I have fairly regular contact with the readers of this website. MuseScore users from around the world send questions, make comments and let me know about the ways in which they are using MuseScore. Every now and again someone sends through a tip – something they’ve discovered that makes their life easier – so I thought I would start sharing them with you.
I’ve always recommended selecting the rhythmic value of notes by using the numeric keypad that lives on the right side of your (full-sized) computer keyboard. I find this to be quicker than using the keys at the top of your computer keyboard (above the letters), and definitely quicker than using the mouse to click on the toolbar at the top of the screen. [by the way, if you haven't yet downloaded the free numeric keypad guide, you can do so here]
Laptop users don’t have the luxury of using these numeric keys since most laptop models don’t include one. You can go out and purchase a full-sized computer keyboard to plug into your USB port (this is the way I work), or even find a small stand-alone numeric keypad like this one to use with your laptop, or just stick with using the numbers that are situated across the top of the letter keys. There is, however another alternative.
David Withers recently wrote to me to say that he had discovered that by activating the Num Lock, it’s possible to “overlay” the numeric keys over some of the letters on the laptop. He’s also invented his own physical reminder of which key is which, so he doesn’t need to keep looking at his fingers.
Because I work on a laptop (acer) I went out and got a numeric keypad. Struggling to work out how to use it, I discovered that on the laptop I can press F11 which is Numbers Lock and the result is:
7 = 7, 8 = 8, 9 = 9, 0 = *
u = 4, I = 5, o = 6, p = -
J = 1, K = 2, L = 3, ; = +
Helpfully J has the little finger notch. These work like a dream, much easier than changing backwards and forwards from keyboard to numbers pad. A blob of blu-tack keeps the full stop/dot under my finger. Oh, and a bit on the F11 key makes that feel-able too. Maybe this will help someone else.
This method is possible on all laptops but you may need to check exactly how to activate the numeric keys on your particular laptop model.
I personally prefer to use a separate numeric keypad and have always found the use of the overlaid numeric keys a little fiddly, but it reminds me that every user is different. Like all software programs, there is often more than one way to achieve what you need to do and you need to try out different methods until you find one that suits you. This method is certainly useful if you want to travel light.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other MuseScore users? You can write something in the comments below, or send me a message here.