Tempo markings

    Overview

    The musical terminology tempo means the speed or pace of a composition. Musicians use tempo markings/marks to indicate tempo. Supported tempo markings include:

    • Metronome marks: Consists of a note, an equals sign, and a whole number. A metronome mark, half note = 80 indicates 80 minims (half note) per minute. Metronome mark, quarter note = 80 indicates 80 quarter notes (crotchets) per minute.
    • Verbal tempo indications: Andante, Allegro, "a tempo", "tempo primo" etc.
    • Tempo change lines: Consists of a text and a dashed line. Includes "accel.", "allarg.", "rall.", and "rit.".
    • Metric modulations: A metric modulation, quarter note = dotted quarter note

    Musescore's synthesizer paces based on two settings:

    • The real, written tempo of score. It is only determined by tempo markings on the score. Section breaks and barlines do not reset anything. If no tempo marking is present on a score, it plays as if ♩ = 120 is used (120 crotchets or quarter notes in one minute).
    • The control slider that change pace temporarily, intended for monitoring purpose. See Playback panel chapter.

    Musicians use tempo markings to indicate the value of one beat, but Musescore does not use the beat information inside tempo markings. Beat information is obtained from Time signatures only.

    Tempo markings are Musescore Text, except tempo change lines are Musescore Line that contains Text, see Text and Other lines chapter.

    The Properties palette and Playback panel use a special unit "BPM". "BPM" is the amount of quarter notes would have been within one minute in decimal number. It is not related to the musical beat. It is not the whole number used in metronome marks conventionally, or on the score.

    Using Metronome marks and Metric modulations

    Playback follows written content by default. Editing the number changes playback too. This behavior is changable, see "Changing playback of tempo markings" section. If the note and augmentation dot is accidentally removed or another note value is required, professional glyphs must be used, see "Changing appearance" section.

    Using Tempo change lines

    The tempo changes along the object's anchored range, see Other lines chapter.

    Musescore does not understand the written content. These items have pre-defined tempo setting. In Musescore 4.2 beta's Tempo palette, by default:

    • accel.: Gradually speeds up to 133% of the original tempo
    • allarg.: Gradually slows down to 75% of the original tempo. The italian allargando means widen.
    • rall.: Gradually slows down to 75% of the original tempo
    • rit.: Gradually slows down to 75% of the original tempo

    The setting is changable, see "Changing playback" section.

    Using Verbal tempo indications

    Musescore does not understand the written content. In Musescore 4.2 beta's Tempo palette, by default:

    • "a tempo" item: Changes tempo back the latest tempo before any change by tempo change lines.
    • tempo primo item: Changes tempo back to that indicated by the first valid marking.
    • Other verbal tempo indication items have pre-defined tempo setting.

    All of these settings are changable, see "Changing playback" section.

    Adding tempo marks to your score

    All markings are found in the Tempo palette, see Using the palettes chapter.

    New tempo markings (except Tempo change line) are positioned at the top of system (a layout term, see Page layout concepts chapter), this behavior is similar to "System Text" or "System Text Line", see Staff Text, System Text and Expression Text chapter. Tempo change line is special, it still affects all instrument's playback like "System Text" does, but it is positioned on top of the staff (not system) by default, and only appears in "FullScore" and "Part" the feature the staff that line is attached to, like "Staff Text" does.

    To add a Metronome mark, Verbal tempo indication, or Metric modulation onto the score, use one of the following methods:

    • Select a note/rest and click an item in a palette.
    • Drag the item from a palette onto a note/rest.
    • From the menu bar, select Add→Text, and click on Tempo marking.

    To add a Metronome mark that use a suitable note value by using the beat information from the time signature:

    • Select a note/rest and press the keyboard shortcut Alt+Shift+T.

    To add a Tempo change line, use the methods explained in the Other lines: apply line chapter. One common method is to add it to a selected range:

    1. Either
      • Select a note or rest, for creation of Tempo object with "Staff Text Line" behavior, or
      • Select a measure for creation of Tempo object with "System Text Line" behavior;
    2. Shift+Click the last.
    3. Click an item in the palette.

