fonts and spacing

• Jan 19, 2021 - 18:58

I would like an option to create a new score with the OLD fonts, please. The new fonts appear less legible, actually, when creating a high density score, and increase the page count. Limiting page handling is critical to my scores.


You can change to any of the several old fonts you like at any time - Format / Style / Score. And you can make any style settings your default by setting up a score that way then using Format / Save Style to create an MSS file then specifying that as your default in Edit / Preferences / Score.

Would be interesting to see one of your scores for further comparison and review, though - I know the designers are always looking for opportunities to improve the fonts further! Also, you might find it isn't the fonts themselves responsible for any change in density you are seeing, but other style defaults that were customized to go with the new fonts. Could well be merely tweaking those settings but keeping the new font would be even better still,. In any case, seeing one of your scores would help us understand and assist further.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Mark, thank you for your helpful reply. I have since discovered that keeping the old fonts actually is a worse change. I'm attaching 2 files:
1. A PDF exported from Musescore 3.3 (using my laptop just now)
2. The Musescore 3.3 score file for the above

From the PDF you can see that in the 3.3 version it is 6 pages. When I open in 3.6 it is a full 7 pages whether I keep the old fonts or use the new ones.

Aesthetically I'm not crazy about the new fonts. I downloaded 3.6 because of the extortionary threat about search rankings. I'm going to remove it now and go back to 3.3. I hope the two scores I converted load correctly.

In reply to by rlshuler

I'd strongly recommend against going back to the literally thousands of bugs fixed since 3.3.

Your score is not unsuually dense can can be fit on six pages quite simply, just Ctrl+A to select all then press "{" a couple of times to reduce stretch. But, I opened in 3.2.3 and it looks pretty much the same there - 7 pages as well. Are you sure that's the same version of the file? There were no changes I can think of that would have allowed 3.3 to render a score on only 6 pages when both 3.6 and 3.2.3 (and also 3.5.2, the previous version) all take 7. In all cases, page 7 starts with bar 183, suggestion spacing is virtually identical.

In fact, I'm quite sure that's not the same file. Check the difference sin the title & subtitle.

But FWIW, if I load it into 3.6 and then switch not just to the new fonts but all the new style defaults, it takes slightly less space than any other verison. Still seven pages but now pages 7 starts with bar 186.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I carefully repeated the experiment. The new version of Musescore may not always be loading the page margins for the 2nd page. I noticed this some time after I replied previously. There are instances where either the 3.3 or 3.6 version will do something erratic one time and it's not repeatable, so I cannot upload you a sample of the misbehavior. However, the length on initial conversion of multi-page scores is consistently long on initial conversion, and I suspect the 2nd page margins.

There is stretch in the measure settings, which I have set to the minimum 1.0, and there is scaling on the page settings, which reduces note and staff size and after a while it is too small for my eyes.

I agree with your assessment that with the new fonts and all the settings fixed it takes slightly less space in 3.6. I am not inclined to revisit the issue at this time, as I am still not crazy about the new fonts. They are slightly less tall, and to me slightly less legible, and this is an opinion kind of thing. But I see how to check out the formatting if in the future I need a new version. Thank you for the various tips on formatting. I had to use them to retreat versions. One file lost its fonts and used FreeSans when I went back. Pretty easy to fix thanks to your tip. : )

Is there a way to lock the note adding into a particular color and note head size and stem direction? I tried googling this but it is hard to figure how to word the query to get anything. Perhaps you would prefer I post a separate question? And while I'm at it, does Musescore update the synthesizer from time to time or is that produced by someone else? Thanks!

Don't get the wrong impression from my complaints. Overall I'm a big fan of Musescore and recommend it to everyone I know. A lot of users of all kinds of apps are complaining about updates these days.

In reply to by rlshuler

As I noted, it's quite apparent that the PDF file you posted as being from 3.5 was not from the same MSCZ file - they had different subtitles and other details. As I said, the MSCZ file you attach looks almost identical loaded into 3.5 and 3.6, If you do end up finding the original MSCZ that generated the shorter score, do feel free to post it here so we can compare again. There is a known corner case where margins can be interpreted incorrectly if you had customized them in 3.5 from the old default to the new default (which of course you wouldn't have known was the new default). So maybe that is what is happening.

As for the look of the font, it is of course completely subjective, some people like the look of the classic scores from the major publishers that uses fonts like these, others prefer the look of other fonts like the more "computer" font that was the default in 3.5. MuseScore gives you the choice, though, so you can still use 3.6 for the vast improvements in layout defaults, bug fixes, etc, and still use the previous Emmentaler font if you prefer.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you again for your time and responses. Without both versions loaded, it is not practical to do what you ask. I saw the effect several times on different scores. Loading the new version erased the old version. I fired up my laptop and did the best I could. I often edit subtitles. It does not materially affect the length of the scores.

If there is a way to run two versions of Musescore, and to REVERT scores to an old version, please advise. Otherwise, I will not likely ever be persuaded to try a new version again. I despise software that refuses to save in old version format. EVEN MICROSOFT accommodates this.

