Purpose: Provides notation tools suitable for songs, piano music, quartets, chorales, duets, etc. You can hear your music, edit it, change its instrument sounds, use an easy tool to transpose it to any key, and send the file to someone else as a music file or as a printable pdf page image.

Difficulty: Depends on what you want to write.

How it works:

Working in panorama or page view Entering or adjusting text
Multiple staves Working with lyrics
Guide to tools above the keyboard Entering chord symbols
Entering notes on the staff Page view: adjusting staff systems
Editing basics Hearing your music
Recording a tune Sharing your music
Entering more than one voice on a staff Getting Help

Working in panorama or page view

There are two ways to view music in Musica Touch, each represented by an icon on the right side of the screen. The first icon is for panorama view. Music is laid out left to right, like a piano scroll. If you're writing a song on a single staff, for instance, you'll see just one staff that extends endlessly to the right. The second icon is for page view, where you see the music as it would appear on a printed page. Though editing can be done in either, you'll find that it's faster and easier to work in panorama view. You can go back and forth between views at any time.

Whether in panorama or page view you can shrink the music with a two-finger "pinch" gesture or enlarge it by touching with two fingers and spreading them apart. Often it's very helpful to enlarge the music when entering or adjusting music symbols. In panorama view, as you reach the end of the view window the staff will automatically scroll left. You can scroll the music yourself, either left or right or up and down, by dragging the page with two fingers. To quickly scroll to the beginning or end of your piece, use the contols at the top center of your screen.

Multiple staves

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You can write with any number of simultaneous staves, though given the available space a large number of parts may be impractical. The composition activity by default begins with two staves, as in piano music, though you can change it to whatever you like. "Add (and delete) staff" buttons are found at the top of the screen.

Each staff has a "handle" at its left that can be used to drag it up or down on the page. The currently "active" staff is the one whose handle is solid blue. Any notes entered via the keyboard will always be added to the active staff. Touch the staff you want to be active and its handle will turn blue, indicating that it is now "active." Use the "add staff" and "delete active staff" buttons to add and subtract staves from your score.

Guide to tools above the keyboard

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Above the keyboard is a line of tool buttons for clefs, key signatures, note/rest tools, etc. Touch any of these to view the entire tool palette for each of these items. Tool palettes can be dragged anywhere on the screen. Touch to select any symbol in a tool palette and then touch in the staff where you want to enter it. A selected symbol will appear highlighted in the tool palette and will also be displayed in the upper left corner of your screen. To close a tool palette window touch the X its upper left hand corner.

Touch the keyboard info button to view the Keyboard settings. You can change the instrument sound of the keyboard, staff or chords by touching the info button for each. Choose your clef, key or meter and touch in the staff to enter. You can quickly change clef, key or meter by first selecting the current one in the staff and then selecting its replacement from the palette. You can also enter changes of clef, key, or meter anywhere in the music. Notes will automatically move on the staff if you choose a different clef. Slide the keyboard octave control right and left to change the octave of the screen piano. (The octaves are labeled if you turn on the option to show note names found in the Keyboard settings.) See more about the chord tool and text tool below.

You can add accidentals either before or after you enter a note in the staff. With the note tool selected touch the desired accidental and then touch in the staff. Or, select a note in the staff and then touch the desired accidental. Bar lines can be entered manually or by using the "auto" command found in the bar lines tool palette. If you want the first measure to be an incomplete "pickup" measure be sure to enter that bar line manually so that Musica knows where to begin. Repeat signs will be observed during playback, and you can change the repeat count of a repeat sign by double-tapping the symbol to see its current settings.

Unless you are using the "auto" command for stem direction or beaming, all of the tools here perform actions on a selected note or notes. Select the note or notes first, then apply the action.

1. Stem direction: Change the direction of one or multiple selected notes. Auto-stem option applies to entire score. You can also change the length of a note's stem by dragging the stem up or down.
2. Beam or unbeam notes: The beam tool will beam the selected notes at a default angle. You can change the angle of the beam by dragging up or down the first or last stem in the group. The auto-beam option applies to entire score.
3. & 4.Ties and slurs: Ties can be dragged up or down and will change their curve direction if you drag them to the other side of a note head. Slurs can be selected by touching; selected slurs have visible handles that can be dragged to change the shape of the slur.
5. Triplets: Select the notes you want to make into a triplet group and then touch the triplet button. If the notes are beamed they'll be marked with just a number; otherwise a number and a bracket. If you select the first note of the group, drag handles will appear on the bracket. The number can also be dragged as needed.
6. Tuplets: The tuplet button will allow you to create a tuplet grouping of any number of notes to be played in the space of however many beats you specify. For example: 5 in the time of 4.
7. Pitch arrows: Move a selected note or group of notes up or down one line or space at a time.

