Revisiting the Playback of Trills - With a Proposal

• Jun 28, 2013 - 15:56

The idea of having MuseScore play back trills comes up periodically but, since it is a complex issue, never seems to go anywhere.

I would very much like to see such a capability, however, so I've prepared a pdf document (twenty-three pages - attached) as an initial proposal as to how I believe a limited but extensible capability for this could be added.

I've made it a separate document since it includes quite a few illustrations and a detailed discussion of what I believe are the issues involved.

For others who are interested in having such a feature (and I've included some earlier quotes that a few of you posted in this forum), I would hope this document may generate enough support and refinements to motivate further development.

I had to lower the resolution of the figures in order to get under the 2MB limit for the forum, but if anyone wants a higher resolution pdf, please let me know where I can send it.


Attachment Size
Trills_in_MuseScore.pdf 1.14 MB


not all the people of my country spoke Italian. Still less they could understand the Latin. But in those days, the liturgy
was celebrated in Latin. Many old ladies said of the celebrant, leaving the church: How he speaks well, I did not understand anything, but how he spoken it well!

So I want to jokingly say that I downloaded your work, and although with difficulty, I tried to translate it.
Today the playback is not a priority but I hope it can be a valid starting point for somebody, my sincere compliments and thanks for sharing.

In reply to by Shoichi

Thanks for the nice words Shoichi.

I presume you are referring to the Latin phrase "de gustibus non disputandum." I seem to have forgotten that there are readers of this forum with many different native languages. In English, the phrase is usually understood to mean "there is no accounting for taste." Some people really like some things that others don't and vice versa; my point was that this is true of trill playing as well.

I think I knew some of those same ladies back in my younger days, by the way.


Not to devalue the considerable effort you've obviously put into this - but are you perhaps unaware that something sort of similar has already been implemented for 2.0, under the name "Chord Articulation"? See for example I haven't played with it much, but it seems roughly analogous to what you propose, if rather different in appearance.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi Marc:

I was aware of the Chord Articulation feature, although hadn't spent any time with it. I took another look at it though just now and don't see anything that would do what I want unless I am completely missing something. In the nightly build I downloaded last week, the prall and mordent can play, but there is no way to edit or configure either of them. All the others are just symbols. The only significant change to playback that I noticed was the addition of a sequencer display which also can't be edited (that I could tell). If it could, this might also be a way for users to fine tune playback if they had a midi keyboard attached. But I suspect that's really aimed at achieving finer control over playback through actual midi instruments rather than simulated ones (e.g. soundfonts). Great feature, but not one I personally would use.

In any case it wasn't that considerable an effort since it's just a compilation of thoughts I've had over time, which I normally jot down as notes and drawings anyway. I just cleaned it up as a "parting gift" since I sort of doubt I'll ever make a transition to the 2.x family. For whatever reason, I really can't use 2.x for more than a fifteen minutes or so without going blind. I guess it's partly because I can't make out any of the "disabled" buttons or "grayed out" text, and the places that have red or magenta text on a black background are beyond annoying. The tool-tips, being a lighter gray on dark gray are barely legible enough, but I suspect that may be because I already know what they say.

I tried various monitor adjustments (brightness, contrast and such things) and even reran the utility that comes with various Adobe things and they all indicate that my hardware is happy. The only thing I don't seem to be able to adjust is my age, but I couldn't find anything for that in the Ubuntu software center, so there it is... When I shut down the nightly build and then load the current version immediately afterwards, it's a major drop in stress - like I've just landed safely after dropping thousnds of feet in a plane, my teeth loosen up, and my breathing returns to normal. So I suspect I'll stick with 1.2 unless something really terrific comes along.

Another thing I noticed with the 2.x versions is that, even using the same soundfont (GeneralUser GS MuseScore v1.43.sf2) I use with the current version, there is a very strong reverb on 2.x's playback. I've checked the mixer settings and so forth but, again, I seem to be lost.

Have a great day ...

In reply to by foberle

Interesting' I find the 2.0 layout much easier on the eyes than the 1.X layout overall, although I agree that greyed out text is probably lower contrast than necessary. Hardly seems a big since the whole point is that the functions aren't available anyhow. And in any case, still plenty of time left to tweak that. And how often are you actually in the one or two dialogs with red texr? Have you experimented with the different color schemes? Really, 2.0 is going to have a *ton* of "really terrific" things.

