All set and ready to go? Here's your ultimate cheat sheet to notation!
Where's …? How can I enter …? Where do I find …?
Do you really know the input palette? It's FORTE's greatest and most practical asset. Each and every possible element for your score is here. It's about time for a detailed portrait. And to show you everything there is to know about it. As you already know, the input palette has 10 different tabs.
The first and most important tab is called “Notes”.
When you open FORTE, you‘ll be seeing exactly this picture:
In the upper half there are the notes, note heads, accidentals, ties and slurs as well as the tool for triplets and tuplets. We don't have to tell you anything about the notes. You know quarters, 8th notes and dotted half notes like the back of your hand.
But did you know that the symbol at the utter left – “Quarter over 8th note rest” – allows you to switch between notes and rests? On very rare occasions, you may want to edit a rest manually. Another interesting button is next to the 128th note: You can change the shape of the note heads here. This feature is helpful if you‘re writing notation for drums and percussion or shape notes for your choir.
Next to the accidentals (bb, b, natural, # and x) you find an empty bracket. If you'd like to remind of a certain accidental, you use this bracket to write reminders or “courtesy accidentals”: Click on the accidental, then click on the brackets. The cursor turns into a reticle and you'll place it on the desired note.
The symbol on the utter right is the tool for tuplets. You'll need it if you want to enter triplets. Or those beautiful 18-tuplets that you find in Chopin's oeuvre. We made a video for you to show you how to use this tool.
If you look at the virtual keyboard in the lower half, you'll find little black arrows at the left and right side of the keys. You'll reach the other octaves here. If you'd like to enter chords, click on the chord symbol at the lower right edge of the virtual keyboard. Another click on the symbol deactivates the chord input again. Please note: if you're writing chords often, because you're writing for a choir or for the piano, it's important to use the correct voices. Here's a tutorial video for you how to work with several voices.
Accents & Techniques
This tab offers you accents, techniques and fingering. If you linger over an unknown symbol with your cursor, its name or explanation is shown (mouseover). The input of all these elements is the same: select the element and place it on the desired note (the cursor turns into a reticle). All elements can be edited in their respective properties window: right-click on the symbol. If you wish to change the position of the element, press ctrl and keep ctrl pressed while using the arrow keys ← and → for repositioning.
This tab contains the elements for dynamic markers (who would have guessed that?). The static symbols (mf to pppp) are written into the score just like the accents we talked about in the paragraph above. Those symbols indicating a development (cresc to >) are written with a starting and an ending point. It's worthwhile to check out the properties window of these elements as well. Maybe you’d like to make some adjustments or edit the appearance.
If you want to edit the tempo of your music, here's your go-to tab. The element “Quarter equals 60” is best edited in the score: right-click and properties, then go to “Performance”. If you select the Italian label “Andante”, a menu opens below:
By clicking on the arrow head, you'll get the whole choice from Larghissimo to Prestissimo. If you like, you can add more text to the single word, say “ma non troppo” for example, before writing it into your score. Using the properties window again, you can adjust the performance or the position, if you like.
Text / Chords
Here’s a full package! All elements around the musical text are here. Let’s look at it step by step. The button “Title Text” at the far left allows you to complement or edit the score's information. This is what it looks like:
To keep your print outs in order, add header or footer information to your score.
One really important and frequently asked subject: LYRICS!
Pick the type of your lyric (verse, chorus, block) right here and now. You can also decide the general location of the lyric (above, below, between the staves). Select & click the first note of your score that should be sung. Now you can type your text: A blank divides the syllables and assigns the syllable to the next note. If you type a hyphen (-) or an underscore (_), the syllable will continue for several notes.
If you want to add another verse, open the properties window of the lyric. Go to the tab “Text” and select the correct verse number. If you right-click on the lyric, you can display the verse number or hide it again.
If you're writing a lot of music for choirs or ensemble, you already know how to work with several voices. You also know that it's important to adjust the spacing in the layout options accordingly for all parts and all lyrics. But did you know that you can assign different lyrics to each part? If you select the voice level in the main menu “Home”, you can add yet another lyric as a first verse.
The third button, “Comment”, allows you to enter comments and further instructions above or below the staves. A comment is bound to a certain time of your score.
The next button, "Note" is for writing any kind of note you need at any place of score freely. You're not bound to any timings (as you are with "comment").
The symbol "Structure" offers some interesting inputs:
Choose "Song Structure", if you plan to export your score to Bandora. These song structures are relevant for your arrangements there. (If you add no structures, Bandora will still work, though!).
Use "Marker" if you want to write your own structural ideas freely. Rehearsal letters and numbers complement your choice here.
Now about those chords...
If you click the chord symbol, another window will open. You can configure your chords here. The most common chords are under “Fast input”, for, well, faster input. Every other chord you want to write… you have all the components at hand. You can also select the style of the chord you want displayed: Whether it's just the name, just the chart or both. Look at the lower left corner: you can check those style boxes here.
We explained to you how to change the chord's language here. This setting cannot be edited in the input palette. If you select Italian as the chords' language, you can make use of the note name recognition for your shape notes. Please note: At the moment it's not possible to set up chord charts of your own. If you prefer to write tablature, we've prepared a tutorial for you here.
Pick your new key with greatest comfort and ease. You'll just need two clicks. You don‘t need to know the circle of fifths off by heart… Because you can either select the key OR the desired amount of sharps and flats. One more click with the newly selected key into the desired measure and off you go in a different key. :-)
Just the service we seek to give you: the most common meters are immediately displayed. It‘s really just ONE click for you. Of course, you can add meters of your own. Look at the input field at the right end of this tab. The FORTE program's logic is based on meter. So, sometimes it's necessary to adjust the metric system. Here's an article explaining to you when and how to do that.
One click and you've got the correct clef. That’s the way to do it, right? If you want to shift the octaves using 8va, 8vb or 15ma, you'll decide upon a starting and an ending point in you score. Pretty much like you did with the crescendo above. The long line at the far right of this tab is for writing notation for Steirische Harmonika. So, most of you can pretty much ignore that :-)
What would music be without a trill? Like a cake without icing! This tab shows you all the ornaments for your notes. Like before, mouseover is implemented to give you the name or explanation of a symbol. Please note: Arpeggios and glissandos will not be followed when you play back your music. If you'd like to write a glissando, select the symbol, then draw a box around both notes.
Here we go again. For small units, there are “repeat notes and patterns”. For larger parts, there are repeat symbols of all names and sizes. Playing your music back, only the repeat symbols for the larger units are followed. For example the left and right repeat bar, the first and second endings or text input like “D.C.”. Let's have a closer look at the first and second endings:
If you enter a first or second ending, you can edit the value in the repeat's properties. You can also edit the style of the ending. The line for the 2nd, 3rd, … ending, however, is never longer than one measure. If you prefer text repeats, this is what your choice looks like:
Similar to the aforementioned Italian tempo labels, you have an input field and an arrow head. Your choice goes from “D.C.” to “Fine”. The repeat markings are bound to the timing of your score. And just because it's so beautiful, here we go again!