This chapter discusses articulation symbols available in the Articulations palette (accents, staccato, vibrato markings etc).
To add verbal articulation objects available in the Text palette (legato, pizz. , arco, tremolo etc) to a score, see Entering and editing text chapter. Guitar articulation is covered in chapters under Idiomatic notation: Guitar. Brass or woodwind articulation (Fall, Doit, Plop, Scoop) is covered in Arpeggios and glissandi.
To add an articulation with a keyboard shortcut:
Certain articulations (accent, marcato, staccato, and tenuto) can be added from the note input toolbar (above the document pane).
To add an item to a score:
Alternatively, drag and drop an articulation symbol from the palette to a notehead.
Certain articulations affect note playback—such as staccato, staccatissimo, louré (tenuto + staccato), and accents. This is handled automatically by the program.
Editable properties of selected articulation(s) on the score are shown in the Properties Panel.
See the main chapter Templates and styles
Shown below are the result of some options on the score.
Align with stem
Align with notehead
Center between stem and notehead
Always keep together
Prefer closeness to notehead (combined articulations may become separated)
In music, the dynamics of a piece are the variation in loudness between notes or phrases (wikipedia. In Musescore, dynamics symbol objects should be used to indicate dynamics. They are Text objects. Musescore understands them to create appropriate playback.
All dynamics symbol objects are in the Dynamics palette. To add a dynamics symbol to the score, use either one of the following methods:
To add a dynamic symbol that is not present in the Dynamics palette, for example poco f, follow these steps:
There is no shortcut assignment options for adding any dynamics symbols onto a score yet.
Depending on software version, changing appearance of dynamics symbol on a score may or may not change its playback, refer to "Changing playback" section below.
Profession glyphs are not plain characters, their formatting behavior is different. They are not italic plain characters. They are only created using keyboard shortcut shown below, but not copied from other programs or the internet, as they are not exactly raw unicode characters. See musescore 3 handbook Fonts chapter.
|Windows & Linux Shortcut
An Expression Text object can be added beside a dynamic symbol object to indicate dynamics. To add one to the right of a dynamics symbol:
When an Expression Text object is added to a note that is already attached to a dynamics symbol (or vice versa), the two items align automatically. Dragging and moving either one of them moves both. Changing the Position property of either one changes both. This behavior is called "Snap to", and can be changed with the Expression Text object's Properties panel: Snap to dynamic property, see also the main chapter for Expression Text object. source https://musescore.org/en/node/351407.
Playback feature of dynamics symbols is under vigorous developement, it may change drastically among software versions. Information provided here is valid for Musescore 4.2 beta (November 2023). It could be outdated at the time of reading. Please help update this chapter.
To summarize the difference from musescore 3,
The followings are details of changes, it is also suitable to read for users not familiar with musescore 3:
Same as MuseScore 3, when a Standard dynamics symbols, such as p and ff etc. is added to the score, it affects playback from the parent note onward until the next dynamic symbol. Final barlines or rests do not reset the loudness to default. Single-note dynamics symbols, such as sfz only affect the playback of the particular note they are attached to.
Playback depends on each affected instrument's Sound setting, selected in the Mixer. See MuseScore 3 features not implemented in MuseScore 4: Velocity controls.
Playback is pre-configured and does not change with text content. This allows a f symbol to be modified into poco f, by adding plain characters, while keeping the playback effect the same as the original f symbol. This is true, however, even if new and correct profession glyphs are used. For example, a ppp symbol created by replacing the content inside a f symbol (added from palette) with three p glyphs, looks exactly like the ppp in the palette, but it creates f playback.
Playback settings of dynamics symbol , the Property Panel: Playback tab , present in MuseScore 4.0, has been removed. See https://github.com/musescore/MuseScore/issues/13858.
Velocity property of dynamics symbol existed in MuseScore 3 is removed. The Velocity property is only available in individual notes, see Properties panel, its effect on playback also depends on Sound setting, see Mixer chapter.
