Basics for using the instrument.

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Emuso comes with virtual instruments: 6-string guitar, basses, and piano. Emuso also comes with library constructs (scales, chords,  and intervals), accessed via menus in the Toolkit.  You can also invent your own shapes.  Each of these appears as a collection of notes at various frets, or piano keys, using coloured circles.  There can only be one of these collections on-instrument at any one time.  We’ll use the word “shape” to refer to this collection. A note collection always includes the “anchor“.  The location of the anchor  determines the start note for a scale, or where a chord is rooted.  The anchor is also used for moving the shape around the instrument. More on this below.

The Play Construct widget lets you listen to what’s on the instrument. Here you will learn how to show, hide, and drag it, and control what you see and hear when you use it.  You will learn how to choose piano, or  left- or right-handed guitar and bass; how to create, edit, and move around chords and scales; how to invert chords; how to invert scale patterns, and how to select notes from these to be used as a melody.

Each of the following sections can be expanded by clicking on its heading, and collapsed by clicking on the heading again.


We’ll start on guitar.

The anchor

Even when there is no note collection, the guitar always has an easily recognised circle on it which we call the anchor. This is a solid white circle, with some text showing on it. Here it is, located at fret zero on the 6th string (bass string) of the guitar.  There are a few different ways that notes can be labelled.  We’ll look into changing the labelling later.

Click the eye-ear icon to see this, with the quick start in the left pane, and the instrument in the right pane. Follow the instructions that appear, to learn how to move the anchor around. Don’t forget you can drag around the interaction box that appears.

The anchor location also determines what notes are created using the “Chord”, “Scale” and “Interval” menus in the toolkit.  Here is a chord created when the anchor is at the zero’th fret on the 4th string.  Now the anchor shows as a solid red circle, which means it contributes a note to the note collection.

Here is a scale created when the anchor is at the 3rd fret on the 1st string.   The anchor shows as a solid red circle, which means it contributes a note to the note collection.  Later you’ll see that you can delete the note at the anchor.  If this was done with this scale, the anchor would appear white, and if that scale was listened to, no sound would be generated for where the anchor is, while all the other notes would sound.



An interval ALWAYS consist of just two notes some musical distance (“semitones”) apart..  There can be several ways to create the same musical distance on guitar. Here is an example of an interval of 3 semitones created when the anchor was at fret 3 on the 5th string.   Again the anchor is solid red, as it is part of the note collection. Notice on the 5th string the note at fret 6 is labelled “3” and is 3 frets away from the anchor (hence its creates a sound 3 “semitones” above the note at the anchor).  There are two other ways shown of playing this interval: the anchor and fret 1 on the 4th string; and the anchor and fret 11 on the 6th string.  These different locations for “3” all create the same notes because of the guitar tuning.  You’ll learn more about intervals later.  They underpin everything with note choice.


Let’s have a quick look.  You’ll be asked to create a scale and a chord in the toolkit.

The "Play Construct" button

It looks like this, but the button may be labelled “Melodic” or “Harmonic” depending how it has been used.


If the button shows “Harmonic”, then press it to hear the shape’s notes all at once, for as long as the button is held down. Click the small triangle on its right to change this. Choices “Melodic” and “Mute” appear. Click on one of these, for example, “Melodic” to hear the notes one at a time. The melodic speed these play out at can be changed entering a number to replace 110 bpm. Higher values speed up the playback. “Mute” stops any sound. For now we’ll skip the other button above “Scale Hover Behaviour”.

If the button shows “Melodic”, the dropdown will offer choices of “Harmonic” and “Mute”.

When the mouse is moved over this widget, it changes to a “hand” that can be used to drag it where you want.  In the following image the left icon that looks like a “play” button, hides or shows this widget.  This icon is at the top of emuso.

Mouse shortcuts

When emuso starts you don’t see these guides, and instead you get various tips on using the mouse that involve the “move”, “edit”, and “select” dropdowns in the Toolkit.  Once a selection is made, a left click can be used.

But as you get into emuso, it’s inconvenient to keep making the above selections.

Instead, mouse shortcuts can be turned on.  “Settings > Use mouse shortcuts” controls this.  When the instrument is full-screen, your choice of setting determines how you will interact using the mouse.  Otherwise (split-screen), mouse shortcuts are turned on. These user guides and interactive content all use mouse shortcuts.

How to create, move and delete notes

You’ve already learned about using the anchor to move the entire shape.

An individual note is created by clicking an empty location on-instrument. Clicking an occupied location deletes the note there. Left-drag a note to move it.

This next interaction asks you to create, move and delete individual notes. You will find that the anchor changes to a solid red colour when a note is created at the anchor. Remember, when coloured white, the anchor is “empty”, so it doesn’t contribute a note to the note collection. You can do exactly the same to change any scale or chord provided by the Toolkit Scale and Chord menus (we call these library constructs).

WARNING: Emuso analyses whatever notes are visible on the instrument, to determine information about that note collection.  This may result in the anchor changing … none of the notes move, but the labelling may change, so another one becomes the anchor.  You’ll learn about the analysis in lessons later. This can be disabled from the “emuso” menu (uncheck “Analyse construct for root or tonic in invent”) but you’re advised not to. 

How to select notes

Right click each note you want to select. Type ‘u‘ to unselect last selection. Type ‘U‘ (capital U) to unselect all selections. A note can be selected several times. The order of selections is remembered. This can be used to build a melody (to be loaded into Rhythm-X, which you will start to learn about in the next guide) . Here’s an example of building a melody with repeated notes. Set the Play Construct widget for melodic playback. Set its bpm to 80 (type “Enter” after typing in the numbers). You may want to drag it under the instrument so it’s nearer where you are working with the instrument.

The Inversion Gadget

This gadget lets you create “inversions” which are rearrangements of chord notes.  We’ll look at inversions more later.  For now, we’ll create a chord from scratch, and invert it.

The gadget looks like this:

There are three radio buttons at the left.  Zero or more may be enabled depending on how emuso is being used.  The green arrow buttons are used to move the chord notes up (across strings toward the treble string) or down (the opposite direction) or right, along the current strings the chord notes are located on (towards the guitar body) or left (the opposite direction).  If a move is impossible, because some of the notes would “fall off”, nothing happens.

Try this:

  1. Enter the Toolkit
  2. Clear
  3. Click on string 1, fret 0.   string 2, fret 1.    string 3, fret 0.
  4. Use the gadget.  Try all directions.
  5. Try selecting notes, more than once, from the chord.
  6. Make sure Play Construct is set to Melodic.
  7. Use the gadget.

Choosing an instrument

This can be done via the menu or via the keyboard shortcuts ‘g‘ for guitar, ‘b‘ for bass, and ‘p‘ for piano. This next interaction creates a chord on guitar. Try switching to piano and back.

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