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Messages - Mike Shawaluk

There was a joke email going around, that showed a picture taken in a grocery store of a refrigerated bunker that was stripped completely empty, except for one small section that was almost fully stocked. That section contained vegan/vegetarian items.  (The store was supposed to be somewhere in Texas).  It turns out that the image was actually from a different disaster, hurricane season last year.  And someone was recycling the joke.

(For me this would actually be a nice find, since I happen to be vegetarian...)
It has only been mentioned briefly in one thread that I have seen, but I wanted to offer my thoughts and prayers for all of the forum members, especially those in areas especially hard-hit by COVID-19. So far, I've experienced a number of inconveniences (closed businesses, cancelled church services, and a few minor shortages such as toilet paper).  But I need to remind myself that I am still healthy, and things are much worse elsewhere. At this point there isn't much to do but hunker down and weather the coming storm.

I hope everyone who is reading this is doing well. If you are able, please share a few words with the rest of us so we will know how you are doing.


The Beam color seems to inherit the staff color.  Also, it seems that a tie will inherit the color of the note it is tied from.
I wanted to add a general note here, that recent full installers for NWC (version 2.75a.2 at least) have the latest versions of Lawrie's fonts built-in.  I'm not certain whether the upgrade installers for NWC will also upgrade these fonts, but if you ran the full installer, you shouldn't need to use the tools that Lawrie is referring to.
But I AM using the "built in" marcato, Mike!  But with the Dings font as the default font, the in built marcato font shows this anomaly.  Essentially, why should something work differently when used on adjacent notes with the stems in opposite direction?  (BTW I am running that latest version of NWC 2.75a.2 but not the more recent beta version)
I told you it was a stupid question :)

And I see from @hmmueller's reply that the marcato should work with either stem direction. So I'm not sure what is causing the boxes around your notes. Can you post a score that is doing this?
So, if I might ask a (potentially) stupid question: why are you using the Dings font for drawing a marcato symbol? (As opposed to just using the built-in marcato.)  Are you running an older version of NWC that doesn't have marcato?
Also, is there a way to connect notes in a staff?  For instance, the right and left hand each have notes that are part of one chord?  Thanks in advance!  :D
I forgot to address your second question.  If you have chords for the right and left hand that you want to show as a single cross staff chord, the easiest way to do this would be to lengthen the stems of the appropriate chord in the upper or lower staff (which one you lengthen depends on the stem directions).  If the note durations are half or quarter, you only need to extend the stems until they reach the closest notehead. If the notes are shorter duration, then you will want to extend them until the flags are aligned with the ones on the other staff.  Effective with version 2.75 of NWC, you can easily adjust the stem length by highlighting a note/chord and pressing Alt+up arrow or down arrow.
General Discussion / Re: NWC on Facebook
It's nice to see that contrary to replacing the forums with Facebook, that this post is actually driving traffic from FB to this forum, by posting the link to the ukulele plugin forum post.
This can be done using the object. Although NWC doesn't have support for cross-staff notes, you can apply an offset to the right end point so that it will "connect" to a note on another staff. See the attached example score.

The first measure is a visual-only version, which uses regular notes on each staff.  The second measure will actually play, because there is a hidden note in the lower staff that has the same chromatic position as the note in the upper staff.  I used "black keys" playback, but it doesn't sound quite right because of the starting/ending notes. 

Let me know if you have any questions about the object.
General Discussion / Re: NWC on Facebook
Me three.  A very long time ago I had a Facebook account, but I chose to delete it, and have never gone back.
The forum stats tell me that the new version has been downloaded 11 times, so some people will have seen it by now. But I haven't seen any comments about it, which I suppose fits the saying "no news is good news".  I am mainly interested to know if my modifications were as backward compatible as intended (i.e. that previous scores with still look correct). But it would also be nice to hear if I got the new features right.

