The introductory “Quick Tips” videos featured on this page serve as a handy introduction and guide to Hyperscore’s many features and functions, and will support composers, educators and students alike to launch into their Hyperscore compositional journeys!
To begin, you will need to create a Hyperscore account – this quick tip video walks you through how to do so:
First of all, let’s take a tour of of the workspace led by Hyperscore aficionados and high school students Maiya and Gage:
Chief Technology Officer Peter Torpey walks through more details on the Hyperscore toolbars and how to save and manage scores:
One preliminary fix – if you are using the Safari browser to access Hyperscore on your device, you will need to edit your browser settings in order to be able to create new scores or edit existing scores:
Before we get composing, let’s explore one fun aesthetic feature of Hyperscore. You can change the look of your workspace using the Theme dropdown menu in the Settings tab:
Everything in Hyperscore can be done via touchscreen or cursor, but Keyboard Shortcuts can be faster for some tasks. Use the info button to view Keyboard Shortcuts. You can also download the PDF for a handy reference.
Getting Started with Rhythm
The first step in using your Hyperscore workspace is to create a window. This is your essential canvas and building block where you can create melody, rhythm, or harmony.
Hyperscore features an intuitive grid structure for placing notes and rhythms, and one of its new flexible additions is the ability to work in any time signature. Here’s how:
Before getting into melody and harmony, we’ll start by building rhythm in Hyperscore. Many first-time users enjoy making percussion windows because it’s easy to drop in notes without knowing much about music theory. Even better, almost any percussion pattern is fun to hear!
Of course, you’ll need to know how to play back your windows in order to hear the rhythms you’ve crafted:
As the previous video notes, a color is assigned to each percussion and melody window in the Hyperscore workspace. Don’t worry about this too much for now while you’re composing in a single percussion window. The color assignment will come in handy when starting to work with the Sketch window (which we’ll dive into shortly)!
As you explore making rhythms in Hyperscore, you may want to change the pace of the playback of your compositions. Tempo is easy to use in Hyperscore, with a metronome button that allows you to slide your way from Largo to Prestissimo, and any tempo in between:
Let’s Make a Melody
Some new composers may find that writing a melody is a more challenging aspect of composing. TIP: Starting and ending each sketch window on the center line (Middle C) may help the user to find a combination of notes that sounds more pleasing to them as a beginner. At first, it may help to understand the melody window grid to try something simple like “Hot Cross Buns”. Next, you can figure out the note placement and duration so that you understand how to manipulate the note grid. Or, you can lay down some random notes, play them and react to what you’re hearing.
Like so, you can learn to move pitches where you want them to make the sounds you are looking for. The goal is to create an original melody that helps to tell a personal story. Can you portray a sound (“my cats complaining”) or evoke a mood? Here’s how to get started:
You can also add great variety to the sounds of the notes in your melody windows by selecting what instrument will play the notes in each window:
If you place a note in a percussion or melody window that you later want to delete, users always have the option of either using the undo button, or using the Scissors tool and clicking on the note in question to erase it. The Scissors tool has more advanced uses in the Sketch window as well, which we’ll dive into shortly.
