Slurs

A slur is a curved line between two or more notes that indicates they are to be played without separation. If you mean to join two notes of the same pitch, see Ties.

A slur can be created from the lines palette, but the methods below are recommended.

First method

  1. Make sure you are not in note input mode and select the first note that you want the slur to cover:
    First note selected
  2. S creates a slur:
    Slur to adjacent note
  3. Shift+Right extends the slur to the next note:
    Three-note slur
  4. X flips the slur direction:
    Slur above note stems
  5. Esc ends edit mode:
    Slur no longer in edit mode

Second method

  1. Make sure you are not in note input mode
  2. Select the note where you want the slur to start
  3. Hold down Ctrl ( on a Mac) and select the last note that you want the slur to cover
  4. Press S

Note: If you Shift-select the last note, slurs will be added to all voices in the range after step 4.

Third method

  1. While in note input mode, type in the first note in the slurred section
  2. Hit S to begin the slurred section
  3. Type in the remaining notes in the slurred section
  4. Hit S to end the slurred section

Adjustments

To adjust the size and shape of a slur, double-click it to enter edit mode (or use Ctrl+E, or right-click and select "Edit Element"). The two outer handles adjust the start and end of the slur, whilst the three handles on the curve adjust the contour. The middle handle on the straight line is used to move the whole slur up/down/left/right. The Tab key can be used to move from handle to handle.

For fine adjustments, click on any of the handles (displayed in the images for steps 2-4 above) and move them with the keyboard arrow keys. Larger adjustments can be made by dragging the handles with a mouse or other input device (or use Ctrl+Arrow).

The following shortcuts can be used to move the left and right handles from note to note:

  • Shift+ Move to next note.
  • Shift+ Move to previous note.
  • Shift+ Move to lower voice (voice 2 to voice 1 etc.).
  • Shift+ Move to higher voice (voice 1 to voice 2 etc.).

A slur can span several systems and pages. The start and end of a slur is anchored to a note/chord or rest. If the notes are repositioned due to changes in the layout, stretch or style, the slur also moves and adjusts in size.

This example shows a slur spanning from the bass to the treble clef. Using the mouse, select the first note of the slur, hold down Ctrl (Mac: ) and select the last note for the slur, and press S to add the slur.

Slur across staves

X flips the direction of a selected slur.

Dotted slurs

Dotted slurs are sometimes used in songs where the presence of a slur varies between stanzas. Dotted slurs are also used to indicate an editor's suggestion (as opposed to the composer's original markings). To change an existing slur into a dotted or dashed slur, select it and then in Inspector (F8) change Line type from Continuous to Dotted or Dashed.

See also

Do you have an unanswered question? Post it in the forum.