Option to completely disable automatic placement

• Jul 27, 2019 - 00:16

I realise that this is a much discussed subject, but...
I have just updated Musescore to Version Revision d2d863f. Whilst checking the release notes for past updates I noticed that on May 28 2019 there was a release:
macOS 10.12+:, Windows 7+ 64-bit:, Windows 7+ 32-bit:, AppImage: 3.1.0. (revision: e26f7c46).
and in the list of 'New' features there is 'Option to completely disable Auto Placement'
I am on Mojave 10.14.5
I have spent some time searching but cannot find any information about how to completely disable Auto Placement apart from the above reference in the release notes.
Any pointers would be greatly appreciated. (I have read most of the discussions as to whether there is really a need to completely disable Auto Placement and despite advice from all the gurus, and I do appreciate what a wonderful feature AP is, I would still rather place everything myself.)


In Edit->Preferences->Shortcuts, there is a shortcut to Toggle 'Automatic placement' globally. I don't remember if there is a default shortcut defined. If not, you can define one.

Life is much easier in version 3 once you learn how to use Automatic placement rather than turning it off. We're here to help you with this if you want it.

In reply to by mike320

mike320 - very many thanks for the info. It works great! I do understand how good Automatic Placement is but I have hundreds of scores which have been carefully formatted and I really don't want them altered. However, I have used AP on new scores and althought it works well most of the time there are still occasions when I want to place things myself.
Thanks again for your very prompt and helpful answer.

In reply to by tubascuba

Hi Tubascuba,
"I want to place things myself"
Well that's a perfectly legitimate requirement and in 3.0 it was not possible with autoplacement.
BUT since then, autoplacement has been greatly enhanced and in 3.2 you can place things yourself WITH autoplacement which really make things a lot easier than without it.

In reply to by DanielR

I generally drag (or use x,y offsets) first. If it doesn't cooperate I press alt and drag the item and I don't usually have to worry about it any more.

I understand a score being imported from version 2 turning off global auto place, it makes it less work to make it look like it did in version 2. For new scores I keep global autoplace on. Pressing alt turns off auto place on a dragged item, though it may not work on Linux.

In reply to by DanielR

I don't think there are any cases where disabling autoplace, moving the element, then re-enabled would accomplish anything different from leaving it enabled.

To be clear: in the vast majority of cases you don't need to disable autoplace in order to place things manually. Prior to 3.1 there were a larger number of cases where this could be necessary, but now it's extremely rare. For those rare cases, you don't want or need to disable it completely, you just would turn it off for the given element, either using the Inspector, the shortcut "=", or Alt+drag.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

" don't think there are any cases where disabling autoplace, moving the element, then re-enabled would accomplish anything different from leaving it enabled"
Marc, you may be right. I was thinking of the special case where a dynamic is auto-linked to its following hairpin. In this case, trying to move the dynamic itself does not work with autoplace enabled, but moving the hairpin does move the pair (dynamic+hairpin) successfully. No problem once you know about that slight "gotcha".

But don't ask me to like how autoplace works with slurs: I feel all the time that I am fighting the autoplace rules! No anchor ever seems to stay put if I adjust one individual anchor... so I am gradually coming to the view that for any manual adjustment of a slur, it's easier simply to turn off autoplace for the slur altogether (and leave it disabled).
[EDIT] ... and I might have to climb down on this latter point as well. After re-reading your post, I tried adjusting individual anchors of an autoplaced slur using Alt+Drag - and it worked fine. Time for me to say sorry, yet again! ;-)

In reply to by DanielR

I agree these two cases are a bit awkward right now.

For dynamic/hairpin combinations, "sometimes" it works to move one of them and the other will follow automatically. Other times not. I'm not sure I can totally say which cases are which even though I wrote most of that code. Feel free to attach a score where this is an issue and I can take a look (best to start a new thread for that).

For slurs, what you are probably seeing is the code to automatically try steeper curves if the default (relatively flat) curve results in the endpoints being too far away from their notes. As you adjust, you change that calculation, so that maybe now the flatter slur does work, so the shape changes out from under you. Not good, I agree, but I'm not sure the best way around this. So far I've simply also chosen to disable autoplace when manually adjusting slurs. In fact, often I disable autoplace and then find I'm perfectly happy with the slur that way - there might be small collisions with accidentals along the way, but ones I can live with.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Completely agree. In a large score I only had to disable autoplace very very few times, and the only persisting problem, the misalignment between different dynamic+hairpin+dynamic groups affecting different note ranges in the same staff, was very easily corrected by selecting one element of one group, for instance the first dynamic, and, from the inspector, changing its vertical position to a common value with the first dynamic from the second group. The only detail to take into account is that if, for instance the vertical offset is by default 3 sp and there are ledger lines below the staff, probably setting 4 as the new offset will have no effect, keep trying by 0.5 sp increments until the group moves to an acceptable position. Then repeat that setting for the other group(s).

