sprech stimme, how to notate

• Mar 24, 2018 - 17:13

I am trying to use Sprechstimme in a composition. How do I do it ?/ can I do it?


There are different ways of indicating this - how would like it to look? Most straightforward is probably to use cross noteheads, which you can apply from the Noteheads palette or the Inspector.

use system text attached to a note and write "x," adjust the font to something sans-serif and the right size, then you can drag it/scooch it into place on the stem. Once you have it done for one, if you copy/paste the x onto subsequent notes, it will place it on the stem (but you might still have to manually adjust up/down to center it).

As a vocalist specializing in modern and contemporary repertoire, I always advise composers AGAINST using cross noteheads for Sprechstimme, especially if you are going for something technically and/or stylistically similar to 2nd Viennese school vocalism. Cross noteheads are much harder to read and do not clearly communicate to a vocalist how to treat pitch and contour (which are absolutely essential in Sprechstimme).

In reply to by joshuascheidm

That's great input, thanks! When I said "most straightforward" was to use cross noteheads, I meant, simplest to actually accomplish in MuseScore currently. Good to know this isn't really recommended.

Regarding your suggestion, one simplification might be to add as fingering instead of system text, and set to one of the User styles. This will place the word directly on the notehead with little or no further adjustment needed. Also, assuming you want one word per note, it's great because you can hit Space while editing to move to the next note, just like with actual lyrics. Unless you want several words attached to a single note, in which case you'd need Ctrl+space to separate the words.

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