In reply to by rlshuler

I don't understand your question. A file saved in older/more limited/buggier versions can be opened in 3.6, and a file saved in 3.6 can be opened in older / more limitied / buggier versions - you only get a warning that the file is newer than the program. There is no difference in format otherwise, just a flag saying which version it was saved with so 3.6 can offer you the choice of what to do with the fonts and style settings.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hello Marc,

BTW, the version in question is 3.3. I did click past the message. The scores opened, two of them. Both required some formatting work. One of them had "lost" its font specification somehow and loaded FreeSans, which was terrible. I checked some other scores and found FreeSerif is the default font most of them used. I then clicked on each type of text in the score one at a time and changed to FreeSerif and got it restored. That would be a lot of work if multiple scores were involved. I have a fair number of scores, maybe 30 pieces and many versions of some of them. I haven't been keeping any backup PDFs and was counting on them formatting and printing the same every time. I like the FreeSerif font very much, better than any printed sheet music, and would like it to be the default for my Musescore installation. I never liked the way printed sheet music looks.

In general Musescore is amazing, but I spend a lot of time getting it to spread notes evenly over a set number of pages once the score is complete, something all published music does. But when entering notes I spend a lot of time fighting its automatic spacing. Even while I am moving a note up or down it jumps and I cannot find my place or control the movement. I had hoped 3.6 would offer improvement. But it was not obvious this basic conflict of modes was resolved, and I did not want to have to re-tweak all old scores. Another spacing issue is I would like sometimes to force key changes, codas, etc. to be on a new line, and prefer for a certain group of measures not to be split across lines.

If you are curious to investigate further, I attached a score I just completed, adjusted to fill 4 pages with pretty even spacing, and a PDF of it just now generated from the score file. I had to resort to adjusting in millimeters to get this satisfactory. Hundredths of an inch would not do it. When I print just one part, violin or cello, I have to adjust all over again. It does not remember the setting. It would be nice if it did. I only discovered recently it does a pretty good job with text position if I adjust while viewing only one part. But sometimes in the other view the text can be moved nearly off page and difficult to manipulate.


In reply to by rlshuler

Indeed, if the font specified by a score isn't present, MuseScore will have to substitute something else, and since 3.3 knows nothing about Edwin, it doesn't know what the most appropriate substitution will be and has to guess. So if for some reason you want to save a score in 3.6 but then import it back into 3.0, be sure to limit yourself to the fonts 3.3. knows.

Resetting all text to FreeSerif, though, needn't be that complicated. If this is something you intend to do more than once, easiest is to use Format / Save Style to save an MSS file then you can simply load that into other scores as needed. You can edit the MSS file to remove all but the relevant lines.

Regarding spacing, in general the defaults should be pretty even, but there are indeed some cases where due to things like accidentals or ledger lines, some measures may be allocated more space than is technically needed. Usually a click or two of "{" or "}" fixes this quickly. Also, it's trivially simple to start a measure on a new line, just hit Enter on the measure before it.

Regarding the score you posted, I am not understanding what setting you are trying to change that isn't saving, can yougive precise steps to reproduce the problem?

I have no idea what you mean about moving notes up or down, the arrow keys work flawlessly for me. At this point it seems we're pretty far from the original subject though., best to start a new thread on the question you have regarding moving notes, attach a score and steps to reproduce the specific problem you are having with that, so it doesn't get lost or bogged down with unrelated discussion of fonts or spacing.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella


Thanks again for your useful comments.

I tried the newline and { } and see how they work. How do I remove a newline? If a score is not already at minimum measure sizes that will be handy. Many of my measures are already at minimum measure sizes, which leaves only the scaling option on Page Settings.

I was moving notes with the cursor, rather than the arrow keys. It works differently than the arrow keys, and does not try to insert a lot of sharps and flats. Musescore should not try to reformat when this is going on.

Regarding your question on "what setting," I mean the Page scale ("staff space" it is called, but it does not really adjust staff space, rather the whole scale of everything, note sizes, the works) that goes with a particular printing/display configuration. Different settings for printing instrument parts and the whole score. Musescore does not presently distinguish these. So I have to go through the trial and error of finding the best fit each time. Has anyone ever thought of producing a "best fit to specified number of pages" option?

What is Edwin? FreeSerif seems to be the font my other 3.3 scores use. I can see how the score I had converted to use 3.6 defaults would contain things unavailable to 3.3. But I think 3.3 should have substituted its defaults for unknown items. If I load an entire style (which I experimented with just now, thanks) it replaces everything, not just missing fonts.


In reply to by rlshuler

Hitting Enter adds a system break, you can see the icon above the measure. Just delete it to remove it - or hit Enter again.

Edwin is the default text font in MuseScore 3.6. So if you create a score using this font in 3.6, it makes sense that earlier versions won't display it.

Staff space indeed is the basic unit to measurement that any music notation program uses to scale anything - all sizes and distances are specified in this unit,s o things do scale. No idea what you mean about these not being "distinguished" for some particular score and some specific sequences of actions. So best to start a new thread for that new topic. It's much easier to offer help when unrelated discussions are kept separate. Otherwise these forum threads are too hard to follow.

And again, I'm also not understanding the issue you have using the arrow keys, but it seems completely unrelated to this thread, so I encourage you to a start a new one for that as well, attach a sample score, and describe your issue in more detail so we can follow the discussion more easily.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The issue was using the cursor to move notes up/down, not the arrow keys. I will open two new threads, one feature request on the settings, and a complaint (not exactly a bug fix) on moving the notes.

On this thread, one loose end. I thought I asked but maybe not. If I install a new version of Musescore in a separate folder, will I then have access to both versions?

In reply to by rlshuler

BTW, I'm not understanding your question about "the note adding into a particular color and note head size and stem direction", but feel free to start a new thread about that. Also, yes, the synthesizer build into MuseScore and the soundfont that it uses are also constantly being improved.

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