Rit. & Accel.

• Feb 17, 2018 - 01:22

One of the songs I'm arranging has both a rit. and an accel. in it, but I can't find how to do either. Someone help me please!


Or, if correct playback isn't important, just enter the text as tempo text (Alt+T). You can set the desired tempo in the Inspector, but it will be a sudden, not gradual, change - unless you install and use the plugin.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

You mean, say, by taking a crescendo line, flipping it so that it appears above the staff, changing the text to "accel.", and changing the continuation text to "(accel.)"?

I mean, it works fine, but for what it's worth, when I first transitioned from sibelius I was shocked that there wasn't a 1-step way to add an accelerando or ritardando line. Is there a plan to add one to the palette? In the meantime, is there a way for me to add my own custom line to the palette?

In Sibelius, the accelerando and rit lines could be added in one click and had properties that could affect playback. I think this is the natural way to do things, no?

All that said, the tempo change plug-in works great, and any comparisons with sibelius must acknowledge how impressive MuseScore is and it's becoming. So I say these things in the spirit of improving the user experience of an already great piece of software!

In reply to by MarcEvanstein

Well, I wouldn't start with a crescendo line unless you want to hear crescendo in playback. Also the layout rules are different - crescendo lines will try to align with dynamics, for instance.

Instead, I'd start with a more generic line - like the one that just has VII as the text. Change that text, make it dotted. And yes, you can easily add customized elements back to the palette - just Ctrl+Shift+drag it. So it takes an extra minute to setup once, but after that it is as easy as anything else.

And yes, someday we do hope to implement native tempo changes. I was just addressing how to get what you want now.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I was pretty surprised to find this didn't exist actually. Given I understand there's a focus with MU4 to improve the playback engine (and the number of users for whom better playback seems to be the #1 request), is this likely to make it in? I'd be fine with just having the ability to add a "system text" line with accel. or rit. as the starting text and then the ability to indicate an "end" tempo (in future it could allow finer control over the shape of the tempo change).
I notice there is a "System" item in the Lines palette - that's hardly intuitive but I'm guessing that would be the most suitable template for such a line.
(I don't really like using the word "System" at all for score-wide performance directions - I think Sibelius might use that terminology too, was it copied from there? "Score directions" or maybe "Tutti directions" or "ensemble directions" would make more sense).

In reply to by Dylan Nicholson1

Improvements to the tempo faciities is one of the Google Summer of Code projects. I'm not sure of the current status, but feel to check in on the Discord server and/or the blogs to keep abreast of how it's going.

System is a pretty standard musical term, so not surprising if both Sibelius and MuseScore (and probably other programs as well) use it for things that indeed apply to the entire system as opposed to only an individual staff.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

System is indeed a standard musical term that refers to a "block" of measures that span fully across page. But a tempo marking isn't attached to a system, as that would imply if changes were made that affected which actual measures that made up a system (e.g. after adding more notes in measure 1, system 2 might change from showing messages 4-10 to measures 5-11), the tempo marking would stay in the same place.
I don't know if there is a good single concise term, but "system" isn't it.

In reply to by Dylan Nicholson1

If the tempo didn't apply to the full system, some instruments would be playing faster than others. Instead of affecting one staff, it affects the entire system - seems pretty clear to me. Are there programs that use other terms for this instead? I guess I see what you mean that the tempo isn't attached to a system by number (eg, "third system") since that can change as measures are added. But by the same token, measure numbers and other things we think of s being attached to measures aren't attached by number, either - they float as you add or remove measures. I see the distinction you're making here, but I'm not aware of any term that would be more clear here, and certainly none in more common use.

In reply to by Dylan Nicholson1

System is indeed a standard musical term that refers to all the instruments in the ensemble. Not just groups that are bracketed together. Like strings or brass. Do you want to be able to have a "mute" text to cover the entire brass section? Especially if only the trumpets are playing? No, you use staff text.

In reply to by bobjp

If you have 20 measures of music and the first 10 are laid out across in one row, taking up the full width of the page, that's one system, then if the second 10 are laid out across in a row underneath that (or potentially on the next page), that's the next system.
i.e. it's a layout artifact only - individual measures might move around between systems depending on what sort of score you're looking at. To me "system" has nothing to do with the whole ensemble - it's very common for a given system to show only the staves of instruments that happen to have any notes, for a start, and even a part extract score has systems.
But look if "system directions" is commonly understood to mean ensemble/tutti directions then fine, it just seems like a less than ideal (ab)use of the term "system".

The only real issue would be if it were genuinely useful to attach text to a specific system (that stayed where it was regardless of whatever measures or staves happened to be in that system), and that is potentially useful for extra text relating to instrument names (as typically shown at the beginning of a system), but even then you wouldn't ideally want to specify "system 3 should always show this information about what instruments are playing", rather it should be specified as part of the "instrument names" configuration that could potentially change at various points throughout the score. But I could see that if you've finished typesetting a score, you're 100% happy with how the measures are laid out into systems etc., then just want to add an additional note between some instrument names on system 3, it might be useful to attach that text to the system itself.

