for demonstrating a variety of topics. I'm making the whole series available in the all-access-members-only area of the Community, But a couple of weeks ago I teased a little bit of this by showing you the first eight bars in both lead sheet form and as I arranged it for piano. So I decided to take the video I made on the process of arranging the piece for piano, and make it available to everyone:

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