JapoScore Handbook

(Last update on May 5th, 2020.) 

This handbook is compliant with JapoScore Version 3.5.0.


Getting Started

This section explains how to install JapoScore and basic workflow to produce scores in shakuhachi, shinobue, and koto notations.


Basic and general operations are explained.

File operations

Commands for file operations are explained.

Preparing Scores in Western Staff Notation

This section explains how to make score data (MusicXML) using MuseScore.

Setting Part

This section explains about setting values for each part of the score.

Setting Measure

This section explains about setting values for measure layout such as measure direction, style, and number of measures per stage.

  • Direction of Score (Horizontal or Vertical)
  • Number of Measures per Stage
  • Part Widths and Distance between Stages
  • Part Names
  • Measure Number
  • Stage Parenthesis
  • Setting Page

    This section explains about setting values of score page, that is, sheet, writing directions, layout setting for parts and measures, etc.

    Layout Editing

    This section explains commands for layout editing.

    Note Directives (Instructions to Notes)

    This section explains a variety of instructions targeted on notes (called directives).


    This section explains about changing sizes and positions (offsets) and of display items and setting displaying options.

    Style of Measure

    Style of Notes


    Note Table
    Directive List


    This section gives some hints which may be useful for making scores.

    Solving Problems

  • Plugins for Version1 remains in MuseScore
  • Plugins are doubly registered in MuseScore.

    History of Development and Acknowledgments

    ^ Index | Getting Started >

    Getting Started

    This chapter explains how to install JapoScore and MuseScore (Staff Notation Editing Software) and a Plugin which enables starting JapoScore on MuseScore.


    Download JapoScore from Download Page.
    Unzip the downloaded folder.
    On Windows machines, move the unzipped folder to an appropriate folder. (No registry is used.)
    On Mac, open JapoScore.dmg file, move JapoScore.app to an appropriate folder.

    How to setup MuseScore plugins:
    1. If MuseScore has not yet been installed, install it in advance (recommended).
    2. Start JapoScore (or execute [Generate MuseScore Plugin] from [Tools Menu]), then the following dialog appears.

    Chose MuseScore 2 or MuseScore 3, which you will use.
    Select MuseScore’s plugin folder and press OK.
    By default, MuseScore’s Plugin folder is “~/Documents/MuseScore2/Plugins” or “~/Documents/MuseScore3/Plugins”, but you should open Preference dialog and select General tab to check where the current plugin folder is.
    Next, start MuseScore and activate JapoScore plugins .

    How to activate MuseScore plugins

    Start MuseScore (if already started, quit and restart), and open Plugin Manager from Plugin Menu, and set “exportToJapoScore” and “exportUpdateToJapoScore” plugins checked and press OK.

    Plugin Manager

    Execution of Plugins:
    Once activated, plugin names appear on the Plugin Menu list. Clicking one will execute predefined operations.

    Installation of Staff Note font
    Export pure MusicXML with Note Names command produces MusicXML file in which note names are embedded in lyrics. You need to install JapoScoreStaff02.ttf font (included in the installation folder) in order that these note names are to be displayed correctly.

    To install, on Mac, double click the font file, on Windows10, right-click on the font file to show menu and select “Install for all users”. (Installation by double-clicking on the font file does not work on Windows10.)
    If JapoScoreStaffnn.ttf file is revised (will be notified in the release note), please reinstall the font file (old font should be deleted in advance). ”nn” is version number. Installed font name is “JapoScoreStaff”.

    Basic workflow

    JapoScore needs a score data file in MusicXML. Use MuseScore to make staff notation scores and pass MusicXML files to JapoScore.

    1. Prepare a score in staff notation using MuseScore.
    2. Export to a MusicXML file
    3. On JapoScore, Import the MusicXML file.
    4. Do page setting, part setting, and other layout commands to complete score.
    5. Export a PDF file for printing or viewing.
    6. Save the score as JapoScore file (*.sscx) for later editing.

    Both JapoScore and MuseScore can export MusicXML files, facilitating data passing to and fro between each other. Moreover, they can start each other and pass the MusicXML data directly.

    ^ Index | Basics >


    Shortcut Keys

    Ctrlkey on Windows machines is key on Mac. For example, Undo command is:
    Ctrl+Z on Windows, and
    +Z on Mac.

    This handbook describes Windows cases. Mac users should replace Ctrl key with key.


    Display|Zoom In magnifies the score by several percents. Display|Zoom Out reduces the score by several percents. Display|Reset Zoom resets the zoom ratio to the default value.
    From keyboard, type Ctrl++ to Zoom In,
    type Ctrl+- to Zoom Out,
    Rolling mouse wheel scrolls score up or down. If Shift key is depressed, scrolling is done in right or left direction.
    Scrolling can also be done by pressing UP/Down/Left/Right keys.
    Type Ctrl+0 to Zoom Reset.
    You can also Zoom In or Zoom Out by Ctrl+rolling mouse wheel .

