Dynamic Placement for Vocal Score

• Mar 18, 2019 - 18:06

I've figured out how to toggle the location of a dynamic or hairpin from under a staff to over it. (Very helpful.) I've also found how to use the Style menu to specify dynamic placement for an entire score. (Again, very helpful.) But what I'm trying to do is somewhere in the middle: I'm working on a larger vocal score (i.e., choir and other instruments) and would like the dynamics and hairpins for all the voice parts to appear ABOVE those staves but UNDER the staves for everything else. Is there a way to do this other than flipping each piece manually?

Just a thought: It might make sense for MuseScore to know where the dynamics should be based on the instrument that was chosen. For example, it would know to put dynamics above the staff for voices, under the staff for most instruments, between the staves for piano, etc.

[I'm a brand new MuseScore user (using 3.0.5) on a Mac (running 10.14.3). I've been using another notation program for years (I won't say the name, but it rhymes with Schmibelius) and am considering a full switch to MuseScore.]


Assigning locations of text by staff would be a nice feature, especially with mixed vocal and instrumental score. Unfortunately that is not currently an option. You need to decide if you want to start with the dynamics above or below and move the others by staff as Shoichi suggested.

No way to do it automatically, but it is indeed easy to flip them all a once for a given staff.

I agree that long term we should look at ways of making this and other style settings be overridable per-staff.

In reply to by underquark

But that's hardly reasonable that you should have to remember which palette to use to get a dynamic marking from based on whether there are lyrics in the current measure/staff.
I don't see any good reason dynamics should just not always automatically go above the staff if added to a measure with lyrics - no doubt there are some scores that don't use this practice, but it's pretty standard. But a score style to control default placement of dynamics/hairpins in measures (or staves) with lyrics wouldn't be hard to add. The only question would be what should happen if the lyrics are added after the dynamics (I think having them move automatically in that case might be unexpected).

In reply to by Dylan Nicholson1

No, as I mentioned elsehwere, after flipping one manually, simply hit the set as style button ("S" icon) - or make the change in the Style dialog. No need to select all, and once the style is set, it applies to all dynamics, old and new. But indeed, it also applies across all staves, so if it's a mix, the approach of selecting all then flipping above. Not sure what you mean about needing to flip from above to below and back - a single flip from the default below to above is all you need.

In reply to by Dylan Nicholson1

No, don't do it via the vertical offset in the text style - do it via placement in the Dynamics style itself. Or via the Inspector "set as style" button after first flipping one above (via the Inspector or pressing "X") manually. but as noted, it isn't a good idea if you have mostly instrumental staves. A way to set styles like this per staff is definitely needed, something that has been long recognized but thus far no design for a solutin has been proposed that I am aware of.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Per-staff styles is probably overkill - but I don't see why we can't just change the default behaviour when adding dynamics when there are lyrics present to always put them 'Above' (perhaps with an option to turn this behaviour off as inevitably somebody won't like it).
As for changing the placement - correct, I was changing the text style "Dynamics", not the "Dynamics" style, and the former doesn't allow changing the placement! Seems like an unnecessary sort of confusion...

In reply to by Dylan Nicholson1

Interesting thought, I could see the automated switch working - much like we automatically flip stems when multiple voices are present. But still, there are other places where per-staff styles settings could come in handy - like forcing articulations above the staff for percussion and a handful of other cases that have come up from time to time.

As for why the text styles are split off into a separate area, it's for simplicity in implementation as well as consistency for the user. Consider, there are dozens of text styles that all have exactly the same controls, so it makes sense to present them together. Whereas the corresponding element styles are often wildly different. For example, lyrics and chord symbols have a whole slew of settings that don't apply to other element types. And things like placement above/below doesn't apply to title, etc.

Not saying the current separation is the best possible design, but in order to be an improvement, an alternative design would need to provide some of the same advantages 9while hopefully eliminating the disadvantages).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

See this suggestion from 2015 in the Issue Tracker. It is still unresolved and still under discussion in 2021:
#50456: Place dynamics and hairpins above vocal staves by default

"Dynamics above the stave when lyrics are present" seems such an obvious fix that I fail to understand why it hasn't been implemented already. Surely it could appear in Edit > Preferences as the non-default option, without upsetting existing scores?

In reply to by DanielR

The above/below setting for texts is fairly new, the above idea is even newer, I guess that's why it hasn't been implemented yet.
It would also solve the problem that we don't want dynamics above every vocal staff, like the tenor/bass one in closed score SATB.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Really? Why would you prefer dynamics under the staff in that case?

Changing the code to automatically change the placement to ABOVE when adding dynamics to a staff with lyrics (or measure, whatever makes more sense, probably the latter in case you have a staff that is used for a mixture of a vocal part with lyrics and instrumental notation - and yes I've performed from such a score!) is trivial.
Adding an option to turn this off as the default behaviour requires a bit more work/discussion, i.e. deciding how it should be controlled, whether it's a global preference, and what the default should be etc. etc.
But...the issue is then what should happen if you add the dynamics first, then add the lyrics. I don't really know why the default "Placement" setting is not "auto" (like "Direction"), but that would require quite a bit more work. Are there any examples current of text-type elements whose placement is determined automatically depending on what else is in the measure/what voice you add it to?

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Ah yes - haven't sung from one of those in a very long time! I wonder how many would bother specifying dynamics on both staves though. And whether there's a convention as to where to place them - the only example I could find with a quick search only had a dynamic on the SA staff.
Interestingly the wikipedia page for Chorale has O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden typeset with the only lyrics underneath the TB staff (no dynamics though!).

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