Add square brackets to score elements to indicate editorial additions/changes

• Feb 1, 2020 - 17:26
Reported version
S5 - Suggestion

The standard method of indicating editorial additions and changes in a score is to enclose them within square brackets. It is possible to do this for many elements in MuseScore by editing an existing element or by creating a text-only version from the symbols pallet. However, this is a bit of a kludge and is impossible (or very difficult) for elements such as slurs and ties.

It would be useful to have a facility to select an item, or range of items, and to surround it with square brackets.


Yes, please! Having the options to check a box to add parentheses or brackets to indicate that an element is editorial or optional would be incredibly useful. I'd use that for ornaments pretty regularly.

Reported version 3.4 3.6

I'd definitely appreciate being able to bracket ornaments, dynamics, slurs, etc.... with a single click. I'm transcribing Anton Flitz's complete symphonies from the original engraved parts (no full score), and there are so many markings missing....

This feature would make editorial markings straight forward :)

Frequency Few Many
Workaround No Yes

+1 for me

  • Workaround mentioned by OP (even if it is a kludge).
  • Closed #164966: Allow brackets/parentheses to be added to articulations and ornaments as a duplicate, which even though it is older, does not have many incoming links and messages.
  • Linked all mentions (URLs) in this issue that were not linked to this issue.
  • I believe we have enough incoming links (8), interested users (10+ easy if we look at the interest here and other threads). to flip the bit from Few to Many, but as often happens, Jojo may have us outnumbered ;)
Workaround Yes No

+1, I'd definitely would find being able to easily indicate editorial markings VERY handy. Currently it's a nightmare for bracketing most elements apart from accidentals and hairpins - In fact, the often needed bracketed dynamics are impossible by default, I'd just have to enter them as normal text instead of bracketing standard dynamic markings...

This is something pretty important if you are writing academic works and critical reviews, as any symbol you add to the score that is not original needs to be bracketed in order to indicate it to be a musicological intervention. Please let us be able to do so! :)

To be clear, you can do it already, just add the brackets as text or using the Symbols palette (press "Z" to display). You can also add the text or symbol to your own palette for easier reuse. If you need further assistance, please ask for help on the Support forum.

As for dynamics, why not just edit the text itself? Here again, if you're having difficulty, best to ask for help on the Support forum.

Not that it wouldn't be nice someday to make this even easier, but it really isn't particularly difficult to add brackets as text or symbols currently.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Since I wrote the initial suggestion, it has become easier to add square brackets to hairpins as start and end text.

However, ...

While it is possible to add parentheses (or round brackets) to a note from the accidental pallet and we also have a facility to add square brackets to an accidental, it is not possible to add square brackets to a note by a similar facility. One has to resort to stave text and careful positioning.
If square brackets are added to a dynamic by editing the dynamic the brackets are italicised and I can't find a way to un-italicise them.
As for things like time signatures - we are back in kludgeville central. It can be done by adding brackets as staff text to a nearby note or rest and then positioning them over the signature. But then don't touch the layout again or the brackets will be somewhere you don't want them.

So currently we have some elements like accidentals where adding square brackets is built in. Some, like hairpins or other lines, where it is easy to achieve using existing facilities. Some, like dynamics, where it can be done by editing the text but the results are not good as they are italicised. Some, like notes, where brackets can be added using staff text, fairly easily, and some, like time signatures, where it can be done using staff text but with danger of misplacement if there are subsequent layout changes.

What I wish for is a facility to select any score element and hit a button to enclose it within square brackets (or perhaps a choice of brackets) that move with the element during layout changes.

Text within dynamics is italicized or not same as for any other text - using the Inspector to do it for the whole tex,t or the text toolbar to do it for individual characters. Note the m, f, and p aren't regular letter and are not actual italic, so turning off italics for the dynamic as a whole won't affect these special glyphs, nor should it.

As for adding square brackets to a note, no reason to resort to staff text. As I suggested above, just use the Symbols palette, which places them close to correctly already, needing only a slight manual adjustment that should be quite "robust" and work even as layout changes. You could also add the bracket as a fingering with a custom text style that would also be positioned pretty much perfectly by default.

Time signatures do indeed need a little more work, because the ability to attach symbols directly to time signatures isn't supported. So you do indeed need to resort to hacks.

Anyhow, I'm not saying we shouldn't consider adding ways to make this all even easier for more elements. Just trying to clear up some confusion - some of the posts here seem to reflect a misunderstanding about just how possible and not difficult it already is for most elements, including dynamics and notes.

+1 for this. I work with Baroque scores and often need to add brackets around notes, rests, and sometimes other things (in addition to accidentals, which are already supported). The text method is slow and fussy.

plus another. Exactly as previous commentator. Usual convention for ties and slurs, though, is not square brackets (which look very messy) but a short intersecting line in the middle. That too would be handy.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Ben Byram-Wigfield (aka benwiggy) created a SMuFL font using Bravura glyphs, with square brackets around them: Bracketura (SIL open font license)
I made a palette for this, which works just fine in Linux.
But the font does not work in MS for Windows. In Windows , the font is visiblein e.g. LibreOffice, but does not show up in the list in MuseScore 4. (Any idea how this is possible?)