desperate newbie: how to make articulation, ornaments, lines audible?

• Apr 11, 2013 - 17:24


I use MuseScore 1.3, Rev. 5702, on Windows8. My Problem: if I add "articulations", "ornaments" or "lines" - such as "tie" or "accent" - to a note/to notes, it looks good but I cannot hear any accent or tie. For example, if I tie 4 notes (same notes, same pitch) they still sound as 4 separate notes and not as one with fourfold duration. (Only dynamics seems to work, e.g. fff or ppp).

What is the correct way to make articulations etc. audible, please?




Hi musecub -

Some ornaments are audible in MuseScore; some aren't (yet?).

Tie is audible. If that doesn't sound right, you are probably using a slur, instead of a tie. Check out the handbook entry on ties.

What other specific ones are you interested in?


In reply to by Fifist

Hi fifist,

I am sure I did it correctly via the panel before, but now I used the method "select first note, then '+' ". This resulted in a very tiny tie to the next note. After zooming in a lot, I was able to activate "Edit" with double click, and drew the right end of the tie over to the last note I wanted the tie to end with. Not better,than before, all notes still sound like single notes and not as one long sound :-(

I am also interested in "accent", you know that ">" sign above a note that plays it louder, also no luck :-(



In reply to by musecub

If your main goal is to hear playback exactly the way you want, you will have to use a program that specializes in playback. For example, you could export you score to a MIDi file then load it into a sequencer proram, then fine tune the dynamics and articulations using direct MIDI adjustments. MuseScore does provide some very basic playback, meant mostly so you can check to make sure you haven't entered wrong notes, and maybe usable as a very rough demo, but you shouldn't be relying on it for finely nuanced performamce - it just isn't designed for that purpose. The playback facilities are slowly improving, but you shouldnt be expecting much of it.

Ties are another matter. If you enter them correctly, they *do* play correctly. Ties are not ever extended the way you seem to be describing trying to do. That's not a limitation of MuseScore; that's just how music notation works. If you want several notes tied together, you don't draw ome tie over the whole group - you draw ties betweem each pair of adjacent notes. Again, it's that way with paper and pencil too - it's not some quirk of MuseScore. If you draw (with a pencil) a single line over a group of notes, thats a phrase marking, also called a slur, not a tie, and it is proper and correct that they would play back individually. Ties are always only beween adjacent notes of the same pitch.

You also should not normally need to worry that when you are first entering your notes, the ties sometimes seem small. That's usually just because you haven't finished entering your notes on the line. By the time you finish entering your notes om a line, MuseScore will usually space things out better automatically. Sometimes, you might still find a tie or here or there might need to be made bigger manually, but when until youre done entering notes to look and decide if thats really something you need to do. And even then, you might decide it's better to simlly break the line earlier, or add more "stretch" to the measure (see Layout menu) rather than manually edit the tie.

In reply to by MDMilford

Thank you, Fifist, schepers , Marc Sabatella,and MDMilford, for your answers and explanations.Please note that I am not only a MuseScore newbie but that I know next to nothing about musical ties, arpeggios, accents, ... you name it. Now I lknow a little more, and how to have a workaroung for some, e.g., acc

About slur from the palette lines, would it work audible?
(dumb question, but my musical ear is bad enough to not hear a difference between slurred and un-slurred notes in MuseScore)



In reply to by musecub

It is true that slurs currently don't affect playback. But it is important to note that on many instruments, they really *don't*. On piano, for instance, or trombone, a slur marking tells the musician something about what he is playing, and this can in some cases have a subtle impact on how he plays it, but it's not like a tie or a staccato where there is a very specific effect it is supposed to achieve. But on some instruments - like pretty much all other wind instruments, also in some cases bowed stringed instruments - then it *does* affect the sound. It isn't clear what instrument you are writing for or what effect you might be expecting. So it could well be that even if MuseScore *did* support playback of slurs, you might not be using them in situations where they are supposed to have any real effect anyhow.

Your explanations helped a lot for me to understand MuseScore's innards. But I still have a big problem:

how can I emphasize each first note in a measure? Say, if the time is 3/4?

I learned from MDMilford (see above on April 11, 2013 - 10:25pm) how to increase the velocity of a note under note properties, but this does not work so well:

In a test piece, I had default values of 80 for each note, changed each 1st note to the maximum of 127, which sounded good, because the default value was 80; hence a nice 3/4 time piece :-(
However, when I changed the dynamics to "fff", the default velocity values were automatically increased to 126, and the emphasis on the first note (127) in a measure was near nothing because 127 is the maximum achievable :-(
Even worse, when I changed the dynamics to "ppp", each first note's velocity remained at 127, and the other notes' velocities were so low, it really sounded badly :-(

QUESTIONS: a) is it possible with MuseScore to create automated emphases (depending on time signatures) at all? b) how can I make a user defined velocity (as I used) work with default notes when the dynamics are changed?

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

If you really want such an extreme change as 127 for the first note of a measure and 80 for the rest, you should explicitly mark that with an accent and/or sfz marking - this is way, way, way, way beyond the sort of subtle emphasis a musician would naturally give to the first beat of a measure. A plugin to add a subtle push more automatically does seem like a good idea and should be easy enlugh to implement. A push of maybe around 10% should sound reasonably natural. Fonale has a facility called "human playback" that basically goes in and diddles with note lengths, start times, and velocities to make it seem less mechanical, and I suspect a plugin could do much the same for MuseScore.

Abtw, as for what happens when the dynamic is "fff", that basically says to a human musician "play as loud as you can with any semblance of decent tone". There *is* no room for subtleties like exta accent on the first beat of the measure when playing "fff". So, just mark it "ff" if you want to leave yourself a little room for additional accent. But again, no human musician wojld actually add any significant additional accent when playing that loud unless you added an explicit accent or sfz marking - don't make the mistake of thinking this is how real musicians normally play unless specifically asked to.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

...for your comments, especially Marc Sabatella' s lines about what a musician would do! I will try the "around 10%". You are right, the musical pieces sound kind of mechanical when all the notes in a measure have the same emphasis/accent. You taught me that there is no "lazy" way (yet) to make MuseScore's music more natural, and I will do it manually*.

Thank you again for your patience towards a non-musician**


*: don't be offended, but this reminds me of the times with the good old Commodore C64; oh that beautiful machine, I could weep that they ceased production, honestly!

**: as a child, long, long, long ago I had a few piano lessons, and thereafter never played and have played an instrument; except when the C64 came around for a few years

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I still weep for C64 because I could make sound effects and make instruments never heard before :-(

But I had an unforgettable weekend with my 9.year old grandson. He learns to play guitar and is now also a MuseScore addict! Thanks to your tips above, I could teach him the essentials in no time, and, I am afraid, he works now faster with MuseScore than I do.

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