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1. Tool icons in the editing window
2. The active staff
3. The 3 layers
4. Entering music symbols
5. Entering text
6. Text is tied to a staff
7. Each staff can have eight tracks
8. Selecting items
9. Accessing extra information for an item
When the program begins you will see a music editing window and an onscreen piano keyboard that also contains numerous tools. You can select a desired tool by clicking on it, and you'll see that the cursor changes its appearance to display the chosen tool. All tool symbols in both the edit window and keyboard have a "tool tip" that will pop up if you let the mouse cursor hover over the tool for a few seconds. If you're still curious about the tool you can look it up in the index.
1. The music editing window contains at least one staff (you can add as many staves as you like, in any clefs of your choosing) and tools for controlling the position of each staff and its related lyrics, if any.
Each staff has a circular "handle" at its left. You can drag a staff up or down by grabbing its handle with the arrow tool.
Small squares above and below the staff are called the title height and score height controls. You can drag the title height control down a bit if you need more room on the first page for the title. Drag the score height control up or down to decrease or increase the space between staff systems in the printout (you can do that with a Page Preview window open to see the effect).
To the left of each staff handle is a speaker emblem that tells whether sound for this staff is on or off. You can use this to listen to just one or two staves at a time, or to evaluate the writing in just one or two staves - Counterpointer will ignore any staff whose sound is turned off.
To the left of the speaker is the channel control - you can click this to change the channel. Up to 16 channels are possible, and each channel can have a different instrument sound assigned to it. Channels are used both for MIDI output and for built-in sound.
You'll see a padlock symbol by any staff that is serving as the cantus firmus. You aren't supposed to change the notes of that staff.
Finally there is the instrument sound assigned to the staff, which can be changed by clicking on the instrument name.
2. One staff is always the "active staff." Notes entered via the piano keys will appear in whichever staff is currently the active one. You can make a staff the active one either by using the arrow to click on any of its notes or symbols, or by entering a symbol directly in that staff, or by clicking on the "handle" at the left of the staff. You can also change the active staff by using the up or down arrow keys. The active staff's "handle" is filled in red.
The edit window displays music in a continuous roll scrolling left and right. When you are ready to print you can use the Page Preview command (File Menu) to see what the music would look like arranged on pages.
3. There are three editing layers: staff symbols, chord symbols (used in Counterpointer only when realizing Roman numeral harmony), and text. You can edit and select items in the active layer, whichever it is. Counterpointer will automatically change layers depending on which tool you've chosen, and it will also change layers according to the item you click on in the music. If you click a note tool or click on a note in the music, Counterpointer will change to the "staff layer" for entering and selecting staff symbols. Similarly, clicking the text tool ("A") or on any text item will place you in the text layer.
You can drag-select a group of items in the currently active layer even if they overlap with items in different layers. For example you can drag a selection rectangle around a group of notes without getting any text items in the selection. And if two items are overlapping, the program will first select the one that's in the active layer, so it's always possible to separate items that get on top of each other.
4. To enter notes and other symbols you choose a symbol tool by clicking on the desired symbol and then either click in the music or play a note. To select items or drag them, use the arrow tool to click on the item. Notes or rests can be dragged up or down; text and most of the miscellaneous symbols can be dragged in any direction. For more on entering notes and other symbols, click here.
5. To enter text, choose the text tool ("A"), click where you want the text to appear, and start typing. Once text is entered, that block of text can be selected with the arrow tool like any other symbol and can be dragged to a new position, modified, or deleted. If it's lyric text, put it on one of the green lyric lines and it will follow the notes. For more on entering text, click here.
6. Each staff has its own text world.Text items are always associated with a particular staff: the one that was active at the moment the text was entered. If you move or delete a staff its associated text will also move or be deleted.
7. In the Free Counterpoint activity each staff can have up to 8 melodic tracks,the first of which we call the primary track. Each track gets its own "handle, " so a staff with several tracks will have several handles lined up left to right like a string of pearls. For more on multiple tracks see this. For Counterpoint study it is easiest, however, to place each voice in a separate staff.
8. To select items for editing or deletion, click on the item with the arrow tool. To select a range of staff symbols, click on one side of the area, hold down the shift key, and click on the other side. Or hold down the shift key as you click on several different items. Or use the arrow tool to drag a selection rectangle around the items to select. More on item selection can be found here.
9. All items entered in your music have an information window that offers extra control. Just select the item in question and press command-i (Ctrl - i for Windows).
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