Selected dynamics symbol(s)' can be edited in Properties panel. Under Properties : Dynamics:
Dynamics symbol objects are Text objects, character formatting using Properties : Text is covered in the Formatting text chapter. The Font property affects plain characters, but not the professional glyphs. Professional glyphs use "Musical symbols font", see "Dynamics symbol style" section. Dynamics symbol objects differ from other Text objects in that they do not have the overriding Text Style property (under Show More) used by plain characters inside. They always use the "Style for text inside Expression" profile.
To edit the score-wide settings, see "Dynamics symbol style" section.
See the main chapter Templates and styles
Hairpins are symbols used to indicate gradual changes of volume in the score. There are two kinds: crescendo (getting louder) and decrescendo (getting quieter).
There are also crescendo and diminuendo lines which do the same thing:
All can be found in the Lines or Dynamics palettes.
To enter a hairpin from a palette use one of the following options:
To enter a hairpin using a keyboard shortcut:
To extend or contract the range of a hairpin, see Changing range of a line.
To change the height, select the height adjustment handle (shaded in the image below) …
… then use keyboard arrows, offsets (Properties panel), or dragging, to move the handle into the desired position. (See Basics: Adjusting elements directly.)
Alternatively you can adjust the "Height" in the Hairpin: Style section of the Properties panel.
To allow the hairpin to slope at a diagonal, check the "Allow diagonal" box in Hairpin: Style in the Properties panel. Then move the start/end adjustment handles to get the desired slope.
See Hairpin properties.
[To be added]
You can edit properties specific to hairpins in the Hairpins section of the Properties panel.
Niente circle: Places a small circle at the point of the hairpin.
Allow diagonal: Allows the hairpin to be set at an angle; see Changing appearance of hairpins (above).
Line style: Choose solid, dashed or dotted lines.
Thickness / Height:
Height (new system): Specify the height of subsequent hairpins if the first one spans a system.
Position: Above or Below.
Properties here allow you to specify beginning, end, and continuation texts and their vertical offsets.
Values of the "Style for Dynamics and Hairpin" can be edited in Format→Style→Dynamics & Hairpin.
Values of the "Style for text inside Hairpin" can be edited in Format→Style→Text styles→Hairpin
In Musescore 4.1.1, the "Style for Dynamics and Hairpin" : "Override score font" option does not affect haripin text, use "Style for text inside Hairpin" : "fontface".
A slur is a curved line between notes of different pitches indicating legato phrasing; exact interpretation depends on the instrument.
Slurs should not be confused with (note) ties which connect notes of the same pitch and extend the duration of the first note to encompass the connected notes.
After selecting a note, a slur can be created using any of the following:
Using method 2 (above) you can create a slur between notes in the same or different voices. Cross staff slurs can be created in exactly the same way. e.g.
You can also adjust the start/end handles of an existing slur to move the start or end to a note of a different voice:
To adjust the shape of a slur or its range, see Adjusting elements directly.
The following properties specific to slurs can be adjusted in the Properties panel.
Style: Solid, dashed or dotted line.
Position: Above or below.
Some default properties for all slurs in the score can be adjusted in Format→Style→Slurs/Ties:
Breaths and pause symbols may be found in the Breaths & pauses palette.
These symbols also have an adjustable playback effect.
A fermata, or pause appears above/below a note, and extends its written duration, indicating a pause in the music.
It may also be written above a rest, or a barline, indicating the end of a piece or section of music.
A breath mark is placed just above the staff, and tells a wind instrument performer or singer to take a breath here, or other instruments to pause slightly. It may occur between two notes or at the end of a measure.
The caesura also indicates a pause, slightly longer than a breath mark but less so than a fermata. It may occur between two notes or at the end of a measure.
To add a fermata:
Alternatively drag a fermata symbol onto a note.
To add a breath mark or caesura:
Alternatively drag a breath mark/caesura symbol onto a note.