    Navigator window is displayed to the bottom (or right) side of the main window by default. Display|Navigator or Ctrl+F10 switches on and off displaying the Navigator Window.

    Navigator and Palette

    By dragging the semi-transparent blue rectangle in the Navigator window, displayed area of score can be moved. Clicking in the Navigator window moves the score so that the clicked point is located at the center of the score window.

    You can also move the score by grabbing the score (depress the mouse left button) and drag. To grab the score, avoid pointing on measures, which selects a measure.

    Palette opens at the left side of the score window. Directive commands are list in a tree. Clicking triangle mark expands or collapse a subtree.

    Undo and Redo

    Almost all operations can be undone or redone.
    Edit|Undo undoes the previous operation. Edit|Redo redoes the previous undone operation.
    From keyboard, typeCtrl+Zto Undo and type Ctrl+Y to Redo.
    Operations from Layout Controller Dialog are not undoable, but each operation is paired with a reverse operation, which is equivalent to “undo”.

    Selecting Items

    Mouse’s left clicking selects an item. Selectable items can be moved, deleted, or right clicked to show a context menu.

    You can select multiple items by clicking with Ctrl depressed. Issuing a command on multiple items processes all items if possible, otherwise, processes the first item selected.

    When items are being selected, clicking the right mouse button will show a context menu if commands are supported for selected items. Clicking a command in the menu execute the selected command.


    and Breaks can be deleted by selecting the target item and depressing Delete Key (Delete).
    Target items:
     Symbols inserted or added can be selected and deleted.
     Directives for scales, transposition, repeats, and etc. with which red marks are shown, select the red mark and depress Delete key.
    For breaks, select break mark and depress Delete key.
    Note:Musicxml elements imported from musicxml file can not be deleted, added, or edited on JapoScore. Such operation should be done on MuseScore or other score maker software.


    English and Japanese are supported as user interface languages.
    Language|日本語 selects Japanese.
    Language|English selects English.

    Dialogs for Settings

    There are three dialogs: Part, Measure/Page, and Style dialogs. Following buttons are common in three dialogs.
    Buttons Set Default Values, Apply, OK, Cancel are at the bottom of Part Setting, Page Setting, and Style Setting Dialogs.
    Set Default Values:sets values on the dialog to system’s default values.
    Apply:applies values on the dialog to the score if some of them are changed.
    OK:applies values on the dialog and closes the dialog.
    Cancel:closes the dialog without applying values. Esc key also closes the dialog.

    You can keep these dialog opened and execute any other. Opening multiple dialogs and setting many values at the same time might be a good way to do layout tuning.


    Tools|Generate MuseScore Plugins generate plugin files in MuseScore’s plugin folder.
    Starting JapoScore may display Generate MuseScore Plugins Dialog. This will happen if JapoScore detects one of two conditions: (1) JapoScore version is different from that of the last execution, (2) the installation target folder of JapoScore is changed.
    Please refer to Installation and How to setup MuseScore plugins.


    Help|Online Handbook opens Online Handbook web page (this document).
    Help|Generate MuseScore Plugin generates MuseScore Plugin files and place them in MuseScore’s plugin folder. See Installation.
    About shows the version information of JapoScore and the latest available version.
    At starting JapoScore, this about information is shown, but only once a day.

    < Basics |^ Index | File Operations >

    File Operations

    Here explained are file types and file operations.

    File types

    JapoScore handles four types of files.

    • MusicXML file(*.xml)
      JapoScore Imports files in MusicXML format. MusicXML is one of standard music formats supported by major score maker applications.
    • JapoScore file(*.sscx)
      JapoScore’s score file format. This file format contains complete original musicxml data and JapoScore specific data. You can restore original musicxml data by export commands.
    • PDF format(*.pdf)
      JapoScore can export scores to PDF files.
    • SVG形式(*.svg)
      JapoScore can export scores to SVG files. Exported SVG files can be further edited by a graphic design software such as Inkscape and Illustrator.

    File Menu


    Open or Ctrl+O (Mac:+O) opens a JapoScore format file. You can also use drag-and-drop operation to open a file.

    Open Recent displays a list of recently opened files. Clicking one in the list opens the file.

    Open Sample or Template displays a list of sample and template files. Clicking one in the list opens the file. Sample and template files cannot be overwritten, use Save As if you want a copy.

    A template is a set of Part, Measure, Page, and Style settings data of any score. Import MusicXML Imitate command applies the template of the active score to the imported file. This means that imported file is rendered with the same settings as those of the active score. A template file is an JapoScore file (*.sscx), but is intended to be used as a template (by the Import MusicXML Imitate command). Any JapoScore file can be used as a template file.


    Import and Export command can be issued from Import/Export Dialog with various options.

