Score editing

MitSyn score editing

In some time signal synthesis applications there is a need to be able to adjust parameters of a synthesizing and/or mixing process during a run in accordance with a specified plan, i.e., at instants specified with respect to some particular time base. In MitSyn this need is met by the file data type called a “score”. A score consists of data which can be read sequentially by a stream processing configuration.

The MitSyn Score Player and Editor may be used to create and edit such scores. It also supports the importing of score data from standard MIDI files (File→Open). MIDI files for musical scores are popular items on many Web sites. The Score Playing page contains more on this topic. The Play commands discussed on that page are useful for debugging note content in a score, and also as a note learning training aid for multi-part choral music.

MitSyn scores are conceptually like scrolls on which are placed the various types of score notations. For graphical display purposes, the long (unlimited length) axis is positioned horizontally, and the horizontal positions of items are used to represent their temporal attributes. Temporal positions and durations are measured in arbitrary units called “beats”. A mapping from beats to “real time”, e.g. seconds, is usually called a tempo mapping. The vertical dimension of a score plot is used to represent “levels” of most notation items. Note levels are interpreted using an octave representation, with a level of zero corresponding to the musical pitch of C0 which is 4 octaves below middle C. This interpretation of levels is specific to the musical synthesizer, but may be quite different for other steam processing modules which read from scores.

The basic score file format is called a “MitSyn low-level score”, and it is a fairly low-level notation in that data is represented in a numerical (graphical) format. (For musicians a MitSyn score is in concept somewhere between the very low-level score represented by a player piano roll and the much higher-level traditional musical score which is very symbolic and context dependent.)

Finding items in a score

There are many ways of moving around in a score, e.g., by dragging the scroll box, by using the scrolling keys (Page Up and Page Down), by using the Goto command (Ctrl+G) to go to a specific score time (in beats), or by using the Find toolbar  (Ctrl+F causes the Find toolbar to be shown).


The drop-down selector is called the “find filter” which can be used to search for specific types of items such as notes, bookmarks, or tempo settings. The two buttons are Find Next (F3) and Find Previous (Shift+F3)search commands using the setting of the filter beginning at the cursor location. For quick return to specific locations you may easily insert additional bookmarks (a.k.a. rehearsal letters) using the Bookmarks toolbar. The attributes of found items will be shown at the right side of this toolbar.

Inserting and editing items in a score

In order to edit the attributes of a particular score item, or to delete it, the item must first be selected by being “found” by using a Find command. If an in-score item is to be modified “cut” to item to the item clipboard, and then Edit/Paste that item back into the score.

New items may be inserted in the score by using the New item row controls. First choose the item type from the drop-down box, and then setting the properties of the remaining fields, and then clicking the Insert New button. However, new notes are usually inserted in a score using the synthesizer keyboard rather than the item row buttons, since that keyboard provides a faster approach to notating notes.


Synthesizer keyboard

Notes may be keyed in using the keyboard keys, and other types of score items entered using the buttons. The Tooltips (help balloons) for the keys, buttons, images, and other controls describe their use.

Notes can be “keyed” into the score using the synthesizer keyboard by clicking the desired keyboard key with the “Insert Note” checkbox checked. The duration of the note will be that of the current step size as shortened by the setting of the staccato–legato slider. Then if the Auto step box is checked the cursor will be advanced by the current step. The current step size may be set by into the Step size text box or more quickly by clicking on a step size note graphic (i.e., the whole, half, quarter, … notes) optionally followed by a modifier (dot, double-dot, triplet). Thus a sequence of the same duration notes may be entered by simply clicking successive keys on the keyboard. Clicking the step Ahead button advances the cursor by the current step without inserting a note, which is thus equivalent to “inserting” a rest of the current step size.

Distinguish between voice numbers and note Part (class) numbers. Often they are the same, but not necessarily so, and the relationship can be changed in the Voicing Assignments dialog box (elicited by the Voices button). Scores deal with note classes (parts) while the Voice Mixer deals in voices. For example, it is perfectly possible to assign the basses (voices) to sign the soprano parts (note classes). A quick way to set the current note class for insertions is to click on a “solo” button in the Voice Mixer but, as just mentioned, a voice might not be currently mapped into a note class with the same number.