Overall reverb is in the Synthesizer windows, same as in 1.X. But that's now under View, not Display, and the reverb controls have changed form. But reverb down or off does work.

Anyhow, the chord articulation editor is definitely supposed to let you customize the playback - that's the whole point. But I have no idea how ti works.

In reply to by foberle

This is a little OT but I'll post it anyway.

I really can't use 2.x for more than a fifteen minutes or so without going blind. I guess it's partly because I can't make out any of the "disabled" buttons or "grayed out" text, and the places that have red or magenta text on a black background are beyond annoying.

It is relatively easy to change the colours so that the lighter (native) theme can be used effectively, and I have already done a little work on this, as I also have grave difficulties with the dark colour scheme - my brain refuses to interpret it other than as a negative image, and, particularly when I am tired, I cannot read the menus etc.

The only slight problem is that in order to do this you have to self-compile, which is no biggie once you have it set up right, but is quite a learning curve in itself.

And to get back on topic, the chord articulation editor is currently in the process of being merged with the piano roll view, and currently is not editable although the intention is to make it so.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Thanks very much for the info.

I'm willing, and possibly even able, but haven't done any development on Linux yet, and the last time I did anything on Unix was back in the eighties ...

Thus after reading your post, I began poking around to see if there were any compilers other than c already on my system and then realized I had no idea even what language(s) were used in MuseScore. Then I thought that would become pretty apparent when I looked at the source code.

Then I looked at the MuseScore site, but there was no source download option (at least that I could see).

Then I googled "musescore source" and was inundated with places to go for it, some of which appeared a bit questionable or unlikely to me, so I refrained from possibly doing something I would be sorry for. So, can you tell me where the "official source" can be downloaded? (or at least what you are using.)

I presume I'll be able to locate a suitable compiler or IDE for my Linux flavor (Ubuntu 12.04), but that will be a step or two down the road after reading through the code to get oriented. Does MuseScore also require any sort of version control system to grab the source and, if so, what would that be?

I also presume that the changes you are talking about involve some changes to color definitions. Given that there are probably many choices that would need to be compiled, linked, etc. in order to see if they'll work for me, can you tell me if there are any particular combinations of colors that you found acceptable? That way I'd at least have a starting point.

Thanks very much for any info you can supply or places you could point me to ...


In reply to by foberle

Click the Development link in the menu at right of this page. It has all the info you need, including step by step instructions on how to set up a build environment with the necessary tools, compilers (C++), and libraries, where to get the source (from GitHub), etc.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks Marc -

I downloaded the source and even located the place I think needs to be edited for making color changes, so I'll wait until ChurchOrganist is back on line and can confirm that's the only place it needs to be changed and to what colors.

As an aside, it sort of looks (line 4669 etc of musescore.cpp in the code I just downloaded) like it's structured as if there might later be some way of loading different color schemes. Or did I read it too quickly? Do you know anything about that?
If so, it might be nice to get a couple UI experts to come up with a set of color options like : "cool," "traditional," and "for old cranky blind people like Frank."

But again, thanks for pointing out what I should have been able to find myself (and no odd color scheme to use as an excuse this time!!)


In reply to by chen lung

Thanks, Chen.

There were several in the sequence you sent that I hadn't run across before. I doubt that I've seen ALL the postings related to this issue, but I have seen quite a few. What's really hard to get around without making a firm decision to completely sidestep the issue is that very few people can even agree on the exact definition of some of these things (why I used the most generic terms), much less how they should be played.

That's why my feeling is that any "definitions" played by MuseScore as defaults should be as basic, simple and generic as possible, but accompanied by a decent editing capability for modifications and a way of saving your own particular styles and techniques so you can apply them easily. That would give casual users an acceptable playback, but permit the more finicky among us to tweak things to our liking.

Have a great day.


You should definitely go foward with this idea: this would definitely help with the playback of my scores. In addition, when the trill is initiated, each note in the trill should sound quicker so that the trill sounds like a trill and not just the beginnings of notes (ie. Flute "airy" sound before the note). Great idea.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.