The object has been significantly updated, and now includes a number of new parameters to implement swing tempo equation display.  The new parameters were added with backward compatibility in mind, so that scores which used the old object should work the same as before.  The following changes of behavior have been made for the new version:
  • The "spin" keys (+/-) now control the scale factor, and the numeric keypad keys can be used to toggle the other parameter values. Refer to the context sensitive help for more information.
  • The logic which controls the presence of ( ) now works with both the standard tempo as well as the swing tempo equation. Refer to the context sensitive help for more information.
  • If the tempo value is set to a blank string, the standard tempo will be suppressed. This makes the most sense if the user wishes to only display a swing tempo equation.
  • The position of the augmentation dot on standard tempos has been tweaked slightly for better appearance.
  • When a new is inserted in the score, it will inherit the parameter settings of the preceding object in the score, if one is present.
Please let me know if you encounter any issues with the new object version.
If you still have your authenticity ID from your original purchase, you can purchase an upgrade to 2.75 by going to this page. The cost is USD15.00, and you would get an electronic version that will install version 2.75 directly.  For an extra 10.00 you can have a backup CD shipped to you, although I don't know if there is an extra charge to ship overseas. However, I think CDs are going the way of the dinosaur these days, and I would just keep a backup copy of the original installer handy.

There may be other options if you contact support.
The object has been modified to render just single-note equations, and to support centering about the =. The parameter values have changed, so please remove and recreate any instances of this object in your scores.
Thanks Bill. The new version of the object will support these two alignments, assuming the object is placed immediately before the barline. And since you have checked in, do you have a preference for the left/right arrows? (i.e. should I include an option to display them?)  I assume they would make the most sense for the centered alignment (i.e. current practice).

Also, the object calls them "left" and "right", not "old" and "new", so it should be clear which ones are being chosen, regardless of the vintage of the score.
User Tools / Re: Updating User tools
I agree with Lawrie. There are a number of objects that I've created that not all NWC users would want or need. For example, banjo  chords.

On the other hand, my UserPlugins folder has 49 objects in it (most of them functional) and I don't notice any significant delay when I start up NWC. However, if NWC had to "phone home" every time it started, to see if any of those had been updated, that could take a while.  There is also the issue that at least on my system, many of the local objects are not present in the Object Plugin forum; they are experiments of one kind or another that are not ready for prime time (and may never be).
BTW, where is found?
Here. (It's not bundled with NWC.)
To answer a few questions and give a status update, here is what I've decided to do. (Please note that some of these decisions are changes from what I originally planned to do, based on the comments I have gotten.)

  • Contrary to the first version, the object will now only handle the single note equations. There will be two alignment options: Left justify and center on '=', and the alignment will be specified by a parameter.  I am considering an additional option to add the forward/backward arrows, but so far no one has said they really want these.  I am likewise not planning to implement brackets/parens around single note equations, since the examples I have seen with these characters are all of the double-note variety.
  • The double note equations (e.g. "swing" rhythm) are being added to the object, via new parameters and behaviors that will be backward compatible. This will permit to display all of the swing rhythm examples that David posted, including brackets. There won't be any centering of equations over the '=', since none of the examples of double note equations that I've seen have done this.

Let me know if this sounds workable. I should have an updated (single notes only) shortly, pending the addition of the forward/backward arrows.
Those are actually very helpful. They suggest a further set of changes/enhancements:
  • Add a "text" parameter, which would precede the equation. If that text is non-blank, then put parens around the equation, as is currently done for the Tempo function (and
  • Potentially, merge this functionality with the existing object, but only for the double note (swing) versions. And let just handle the single note equations, including the centering on the barline around the '='.
Do either of the above make sense?
Hi Lawrie - thanks for the vote of confidence :)

Regarding the NWC placement options: those are present for native items, like text, dynamics, etc., but unfortunately not for user objects. To implement those alignment options would take quite a bit of extra code.

Actually, while thinking about this, I came up with an idea that I think might work. In the examples I have seen in BB, the single note equations are centered on the '=' over the next bar, while the double note (swing rhythm) equations are rendered inline. Do you think that would make sense? Or, I could add a parameter to specify the alignment for either type. (Although to be honest, the single note equations would be easier to center than the double note ones.)
There is a sample score named PageTxtMaestro.nwc, which has been a useful example to refer to when I've wanted to use these objects. I assume you are aware that there is help documentation on the Properties screen, specifically for PageTxt.nw. You click the '?' in the title bar, and then click on one of the available fields, and it gives more details on how that field is used. The help info for the "Text" field lists the various special variables, including %Title%, %Author%. etc.
Thanks for the kind words, and you're very welcome.

I just looked up tempo equations in Behind Bars, and they don't show brackets (parentheses) around them; they only show the parens for a numeric tempo marker that is not preceded/followed by text (the same as NWC's tempo marker).  Still, it would not be difficult to include an option for this, if there is a need for it.  However, BB also shows optional arrows on either side of the equation, which I could theoretically add. They also suggest centering the "=" on the barline, which I haven't done yet, but should probably do.
Object Plugins / 0.2
This is a tempo equation object, as discussed in this thread.  It has been modified to handle just single-note equations. The built-in help describes the various parameters.