    Import/Export Dialog


    Select “File” or “MuseScore” as source of importing. If “MuseScore” is checked, a temporary file (“~/user/musescore_exported.musicxml”) is imported. This file is a target file of MuseScore Export MusicXML To JapoScore plugin on MuseScore. Using “MuseScore” as a source and a target facilitates handy data exchange between JapoScore and MuseScore.

    Import MusicXML New imports a musicXML format file(*.musicxml). The score is rendered with the default template(default settings) and then, Part dialog will be shown for you to set part values such as a notation style, font, and font sizes.

    Import MusicXML Imitate imports a musicXML format file(*.musicxml). The score is rendered with the template of the active score (currently open score, which can be a template file or any other JapoScore file).

    Import MusicXML Update All compares data of the imported file with the active score and replace only updated measures and texts in the header area.

    “All” means it compares Directives (ever exported by JapoScore) and Fingerings as well as others between two scores.

    The updated score will appear in a new tab (score name is old score name plus “_updated”).

    Import MusicXML Update Pure does not compare Directives (exported by JapoScore) and Fingerings, which means the differences of directions and fingerings are ignored.

    Note: Number of parts between those two files (active one and imported one) must be the same. The number of measures of those two files can be different. If different, some measures are appended or deleted at the end.

    You can also use drag-and-drop operation to import. If there is no score on the screen, it acts as an Import New Command, otherwise it acts as an Import Imitate Command.


    Export MusicXML exports the current score to the target.

    Select “File” or “MuseScore” as the target. If “MuseScore” is checked, a temporary file (“~/user/japoscore_exported.musicxml”) becomes the target. Import MusicXML From JapoScore plugin on MuseScore imports this temporary file.

    Export MusicXML All exports a MusicXML file without note directive data.

    (Exported MusicXML file contains note directive data stored in fingering text beginning with “.” or “‘”. Do not edit them or you lose directive data when imported back to JapoScore with “All” option.)

    Export MusicXML Staff Note exports a MusicXML file with note names which appears as lyrics on MuseScore. Directives are not exported. Staff Note check box in Part Dialog output control must be checked as well.
    Note names are not output for Doremi notation.

    Export PDF/SVG

    Export PDF or Shift+Ctrl+P (Mac:Shift++P) exports the current score to a PDF file.
    See also Multi-Page Output Control. To print score, please use a PDF viewer software.

    Export SVG exports SVG files.
    See also Multi-Page Output Control. If the score is multi-page, file names are suffixed with page numbers as “filename_p001.svg”, “filename_p002.svg”, ….


    Save or Ctrl+S overwrites the currently opened file.

    Save As or Shift+Ctrl+S saves the currently opened file with a different file name.

    Duplicate or Ctrl+D Make a copy of the current score.

    Other File Commands

    Save As Original File Name saves the current file with file name without “_update” or “_copy” which is appended when import update or copy command is executed.
    Duplicate make a copy of the current file. “_copy” is appended to original file name.

    Property shows the currently opened score’s file path name and the last update date and JapoScore version

    Clear Recent File List clears the Recent File List.
    Close or Ctrl+W closes the current score.
    Close Scores on Left Tabs closes all scores on the left side tabs of the current active tab.
    File|Exit or Ctrl+Q stops JapoScore and exits.

    < File Operations |^ Index |  Preparation of score in staff notation >

    Preparation of score in staff notation

    JapoScore reads MusicXML format file and generate Japanese music score.

    MuseScore and MusicXML

    MuseScore and other score maker can export MusicXML file. MusicXML is a world standard.

    JapoScore interprets some of MusicXML data necessary for preparing Japanese music scores.

    MuseScore is strongly recommended for use along with JapoScore because:

    • JapoScore has been developed and tested using data exported by MuseScore. (Better compatibility)
    • Data passing commands between JapoScore and MuseScore are supported.
    • MuseScore is free and yet highly functional.


    Supported MusicXML elements

    Basic Elements

    Screen shots for the same MusciXML elements data on MuseScore and JapoScore are shown below.

    MusicXML elements displayed on MuseScore
    (Click the image to open the PDF file.)

    MusicXML elements displayed on JapoScore
    (Click the image to open the PDF file.)

    Elements below are interpreted and converted to corresponding items.
    Grace note, time signature, vertical line, slur, crescendo, diminuendo,
    Ending number, trill, glissando, breath mark,
    Articulations(fermata, breath, accent, staccato, tenuto, tenuto accent, trill, harmonic)
    Dynamics(ppp, pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff, fff, fp), tremolo(single, double),
    Repeats and Jumps(Segno, Coda, Fine, To Coda, D.C., D.C.al Fine, D.C. al Coda, D.S. al Fine, D.S.)
    Texts(Title, Sub-title, Composer, Lyrics by)

    Note: Copyright text is not imported to JapoScore because of some implementation reasons.
    Staff text, Rehearsal Mark, Lyrics

    Advanced Elements

    ✩Lines(solid, dotted, dashed, with hooks at both ends)
    Lines are input by selecting the Line on Palette. From the Inspector, you can change attributes of the line.

