How to create a visual swing marking

Create your own triplet swing markings inside MuseScore to ensure their style matches your score

This HowTo walks shows you how to create a swing tempo mark whose style matches that of the destination score.

1. Create a new score

Create a new score and, on the "Chose template file" page, select the Treble staff template, leaving all settings at their defaults.

2. Enter notes

To ensure consistent spacing of the marking, enter it in the 2nd measure. That way no subtle differences can be caused by key/time signatures.

Enter the Swing marking you'd like to create using the G as pitch. Make sure to leave a rest in between the two first notes and the triplet.

Swing marking 8th, step 0
Or
Swing marking 16th, step 0

The keyboard sequence used to enter the markings is as follows:

N 4 G G 0 5 Ctrl+3 5 G 4 G for the 8ths figure.

Lower each number by 1 to enter the 16ths figure.

If required, use the beam properties palette to improve the readability of the rhythms:

Swing marking 16th, step 1

3. Hiding stuff

To avoid seeing rests and staff/bar-lines in the final marking, mark these as invisible.

Hide the rests

  • Select the full measure;
  • In the Inspector (F8) click the Rests button at the bottom;
  • Uncheck Visible in the Element section (should be at the top of the Inspector);

After deselecting, these rests should now show in light-grey. If that isn't the case for you, make sure you have the menu option ViewShow Invisible checked.

Swing marking 8th, step 2 Swing marking 16th, step 2

Hide staff and barlines

Right-click (Mac: Ctrl-click) an empty part of the staff and open up the Staff properties. Uncheck the options that show the clef, time signature and barlines and additionally check the Invisble staff lines option:

Swing marking, step 3

4. Add the equal sign

The equal sign is added as Staff and system text to the in-between rest of the marking. In this case the font is "FreeSerif", size 18 and bold.

Using the Inspector, change the Vertical offset to a value around 4.50sp and the Horizontal offset to -0.50sp.

Swing marking 8th, step 4 Swing marking 16th, step 4

5. Adjust the horizontal spacing

The current marking still looks too compressed. You can fix this either by using smaller font settings in the previous step, or by making the notation wider. In this example, we'll use the latter option.

The easiest way is to apply a line break at the end of measure 6, which results in quite nice spacing. If you'd like, you can still further fine tune the measure by changing its stretch.

Swing marking 8th, step 5 Swing marking 16th, step 5

6. Using the marking

You can now use the Image Capture tool to copy or save your marking. I suggest saving the marking as an SVG-file, as it'll allow smooth scaling in every score you'll ever need the marking again. Make sure to save the marking using the Print mode to ensure the invisible items are really rendered invisible in the end result.

Also consider then adding your SVG into a custom palette if you plan on using the marking multiple times.

Summary

We've created our own scaling visual swing markings leveraging the notation style of MuseScore itself. Keep in mind that this is a visual image only, for playback you'll still need to add an actual (invisible) Swing text.

You can find the resulting SVGs and mscz file attached below:

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