Entering notes on the staff

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To enter notes on the staff begin by selecting a note value from the note tool palette. Once the note value is selected you can either touch in the staff where you want to enter the note, or touch the desired pitch on the screen piano. If you play the note on the piano it will appear at the current blinking insertion point in the currently active staff; otherwise it will appear whereever you touched in the staff.

Drag to change pitch and note value: If you hold your finger down when entering a note directly in the staff you can drag it up, down, left, or right before letting go. Dragging up or down will change the pitch; dragging left or right will change the note value (left for longer notes, right for shorter) and will also change the selected note tool in the tool palette. This makes it possible to enter notes without having to return to the tool pallette all the time.

The illustration below shows that a half note is the currently selected note value. It also shows that the treble staff is the currently active staff as indicated by its solid blue handle (See Multiple Staves, above). The blinking green line is the insertion point; it marks where the next note will be entered if you play a note on the keyboard (the insertion point is visible only if you have a note tool selected). To change the insertion point for keyboard entry just touch the desired location in the music.

Placing notes on the correct line or space takes a little practice. Here are a few tips that should help you:

• Enlarge the score by reverse pinching to give yourself a bigger target.
• Try the touch-drag note entry technique. Touch in the staff where you want to place the note symbol and then, without removing your finger from the screen, begin to drag up or down to adjust its pitch and left or right to change its note value. This is faster than repositioning a note that has already been entered. (If the note has an accidental the accidental will disappear as you drag; the dragging moves by scale steps in the current scale. You can add an accidental afterward if desired.)
• Use the keyboard for note entry. The chosen note value (whole note, quarter note, etc.) will be entered at the current blinking insertion point when you play a note on the keyboard.
• Use the Record button to begin recording for note entry. When you touch Record the metronome will begin sounding: play notes in real time, touch the Stop button when you're finished, and the music you played will be entered in the currently active staff (the one marked with a blue up/down arrow at its left). This can be a handy shortcut in many cases. If there is already music in the chosen (active) staff, recorded notes will be appended. You'll hear any other staves and/or chord symbols play along as you record in the chosen staff. This is of course best for melody, because it would be hard to play with both hands on the screen piano.

Editing basics

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Select: To select an item, touch it. Or drag a selection rectangle around a group of items. Before selecting items you should un-choose any current note or rest tool - touching in the music with a note or rest tool chosen will enter the chosen symbol where you touch! This takes some getting used to- it's easy to forget that you have a note tool selected. If you forget and end up with two notes overlapping just use the Undo button.

Delete: To delete a selected item or items, do a "swipe left" (slide your finger quickly left). Or hold your finger on the selected item until an edit menu pops up. Choose "Delete" from edit menu. If you're deleting a recently added item, it's faster to use the "Undo" button since you're not required to select the item first.

Copy and Paste: To copy selected items, touch and hold in the music window until you see the edit menu, then choose Copy. To paste copied items, touch and hold where you want them to go, wait for the edit menu, and choose Paste.

Drag: You can drag notes up or down by touching them. Begin the drag and the note will follow as soon as you've moved far enough to change it. That way your fingertip is out of the way so you can see where the note is going. It will sound as you move it to a different line or space. Notes and rests can also be dragged left or right a limited amount for fine adjustments. Bar lines can be dragged left or right to shrink or expand the contents of a measure. Text can be dragged anywhere on the page. Slurs, when selected, have handles that can be dragged to change the shape or position of the slur. Shorten or lengthen note stems by dragging them.

Substitute: You can change any item to a different item of the same type without bothering to delete it. Change a group of quarter notes to half notes in one step by selecting the group and touching the half note tool. The same goes for rests, clefs, key signatures, meter, and barlines.

Double-tap: Some items offer further options if you double-tap the symbol in the music.

1. Score options: Double-tap anywhere in the background of a page to view the score options window. These options allow you to:
-adjust the overall note-spacing for your composition
-transpose your score to a different key
-select from several print layout options
-choose how you want to number the measures
-view beat markers that show the main beat divisions in every measure
-view different colored connecting lines that show the voice-leading when adding multiple voices to a staff
-loop the playback of your composition (useful if you want to improvise to a repeating chord progression).
2. Text options: Double-tap any text block to bring up the text edit window. Here you can make changes to the text or change its font and size. (To view the lyric options window with options for lyrics in general (described below) touch the staff information button.
3. Chord symbol options: Double-tap a chord symbol to view the chord tool palette which provides tools for modifying the chord.
4. Note options: Double-tap a note to view the note options window. These options include:
-add or subtract extra space before a selected note
-add or subtract extra space to the modifier (accidental) of a selected note
-alter the tuning (in cents) of a selected note (this has effect only on ios 7 or later).
-increase or decrease the volume of a selected note

• Undo/Redo (shown at left): To undo an action, touch the Undo button found on the right side of your screen. To cancel that undo, touch the Redo icon. If an undo or redo is not available the button will be inactive.

