Glossary

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The list below is a glossary of frequently used terms in MuseScore as well as their meaning. Translators of this page, should be adding the translation for each term.

Acciaccatura
A short grace note. See →grace note
Accidental
Accidentals appear in front of notes and shift their pitch.
Accidentals are used to alter the pitch of a note within a piece. The same symbols as in the →key signature are used, but they are placed before a particular note. Accidentals are for example sharps, flats and naturals. Accidentals affect all notes on the same staff position only for the remainder of the measure in which they occur, but they can be canceled by another accidental.
Anacrusis (Pickup Measure)
Incomplete first measure of a piece or a section of a piece of music.
See →Create new score, Time Signature...
Appoggiatura
A long grace note. See →grace note
Bar Lines
Vertical line through a staff or the system that separates measures.
Beam
Notes with a duration of an eighth or smaller either carry a flag or a beam. Beams are used for grouping notes.
BPM
See →metronome mark
Breve
A double whole note or breve is a note that has the duration of two whole notes.
Chord
The minimal definition of a chord is a minimum of two different notes played together. Chords are based on the choices made by a composer between harmonics of one, two or three (and more) fundamental sounds. Ex. In the chord of C, G is the second harmonic, E the fourth of the fundamental C. Now in C7, the B flat is the 6th harmonic of C and in C Maj7 B is the second harmonic of E and the fourth harmonic of G...
Clef
Sign at the beginning of the Staff, used to tell which are the musical notes on the lines and between the lines.
There are 2 F Clefs, 4 C Clefs and 2 G Clefs: F third, F fourth, C first, C second, C third, C fourth, G first, G second (known as treble key too).
G first and F fourth are equivalent.
Clefs are very useful for transposition.
Crotchet
A crotchet is the British English term for what is called a quarter note in American English. It's a quarter of the duration of a whole note (semibreve).
Demisemiquaver
Thirty-second note
Duplet (engl.)
See →tuplet
Eighth note
A note whose duration is an eighth of a whole note (semibreve). Same as British quaver.
Flag
See →beam
Flat
Sign that indicates that the pitch of a note has to be lowered one semitone.
Grace note
Grace notes appear as small notes in front of a normal-sized main note. A short grace note (acciaccatura) has a stroke through the stem; a long grace note (appoggiatura) does not.
Half Note
A note whose duration is half of a whole note (semibreve). Same as British minim.

Hemidemisemiquaver
Sixty-fourth note
Key Signature
Set of sharps or flats at the beginning of the staves. It gives an idea about the tonality and avoids repeating those signs all along the staff.
A key signature with B flat means F major or D minor tonality.
Koron
An Iranian accidental which means lower in pitch and it lowers a note by a quarter tone (In comparison to the flat which lowers a note by a semitone). It is possible to use this accidental in a key signature.
See also →sori
Longa
A longa is a quadruple whole note.
Metronome mark
Metronome marks are usually given by a note length equaling a certain playback speed in bpm. Beats per minute (BPM) is the unit for measuring tempo. In MuseScore, metronome marks are used in tempo texts.
Minim
A minim is the British term for a half note. It has half the duration of a whole note (semibreve).
Natural
A natural is a sign that cancels a previous alteration on notes of the same pitch.
Part
Music to be played or sang by one or a group of musicians. In a string quartet, 1st part = Violin 1, 2nd part = Violin 2, 3rd part = Alto, 4th part = Cello.
Quaver
The British quaver is what is called in American eighth note. It has an eighth the duration of a whole note.
Quadruplet
See →tuplet
Quintuplet
See →tuplet
Rests
Interval of silence of a specified duration.
Semibreve
A semibreve is the British term for a whole note. It lasts a whole measure in 4/4 time.
Semiquaver
Sixteenth note
Semihemidemisemiquaver (Quasihemidemisemiquaver)
Hundred twenty-eighth note.
Sextuplet
See →tuplet
Sharp
Sign that indicates that the pitch of a note has to be raised one semitone.
Slur
Tie and Slur are two words used to describe a curved line between two or more notes. Slur means that the notes will be played without attack ( legato ). Tie is used between two or three ( rare ) of the same notes to indicate its duration:
Quarter note + Tie + Quarter note = Half note,
Quarter note + Tie + Eighth note = Dotted Quarter note
Quarter note + Tie + Eighth note + Tie + 16th note = Double Dotted Quarter note
Sori
An Iranian accidental which means higher in pitch and it raises a note by a quarter tone (In comparison to the sharp which raises a note by a semitone). It is possible to use this accidental in a key signature.
See →koron
Staff (Staves)
Group of one to five horizontal lines used to lay on musical signs. In ancient music notation (before 11th century) the staff may have any number of lines.
System
System: Set of staves to be read simultaneously in a score.
Operating System (OS): Set of programs written in the aim to set up a computer from a lot of electronic components. Popular OS are Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux.
Tie
See →slur
Triplet (engl.)
See →tuplet
Transposition
A tune can be played in any tonality. There are many reasons to change the tonality of a score:

  • The tune is too low or too high for a singer.
  • The score is written for a C instrument and has to be played by a B Flat one.
  • The score is written for an orchestra and you want to imagine what the horn, the flute and the clarinet are playing.
  • A darker or a more brilliant sound is desired.
    - In the first case all the orchestra will have to transpose, which is very difficult without professional musicians. Musescore can do it very easily for you.
    - In the second case the musician must play D when a C is written. If the score is written with a G 2nd Clef, he'll have to think that the staff begins with a C 3rd Clef.
    - In the third case the conductor has to transpose all the staves which are not written for C instruments...
    - In all cases the key signature must be mentally changed.

      On some instruments (Horns and Tubas for instance) the musicians transpose using alternative fingerings.
Tuplet
A tuplet divides it's next higher note value by a number of notes other than given by the time signature. For example a triplet divides the next higher note value into three parts, rather than two. Tuplets may be: triplets, duplets, quintuplet, and other.
Velocity
The velocity property of a note controls how loudly the note is played. This usage of the term comes from MIDI syntheiszers. On a keyboard instrument, it is the speed with which a key is pressed that controls its volume. The usual scale for velocity is 0 (silent) to 127 (maximum).
Voice
Polyphonic instruments like Keyboards, Violins, or Drums need to write notes of different duration at the same time on the same Staff. To write such things each horizontal succession of notes has to be written on the staff independently.
Volta
In a repeated section of music, it is common for the last few measures of the section to differ. Markings called voltas are used to indicate how the section is to be ended each time. These markings are often referred to simply as endings.