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4.5 Voices and Playback

Control of contrapuntal voices is key to proper playback of your score.

4.5.1 Voice Visibility


To view contrapuntal voices as colors, push the Voice Visibility button in the Toolbar. Each ENF Part (each staffline of the score) can contain a maximum of 4 voices (represented by 4 colors, black, red, green and blue). For scores to play back correctly, it is important that voices appear correct and be properly manipu- lated. See "Working with Contrapuntal Voices", Section 7.9 for additional details about editing voices.

4.5.2 Voice Splitting (Select + “H”)

Music ministers and choir directors will find this tool extremely handy: Most hymnals and many choral scores group voices into 2-note chord clusters (SA/TB) instead of opposite note stems for each voice. SmartScore treats chord clusters as a single contrapuntal voice. Using the voice-splitting tool, you can split two-note clusters into separate voices (black and red) where each voice will have a unique instrument sound and each voiceline can be extracted to a separate document (See Section 7.4.4, "Extracting Voices" for more details on extracting voices).

To split all two-note clusters into two independent voices,

a. Hit the “O” key or Select button to activate the Select tool.

image b. Select Ctrl+A (Select all) to highlight all symbols in the document.


c. Press the “H” key. This will separate two-note clusters into 2 voices.


FIGURE 4 - 6: Splitting two-note chords into 2 voices


TIP:Only two note clusters will split. If you wish to split clusters containing three or more notes, delete the least desirable note(s) from the cluster (“Z” key and “X” key) until you are left with two notes in each cluster.

4.5.3 Assigning instruments to voices

Assigning unique MIDI instruments adds richness and allows the user to distinguish con- trapuntal voices during playback. There are two areas where you can change MIDI instru- ment assignments for voices: inside the Playback Console and inside the System Manager.

To change an instrument assignment of a voice in the Playback Console,


a. Push the Playback Console button in the Toolbar to open it. The console may be opened with quick-keys (Ctrl+9 / Cmnd+9) or from the menu by selecting Play- back > Console.


FIGURE 4 - 7: Changing MIDI instrument of a voice in Playback Console

b. In any of the Voice column, click to select a new MIDI instrument.

To change an instrument assignment of a voice in the System Manager,


a. Open the System Manager (Ctrl+M) or select System Manager from Edit menu. All staves are displayed in horizontal rows as “Parts”. Voices are arranged in columns above each part (1 thru 4).

FIGURE 4 - 8: Changing MIDI instrument of a voice in System Manager

b. Find the voice number within the part you want to change. Click the MIDI instru- ment name assigned to that voice in the pull down menu. Select an alternative instrument. During playback, you will hear voices stand out from other voices provided you chose instruments with different timbres.


4.5.4 Changing instrument sounds on the fly

You can change instrument sounds anywhere in the score by applying a Program Change to a selected voices within any given measure.

To apply a Program Change in the ENF notation view,

a. Push the “Instrument Change” button in the ENF Toolbar.

b. Position the note-arrow on the first note where the change should occur.

c. Select a new instrument sound for that voice. If more than one voice is present in the measure, you will need to select the voice to which you want to apply the change.


FIGURE 4 - 9: Correcting offset voices not “glued” after recognition.

4.5.5 Correcting Vertical Alignment

In printed music, noteheads belonging to different voices may appear side-by-side even though they are meant to sound simultaneously. During recognition, horizontal distances between offset noteheads are measured and a decision is made whether or not to join (or glue) notes to the same vertical event. It is possible that offset notes will not become glued due to excessive distance between the noteheads. It is also possible that notes will become incorrectly glued if they are too close. The default distance for joining noteheads to the same vertical event is 1/8th of a note head. This distances can be adjusted prior to recogni- tion. See Section 3.5.1, "Recognition Options" for details on resetting the distance for joining notes.

Following recognition, check that Voice Visibility is on (See Section 4.5.1, "Voice Visibil- ity"). If two notes with opposing stems both appear black and are meant to play simultane- ously, they can be aligned as follows:

To vertically align offset voices,


a. Use the Select tool (“O” key) and highlight notes or rests that are horizontally offset (likely, they will both be black).

b. Press the “Y” key to group the selected, offset notes into a single vertical event.


Selected voices may move a bit and one should turn red.

FIGURE 4 - 10: Correcting offset voices not “glued” after recognition. Similarly, if you see notes that belong in a single voice each displaying a different color

(most likely black and red) and nearly touching, they are joined to the same vertical event and can easily be “unglued”...

To “Unglue” offset notes which are not intended to play simultaneously,

a. With the Select tool (“O” key), carefully select the incorrectly glued notes (NOTE: they will each have different colors). Be sure to select only the notes which are incorrectly joined.

b. Hit the “Y” key. Joined notes separate and change color. Select again and hit the “Y” key once more to rejoin.

See “Join Offset Voices” in "Recognition Options", Section 3.5.1 to reset default distances prior to recognition. See also "Working with Contrapuntal Voices", Section 7.9 for more information on editing voices and their affect on score playback.