• Pitch arrows: As an alternative to dragging notes up and down, use the pitch arrows from the Action tools palette shown above. You can quickly move a selected note or notes up or down one step at a time.

Recording a tune

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When you start a recording, you'll hear the metronome begin ticking and see a beat counter moving in time with the beat, marking each beat of the measure. The beat marker allows you to begin your melody on the correct beat of the measure. Lots of tunes begin on the 4th beat, for example, as a "pickup" to the melody.

In order for Musica to notate your melody accurately, it's very important to play in careful time with the metronome, i.e. not expressively. To help you keep a steady beat, by default, the metronome is set to sound a "divided beat." One sound marks the main beat divisions while a second sound marks the subdivisions within the beat. If you'd rather not hear a subdivided beat, turn off "Use divided ticks" found in the Tempo options window (touch the metronome icon to view). You can also change the tempo by touching the metronome icon.

To add on to what you've already recorded press the "Start recording" button again. Musica will begin playing what has already been notated. When it reaches the end of the notated segment begin playing the notes you want to add. Make sure you begin playing exactly in time with the previously recorded segment. When you touch the Stop button you'll see the newly recorded segment added to the end of the previous segment. If the melody is long and you don't want to listen to it from the beginning you can set the "Play from here" marker anywhere before the end. Touch and hold above the staff where you want to set the marker and the menu item will appear.

It is possible to record a melody in one staff while hearing the melodies in other staves. To do this simply touch the staff you want to record into before touching the Record button, so that it becomes the "active" staff whose handle is highlighted in green. You'll see the countdown appear, and recording will begin when it finishes. Play just as you did when recording in a single staff.

Entering more than one voice on a staff

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Musica Touch allows you to place as many as 8 simultaneous parts in a single staff, though it is rare to ever need more than 4. When working with multiple voices it can be important to be aware how each note moves to the next. You can see the connections from one voice to another by turning on "show voice-leading" in the score options. Each voice will be marked by colored lines connecting the notes as shown below.

Why does it matter, which voice is which? First of all because you can only tie together two notes if they're in the same voice. And the rhythm of the passage could be confused if it isn't clear which notes are meant to follow others - particularly if there's any syncopation, as in the below example. Here are the basic guidelines for entering multiple notes on a staff:

• The first voice that you enter on each staff is considered the primary voice. When entering notes past the end of the existing music, the program will always revert to voice 1. That's in keeping with the idea that the first voice is the main one and comes before the others are added. The primary voice needs of course to fill the whole measure, but other voices can be incomplete. (In vocal music you'd want each voice to fill a complete measure, but in piano music that isn't necessary.)

•Additional voices are best added in layers so that they move consistently from one chord to another. It's best to write at least a measure of the primary voice, then add additional parts one by one.

•If you're writing a complex passage you may want to ensure that the next note you enter will become part of a particular voice. You may want to specify, for instance, that the next note you enter become a continuation of voice 3. Just touch the last note entered for voice 3 before entering your next note. That will tell Musica Touch that the new note is intended as a continuation of voice 3. If it's possible, Musica Touch will put the new note or rest in the requested voice.

Entering or adjusting text

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When you enter text it becomes attached to whichever staff was "active" at the time. Text belonging to a staff moves up or down with that staff if you drag the staff up or down.

To bring up the text box for entering text, touch the text tool and then touch in the music. When you touch inside the text editing box, the letter keys keyboard will appear for typing. You can type a title, composer name, a line of lyric - anything you want. Below the text box are options for choosing a font, centering text, and making text attached to a lyric line move freely (see adding lyrics). When you dismiss the edit window by touching outside it you can then drag the text around to adjust its position.

To make changes to text that has already been entered in the score, double tap the text. The text will appear in the text box window for editing.

Working with lyrics

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When you chose the text tool green "lyric lines" appear, belonging to the active staff (if you're entering music in several parts, as in a chorale, be sure to choose the appropriate staff before touching the text tool). Text sitting on a lyric line will automatically space itself to follow the notes of its staff. Dragging the text away from a lyric line will make it into free text again. You can have any number of lyric lines - it's one of the lyric options in the options window for each staff.

Here are some tips for entering lyrics:

•Separate syllables with either a space or a hyphen. Each syllable separated by a space or hyphen will be assigned a single note.

•Notes that are tied or slurred together will be assigned a single syllable. Also, one of the lyric options in the staff information window lets you use "vocal style" notation if you prefer, in which beams are treated the same as slurs where lyrics are concerned. That is very handy in choral writing.