    Changing appearance

    Playback can be configure to follow written content of Metronome mark and Metric modulation. Musescore only understand note and augmentation dot professional glyphs. The augmentation dot is not a "Full stop / period" on the computer keyboard. Do not copy from other programs or the internet, as they are not exactly raw unicode characters.

    Other characters and numbers are plain characters, entered using (typing on) a computer keyboard. They have different formatting behaviors, for example changing the Properties panel:Font does not affect glyphs, see musescore 3 handbook Fonts chapter. See also Entering and editing text chapter.

    Adding plain characters

    1. Select an object.
    2. Enter edit mode (double click)
    3. Type text.

    Adding profession glyphs

    1. Select an object.
    2. Enter edit mode (double click).
    3. Use Special characters window: Common symbols tab, one way to open the window is Shift+F2

    Tempo change lines

    Tempo change lines are Musescore Line. To change appearence of the dashed line, see Other lines: line properties and Adjusting elements directly: Changing the range of a line chapters.

    Changing playback

    Metronome mark, Metric modulation, and Verbal tempo indication

    To change the predefined tempo setting:

    1. Select object(s)
    2. Open the Properties palette
    3. Under Tempo section
    4. Enter a value in Override written tempo, this value use the special BPM unit, see Overview.

    To assign a manual / overriding tempo setting:

    1. Select object(s)
    2. Open the Properties palette
    3. Under Tempo or A Tempo or Tempo primo section, click to change:
      • Follow written tempo : uncheck to ignore written content on the score
      • Set specific tempo : check to ignore written content on the score
    4. Enter a value in Override written tempo, this value use the special BPM unit, see Overview.

    Tempo change line

    Tempo change properties

    To change the manual tempo setting:

    1. Select object(s)
    2. Open the Properties palette
    3. Click Playback, change any if required:
      • Amount: Target tempo as a percentage of original tempo. 100% means no change.
      • Easing Methods: Rate of tempo change, options are
        • Normal : a linear transition effect with the same rate of change from start to end
        • Ease in : a transition effect with a slow change rate at the start but a quicker change rate at the end
        • Ease out : a transition effect with a quick change rate at the start but a slow change rate at the end

    Tempo change lines are Musescore Line. The tempo changes along the object's anchored range. To change the range, see Other lines: line properties and Adjusting elements directly: Changing the range of a line chapters.

    Repeating tempo markings on other staves

    A tempo marking's layout and default positioning depends on how it is added, see "Adding tempo marks to your score" section.

    For tempo markings that behave like "System Text" or "System Text Line", there is a special method to mirror the object, see Staff Text, System Text and Expression Text: Repeating System Text on other staves chapter.

    Tempo properties

    Selected tempo markings(s) on a score can be edited with Properties panel, settings are already covered in other sections of this chapter. The Properties panel: Font property affects plain characters, but not the professional glyphs. Professional glyphs use "Musical symbols font", see "Tempo style" section. Text related settings are covered in Formatting text chapter. Line related settings are covered in Other lines chapter.

    To edit the score-wide settings, see "Tempo style" section.

    Tempo style

    See main chapter Templates and styles

    • Values of the "Musical symbols font" can be edited in Format→Style→Score.
    • Values of the "Style for Tempo text" can be edited in Format→Style→Tempo text.
    • Values of the "Style for text inside Tempo" can be edited in Format→Style→Text styles→Tempo
    • Values of the "Style for text inside Gradual Tempo Change" can be edited in Format→Style→Text styles→Gradual Tempo Change
    • Values of the "Style for text Metronome" can be edited in Format→Style→Text styles→Metronome. No object uses this profile by default, its purpose is for styling Tempo markings which have both a verbal indication part and a metronome mark part. Often the metronome mark part is non-bold and a little smaller. Source: https://github.com/musescore/MuseScore/issues/13377#issuecomment-147399…

      Tempo style