    On Finale, lines are input using the deformed shape palette.

    On MuseScore, you can add a text at the beginning of a line using the inspector (check the starting text). The text is independently displayed on JapoScore.

    ✩Wavy (tremolo) line
    If the lines starting text is “~” or ends with “~”, the line becomes wavy line on JapoScore, which usually means tremolos in Japanese notations.

    ✩Trill mark with a jaggy line
     A trill mark with a line is converted to “tr” mark and a jaggy line on JapoScore.

    Important:MuseScore does not export a trill with wavy a line ending after a rest note. In that case, move the end point after a non-rest note.

    Portamento (Slide)
     A Slide can be input as a glissando with a straight line on MuseScore. (A glissando with a wave line is a true glissando.) A slide is converted to a Portamento “~” on JapoScore. (Compare a slide and a glissando in the screen shot below.)

    Up-Bow (Sukui)
    The “V” marks on notes are converted “Sukui” for Koto and Sangen(Ikuta) notations.

    You can change notes to “Sukui” notes by renaming Note Names on JapoScore as well.

    ✩Pizzicato and Hajiki (+)
    “+” marks on notes are converted to pizzicatos (for Koto) and Hajiki “⋀” for Sangen Ikuta. In the case of Sangen Ikuta, if preceding note is different in pitch, the note name is shown with “⋀”.

    Koto (Sukui and Pizzicato)

    Sangen Ikuta (Sukui and Hajiki)

    Harmonics mark are displayed on JapoSore as shown below.

    Fingerings are processed by JapoScore. Small numbers are displayed beside notes.
    Currently, only “1” to “5” and “–” are processed.
    Multiple fingerings on a note can be specified.
    “–” (double hyphens) shows that the same fingering as that of preceding note is used. “–“s are converted to a trailing line.
    “–“s in chord notes are converted to a line drawn in the chord note direction.
    Fingering (with a trailing line) can be moved by the mouse operation.

    Fingering example on MuseScore

    Fingering on JapoScore (example above)

    Grace note as an after not
    MuseScore allows inputting “after notes”, but they are treated as same as normal “before” grace notes. JapoScore can treat after notes if a slur is across notes as A in the example.
    B is an example where grace notes are at the end of measure (graces are input as after notes on MuseScore).


    Notes in a chord are placed from left to right in order of note’s pitches in vertical writing, from bottom to top in horizontal writing.
    Although shakuhachi is a monophonic instrument, JapoScore renders chord notes in the same way as in Koto_Seiha (v.3.4.7~).
    Kan/Otsu instruction marks are attached by comparing sucessive two chords. Comparisons are done between the same level notes, where level is the order from the lowest note. If there is no corresponding level note in the preceding chord, the highest level note is used for comparison.

    (Hint) Shakuhachi chorus using chords for polyphony.
    The example of “The Last Rose of Summer” uses chords except for the last two measures where two voices are used. Other chorus parts are written with chords. You can use voices instead of chords, but chords are more handy if the rhythm are the same.

    The Last Rose of Summer (MuseScore)

    The Last Rose of Summer (JapoScore Tozan) (this file is included in the sample files.)


    If there are multiple voices, notes are placed from right to left in the order of voice number in vertical writing, from top to bottom in horizontal writing.

    A portion of Haru No Umi (MuseScore) (click to open PDF file)

    A portion of Haru No Umi (JapoScore) (click to open PDF file)

    < Preparation of score in staff notation |^ Index | Part >
    (from here)

    Setting Part

    Edit|Part Settings or Ctrl+P opens Part Setting Dialog.

    Part Setting Dialog

    To change values of a part, you select a part by clicking one in Part List on the left side. The values of the selected part are shown in fields on the right hand side.

    Default Part Name and Part Abbreviation Name are copied from the imported MusicXML file. You can edit them. See Measure Number and Part Name.

    Notation Style, Font Name, Font Size, Instrument Key (Transposition)

    Choose a Notation Style from the pull down menu. Supported Notation Styles are shown below. For all Notation Style, either of horizontal and vertical score direction is possible (see Score Directions).

    Notation Styles are:
    Shakuhachi_Kinko_Simple: So called Yamakawa-style.
    Shakuhachi_Kinko:Traditional Kinko school style.
    Shakuhachi_Tozan:Tozan school style.
    Shinobue:for Japanese traverse flute (Fue, Yokobue).
    Koto_Ikuta:Ikuta school Koto style.
    Koto_Seiha:Seiha school Koto style.
    Sangen_Ikuta:Ikuta school Sangen style.
    Shamisen_Bunka:Shamisen Bunka Style popular in Nagauta.
    Doremi:Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si, Do.