• Sometimes it may help to increase the space between certain notes to accommodate crowded text. If you don't wish to increase the overall note spacing (found in score options) you can increase the size of a measure by dragging its bar line or you can add space by dragging notes side to side.

Staff lyric options: Touch the staff information button to view more lyric options for each staff.

• Locking the text positions prevents text from accidentally getting moved out of position while you're still working on the score. With the option turned on, the lyrics will lock to whichever staff notes they are currently assigned to. The lyrics will remain locked to those notes even if you change the note spacing. You can edit locked text, but if you add new text the option will automatically turn off so that you can positon the new text.

• Add lyric lines to accomodate additonal verses.

• Adjust the space between lyric lines.

• When the "vocal style notation" option is selected, beamed notes are treated like slurs for the purpose of setting lyrics. One syllable instead of two will be assigned to two eighths beamed together.

Entering chord symbols

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Chord symbols in Musica Touch are audible and will sound according to various accompaniment patterns that you can choose in the chord tool palette.

To enter chords, touch the chord tool, and select the chord you want to enter from the chord tool palette. When you have a chord selected for entry, beat markers appear in the chord layer above the staff to guide the placement of chords. Enter a selected chord by touching just below the appropriate beat marker.

The chord tool palette will automatically show the typical chords for the key you're in, but you can create any chord you want or modify any of the pre-selected chords. Use the "root" "type" and "customize" buttons on the chord tool palette to replace one pre-selected chord with another, to alter a chord's quality or inversion or to enter specific pitches.

You can choose from various "play patterns" for your chordal accompaniment. If you have several chords selected, your choice will apply to all that are selected. To select all chords at once, first select one chord and then, while the chord is still highlighted, touch in the music window and hold until the edit menu appears. Choose "select all" from the edit menu.

The chord layer handle appears only if the score contains chords. You can drag the chord layer up and down by its handle. Select the chord info button to view the chord sound and instrument settings and to choose a font for the chords. You can also choose whether or not to print a box around the chord names.

Page view: adjusting staff systems

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When in page view you'll see diamond-shaped controls in the left margin that are used to change the distance between staff systems. These spacing controls can be dragged up or down to make more space at the top or bottom of a page, or adjust the distance between staff systems within the page. Lowering the uppermost control will make more space in the title area. You can even create a wide gap between two staff systems if, for example, you'd like to put in a paragraph of text or additional verses.

The chord layer handle and lyric handle are visible only when chords and lyrics are entered in the music. Drag these handles up and down to set the spacing between the chords, staff and lyrics. Touch the info button for the staff to bring up lyric options. Here you can adjust the space between lyric lines if you have more than one verse.

Once you've set the spacing of your chords, staff and lyrics, you can drag the second spacing control up or down to set the distance between the first and second staff systems. Then you can do the same with the remaining spacing controls if they are note as you would like them. Spacing between staff systems doesn't have to be all the same.

Remember that the score options (double tap anywhere on the page) also include the ability to print on different sizes of paper (U.S. letter or legal, or european A4) and to change the print scaling. The print scaling adjustment doesn't change the size of the paper - it changes the size of the music. For example, at 80% print scaling the notes will be printed smaller, with more measures per line. 200% might be good for a "big notes" printout.

1. Left margin control
2. Right margin control
3. Page control
4. Double-tap the title to bring up the text edit box. Choose the auto-center option to center the title horizontally. The title will follow its related staff as you move the staff up or down, but you can drag the title to position it wherever you wish.
5. Spacing control: the uppermost spacing control sets the distance between the top of the page and the first staff system.
6. Chord layer handle: drag up or down to set distance between chords and staff.
7. Lyric handle: drag up or down to set distance between lyrics and staff. To set the distance between lyric lines touch the staff info button and choose Lyric options.
8. Spacing control: drag up or down to set the distance between the first and second staff systems.

Hearing your music

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The Play button at the top center of the screen will play whatever music is present. You can Pause during play and resume, and you can independently adjust the volume and instrument sound of each staff by touching the info button at the left of the staff.

If you want to begin playback somewhere other than the beginning, touch above the staff where you'd like to begin playback and hold until the edit menu appears. Select the "Play from here" marker. A speaker icon appears to show you where playback will begin. Return to the edit menu to cancel or move the current playback starting point.

Sharing your music

The Save button will save the file on your iPad for later use. The Share button at the right of the screen will let you send a copy of the music file to a friend - your friend can open the music in even the free version of Musica Touch to hear it and see it. Friends can edit the music too if they have the Composition or Lead Sheet activities. Or you can share a printable pdf of the music - pdf files can be printed from any computer connected to a printer. The music file can also be opened by desktop programs from Ars Nova, such as Songworks.

Getting help

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If you have questions about Musica Touch please see our FAQ sheet and feedback form.

Musica Touch™ © 2015 Ars Nova Software. This page may be freely copied.