MuseScore automatically places the breath mark/caesura in the correct position, just above the staff and after the selected note.
Pause symbols have a playback effect in the score. To adjust the pause length, click on Playback in the Properties panel and adjust "Time stretch".
The position of selected pauses can be altered by clicking on Appearance in the Properties panel and adjusting the offsets. Alternatively you can drag a symbol, or enter Edit mode and use the keyboard arrows to move it.
In addition you can position a fermata above or below the staff by selecting the desired option in "Placement on staff" in the Fermata section of the Properties panel.
You can specify default positional properties for all fermatas in Format→Style→Fermatas.
Ornaments and ornament lines can be applied from the Ornaments palette.
If the it is not already displayed in the palettes area, see Adding more palettes. Available ornaments include turns, (short) trills, and mordents, are discussed here. See Other lines for ornament lines available including (long) trill lines, upprall, downprall, prallprall.
To add an ornament to the score:
For a trill only, it is possible to use a custom shortcut instead at step 2.
See main chapter of ornament lines Other lines.
The procedure for applying ornament lines is just like any other line, i.e.
If you subsequently need to adjust the ornament's length, see Changing the range of a line.
Ornaments are aware of the key signature and of other accidentals in the bar. By default, trills, turns, mordents and other ornaments will display and play diatonic intervals. Use the Properties panel to change the interval, displaying the appropriate accidentals in the score and changing playback.
To change the interval of an ornament:
Trills can be customized by quality (major, minor, augmented, etc.) and interval number from unison to octave. The appropriate accidental or upper auxiliary note will display in the score above or below the ornament. For intervals larger than a second, consider using a tremolo.
Both the upper and lower interval can be set for turns.
Short trill and mordent intervals can be set to the minor or major second.
Any accidentals introduced only by an ornament must be confirmed or cancelled later in the measure for clarity, meaning it is not possible to delete accidentals where the note:
For example, in a measure starting with a chromatic turn on A as seen below, all Gs and Bs later in the measure will have an accidental, even if it is the same as what appears in the ornament.
While these accidentals cannot be deleted, their visibility can be turned off. To do so:
The following properties of selected ornaments can be edited from the Ornament section of the Properties panel:
Use the placement controls to either let MuseScore automatically choose the standard placement, or manually select above or below.
When selected, accidentals, including those linked to ornaments, have the following options in the Properties panel:
Default sizing and spacing properties for ornaments can be edited in Format→Style…→Articulations, Ornaments.
Ornaments can be individually repositioned by clicking and dragging in the score or via the Appearance dialog in the Properties panel.
Many have an adjustable playback effect (see below).
To add an arpeggio/strum to a score:
Alternatively you can drag an arpeggio/strum symbol from a palette onto a notehead.
Click on an arpeggio and two adjustment handles will appear at the top and bottom of the symbol. You can move either up or down by dragging, or by selecting a handle and using the up/down keyboard arrows.
Arpeggios only span the voice to which they are input initially, but then can then be adjusted to span multiple voices in the same instrument, even across multiple staves.
To adjust an arpeggio to span multiple voices:
The handle will jump to the next voice above or below that has any notes at that point. This includes voices on staves above or below, in the case of multi-staff instruments.
The arpeggio is considered to 'belong' to the uppermost voice that it spans, and will be coloured accordingly.
(Prior to MuseScore 4.2, only the bottom handle could be used, to extend an arpeggio to a voice of the same numberr in the stave(s) below. Any other adjustments had to be made manually.)
To change the speed of a selected arpeggio, press Playback in the Properties panel, and adjust "Spread delay".
If you want to turn off playback altogether, untick the "Play" box in the General section of the Properties panel.
Default properties for all arpeggios in the score can be adjusted from the style menu at Format→Style→Arpeggios:
To add a slide or portamento before or after a note before a note (a string instrument or guitar technique), add either one of the four brass or woodwind instrument bends or a Guitar techniques: Slide in and slide out, see also Guitar techniques. Alternative wavy symbols are found in the Symbols category in Master palette, those do not affect playback.
