Marc Sabatella

With a little help from my friends

publishedabout 2 months ago
2 min read

Hello! First, I want to follow up from last week and confirm that the "alpha" release of MuseScore 4 did indeed happen, just a little too late for me to be able to include the link in the newsletter. So here is the official announcement with the download information.

I will again emphasize that this "alpha" is not the actual 4.0 release but is intended for testing and documentation. And it's the documentation where we could especially use a little help from our friends. As you saw if you watched last week's MuseScore Café, while it's the same MuseScore we all know and love under the hood, the interface is completely redesigned for 4.0. This means that the online Handbook will need a major overhaul. We've already gone in and done all the initial reorganization, but we will need people to help with the actual content. If you've ever wondered what it's like to contribute to an open source project, this is the perfect opportunity! Please see the post calling for contributors for more information, and my recent comment with an update, including a link to a spreadsheet where we can track our progress.

MuseScore Café

This week in the MuseScore Café with Marc Sabatella, we continue our third-Wednesday "Score of the Month" series with the Mozart K. 428 string quartet project from the Music Engraving Workshop. I'll enter some of the music myself, and we'll discuss the issues people have encountered in their own efforts to engrave this.

The MuseScore Café is live on Wednesday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

Tip of the Week

MuseScore has had a long history of commitment to accessibility, and MsueScore 4 will mark the next step forward. For those of you who aren't familiar with how blind people use computers, everything is based on the use of keyboard shortcuts and a screen reader to read things aloud. For some time now, MuseScore has been close to fully accessible with keyboard and the most popular screen readers on Windows and Linux. MuseScore 4 will extend this to more screen readers, including VoiceOver - thus allowing blind musicians to use MuseScore on macOS for the first time.

We're very interested to get feedback on how well this is working. We know it's not perfect yet, but I've created a set of tutorials to help you get started and get you over the hump of some of the glitches we know you'll experience.

Click here to watch the first video in the playlist, then simply continue on to watch the rest (four in all). And be sure to let us know how it goes! The best place is on the Development forum on

Music Master Class

This week in the Music Master Class with Marc Sabatella, I'll look at more music submitted in conjunction with the Musicianship Skills Workshop, including a vocal arrangement by Brian Collins .

The Music Master Class is live on Thursday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

In Theory

In this week's lesson for the Musicianship Skills Workshop, I discuss the Beatles use of vocal harmony. Many of their songs use only two part harmony, but the song we are studying here (Nowhere Man) uses three, as do quite a few others.

One thing that differentiates vocal harmony in pop music from other styles is the use of one part pitched above the melody - that's not so common in traditional SATB writing. But, it is typical in barbershop quartet music. And there is a long tradition of placing harmony above the melody in folk music. But these are traditions that are often ignored in music theory textbooks.

Anyhow, here is my three-part harmonization of the first line of "Mary Had A Little Lamb" in this style:

And here is my attempt at singing this. Again, I discuss much more about you can create harmonies like this in the workshop!