3.5 alpha tremolos and stem direction

• May 9, 2020 - 18:26

I was very pleased to have the tremolo strokes attached to stems option included in 3.5 alpha.

There seems to be a limitation in its implementation in that it does not automatically flip note stems to take account of the relative positions within the stave of the two notes. It is no big deal as there is a simple workaround - just flip the note stems manually.

The following picture illustrates the issue. The top line shows how MuseScore automatically sets the stem directions in similarly beamed quaver pairs. The second line shows how MuseScore sets the stem directions for unconnected crotchets. The third line shows that the crotchet stem directions are retained when the tremolos are added. The fourth line shows what ought to happen automatically.

Is it intended that the flip will be automated in a later update (or for the beta?)

Tremolo beams.png


Most likely there is not a really easy way of doing that automatically since these are not true beams and thus those algorithms for determining stem direction won't come into play. And I might argue it's just as well, I'm not sure I want my stems flipping around if all I'm doing is checking a box in the Inspector about the tremolo style. I don't use this style myself, though, so I wouldn't weight my opinion particularly heavily. I'm sure Howard (who implemented this) will want to consider whether this really is desirable or feasible.

Oh, one other downside: this is an incompatible change already, scores using this option won't look the same when opened in earlier 3.x releases, simply because the tremolos won't join up with the stems. But it might be better if at least the stem directions were consistent, and having to set them manually helps with that.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I think flipping is desirable. It's just I haven't come up with a way to flip it yet. IIRC the stem direction layout cannot properly recognize correct positions of the notes (to determine whether one of the stems should be flipped), or something else.

Anyway, if we're thinking in the way of compatibility, I would say not being able to flip stems can potentially cause incompatibility, since if the user flips stems just to accomodate to the new tremolo stroke style, these are manual flips, and even if older versions don't have the stroke style, these stems will still be flipped in them, which is what users don't see for the old stroke style.

Actually, in Behind Bars, it is stated that no matter what stroke style is used, the stems should always be the same direction as long as the interval between two chords isn't too small. So this really isn't a matter concerning stroke style. It's only raising attention after the new stroke style was implemented because the ugliness of default stem directions plus new stroke style is far more disturbing than old stroke style.

Yes, I tried to implement the flipping algorithm as well, but so far I haven't managed to get it working. I'll probably continue trying later on, thanks for noticing this!

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