Note: Guitar slides are covered in Guitar techniques.
Alternatively you can drag a glissando symbol from the palette onto a notehead.
Glissandi can cross staves if needs be:
If required, you can change the start or end position of a glissando as follows:
This method can also be used to move the edit handle between voices and across staves.
The line type of a selected glissando—whether straight or wavy—and any text associated with it, can be changed in the Glissando section of the Properties panel. You can also turn off text by unchecking the "Show text" box.
To change the playback effect, click on Playback and select an option from the dropdown list: chromatic, white keys, black keys, diatonic, portamento (this option for glissando symbol creates a portamento between two notes, to add other types see portamento).
You can also choose to turn off the playback effect by unchecking "Play" in the General section of the Properties panel.
The following properties are available in the Glissando section of the Properties panel.
Glissando line: Choose from "Straight" or "wavy".
Show text: Uncheck/Check this box to turn off/on the display of the glissando text.
Text: Specify any text to appear with the glissando.
The default style of all glissando text is determined by the settings of "Glissando" in Format→Style→Text styles.
Not to be confused with Guitar techniques: Bends.
The Arpeggios & glissandi palette also contains bend symbols for brass or woodwind instruments:
These have a playback effect on the score.
if you are not sure what's what, mousing over the palette icon will display the name of the symbol in a tooltip.
Alternatively, drag a bend symbol onto a notehead in the score;
To change the shape of the bend, click on it and four adjustment handles become visible. Drag the handles, or click on them and press the keyboard arrows, until you get the shape you want.
Grace notes can be applied to the score from the Grace notes palette.
For bagpipe players there is a comprehensive range of grace notes in the Bagpipe embellishments palette.
Grace notes are small (cue-size) notes which ornament a previous or following note. They take their value from this parent note but do not themselves count towards the measure duration.
There are several kinds:
Acciaccatura(): Usually written with an oblique stroke through the note flag, or through the beam, if there is a beamed series.
Appoggiatura: A stressed note which takes half the value from the parent note.
Grace note after (trill endings):
Note: For standard staves and tablature, the following instructions for adding grace notes work in both note input and normal modes.
Alternatively, you can drag and drop a grace note from the palette onto a note in the score.
You can add a run of grace notes to a selected note by repeatedly applying any of the following:
To apply a chord of grace notes:
To edit the visual duration, click on the grace note in normal mode, and select a duration from the note input toolbar or by using a keyboard shortcut (see Selecting duration).
Standard staves. To change the pitch of grace notes, use one of the methods described in Editing notes and rests.
Tablature. To change the pitch of grace notes, use one of the methods described in Changing the pitch in normal mode (tablature).
[To be added?]
You can adjust the default size for all grace notes in Format→Styles→Sizes.
A Tremolo is the rapid repetition of one note or chord, or a rapid alternation between two notes or chords. The placement of tremolos is handled automatically by the program.
For stemmed notes, the rhythmic value of the tremolo is indicated by the number of diagonal strokes through the stem. One stroke indicates that the original note is divided into eighth notes. e.g.
Two strokes divides the note into sixteenth notes, and three strokes into thirty-second notes. On whole notes the tremolo symbol is placed above the note.
In traditional two-note or two-chord tremolos, incomplete beams are drawn between the notes to indicate the rhythmic value of the tremolo (to change the style see below). One beam indicates eight notes, two beams sixteenth notes, and three beams thirty-second notes. e.g.
A buzz roll symbol is also available from the Tremolos palette. However, it is notational only and currently has no playback properties.
Tremolo beams appear between the notes/chords and the appearance of the noteheads is adjusted accordingly.
Example: To enter a two-note tremolo with the duration of a half note (minim), enter two normal quarter notes (crotchets). After applying a tremolo symbol to the first note, the note values automatically double to half notes.
