- NOTE: Encore's user Manual uses the term "string indication" for what I refer to as "string assignment" in the following discussion.
Ideally an attempt to nudge a tab number onto an occupied string would send the note (past the occupied string) to the next unoccupied string.
Alternately—and preferrably!—Encore could/should allow a nudgeless approach for string assignments (i.e. a direct form of string assignment, as explained below.)*
Without either of these options Encore users cannot notate the full normal-realm of guitar playing in tablature. Encore has the wherewithal to calculate the proper fret number, and to move the"note" to the desired string, updating the fret number as needed ... indeed. Unfortunately, this is not possible when another note is in the way.
Ideally Encore would simply allow users to drag fret numbers to the desired string -- but clearly that's not a trivial change of interface.
Here's a very simple example of my suggestions, and obvious reasons why we need more flexibility and specificity with respect to string indications:
- A "nudge down" (command - ) has no effect in situations like this -- because the note on the second string is 'in the way':
This limitation surely affects guitarists, banjoists and fiddlers who want to notate tablature, but cannot do so with Encore.
Here's a classic example:
The guitar "power chord" is the essence of rock guitar accompaniment ... but Encore can't create tablature for a droning E power chord, like 079900 (which is quite commmonly used in Celtic accompaniment as well.) Look at this example:
The first chord shows the only way that Encore will tab this chord.
The second chord shows how I want the lower four string tabbed.
The third chord shows how I want the upper two strings tabbed.
The fourth chord (in the next measure) shows how I want the entire chord tabbed, but Encore is unable to do this. I was only able to achieve this result graphically.
Here are some chords for a popular song. These are extremely popular chords and Encore can notate none of them in tablature:
Here's another "can't do" chord example:
The first chord shows Encore's only tablature option
The second chord shows what I want (again, this was achieved graphically)
Banjo players also need to specify tablature string assignments -- even more so than guitarists â€” because the highest note in a banjo chord is often on the fifth string (the lowest tab line.) As long as Scruggs-style banjoists can't move the high note to their fifth string they're unable to write even the simplest score when chords include the fifth string.
Banjo players are some to the strongest tablature enthusiasts. Presently they're stuck using applications like TablEdit, which is nearly devoid of layout tools, such as flexible measures per line, floating test blocks, etc ...
Guitarists and banjo players clearly constitute the largest part of the professional and amateur tablature market a wide audience is affected, so 'string assignment' is definitely an important point to address.
The problem is rooted in Encore's complete reliance on:
1) drag selection
2) nudging for tablature string assignment
Suggestion: The best UI would be to allow the user to drag a fret number to a string. The fret would update mid drag so the user can see the result before releasing. This would be an extensive change in UI, and if that is not tenable at present, the following solution would offer the same flexibility without much fuss.
* Short of allowing the user to drag a tab number to the desired string (and recalculate the fret of course), here's a proposed simple solution:
- How about a contextual popup menu that appears when the user right-clicks (or control clicks) a tab number? The menu presents a list of strings (only the strings that the note can legitimately move to.) The user selects the desired string number, Encore transposes the number appropriately and dispatches it to the intended string.
Additionally Encore would allow string assignment via right-clicking treble clef. (Sometimes that would be easier to understand than moving frets from string to string.)
Although contextual menus are not readily discoverable, they are fairly simple, and they clearly side step the issues associated with marquee based nudging, plus this approach more direct and more specific than nudging.