    Try Open Sample to show sample scores in these styles.

    Select a Font Name from the list in the pull down menu.
    Font Size (Rate) specifies the size of note font in ratio. Sizes of Texts, Dynamics, Articulations, Repeat Marks and others of the part change in proportion to the note font size of the part.
    Part Width (Rate) changes the width of this part. (Note: Part Size (Rate) of Page Settings dialog changes widths of all parts.)

    Transposition (Key of Instrument)

    You can transpose notes of a part by specifying number of half steps from the base key (1.8 length (D)) for Shakuhachi and 8 hon (C) shinobue).

    Part Boundary Lines and Long/Short Hands

    Checking Right(or Top) draws boundary line of part at right(vertical writing) or at top(horizontal writing).
    Checking Left(or Bottom) draws boundary line of part at left(vertical writing) or at bottom(horizontal writing).

    Checking Long and Short Hands draws long hands at every quarter time (or every 3/8th time for 3*n/8 beats) and short hands at every 8th time, which will produce Koto_Ikuta like time frame. Note: Align in Time (Alignment between parts) should be checked for long and short hands to be drawn.

    Output Control

    Check Part to output Parts.

    Check Note to output Notes.

    Check Lyrics to output Lyrics.

    Check Whole Rests to output Whole Rest marks.

    Check Staff Note to output note names when Export pure MusicXML with Note Names command is executed.

    In Reverse Order
    If not checked, note names for chord notes are ordered from the lowest note at bottom to the highest note at top. If checked, the order is reversed.

    Tie Stop Note
    If checked, tie stop note names are output.

    If checked, beams are output.

    Change Start Lyric Number for Staff Note Names greater than 1 (default) if lyrics already exist.

    Lyrics Settings

    Click Font Property to choose a Font Name and its Size. You can also set the font size in ratio.

    Alignment between parts

    Check Align in time to align positions of notes which have the same clock time vertically (for Horizontal Direction) or horizontally (for Vertical Direction).

    < Part Settings |^ Index | Page Settings >

    Measure Settings

    Measure Direction

    A score can be drawn in either horizontal or vertical direction. Select Horizontal or Vertical. In Vertical direction, Texts are rotated 90 degrees clockwise, and Lyrics are rotated 90 degrees clockwise if Rotate 90º (English,..) is checked. On the other hand, if Vertical Writing (Japanese, ..) is checked, lyrics characters are layout vertically.
    A text (other than lyrics) beginning with “.” is also layout vertically.

    Measure Style and Part Width

    Check Grid to produce a mesh-like measure layout with no space between stages.
    Check Banded to produce banded measures. Specify spaces between stages.

    Part width (rate) specifies Part Height (for Horizontal Direction) or Part Width (for Vertical Direction) in direct ratio to the font size of each part.

    Check Expand Last Page to spread last page’s stages to fit in full page.

    Number of Measures per Stage

    When Fixed Number/Page Width (or Height) is selected, the number of measures per stage becomes the specified number. If Equal Lengths is checked, lengths of measures in each stages will be of equal length.
    On the other hand, when Automatic is selected, lengths of measures will be automatically calculated. Measures are enlarged by Measure Scale Rate.
    See also Stretching and Shortening Length of Measures.

    If Expand Last Stage is checked, measures in the last stage will be expended to fill the page width (Horizontal Direction) or height (Vertical Direction).

    Part Name

    Checked Display Measure Numbers displays Measure numbers at every top measure of each stage.
    Checked Display Part Name displays Part Abbreviation name if Display Part Abbreviation Name is checked, otherwise displays Part Name.
    Check Display only 1st Stage to display Part Name or Part Abbreviation on the first stage only.

    Stage Parenthesis

    Display of Stage Parenthesis can be switched on/off if there are multiple parts.

    Page Settings

    Using Page Settings dialog, you specify the page configuration, score’s writing direction, and layout parameters of stages and measures.

    Page Settings orCtrl+L opens Page Setting dialog.

    Page Settings dialog

    Sheet Size, Orientation and Page Margins

    Select Sheet Size from the pull down menu list (A3/A4/B4/B5/JIS B4/JIS B5/Custom/A3 Landscape (A4 Portrait x 2)/B4 Landscape (B5 Portrait x 2)/JIS 34 Landscape (JIS B5 Portrait x 2).
    “A3 Landscape (A4 Portrait x 2)” is, for example, A3 landscape sheet with two A4 portrait facing pages.
    For Custom, specify X and Y lengths in mm.
    Page Margins (Top, Bottom, Left and Right) can be set in mm.

    Header Area

    Header Area is located at the upper part of first page. Texts such as Title, Subtitle and Composer are written inside the Header Area.
    Header Area Width (mm) specifies the width (for Vertical Direction) or height (for Horizontal Direction) of the Header Area.

    Page Number

    Check Display Page Numbers (default is “checked”) to draw page numbers at the bottom center of each page. You can change Start Number.