To get started, paste this clip into NWC 2.75a or later, and go to Tools > Manage Objects... to install the plugin:

Code: (nwc) [Select · Download]
|User||Pos:9.5|Right:"Eighth Dotted"
|User||Pos:9.5|Left:"Eighth Dotted"|Center:N

As discussed in the aforementioned thread, the double-note equations (used for swing rhythms) will be implemented as part of the object. Stay tuned!

I've included a few editing bells and whistles that I found useful while developing this. Besides the normal "spin" keys of + and - (which increase/decrease the scale factor), you can using the numeric keypad to toggle the various parameters:

1, 7 - toggle through left side values
3, 9 - toggle through right side values
0 - toggle "center on =" option
Z - set all parameters back to their default values (scale = 100%, quarter notes on each side, center on =)

Please let me know how you like this, and if there are any problems or additional features that I may have missed.
General Discussion / Re: Text Chords
Use the ChordPlay.nw object. Put the cursor where you want the chord, press J, and choose ChordPlay.nw from the list.

And they will automatically transpose when you use the Transpose Staff tool.
Attached is my fix (with master repeats back in). All I did was add _ lyric syllables for the notes in the first ending.

(This is consistent with the sample score SAVEQUEN)
Object Plugins / Re: (2.1)
At present, the object will always print the 'tr' symbol, although the wavy line can be suppressed (for one-note trills).  If you do not require playback, you can insert a text object with "~" (wavy) or "-" (jagged) characters, using the StaffSymbols font.
Just so nobody thinks I have lost interest in this project, I've been doing some coding to create the  necessary notes. It is a lot putzier (is that a word?) than I thought it would be... each part of the note (head, stem, flag, dot) has to be "printed" on the staff, with various cursor moves to get them correctly positioned relative to each other. But the good news is that I have all of the single notes figured out, so now I can move on to the double notes, with their beams and triplet brackets.

I should have a "test" object soon that people can look at and suggest various improvements that will cause me to go back to the drawing board and start over (j/k)
A few random thoughts as I begin prototyping this.

As I stated previously, I wanted to use only characters from Staff Symbols font for this object, so the user doesn't have to install extra fonts to get this to work. But it should also work with alternate staff fonts such as NWC2SwingDings.

That said, I did an inventory of the available characters, and I noticed that there are cue-sized half, quarter and eighth notes available, with upward stems. These would be sufficient for creating the two-note "swing" equations (augmented with a few lines and other text for beams and triplet brackets), but they won't be sufficient for the single-note equations, since those would potentially need a whole note. Also, the noteheads on the fully formed cue notes are a little different than the regular noteheads in the fonts that I have checked, specifically the quarter note.  It leads me to the conclusion that if I want the most flexibility, I will probably want to construct each note from the individual components (head, stem, flag or beam). I would need to do this for the augmentation dot and triplet bracket anyway.

At this point, I can see how to display the various note types, but I am trying to come up with a way to encode things so it will be easy to tweak the relative positions of the various notes, lines and text. That is, I don't want to "brute force" the positions. But this is just a programming thing, that shouldn't take too long to figure out. My fellow software developers will know what I mean here.

There is one final thing that I would appreciate your feedback on. I've noticed that when NWC (and other programs) draw a triplet bracket over the stem side of unbeamed eighth notes, the ending bracket is lined up with the stem of the note. I realize that this is per Behind Bars, but it always looks off center to me, because the flag on the final eighth note extends to the right of the bracket.  In searching online, I have seen some scores whose triplet brackets extend a bit to the right when the final note of the triplet has a flag. But I can't find any references that say this is acceptable practice.  Since I will be drawing the brackets manually in my code, I can make this adjustment if I want. Opinions would be appreciated.
Okay, so I did a little research, and made a few discoveries, which I will share here. They can be the beginnings of a "specification" for the new object.

The first thing I discovered is the name for these things, which is "tempo equation". There are a bunch of different forms for them, beyond the "jazzy feel" versions that we are talking about. Basically, the more common forms are the ones with single notes on each side of the equation, versus double notes. The single note versions seem to be used as an alternate way of expressing tempo changes, while the double note versions are for "swing feel", with different options for the right side of the equation, such as triplets and various dotted combinations.