In reply to by Dylan Nicholson1

So I hunted around for how a few other sources define a system and was surprised to see many of them simply consider it to be a "group of staves" - but then you realise that they also define a staff (or stave) as being one horizontal line on a single page, hence in my example of 20 measures split into 2 horizontal groups of 10, they'd consider that to be two different staves, even if represents 20 successive measures all played by the same instrument.
Which from the point of view of an engraver may well make sense - after it is a visually separate entity on the page at a completely different location - though to me that's a bit like saying each page of a book begins a new paragraph. But it's interesting it never bothered me when using notation software to think of a "staff" as being something that logically extends for the whole duration of the piece of music, representing one player or group of players playing the same instrument. I've just never extended to thinking of a "system" as being all staves grouped together for the whole piece - as that's logically just the whole score! But more importantly when laying out music working out how many systems to show per page is one of the key decisions you need to make, particularly for small ensembles, so I've always thought of a system as only ever representing one horizontally laid out sequence of measures. Whereas it doesn't make sense to decide "how many staves per system" from a layout-point of view - the only decision you can really make is whether to hide particular staves that happen to be empty for the entirety of a given system, as otherwise the number of staves is controlled by the number of players/distinct instruments.

In reply to by bobjp

Most people aren't composers or conductors though! And I'd say layout is always a factor in what music you compose and how you present it to performers etc.
I deal a lot with choral music and the norm is to have two systems per page with a piano reduction (or rehearsal part if a capella). Conductors will often refer to the top or the bottom system in rehearsal. But I'd never think of a tempo marking in such a score as a "system marking", as it's also expected to appear in the full orchestral score (which has its own arrangement of systems) and any individual part extracts (again, with their own sets of systems).
But no, it's not hard to understand, it's just not, IMO, a good choice of term.

In reply to by bobjp

Because it has nothing to do with which system the measure it applies to happens to be on. If the music was changed in some way that meant that measure could no longer fit on that particular system it would move to a different system. I.e., it belongs to a time-position in the score and applies to all players (regardless of whether their staves are shown on the system) from that point onwards, and not to any notes on the system before that point. In fact the more I think about it the weirder it seems to think of a tempo marking as anything to do with a system.

In reply to by bobjp

Which is precisely my point - a tempo change is nothing to do with a system. It's a score-wide direction that applies at a particular point in time (until the next tempo change, or end of the piece), to all players in the ensemble (not just those who happen to have staves in the current system). Though of course there are some well known scores that have multiple groups playing in different tempi (and in fact I've used that technique in at least one of my own compositions). Which is why my preference is for "ensemble" direction - allowing that your entire ensemble may split into "sub-ensembles" for such occasions, rare as they are.

But I honestly don't feel like this conversation is going anywhere. I accept "system text" is a term users of at least a 2 or 3 notation software packages have got used to, and there's probably little to be gained by trying to come up with something new at this point.

In reply to by Dylan Nicholson1

Actually, I find this very interesting. It makes me think. It seems to me that I come at this from the standpoint of a composer, and you come at it from the standpoint of someone looking at a printed score. The score I deal with has all staves showing all the time. The score you are dealing with has only the active staves showing.

Let's suppose that we are looking at a page from a full orchestra score. This page shows only the stings as active staves. If I understand correctly, this page is showing a system. The next page has the brass playing, also. This is also a system. The next page has the entire orchestra playing. Is this not also a system? There is a tempo change a few measures into this page. Doesn't this change apply to the system?

It seems to me that the main reason that more modern scores only show active staves is that it cuts down on paper and ink. And therefore printing costs. Some say these scores are easier to read. I disagree, but that's just me. It's almost as though showing only active staves divorces those players from the rest of the ensemble. Like the non-active staves aren't important. But that isn't true. Sound and silence are equally important. Each defines the other.

What if all scores showed all staves all the time? Would you still have your objection?

In reply to by bobjp

Not really, as the tempo marking still doesn't apply to the whole system, unless it's at the beginning of the first measure in the system, and will also apply to subsequent systems (unless there's a new one at the beginning of the next system). While you could say something similar about "staff text" it bothers me less because I don't tend to think of a staff the same way (as being a sequence of measures laid horizontally across a page).
But importantly it doesn't belong to the system - it might end up moving to a different system if other changes are made to the score, and will be in quite different systems in any linked/ extracted parts etc.

As for whether it's preferable to always have all staves showing, I can absolutely see why a conductor would prefer this (even if it means very frequent page turns!), but for study or vocal scores where the overall size/ weight of the score is important optimising to reduce these is vital. Having said that some "optimised" scores try to squeeze far too much music on one page, to nobody's advantage that I can discern.