    Multi-Page Output Format

    When the score is exported to PDF or SVG files, multiple pages are output separately if Separate is selected. If Combined is selected, pages are combined to one long page (for scrolling on the tablet screen without turning pages).

    < Part Settings |^ Index | Layout >

    Layout Editing

    In addition to basic layout operations applied by Page Settings, there are other layout editing commands. They are Stretching and Shortening Lengths of Measures, Insert Stage Breaks and Page Breaks, moving Texts and other items, change font and size of texts in the header area.

    Layout Controller

    Layout|Layout Controller opens the Layout Controller dialog.

    Values listed bellow can be changed or switched on or off.

    • Part Width(Wider/Narrower)
    • Space Between Stages(Wider/Narrower)
    • Measures Per Stage(-1/+1) 
    • Measure Length(Longer/Shorter) (小節のレイアウト:自動の場合)
    • Note Font Size(Larger/Smaller)
    • Measure Style(Grid/Banded)
    • Measure Layout(Fixed Number/Automatic)、Equal Length ON/OFF
    • Fitting(Last Stage/Last Page, ON/OFF)
    • Gap between Voices(Wider/Narrower)
    • Gap between Chord Notes(Wider/Narrower)
    • Max Chord Width(Wider/Narrower)
    • Align Parts in Time(On/Off)
    • Uniformity in Time and Size(More uniform in Time/Size)

    Every clicking on a button or a check box causes immediate value change.
    These operations can not be undone or redone by Undo/Redo commands. To undo or redo, please click a button or switch for the opposite effect.
    Please note that such value changes can be done using one of Part, Measure/Page, or Style Dialogs as well.

    Stretching and Shortening Length of Measures

    Layout|Stretch Measure or ] stretches selected measures by several percents. Layout|Shorten Measure or [ shortens selected measures by several percents.
    Clicking Reset Measure Scale on the context menu reset the measure scale to the default value (1.0).
    (When you want to stretch or shorten all measures, set Measure Scale Rate in Page Settings Dialog.)

    Stage and Page Breaks and White Pages

    You can insert Stage Breaks and Page Breaks to cause breaks forcibly. You can also insert a White Page.
    To Insert a Stage Break or a White Page, select a measure and Layout|Insert Stage Break or Ctrl+Enter or Layout|Insert White Page.|

    To Insert a Page Break, select a measure and Layout|Insert Page Break or Shift+Ctrl+Enter.

    To Insert White Page, select a measure and Layout|Insert White Page.

    Stage Break Marks will be shown as small blue rectangles and Page Break Marks as small red rectangles and While Page Marks as small grey rectangles  at the right bottom corner of measures. To Delete Stage Break, Page Break, or White Page, select the mark by clicking on it (it turns yellow when selected), then Delete Break/White Page or Delete.

    Moving Texts and Symbols

    Many of texts and symbols can be moved by dragging and dropping them.
    Movable items are: Kan/Otsu marks, texts, lyrics, dynamics (p, pp, f, ff, mp, mf, etc.), articulations (staccato, accent, fermata, etc.) and repeat and jumps (such as Segno, Coda, etc), Slur, Crescendo, Diminuendo.

    If multiple items are selected, they are moved together.

    Ties are not movable. If a slur, crescendo, or diminuendo is split to separate stages, select the first part of it and move. The second part is moved when the display is refreshed.

    Multiple items can be aligned by selecting items and click Align on the context menu (shown clicking the right mouse button). In horizontal writing, items are aligned horizontally, in vertical writing, vertically.

    If Reset Position is clicked on the context menu, positions of items are set to default positions.

    Font setting

    Fonts of Texts in the Header Area such as Title and Subtitlee can be changed. Select a Text and Right-click to open the menu and select Font Property. To change font of Lyrics see Settings of lyrics.

    < Layout Editing |^ Index | Directive >


    What is a Directive?

    A directive is an instruction on a note. JapoScore provides a variety of directives. They are categorized into “note name”, “insert symbols”, “add symbols”, “attributes”, “scales”, and “controls”.

    Adding and deleting directives

    Except for note name change other than the default name, select a note (or notes) and click a directive in Palette to add a directive.
    To delete a directive (or directives), select a directive (or directives) and Delete (Delete).

    Directive (in the Palette)
    Directives (first half)

    Directives (second half)

    Rename Note

    Some note may have alternate names (for different fingerings, for example). To change the note name, select a note and right-click to show the menu and select Set Different Note Name. Then, Change Note Name dialog will be displayed. Select the new name from the pull down candidate list.

    Red “n” mark shows that the note name change directive is added.
    This mark can be selected and deleted.

    Change Otsu to ” (double quote)

    Otsu symbol can be changed to ‘”‘ (double quote) if the next note is in the second or higher register. ‘”‘ (double quote) symbol can be changed to Otsu.
    Select Otsu or ‘”‘ symbol and right click to display the context menu.