Three styles of tremolos between notes/chords are supported in MuseScore; the default is traditional. To change the style:
Musescore Line is a type of object capable of attaching (anchoring) to a horizontal continuous range of more than two notes or rests, or vertical collection of notes (chord). A Musescore Line object contains a length of string or arc, and optionally a text. These objects can functionally affect the score, and share similar configurable line properties, text properties, and styles.
Musescore Line objects include these subtypes, follow the hyperlink on text to read their dedicated main chapters, or "jump to section" on this chapter:
These markings contain length of string or arc, but do not belong to Musescore Line objects because they cannot attach (anchor) to a continuous range:
Note: The following description of actions and general behaviors applies to Line objects discussed here (those do not have a dedicated handbook chapter), for Line objects having dedicated handbook chapters, refer to those chapters for more accurate info.
The commonest way to add a new Musescore Line is to use either:
To apply a line to a selected range:
To apply a line to a single note:
To adjust the range of a line, see Changing range of a line.
Plain lines are applied from the Lines palette. They can be purposed to anything you like such as to create guitar fingering/string number lines. They can be adjusted to be diagonal or vertical.
A system text line, like system text, is affixed to one staff but is indicative for all the staffs in the system. It appears in all instrument parts.
Tempo markings such as rit --- are new in Musescore 4, they affect playback tempo.
Not to be confused with (short) trills Ornaments.
Trill lines are upgraded in Musescore 4, their have lots of new engraving settings such as showing a bracketed small note and accidentals to notate trill note pitch, these settings are explained in Ornaments.
They still create playback with SoundFonts instruments like in previous Musescore versions. If the instrument use Muse Sounds and the sound sample exists, a trill line will utilize the beautifully recorded trill audio for playback, for example in case of a perfect fifth trill line.
The name of the section below varies depending on the type of line. But it will have two tabs marked Style and Text:
Clicking on the Style tab allows you to set the properties of the line itself:
Line type: A choice of straight, hooked, angle-hooked, or double-hooked.
Thickness / Hook height:
Style: Choice of solid, dashed or dotted line.
Dash / Gap: Adjust the appearance if "Dashed" is selected.
Clicking on the Text tab allows you to apply and position any text associated with the line:
Beginning text: Enter the text, if any, to appear at the beginning of the line.
Vertical offset: Allows you to move the text vertically in relation to the line (in sp.).
Text when continuing to a new system: If the line spans a system, this is the text that will appear before the line in the next system.
Vertical offset: As above.
Values of the "Style for Text line" can be edited in Format→Style→Text line.
Values of the "Style for System text line" can be edited in Format→Style→System text line.
Values of the "Style for text inside Text line" can be edited in Format→Style→Text styles→Text line
The Symbols palette is a category within the Master palette and houses all symbols and text from all built-in music fonts.
Unlike other categories in the Master palette, items in the Symbols palette are non-functional: they are for display purposes only and have no other effect on the score.
You should find most symbols and text items you need for scoring in the Palettes panel—use of the Symbols palette should be reserved for specialist items not available in the small palettes, or on those occasions when you really do need a non-functional element.
To view the Symbols palette, select View→Master Palette, or use the shortcut Shift+F9.
Selecting “Symbols” in the list of headings reveals all symbols under all subcategories. Selecting one subcategory to focus on a specific set.
You can search for a symbol by entering a term in the Search box at the top of the Symbols section. Specify the musical font you want in the dropdown at the bottom right.
Symbols added from the Symbols palette scale in line with the score (see Staff size), but their font-size is fixed.
Use one of the following methods:
After adding a symbol, you can, if required, add an additional symbol to the existing one. Use one of the following:
To reposition, you can drag the symbol, or edit the offsets in the Apprearance section of the Properties panel. You can also move the symbol using the keyboard arrows—after selecting it and entering edit mode by pressing Alt+Shift+E or F2.
If two symbols have been joined together (see Add to other symbols, above), moving the first-added symbol moves both. However you can still move the second symbol in relation to the first.