In reply to by Dylan Nicholson1

So let's say that there is a tempo change at measure 42(middle of the page). At measure 42 the only instruments playing are the brass section. In your score, only the brass system is showing. The tempo change applies to the brass at this point. A few pages later, at measure 63 (middle of the page), the woodwinds join. Because the tempo change only applied to the brass (in measure 42, middle of the page), what tempo do the woodwinds play? Whatever tempo they last played? They were not an active system at measure 42. How would they know what tempo to play? Now at measure 80, the snare drum comes in. This is the first time this instrument has played at all. There was a tempo marking at the beginning of the piece. Is that what the snare plays?
A tempo change can only happen at the beginning of a system? Or the first measure of a new system? How does that work?

In reply to by bobjp

All your points are exactly why I don't consider a tempo marking to be anything to do with a "system"!
A tempo marking for a system might be hypothetically possible (such that it literally only applies to exactly what's shown in one system and nothing else) but that's rarely how we'd think of it.

In reply to by Dylan Nicholson1

And you completely miss and ignore my questions. Please tell me how you would show tempo changes in each of the examples I noted. I'll answer for you. You can't. Not possible in your understanding of what a system is. All my questions are easily answered when you consider that a system is the entire score. Regardless of what staves are showing. Every source you can look up will say the same thing. A page that shows only the brass staves is not, never has been, or ever will be "the score". Nor a system. A tempo marking has everything to do with the entire score. I've tried to give you ample opportunity to give examples of how this could be otherwise.

In reply to by bobjp

" A tempo marking has everything to do with the entire score" - I agree 100%, when have I said otherwise??

But no, I don't consider a system to be "the entire score" - the only case it would be is if the entire score fits on one page and the system on that page shows all staves in the score.

I'd show Tempo Markings in your example exactly the way they're traditionally shown - above the top staff at the point it applies, and if the string section is showing (or a keyboard reduction/accompaniment line), above that too. They're logically attached to particular points in time and apply to the whole ensemble from those times onwards. I.e., nothing to do with systems at all - if I added more music or changed the page size etc. etc., the systems on which all those measures are shown might change completely, but the tempo markings would move with the music, and don't stay attached to "systems".

BTW, for the sorts of full orchestral conductor scores you're talking about where no staves are hidden, then a system is not essentially different to a "page" (it just doesn't include page headers/footers etc.).

In reply to by Dylan Nicholson1

You said: " the tempo marking still doesn't apply to the whole system, unless it's at the beginning of the first measure in the system,". This why I asked about tempo changes in the middle of the page.

You said: " the only case it would be is if the entire score fits on one page and the system on that page shows all staves in the score." This is exactly what I'm talking about. Do you know of another kind of full score?
So, you call a page that shows all the staves in the score on that page, a system. How is a tempo text on that page (on measure 1 or measure 4) not a system text?

In reply to by bobjp

By definition a whole system is ALL the measures in it, from the LHS of the page to the RHS side of the page. That's all I mean. A tempo marking that's shown above the 3rd measure of system applies to that measure and subsequent measures (most of which will be on subsequent systems), and certainly not to the first two measures on the same system. And it applies to parts that aren't even shown on the system. I.e., again, it's nothing to do with a system.

And for an entire orchestral score from beginning to end to fit on one page would be rather unusual, what piece did you have in mind?

We seem to be talking at cross-purposes...

In reply to by bobjp

Ok well this is my last post here because we're definitely not progressing.
To me a system is just what you see laid out across the page from left to right - if it's a condensed score it does NOT include the staves that you can't see, but for those you can, it's all the measures in that system. That's exactly how it's treated inside the MuseScore layout engine too.
So for something to be "system text" would imply a) it only applies to the instruments/performers with staves visible in the system and b) it applies to all measures in that system (or at most to a sequence of similar systems). The only good example I can think of that would qualify is additional staff grouping information shown at the beginning of a system (it's probably also reasonable to consider instrument/part names to be system text).
Tempo markings fail on both accounts - they apply to everyone in the ensemble regardless of whether they have staves in the system, and they apply only from the measure they're shown until the next tempo marking (or end of the piece). But for whatever reason that's how what's they called/categorised as in other notation software packages and what enough people have become accustomed to that I don't see much advantage in arguing for a better term at this point.

In reply to by Dylan Nicholson1

I think that's a good summary of how the term "system text" can indeed be confusing - it could be misinterpreted to mean something other than what it actually does mean in this context.

The problem to me is simply that there is no good alternative term, and the term "system text" is pretty well established in the industry, so people familiar with other programs are likely to know it by that name.

I think the devs should add it into Musescore without plugins, because sometimes the plugin works for me, and sometimes it just doesn't do anything.

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