Bringing Together Rhythm and Melody
You may have experienced harmony by singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” with staggered beginnings, but harmony can sound even better when multiple rhythm or melody windows are combined together. In Hyperscore, you can do so using the Sketch window:
By the time you start working in a Sketch window, you likely will already have various percussion and melody windows to create multiple motives to choose from when you combine them. To help you keep track of the windows you are working with, you can use the panning and zooming tools:
Now it’s time to dive deeper into how the color assignments that we mentioned earlier work in Hyperscore, and how they can be used to visualize and coordinate melody and rhythm motives as strokes in the Sketch window:
The Sketch window is not limited to playing back only the notes and rhythms included in your percussion and melody windows. Specifically, using dots is a powerful way to introduce novel notes and chords directly into the Sketch window:
Compose Where and How You Want
Hyperscore sports various features that ensure that users are able to dictate precisely where in musical time they want their notes and strokes to lie in all of their windows. For example, in addition to functioning as an eraser to delete notes in percussion and melody windows, the Scissor tool shines when used in the Sketch window to erase parts of strokes and divide strokes, allowing users to experiment with segments of their melodic and rhythmic motives:
Next, let’s dive more into alignment principles and how to execute them in Hyperscore:
Another incredible feature of the Sketch Window is the harmony modes buttons. These allow you to dramatically change the sound of your piece by fitting the notes in the piece to the tones of a particular key (“Classical”), to a particular scale (“General”) or to leave the piece exactly as you wrote it (“None”). The program defaults to None so you hear exactly what you are writing as you write it:
Of course, an important part of any piece is the contrast of dynamics between lines and sections. Here is how you can implement dynamics in the Sketch window in Hyperscore:
Advanced Melodic and Rhythmic Techniques
Composers with experience may wish to occasionally use polyphony in their pieces. Beginners may need to be introduced to polyphony, but it’s often amazing what newbies do that just sounds GOOD to them. The polyphony functionality in Hyperscore can also be a useful tool to construct chords in melody windows:
Recently, one of our long-time users was thrilled to discover that Hyperscore has a feature for composing with tuplets:
Advanced Harmonic Tools
The most unique feature of Hyperscore is the dark blue harmony line running along Middle C in the sketch window. By moving this line, you can add tension, release and dramatic elements to your composition:
You can also un-harmonize individual strokes in the harmony window to create solos, or more varied or complex melodies:
Add the polish and shine!
With the introduction of the new Hyperscore application comes a palette of tone colors with many instrument sets that can add incredible variety to your finished piece:
Also, using the arrow tool, you will be able to highlight and move different sections of your composition in musical time to your liking. This is a tool that is very useful for moving towards more complex and varied compositions. With the copy and paste feature, you can then create thematic sections that repeat or vary, or create a contrasting section in between, for any type of compositional form:
Managing your Scores and Account
Once you’ve created a composition you like, you will need to save your work, and you may want to share your score with others. This Quick Tips video explores how to do this as well as navigate the other settings on Hyperscore’s “My Scores” page.
Of course, as you continue composing more pieces in Hyperscore, you’ll need to be able to tell your scores apart. Here’s how to give your scores their own distinct names:
You can also use your finished Hyperscore files in digital audio workstations or standard music notation editors:
After exporting to a standard notation editor, you can make adjustments to make sure the various parts are playable by the assigned instruments. A teacher or more advanced student with experience in orchestration can help less advanced students with this step. This presents a wonderful opportunity for collaboration. For the final step, print it and play it!
Since the new web version Hyperscore features auto-updates, there’s no need to worry about if you’re up to date:
Finally, if you want to unlock even more premium features in your Hyperscore account, you can do so by upgrading your subscription. Here’s how:
Hyperscore in Collaboration and Community
Hyperscore’s intuitive interface makes engaging your musical creativity rewarding and fun. Since anyone can pick it up and start creating music right away, Hyperscore is an ideal tool for sharing and collaboration.
Indeed, a single Hyperscore account supports several profiles. Grab your family, your friends, and share stories through music! Here’s how to navigate Hyperscore profiles:
You can also connect with others by making your compositions viewable by the broader Hyperscore user base, and see other users’ creations in the “Community” tab. Find inspiration, remix others’ scores, and share your unique voice!
If you have been invited to join a Group by a Hyperscore user with an Education license, this next Quick Tip is for you. Learn how to accept a group invitation, navigate the group scores and add your own, and access your compositions within that group even after the group has been deleted:
The Educator license of Hyperscore provides additional organizational and administrative tools for working in groups. For Hyperscore Quick Tips videos on how to use these administrative features, please visit our Resources for Educators page.