    Insert Symbol

    A symbol is inserted between notes.

    Shakuhachi and Shinobue Symbols

    Koto Ikuta Symbols

    Sangen Ikuta Symbols

    Shamisen Bunka Symbols

    A variety of symbols can be added besides a note. They can be moved or deleted.

    A note is encircled if pizzicato directive is assigned.
    Another method to apply pizzicato on notes is to add “+” sign on a note on MuseScore (or Finale, etc.). This method would be better than former method if many notes are with pizzicatos.

    Transpose (from the middle of a piece)
    To transpose a part from the middle, select the note (the base note if chord) from which transposition starts, right-click and select “Enter Transpose Steps”, the “Transpose of Note” dialog appears. Input number of half steps.


    Koto or Sangen notation styles need a tone scale to be given to notes.
    Select a note (not a rest note) and then, double click a scale directive on the Palette. A red mark appears besides the note. To delete a scale directive, select the red mark and Delete.
    For chord notes, set a scale directive on the lowest pitch note.
    For multi-voice notes, set a scale directive on a note of the lowest numbered voice note.
    Default scale for Koto_Ikuta is HiraChosi.
    The same scale is applied to notes thereafter until another scale directive on a note is encountered.
    Caution:For notes in multiple voices, a scale is assigned to notes succeeding the note to which a scale directive is assigned. This assignment is done in the order of voice number, i.e., like {voice1’s note1, note2, …, voice2’s note1, note2, …} in each measure.

    Editing of Scale

    Select a scale directive mark and right click and select Editing of Scale from the menu. Then Edit Scale dialog appears.
    Edit Scale Dialog

    You can use operations below:

    1. Select Scale from Templates:
      shows Scale Templates. Specify Number of Scale Notes and select a scale from the candidates and press OK.
    2. Copy preceding Scale: shows the scale of the preceding note.
    3. Select a note you want to change and change the pitch up and down by a half, 4th, or octave step.. “2 D3”, for example, means string 2 is D in 3rd octave. “C4” is the central C.
    4. Transpose: transposes all scale notes by a specified half steps.
    5. Copy
      The scale data is copied. To paste, close this dialog and then open for different note and paste.
    6. Paste
      Paste scale data.

    Scale Name is only for your memo and does affect processing.

    Directive Text is for internal use only and not editable.


    “Inhibit note repeat” inhibits use of the repeat mark for consecutive same note name in Koto or Sangen notation.

    Long repeats
    Successive notes can be replaced with one of several “long repeat” marks.
    To do it, you first select two notes (which can be in neighboring measures) and click one of long repeat directives listed in the palette.
    Breaks of measures inside two notes are properly processed.

    Directive marks in red will not be drawn in exported PDF or SVG files.

    < Directive |^ Index | Style >


    You can adjust sizes, positions, distances of graphic items relating to measures and notes from Style Dialog.

    Style|General opens Style Settings Dialog. There are two tabs: Measure and Note. Measure tab is for setting values relating to measures and Note tab for values relating to Notes.

    Measure tab

    From Measure tab, in Measure, you can change values for Stage Line Width, Time Signature Size, Leading Pad (space before the first note in the measure), Tailing Pad (space after the last note in the measure).

    In Bar Lines and Repeat Dot, you can check or uncheck Display Time Signatures and Measure Bar Lines and change values for Thin Line Width, Thick Line Width, Double Line Spacing, Repeat Dot Offset (from bar line), Repeat Dot Radius, and Repeat Dot Separation.
    In Time Tick Marks, you can change lengths and widths of major and minor tick marks.

    Uniformity in Time and Size
    When aligned in time, you can tune the uniformity in time and size of notes in measures. “Uniformity in Time” means intervals between long and short hands (even if they are invisible) become equal. On the other hand, “Uniformity in Size” means the size of notes are not scaled down and intervals between long and short hands become non-uniform. You can set the best tradeoff point between two extremes.

    Gaps for Chord Notes and Voices
    Gaps between notes within a chord can be adjusted.
    Gaps between voices can be adjusted.

    Text Font property can be changed.

    The size of rehearsal number can be changed.

    Note tab

    From Note tab, you can change values of the followings.
    Note intervals and widths versus note duration: Note width is the ratio to the note font size. You can set smaller widths for shorter duration notes, for example. Note interval is the initial distance between consecutive two notes in ratio to the note width.

    Lyrics Position: Offset is the distance from the referenced note.

    Tie Stop: Tie stop notes can be drawn with bar symbols for Kinko_Simple, Shinobue, and Doremi notations.

    Erase Extension: Extension marks in Koto_Ikuta and Sangen-Ikuta (triangle mark with a dot inside) are erased by checking the box.

    Octave Instruction (Kan/Otsu): Change the size by specifying Scale Factor.

