How do I efficiently write sheet music on my computer?

By typing notes with your computer keyboard.  Most notation editors offer powerful ways to quickly enter music, but the means of doing so are not obvious, and may even be actively counter-intuitive.

Apart from this document, your notation editor probably contains some sample scores and videos covering this.

A digression on word processing

You’re probably more familiar with your word processor than your notation editor, so it’s worth taking a moment to think about the different modes of operation it has.  When started with a blank document, you probably see a blinking vertical bar.  This is called a caret.  You may have heard the caret called a “cursor,” and this is a valid word, but the “cursor” is also used for symbol where your mouse points – an arrow most of the time, or an I-beam shape when over a text entry field.

Word processor screen capture showing vertical blinking bar (caret) and mouse cursor.

Word processor in text entry mode, showing text caret and mouse cursor

When the caret is visible,

  1. Any letters typed on the keyboard are inserted1 at the caret, and it moves to the right2.
  2. Any formatting (bold, italics, font changes) will have no visible effect, but will apply to letters typed from then onwards.

However, if you select text by dragging the mouse or holding down the shift key and the an arrow key, the caret disappears, and instead the selected text is highlighted.

Word processor screen capture showing the word "emboldened" selected and with bold formatting being applied to it.

Word processor in text selection mode, showing formatting being applied

When text is selected,

  1. Any letters typed replace the current selection, and the caret reappears to allow typing to continue as usual.
  2. Any formatting will be applied to the selection.

Why does this matter to music?

You have probably absorbed these lessons from your word processor, so easily that you don’t have to think about them.  However, your music editor also has a caret mode and a selection mode, but they require greater awareness of which mode they’re in and how to move between them.

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  1. If overwrite mode is on, new letters will be replaced, not inserted. []
  2. If working in a language that reads right-to-left, the caret will of course move to the left. []

Walking Postmans Track, Sisters Beach

Photograph of coastal cliffs.

Postmans Track is a walking track along the north coast of Tasmania, Australia. In the early days of the coastal towns of Burnie and Stanley, this track was the shortest land route between the two. It was only suitable for people on foot or on horseback.

The “Postmans Track” seen here was a short segment in the middle of that original route, passing along cliffs at the eastern edge of Rocky Cape National Park.

Getting there

Postmans Track lies within part of the Rocky Cape National Park, so visitors will need a current National Parks Pass.

The route to both ends of the track began by driving along the Bass Highway, turning north onto Port Road, then following Sisters Beach Road after Port Road diverted to Boat Harbour. All of these roads were sealed.

The car park for the southern end of the track was on Sisters Beach Road itself. The car park for the northern end of the track was on Sisters Beach. The road to this car park was unsealed, with large ruts that would be inconvenient if filled with water. Drivers wishing to avoid this could park on Honeysuckle Avenue and walk an additional 1.6 kilometres along Sisters Beach.

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Why we couldn’t walk to the Anchor Stampers on Blue Tier

Photograph of dam with hole due to flood damage.

Update – 21st December 2015

Read the comments on this post for details on a new track to the Anchor Stampers site.

Original Introduction

The Anchor Stampers is a piece of old tin mining equipment once used at the Anchor Tin Mine on the side of Blue Tier, Tasmania, Australia. A 20 minute walking track used to visit the site, but in April 2011 floods destroyed a dam that the track crossed. The photographs in this post show the damage state of the track in May 2013. As of April 2015 the track remained closed, with repairs under discussion.

Getting there

The Anchor Stampers site was on the west side of Anchor Road. This road was unsealed for its entire length, and became progressively narrower and rougher as it continued north. The Anchor Stampers track was near the north end. Parking for the Anchor Stampers was on the side of Anchor Road and easy to miss.

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Walking to Halls Falls, Tasmania

Photograph of short waterfall in bright sunlight.

Halls Falls lie on the Groom River, near Pyengana, Tasmania, Australia. A short walking track leads to the falls, with branches leading to a few other features along the Groom River and in the nearby forest.

Getting there

Unless you live in the town of Lottah (and, if you do, you don’t need directions to Halls Falls), the best route to Halls Falls is along the Tasman Highway. Drive to the junction with Anchor Road, and turn north there. The car park is on the east side of Anchor Road – on the right, if you are driving north.

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Walking up Ben Nevis, Tasmania

Photograph of jagged mountain from below

Ben Nevis is a mountain in Tasmania, Australia, north of the higher and larger Ben Lomond. A rough walking track leads up the mountain.

