Add/delete line buttons


I’m having a problem with a concept of lines. I got a piece consisting of 8 measures and I’d like to add one measure to the beginning. Dragging the small black-outline square on the very right doesn’t do anything. I notice there’s + and - buttons called “Add a new line to your song” and “Delete this line from your song”. I can use them to add a line consisting of 8 measures and then resize it to one measure.

However, there’s a problem. The lines seem to be very independent. Usually notes and chords shift to the right/left when new notes or chords are added/deleted. But they never get shifted to a different line. If line 1 was full of notes and chords and we deleted some, an empty space will appear in it (notes and chords from line 2 won’t get moved to line 1). If a line is full and something gets added/pasted, nothing happens.

And maybe the biggest problem of all is that a note or chord cannot extend between multiple lines. This makes entering my melody absolutely impossible.

So my questions are:

  1. What’s the purpose of lines and why were they implemented this way? Seems very inconvenient.
  2. Is there a way to enter notes/chords that span across multiple lines?

Thank you


You are correct regarding the independence of lines.

In terms of why we do it this way: Hookpad is a musical sketchpad that borrows elements from DAW’s (Logic and Garageband) and classical music notation composition software (e.g. Finale and Sebelius) but also draws much of it’s inspiration from familiar text editing we all know and love.

The concept of a line doesn’t exist in DAW’s but deleting notes does not cause the rest to shift over. Similarly in scorewriter’s like Finale, there is an independence that is respected between measures. Music isn’t text, and having some things stays in place (to a certain extent) makes a lot of sense.

At the same time, text editing is something that feels incredibly natural and intuitive to most of us now and applying this scheme to music entry is one of the things that makes Hookpad so unique and is integral to its being approachable and intuitive.

This is the design choice we made: Shifting within a line like text, but no shifting between them (DAW’s don’t shift at all, Finale shifts between measures).

As you have discovered, there are a few compromises. If you delete a few notes/chords from a previous line and want the notes from the next line to take their place, you need to use cut and paste to grab the measure you want. You can also resize the line to remove that measure. Hookpad is designed for scoring individual sections so this is a quick change.

That said, we would consider the addition of an option to turn on “full wrapping” in the future if there is enough agitation for it, but you might find it surprising how awkward it would be to have the entire song shift when you delete a note. There’s a reason the other editor’s don’t do this.

As for the issue of not being able to span a note across multiple lines. This is currently the case. There is nothing in principle preventing us from implementing a “note tying” future just as is done in traditional music notation. Time and our strong desire to keep from cluttering the interface with confusing not well thought out features are the only things keeping us from doing this. It’s on our list. In the meantime, we recommend choosing your line breaks on measures that don’t have syncopation or, failing that, cutting off the duration. The note won’t sound quite as long as you intended, but can be fixed when recording the finished song (Hookpad isn’t designed for creating polished finished music. It’s a music sketchpad for getting your ideas down on paper. Ryan’s latest songwriting video shows how Hookpad is meant to be integrated into the workflow of writing a song from start to finish: )

Hope that answers your question. It’s a good one!


Thanks for replying. I was actually trying to contribute a song to Theorytab, so I needed to be as close to original as possible. Cutting the duration of a note just doesn’t sound right.

I’d accept lines as a tool to break a songs into independent “sentences” if it was possible to make lines larger than 8 measures. This limitation seems quite arbitrary. An approach where a tool dictates the size of musical statements to the music maker seems wrong to me. If we were to continue a text editor analogy, the editor would only allow up to 8 words in a paragraph.

I just wanted to strongly echo lzr’s opinion. My very first time using the software I sketched a chord sequence spanning multiple lines and then decided that I wanted to move a section from the beginning to another part of the song, only to find that a theoretically simple operation would in fact be annoyingly difficult. I would think that moving sections of music around within a song while writing would be fairly common practice, so I’m surprised that the software makes this so difficult by insisting on the independence of lines while also restricting them to 8 measures. Personally I would be much happier with one line that scrolled indefinitely to the right and allowed me to cut and paste sections without restriction.

Also, the devs have said that they’re representing music as if it was in a text editor.

You can highlight-click-drag text around in most text editors. So why not Hookpad?

I’m trying to understand what purpose multiple independent lines even serve. I mean, if it has to do with exporting sheet music or guitar tabs, a single line could be broken up into sections by the software at the time of export - there is no need to do it prior to that. When cutting or deleting sections of music, the software could simply ask the user if they want to shift the rest of the music over or leave it as is. Another advantage to having a single scrolling line would be that the palette would always be visible - there would be no need to keep moving it around using those “move palette here” links. I don’t mean to sound so negative, because otherwise I really like the software, but from my perspective this design decision just seems really arbitrary and unnecessarily limiting.