    Dynamics Size: Size of dyanameics marks (p,pp,f,mf, etc.) can be changed.

    The size of Tozan’s small note can be changed.

    Grace note: Scale factor scales the size of grace notes. Offset Y is for Horizontal Direction and Offset X is for Vertical Direction.

    Offsets for Slur, Tie, and Articulation: Offsets for Slur and Articulation are the distance from the top of notes. Offset for Tie is the distance from the bottom (for Horizontal direction) or the right (for Vertical direction) side of notes.

    Beam: Offset X or Y is the distance from the bottom of notes (for Horizontal direction). Line width and Line spacing can be changed.

    Spacer can be inserted between notes. It is useful for adjusting clearance of beams between neighboring notes.

    Size of fingering and Line Width of fingering line can be changed.

    Time Tick Marks
    Specifies length (% of part width) of the long and short hands and widths them.
    For Koto_Ikuta, length of long hand is fixed to 100%, short hand 50%.

    < Style |^ Index | Materials >


    Table of Note Names

    Table of Note Directives


    < Materials |^ Index | Hints >


    (in preparation)

    Efficient workflow between JapoScore and MuseScore

    If you want to edit the staff note on MuseScore after you imported and edited the score in JapoScore, cycles of following steps may make workflow very efficient.

    (1)On JapoScore, from Import/Export dialog, check target MuseScore, export MusicXML all.
    (2)On MuseScore, execute ImportMusicXMLfromJapoScore plugin to import MusicXML file exported by (1), then edit the score.
    (3)On MuseScore, execute ExportMusicXMLtoJapoScore plugin.
    (4)On JapoScore, from Import/Export dialog, check target MuseScore, import MusicXML Udate All. Only updated measures and title texts are replaced, while layout almost unchanged.

    < Hints |^ Index | Problem Solving>

    Solving Problems

    (in preparation)

    Guidelines for preparing Koto scores

    Scores for Koto needs chords and multi-voices (for left and right hand playing) as well as scale information.
    Assign notes for right hand fingers to voice 1, and notes for left hand fingers (pizzicato) to voice 2 (or 3 or 4).
    If bass clef and treble clef are used (for such as 17-string Koto), MuseScore assigns voices on bass clef to 5 to 8.

    A scale directive should be assigned to the lowest pitch note of voice 1.

    Editing SVG files

    Once score is exported to SVG file, you can edit score using graphic editing software such as Inkscape and Illustrator.

    How to make part out of score

    There are three approaches.
    1.Using JapoScore Part dialog.
    Switching off part output of unnecessary parts from Part Setting Dialog.

    2.Using MuseScore’s part command (on File menu.)
    (Caution: This function automatically converts succesive whole rest measures to a single “long rest” measure. “Long rest” seems to involve bugs when exported to musicxml (i.e. aborts) (MuseScore v. If you encounter this trouble, try approach 1 or 3.

    3.Delete unnecessary parts on MuseScore (using Instrument command on Edit menu). If above (2.) approach is problematic, this approach is safer.

    < Solving Problems |^ Index |  Acknowledgments >

    History of Development and Acknowledgments

    I have been using Shakuhachi and Shinobue plugin on MuseScore for several years. This plugin enables adding shakuhachi and shinobue notations on the western staff notation score. I thank Tachibana-san very much for providing such a nice plugin.

    The plugin is very useful, but I still wished to have a full-scale shakuhachi score generator and editor. Developing such a software may involve very high-level software technologies. It seemed beyond my software development skill.

    Two years ago (in 2014), Mr. Razvan developed ShakuViewer, which inspired me very much and I started to figure out how to design and develop such a software. I started developing ShakuScore mid 2014 and released the first Version (1.0) on March 2015, which had the minimum set of functions.

    From late 2015, I have been focusing on adding many functions that would make ShakuScore more practical and easy-to-use. The ShakuViewer’s plugin served as a useful reference to code ShakuScore’s plugins.

    Once again, I owe special thanks to Tachibana-san and Razvan-san whose software inspired me to develop ShakuScore.

    Hiro Kisai Sato
    May 1st, 2016.

    From winter of 2017 to early spring 2018, I submerged myself in enhancing ShakuScore to support chord notes and multi-voices required to render Koto notation. Such enhancements and many other useful features are included in the Version 2 releases. I thank users for giving me helpful comments.
    I also thank Mr. Yukihiko Mitsuka of Senshu Shakuhachi Kobo for permitting me to use his shakuhachi font shape. Tozan’s “Tozan_FeltPen” font is from this data.
    March 31st, 2018.

    Kisai Sato

    ShakuScore was renamed as JapoScore recently because it has become able to produce not only shakuhachi and shinobue scores but also koto and shamisen scores. The number of users has been increasing. I am very glad that JapoScore has been helpful to many people who love music for Japanese instruments.
    April 10th, 2019.
    Kisai Sato