And I will state upfront that I wasn't planning for this to handle the playback part, at least not initially. As @hmmueller said above, that would have to be a user tool, not a user object. I've read some of the other threads which discuss the technique of having a tempo track with rests and multiple tempo changes to create the playback effect (which is a kind of neat idea). But I think that the ornament part is what should be tackled first.

So, a few questions.  Do we want the tool to handle both of the equation types? (Single vs. double notes)  Or maybe have one tool for the single note types, and another for the double note types? Since each type of equation has different options.  One problem that comes to mind is how to represent the settings for the object, since I don't think it will be easy (or possible) to show graphical images in the parameters dialog. So we'll need some sort of nomenclature to describe the various types. I would see a drop down menu containing the various types.

There will be an ability to place the equation vertically on the staff, and I would include a scale factor so that it can be made larger or smaller as needed. I would try to use the Staff Cue Symbols for all notes and rests, so that people using swing fonts will see things the way they like them.

Let me know if I have missed anything important.
Of course, no thread is complete without Mike saying "it can be done with a user object" :) . This approach would have the advantage of not disrupting the surrounding notes, and achieving any spacing desired (presuming the code allows for that).

Since there hasn't been much activity lately on beta versions, I would be willing to create an object for this, if there is interest in that approach.
It would be a very useful improvement to NWC if these percentages could be configured somehow in the preference settings, in the same way that the dynamic velocity values can be configured.
If you insert a legato performance style at the beginning of each staff, this should give you the full note lengths you desire.
I use a free program called Xodo PDF Reader & Annotator on my Surface Pro tablet, which has a stylus. It has very nice annotation features, including automatic recognition of the stylus for marking up PDFs. I use it for choir music (much of which is NWC scores). You can check it out at
Object Plugins / Re: Rehearsal.og

You don't want to manually create a user tool entry for Opagust's plugin. Once the plugin is installed, it will automatically add a user tool named "Rehearsal.og: Create a rehearsal score" in the .Plugins group in the User Tools window.  That is the one you want to run.
Yes, I do use the toggle switch and this is a good feature to have but I find I'm using keyboard shortcuts more these days. It's quicker and more comfortable. I've discovered the Alt V A Shortcut and am learning to use it.

What would really be useful is a shortcut for open Book icon where you set up margins and fonts, etc.
If you are willing to use a 2-key shortcut with the Alt key, there's a shortcut for everything. For Page Setup (the book icon) you would type Alt-F, G.  You will notice that opening Page Setup "remembers" whatever tab you were on last, which is probably a feature rather than a bug.

If you would like to have single key shortcuts for these or other functions, it's possible to add them using a program like AutoHotkey. Or, if you have a fancy keyboard that allows custom key macros, you could assign the proper codes to one of your unused keys to make it do what you want. If you are interested in pursuing this option, message me privately and I can walk you through the steps (since the people reading this thread are probably getting bored on this topic).
Maybe he means the two L-shaped marks that you often see over the piano part in certain accompaniments. I see these especially in our church music. They indicate which measures the pianist should play as a lead-in to the song. Perhaps there are Boxmarks characters for this?
Object Plugins / Re: (1.0)
Regarding different stem lengths on split stem chords, in the past I had considered creating a custom object that would allow different stem lengths on the chord which follows it. To use it, you would set the stem length of your split stem chord to 0, and the object would draw in the two stems, based on parameters. If the object detected and encountered a blank space notehead, it could also render the note's stem accordingly, including drawing the correct flags for eighth notes and shorter durations.  This might be useful for situations where there are only a few notes that require differing stem lengths, and the overhead of creating and managing another layer was undesirable.

Let me know if this is something that you think people might find useful.
Once you create a guitar chord fingering, you can copy and paste it elsewhere in your score. If you have certain groupings you want to reuse, you could copy them into a blank score in the desired order, then copy and paste the group of chords into your working score., and then insert the rests or melody notes around them. For scores I have done, I find it sometimes easier to put the guitar chords on their own staff with appropriate rests between them, and then layer that staff onto the melody staff.