The Ben Nevis in Tasmania should not be confused with the other mountains named Ben Nevis in Victoria, New Zealand and the United States. All are named after the Ben Nevis in Scotland, the highest mountain in the British Isles.

The Tasmanian Ben Nevis, at 1,368 metres above sea level, is slightly higher than its Scottish namesake (1,344 metres), but shorter than its New Zealand sibling (1,619 metres).

Getting there

Ben Nevis was not easy to drive to, despite being only 42 kilometres east of Launceston. The walking track began off Telopea Road, which ran north-south. From the south, Telopea Road turned off Upper Blessington Road. To the north, it led to Ben Ridge Road and Diddleum Road. All of these roads were unsealed, although still wide and solid enough for two-wheel-drive vehicles. Both routes were about 1.5 hours from Launceston, and correspondingly longer from anywhere farther south or west.

The walk described here started from Telopea Road. The first kilometre of the track was along Schulhofs Road, which four-wheel-drive vehicles could travel with care.

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Walking to Duckhole Lake

Photograph of small lake surrounded by trees, with reflections.

Duckhole Lake fills a sinkhole near Hastings, Tasmania, Australia. The track to the lake is one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks.

Getting there

Duckhole Lake is over an hour south of Hobart, and a correspondingly longer drive from anywhere farther north. We stopped at the Hastings Caves Visitor Centre to enquire about the state of the track, then drove north. This was a scenic route, but the southern parts were very narrow, although still suitable for two-wheel-drive cars. The car park was a flat patch of ground next to Creekton Road, just east of a bridge over the Creekton Rivulet.

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Walking the Adamsons Tramway Track

Photograph of rainforest with long fallen mossy tree trunks.

The Adamsons Tramway Track is a short walk near Hastings, Tasmania, Australia. It overlaps with the much longer Adamsons Peak Track. The tramway portion passes the remains of various old forestry constructions.

Getting there

This track, like most in Tasmania’s far south, was not easy to reach. It began on the Peak Rivulet Road, west of Dover. We began even further south, at Hastings Caves, which meant a long drive north on unsealed forestry roads. The narrowest of these was Creekton Road where it turned north off Hastings Caves Road. As the roads continued north, they became wider and smoother.

The “car park” was a small flat patch at the side of Peak Rivulet Road, next to the sign shown above.

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Walking around Merthyr Park, Tasmania

Photograph of track meandering between eucalypts and cherry ballart trees.

Merthyr Park is a reserve near Lilydale, Tasmania, Australia. A gift from Lord Merthyr, of Saundersfoot in Wales, it was once a popular picnic area, was a rubbish tip from 1965 to 1995, and since then has been under ongoing rehabilitation by the Lilydale Landcare Association. Two walking tracks – the Large Circuit Track and the Small Circuit Track – allow visitors to see the park.

The Merthyr Park in Tasmania should not be confused with the multiple other Merthyr Parks in Australia and in Wales.

Getting there

The only road to Merthyr Park was the Second River Road, which passed through the middle of the park. From most of Tasmania, this was best accessed from Golconda Road, just north of Lilydale. The car park was at the east end of the Merthyr Park, opposite the Lilydale Waste Transfer Station.

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Walking in Honeycomb Cave, Mole Creek

The karst landscape of Tasmania’s Mole Creek area is famed for its caves. One of the most accessible is Honeycomb Cave.

Caves are not safe places, and the open nature of Honeycomb Cave can be deceptive.  In June 2015 a visitor to Honeycomb Cave suffered a serious fall.  Watch the ground and do not step anywhere you cannot see clearly.  Do not go out of sight of daylight if you are not a trained and equipped caver.

Getting there

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Walking to Westmorland Falls

Photograph of waterfall between tree ferns.

Westmorland Falls flow off the Great Western Tiers, south of Mole Creek, Tasmania, Australia. The falls are short but picturesque and surrounded by rainforest.

Parts of the walking track to the falls were destroyed by floods in January 2011. Replacement work in 2013 included a new bridge and lookout platform. As of January 2015, the repaired track was about 1.8 kilometres long (3.6 kilometres return).

Getting there

Westmorland Falls lie within part of the Mole Creek Karst National Park, so visitors will need a current National Parks Pass.

The simplest way to navigate to the falls was to drive to Mole Creek, then turn south onto Caveside Road (sealed). We turned west onto Wet Cave Road (unsealed), south at Honeycomb Cave, and then it was a short drive uphill to the Westmorland Falls car park.

If you are approaching from Launceston and are familiar with the area, turning onto Caveside Road at Chudleigh may be more scenic.

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