Implement Slur Playback

• May 19, 2019 - 23:23
Reported version
S5 - Suggestion

With the attached score bar 34, there are 5 long slurs, are they working?


Slurs have no effect on playback except for pianos (all kinds) and flutes (the only instruments with gate time not 1000). Someone correct me if this is inaccurate.

The only reason it sounds like slurs are having an effect for flute is that without the slur, flute notes are artifically cut ashort a little (95% normal length ). So slurs arne't taking normal notes and making them truly slurred, they are merely fixing notes that were artifically shortened.

If you wish to artificially shorten your violin notes, then, you are welcome to do by creating a custom instruments.xml file that uses the same technique of setting the default gate time to 95%, and then slurs will return them to normal length. But slurred notes won't sound any different than they already do - everything else will just sound a little less legato.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Better than hacking the instruments.xml is hacking the .msc(x/z), where a copy is made of the instruments.xml for the instruments you actually use. I have done this several times. I have also used the technique of adjusting the gate time of "tenuto" to 110% (1100) and applying to either the whole staff (so articulations can be carved out) or selected sections (and then hide them all). At any rate, these gate time adjustments belong in the UI, as well as "what gate time does slur impose?" (which doesn't currently seem parametrized).

The correct change is the design of a user interface to manage the gate times on instruments and articulations as well as a policy for individual articulations, and figure out how it interacts with the piano roll editor. It is anything but simple, and it is so important that I may do it myself (for the product) some day. Changing your own score as I said is not too hard if you are not afraid to edit xml, but designing user interfaces that make these variables user-controllable in a coherent way is not at all easy.

It's certainly easy enough to do this to an instrument.xl file, but based on many discussions on this topic, it's not what the majority of users want, so I can't see the default instruments.xml ever doing this. Notes should normally be played legato by default, changing them to be less legato by default would be a step backward in many people's eyes, rightfully so I think. True slur playback isn't "stop deliberately playing non-legato", it's a totally different playing technique that requires actual programmatic and soundfont support. I have no doubt this will happen eventually - it's clearly on the radar of the folks who would be likely to do the work - but I think it is a mistake to make all music less legato by default just to provide a pretty poor illusion of slur playback.

String instruments are not legato enough at their current 100%. Here is a score of mine where I have used everywhere (ovunque) tenutos to make every note 110% except ones where I remove it to restore the 100%, as phrasing: This is what string instruments legato should sound like. the fact that 110% is EVER necessary suggests flaws in the whole conception or the making of the soundfonts. (Remember the gain control in "Spiñal Tap" that went up to 11 "Just for that last little bit...."?)

You can do it yourself if you want to hear what it sounds like. Make a copy of the instruments.xml file in your MsueScore installation folder, save it to your own folder, then edit it to add a gate time line just like the one you will see for the flute, to any other instruments you want to change in this way, save it, then go to Edit / Preferences / Score and tell MuseScore to use your modified file rather than the default.

mscz is a zipfile containing the mscx (which is xml) and some overhead. If you're going to edit mscx/z's, save as "mscx" (choose from the dropdown in the Save As dialog), and don't mess with zipfiles. Then CLOSE THE FILE in MuseScore. Then edit the .mscx to find the instruments and change the default articulation as you just did. Then go back into MuseScore and open the MSCX and don't get confused between the MSCX and the MSCZ now that you have both. Continue using the MSCX, not MSCZ, although you can save as MSCZ when you're conivnced it's all right, but it's very hard not to get confused unless you've done this a lot. It is crazy.

It's what you asked for. 110% and slur sets it to 100. You can set non-legato with the use of articulations, whose gate time you have edited to 100 or less (not 50 or 67), as in my Allemande. It's awful. The official position is that this is "notation software", not "performance software." You have a certain expectation of "music software" which differs. IMHO, I think you're right, but ....

slurs mean different thing reg. playback for different instruments. For some it is 'just' moving sounds closer together, for others it is losing the sound's attack, for yet other it is more like a glissando from one to the other

In reply to by [DELETED] 1831606

(to BSG), Allemande plays awfully smooth – “This is what string instruments legato should sound like”. I can see hidden tenutos there make the notes playing overlapped, but not the case of mine… I saved yours to uncompressed to read and didn’t find a clue. Allemandesca “Goldberg” with -.JPG Allemandesca “Goldberg” without -.JPG Chopin with - test.JPG

"is slur playing?_ That's where things get quite easy: in MuseScore slurs don't play back (except for a very subtle effect for Piano and Flute or after some heavy use of PRE)

In reply to by [DELETED] 1831606

@BSG, Yes, I found it and applied to my violin score, result: notes are overlapping now, but, but.... sadly for violin slur playing it is still disappointing Tenuto Overlapping.JPG , even with other two sound fonts (Orchestral_Solo_Strings and GeneralUser GS 1.471) tested --- “it's still the single biggest problem in the playback system”…..

Thanks BSG for your help of trying to improve my score and MuseScore.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Thanks for your expertise, community support and optimism, Jojo.

Does the MuseScore PC application and the website use the same playback engine? Or are these two separate issues? I can somewhat live with no slurring on the PC, but I would like my music to sound ok to those who are browsing for scores.