Articulations and ornaments

A comprehensive set of symbols can be found in the Articulations and Ornaments palette in the Advanced workspace:

Advanced Articulations and Ornaments

There is also an abbreviated version in the Basic workspace.


Articulations are the symbols added to the score to show how a note or chord is to be played. The principal symbols in this group are:

  • Fermatas
  • Staccato
  • Mezzo-staccato / Portato
  • Staccatissimo
  • Tenuto
  • Sforzato
  • Marcato

Specialist articulations are also included for bowed and plucked strings, wind instruments etc.


Ornaments include:

  • Mordents, Inverted Mordents, Pralltrillers
  • Trills
  • Turns
  • Bends

Note: Appoggiaturas and acciaccaturas can be found in the Grace Notes palette.

Add articulation/ornament

  1. Select a note or a range of notes.
  2. Double-click on a symbol in the palette.

Alternatively, you can add a symbol by dragging it from the palette directly onto a notehead.

Add accidental to an articulation

To apply an accidental to an existing articulation, such as a trill, add it from the Special Characters window to a text object. Or, alternatively, apply an accidental to the note from the Master palette.

Add fermata to a barline

A fermata can be applied directly to a barline by selecting the barline and double-clicking the fermata from a palette.

Keyboard shortcuts

  • Toggle Staccato: Shift+S
  • Toggle Tenuto: Shift+N
  • Toggle Sforzato (accent): Shift+V
  • Toggle Marcato: Shift+O
  • Add Acciaccatura (grace note): /

Keyboard shortcuts can be customized in MuseScore's Preferences.

Adjust position

Immediately after adding an articulation or ornament from a palette, the symbol is automatically selected: It can then be moved up or down from the keyboard as follows:

  • Press up/down arrow keys for fine positioning (0.1 sp at a time);
  • Press Ctrl+ or Ctrl+ (Mac: Cmd+ or Cmd+) for larger vertical adjustments (1 sp at a time).
  • To flip a symbol to the other side of the note (where applicable), select it and press X.

To enable adjustments in all directions from the keyboard:

  1. Double click on the symbol to enter Edit mode, or click on it and press Ctrl+E (Mac: Cmd+E) , or right-click on the symbol and select "Edit element";
  2. Press arrow keys for fine positioning (0.1 sp at a time); or press Ctrl+Arrow (Mac: Cmd+Arrow) for larger adjustments (1 sp at a time).

You can also change the horizontal and vertical offset values in the Inspector. To position more than one symbol at a time, select the desired symbols and adjust the offset values in the Inspector.

Note: The symbol can also be repositioned by clicking and dragging, but for more precise control, use the methods above.

Articulation properties

To access articulation properties, click on the symbol and make the desired adjustments to values in the Inspector. The exact properties displayed depend on the type of articulation. Other properties (i.e. direction and anchor position) can be accessed by right-clicking on the symbol and selecting Articulation Properties….

You can also make global adjustments to all existing and subsequently-applied articulations by selecting Style…General…Articulations, Ornaments.

See also