And if you want to get the chords to play (strum), increase the Note Span parameter from zero to the number of notes/rests you want the chord to cover. If your chords are on their own staff with a single rest between then, set each Note Span to 1.  You have the option of strumming down or up for each chord, as well as having the strum either start or end at the chord's location. See the forum page I linked above for more information on these options.
Does NWC include guitar common tab symbols?
If you mean guitar chord charts, the plugin object will do that.
If you mean a guitar tablature staff, the TabStaff.nw/TabFret.nw plugin objects are what you want.
If you are using a keyboard macro program such as AutoHotKey, you can assign a hotkey to the sequence Alt-V, A, which will toggle layering by way of the shortcuts in the menus. Or if you don't mind typing Alt-V, A manually, that would also work (you can type it as Alt-V, Alt-A so you don't have to let up on the Alt key, if that is easier to type). You can also take advantage of the Alt "sticky key" feature by typing Alt, V, A as separate keystrokes.
Object Plugins / Re: Beam.hmm (0.8)

I think you have the staves switched. Check SEBC's notes again: the first snippet she lists is for the lowest staff, and the next two are the upper layered staves.

Those should be much more straight forward to beam.
You didn't share the score in question, so I can't easily try this, but I suspect that when you have changing time signatures (i.e. going from 30/4 to 3/4), you need to insert a bar line between the time signature changes, so NWC knows how to start counting over again. The whole rests in your bass part are being counted as 4 beats instead of three.
EDIT: I mocked up your score and confirmed my assertion above. Just add a barline immediately before the "Cancel/forbid collapse" marks in staves 2-4.
Hi all,

Is it possible in the lyrics to put in more than one word for only ONE note.

Thanks in advance for your replies
Replace the space between the two words with an underscore character. This will treat the two words as though they were one word, and will center them under the note.

Make sure that "Underscore shown as space" is checked on the Staff Lyrics form.

I guess any note other than this would be a non-pedal tone.
It should be possible to create a custom object that will redraw the staff lines with a heavier line weight. This technique is used by TabStaff.nw to render a 6-line tablature staff below the current staff; it should be relatively easy to create a version which redraws the current 5-line staff.  I'll try to work on this later today, if someone does not beat me to it.
General Discussion / Re: Muted notes
If you are using the current version of NWC, you can accomplish a trill much easier by using the custom object. This will both play the trill as well as draw the squiggly line above the note.

If you post a score snippet with the trill you created, I can show you what the equivalent would be using the Trill object.

Again, this assumes you are running NWC 2.75 or later.
Okay, I think I am getting it, but let me paraphrase things back, and you can tell me if I am on the right track.

Bill mentions that harps have 7 strings per octave, which I think is like saying a piano has 7 white keys per octave. And the 7 pedals are each connected to all of the octaves of a particular note. So if I use the piano analogy, when the pedals are in a particular position, strumming the strings will play a scale in a particular key. Except that there are more scale combinations possible than simple major, minor, etc.

After thinking about this for 5 minutes or so, it seems to me that to make this work with the Glissando object, it wouldn't really make sense to put the pedal settings inside the Glissando object, but maybe to have a separate Harp Pedal object, that records the pedal settings. And then the Glissando can "look back" at the most recent Harp Pedal to see where the pedals are set, so it knows what pitches to play. Or is it more customary in music to always include the pedal positions for each glissando that is played?

I did a little searching, and I found a sample harp pedal diagram as created by another music program, that I'm including here. It shouldn't be too hard to create an object that both draws pedal diagrams, and uses them for glissando playback purposes.  Assuming, of course, that there are actually people interested in such a thing.
It sounds like the harp's sound is more of a glissando than an arpeggio, since the notes are generally consecutive notes of a scale, and not notes of a chord (if that makes sense). When I added playback to the Glissando object, I included three options: white keys, black keys, and chromatic (in addition to the continuous mode).  Perhaps for harp glissandos, I should have a way of specifying which pitches/notes to play. I am not a harpist, please educate me.
Is it customary to write out a harp arpeggio as individual notes, rather than use the arpeggio notation (squiggly line)? The notation would obviously take up much less space in the score.
I've read the above post, and it has a number of very good ideas. Here are a few quick thoughts on the approach.
  • I like the idea of having some sort of "marker" on the spacer, so specific ones can be distinguished from each other for subsequent operations. However, I don't like the idea of using the hundreths position of the width as a marker. The color should be sufficient for this, since it has no effect on the score appearance.
  • I had another more radical idea, related to this, that might bear investigation. Imagine a custom object, which behaves the same as a spacer, except that it is "dynamic". Recall that custom objects can have a width, and that that width doesn't have to be a constant. Now, imagine scattering these objects around a score, and these objects can each have properties that control their behavior. They could even take cues from one or more StaffSig objects.

Just something to think about.