In reply to by mike320

I am using MuseScore to enter into the computer music that I wrote years ago, and cannot play now because of arthritis. It is a wonderful program and has given me my music back again. I have played these pieces over and over.
When I wrote the music, I was careful to place rests and other markings carefully, according to the rules of writing music. Unfortunately, Automatic Placement apparently does not approve of my work. It insists on putting rests in the middle of notes, not allowing me to build triplets, and adding rests kind of randomly that I do not want on many lines.
If there is no way to turn Automatic Placement off (I wrote the scores the first time without help) is there some way I can block Automatic Placement from parts of the scores when it is being particularly frustrating? This problem is driving me nuts!
Marjorie Task

In reply to by mtask12

Automatic placement has nothing with do with when rests are generated, and it never prevents you from creating triplets, I think you are misunderstanding what is happening. Best to start new thread since your issue is not actually about automatic placement at all, and attach your score and describe your problem in more detail.

Look, I'm obviously not up to the musical level of most musescore users, so you might think that I would profit most by Auto Placement. And, indeed, I might want want to experiment with it going forward. However, I just didn't like what AP does to my older scores, and I don't like having to turn it off every time I load a score. So I simply won't use v. 3 in its present form, and I even wonder if I should continue to support the musescore project, since I can't understand why the projects' expert designers won't give me the option of setting AP off by default and toggling it on when I want it.

In reply to by mfn

Hmm, I think maybe you're a bit behind. We added more options to disable autoplace over a year ago. We also made it so you don't actually need to disable it in order to move elements around in most cases. It's also the case that when importing older scores, you are given additional options to control how manual adjustments are treated. Since each score is different, it makes sense to evaluate whether autoplace will help or not per score. But FWIW, the next update will also have an option to not show the dialog.

We also stand ready to help you see how you can get the best of all worlds: resetting what makes sense to reset, adjusting what makes sense, and disabling autoplace in those few places where that makes sense. Feel free to start a new thread, attach a score where you are having problems, and we can most likely show you how to have it looking better than ever in very little time.

But also, you are welcome to just keep using MuseScore 2 for your older scores that depend on its quirks/limitations/bugs, and take advantage of the power and efficiency of autoplace in MuseScore 3 for your newer scores.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I know there are all kinds of disable options, but I don't want to deal with these issues on a score by score basis, every time I open a score. I don't want to feel that I am at war with the program! I just want to have fun using it in my quirky and surely misguided way. What would it cost you to give me the options I requested (AP off by default, but can be toggled on)? One new option, among the hundreds you already offer. Honestly, I am puzzled by your resistance to this. Incidentally, I really like other features of the program, and have recommended it to a number of professional musicians who were unaware of it.

In reply to by mfn

As I said, those options were already added, over a year ago. Turn off autoplace using the command we added back with 3.1, and you can go back to having to constantly adjust the positions of everything manually yourself again if that pleases you. If you wish to apply this to all new scores, simply make that your default style. And as I also said, the dialog asking you about reset for older scores will be possible to dismiss permanently starting with the next update. So everything you are asking for is already implemented. But I also promise you - if you use MsueScore as is for new scores, you will not feel like you are at way with it. On the contrary, you'll be constantly amazed at just how much better it is not to have to fight to avoid collisions like you used to.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi, I apologize for butting in here. How do I turn off Automatic Placement? I will be happy to try it out in the future, but right now it is making entering my music impossible. For example, I have one measure that is in 4/4 time. Given that, I should be able to write the equivalent of 4 quarter notes in that measure without any problems.
I tried to put a dotted half note and one triplet (3 eighth notes) in that measure. The dotted half note would take up three beats, and the triplet takes up one beat, which makes up the four beats of the measure. This is what I did.
Auto Placement did not approve. It:
1. put a rest in before the first note. It took me some time to get rid of that rest.
2. put extra rests in as I tried to build the triplet. Sometimes the rests showed up between the notes, and sometime they clustered at the end of the measure.
3. I tried to delete the excess rests, and could not do so. The program completely ignored my keystrokes, or it popped rests around in different spots in the measure, (including in the middle of the triplet). And on and on it went. I spent at least a half hour trying to input one measure of music before I quit.

I have signed up for the MuseScore course, and have made use of a number of the lessons. But I cannot find anything that helps with this problem. I have been reading, playing, singing music most of my life, so I have a good background there. Life would be so much easier if I could just shut Automatic Placement off. I'll try to learn to use it when I don't have a deadline.
Marjorie Task

In reply to by mtask12

Automatic placement has absolutely nothing to do with that - it is not about counting beats, but about avoiding collisions between elements. It's not clear what you're doing wrong, but certainly you can put a dottedn half and a triplets in a 4/4 measure if you want. Please start a new threats, attach your score, and describe precise what you are trying to do and how you are trying to do it, and we'll be able to help you.

For the record, here's the correct way:

1) enter note input mode
2) select half note duration
3) select dot
4) enter the first note (click in staff or type letter name)
5) select quarter note duration
6) press Ctrl+3 to make it a triplet
7) enter the three notes

When you do this there will be no rests left - all four beats will be full of notes.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Agreed. Plus I think that part of the problem here is in one of the many ways notation software differs (in a good way) from writing on paper. On paper you start with blank measures. You have to add notes and rests. In MuseScore, measures already have rests. All you need to do (mostly) is add notes. Rests take care of themselves. It is difficult for me to remember ever having to add a rest, unless it was to change a note to a rest.

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