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Let's Talk About Skanks

So, soon I put out a first draft of a notation guide to start to walk through the MDL notation standard.

While some of what is presented in the MDL notation guide will be familiar if you have used VDL or other notation inspired by it. Some will be a bit different.

In creating the MDL standard, we looked at the VDL standard created by Jim Casella, Murray Gussek, and Hugh Smith... and actually had long conversations with the VDL creators to understand why they did some things in the way they did. One of the key influencing factors was the limitations of Sibelius at the time VDL was created.

Since the number of noteheads and articulations in Sibelius then were limited, they were forced to make some choices that were less than ideal.

With MDL and MuseScore 2.3, we did not have such limitations and were free to create. As a result, some of the types of notation you were used to using, that were awkwardly formed from limitations of Sibelius, have been replaced in MDL.

A few examples...

Crossovers on tenors. Some use a plus above the stem, which is actually commonly used for dampening, closing, or muffling.

Others use ( ) around a note, which is commonly used for ghost notes, particularly on drumset.

It is also common to see crossovers notated with a hollow diamond notehead, which completely breaks the format for note duration.

If you look in the MDL Workspace (make sure MDL is selected in bottom left) and open the MDL articulations palette you will see that there are actually 2 designations for crossovers - LOR (Left Over Right) and ROL (Right Over Left). This makes notation even more explicit or descriptive than any other option out there.

In case you are wondering, if there is an accented crossover, the crossover goes above the accent.

Back to skanks.  I've seen that some notate these with an elongated V, which is actually a symbol for an up bow marking for instruments like violins, cellos, etc.

When we look at the actual technique of a skank, it is a hit with a quick hand mute followed immediately after. A + symbol would not be entirely accurate, as it would imply that the note would be muted upon attack, not after.

So, what is a skank? It is a quickly shortened rim shot.

In thinking about this, we have suggested (and the logic in MDL 1.1 supports) the notation of a skank as creating a rim shot on the 4th drum and then applying a staccatissimo articulation. This emulates both physical action involved in playing and also the modification of the rim shot.

As we more forward in releasing the full notation, very interested to get your thoughts, ideas, feedback. We truly want to make this in the international standard. 

MDL How To Twitch/Webinar

To help people get started with all the very different new features of MDL and to also talk a bit about things like percussion notation, arranging for percussion and pretty much anything else related, I'd like to start to do regular Twitch streams or Webinars that everyone can tune in to and participate.

Which do you think is better - Twitch? Webinar?

I am thinking to maybe do 2-3 days per week. One time that works best for US/Americas and another that is better for Europe/International.

What are best times for US/Americas (using EST)?

What are best times for Europe/International (using GMT)?

MDL Feedback

Hey everyone. I thought I'd drop the first post to get feedback on MDL and see how we can continue to improve.

We are currently working on MDL 1.1, which we hope to release in the next couple of days. 

In this release we are working on some minor fixes in articulations, improving templates and also adjusting the sound of individual instruments (here is an example of sound updates in progress - https://soundcloud.com/musescorelabs/mdl-11-beta-tuning-test-fluid-flavor).

I'd love to get your feedback and suggestions on any aspect of MDL you think we can improve.

MDL 1.0 Feedback

Wow. I have to say how impressed I am with MDL 1.0  When Daniel first came online talking about this project, I was skeptical. I didn't think we'd get a viable alternative to VDL for free. Yet, here we are. It's great work and a huge asset to the community.

Keep in mind, I primarily write for battery and all comments come with that lens.

First, it's very speedy to write battery parts. Tuplets get a little squirrely at times, but I'll chalk that up to learning curve on my end. Its fast enough that I find myself unreasonably annoyed with the things that aren't quite as fast.

One thing that slows me significantly is how much overlap I get with accents, articulations, dynamics and pictograms in the defaults.  I spend a lot of time moving things to where they're readable. I don't think I've changed the default settings. For example, pictograms are showing up right in the middle of the staff. Even then, I find myself deciding it's "good enough" and moving on to something else. I don't love how some of my published scores look, but it's just the way it is.

On the 'feature request' side, one thing I miss about Sib is the percussions stickings text and how it aligns to notes without additional futzing by me. With the 'staff text' in MS MDL I press a lot of space bar and caps / lower case make things not quite aligned. 

Second, audio playback is a B+ for the battery - and I'm being hyper critical. The sextuplets in particular are vastly superior to what I was getting in Sib + VDL. The flams sound great too.  However, there are times when playback creates weird phaser / wooshing sounds that just don't happen in real life. 

Finally - and I'll beat this point forever - I'm really missing the ability to dictate stickings - particularly on the snare drum - and have the audio follow. Patterns like shirley murphey's, egg beaters or even just paradiddles just don't sound quite right. They're less important on tenors and even less important on bass, but would still be nice.

All in all, it's amazing. I'm a fan and quickly becoming an evangelist for MDL. The entire team deserves praise.

Transcriptions for Viola

Hi I'm a sixteen year old viola player who is a junior in high school. I wanted to challenge myself as the current selection of concertos and what not for viola (ex: Hoffmeister, Stamitz, Walton, Bruch, etc.) are definitely not simple, but they are, in a sense, wearing down on me. I don't feel the same sense of passion anymore with these pieces. I was wondering, do you guys know where I can find transcriptions of cello pieces like Shostakovich Cello Concerto, Dvorak Cello Concerto, etc. (I found Elgar on musescore) that are free of charge. Additionally I was wondering if there will ever be a viola rendition of tchaikovsky violin concerto for viola as my principal played certain sections by ear and I was really intrigued as it is considered a pure violin piece with almost zero intentions of transcriptions. That would most definitely be the crown jewel that I would be looking for to dedicate my time practicing to.

Indoor Percussion

 
Hey, guys! I'm new here and have been recently writing an indoor percussion piece (I've only written front ensemble) and I need someone to write battery for it. I need a snare, 5 drum tenor/quintet quads, and 5 bass drums. Whoever is willing to do it must be able to stick to a schedule. I will credit you and allow you to post, but if you claim you wrote everything yourself, I WILL report you.
Thank You!

My email is 
rednotewriter@icloud.com">rednotewriter@icloud.com

I don't know how much rosin is enough/how tight the bow should be

Hello there, I'm a thirteen year old violist who is currently in my school's symphonic and full orchestras. I've been told by some of my peers that "I put too much rosin on my bow and that doing so could make what I play sound muddy". I don't know if this is true or not but I usually put a lot of rosin on my bow and it ends up sounding just fine. another question I have is, how tight is a bow supposed to be before you play? I've been told by some that it's supposed to be super tight and some have told me that it should be super loose. I usually make it loose, cause then I'm able to play fortissimo without what's coming out of my instrument sound scratchy, while when I try to play loud when my bow is tight, it sounds squeaky and scratchy. 

The string instrument doctor

Hi there fellow string instrument players,

Outside of transcription and arranging for orchestra and occasionally smaller ensembles I am also a professional violin maker and restorer.
And for that reason, I am willing to try and answer every question on the subject of violins, violas, cellos and contrabasses in regard of construction, acoustics and history.

Questions can go from: 'How best to clean my violin' to 'What's so special about old instruments and especially those by Stradivarius'.

Please take note that my mother tongue isn't english, I'll always try to utilize the correct terms and words but mistakes are bound to be made!