Swing or dotted notes

• Jul 8, 2021 - 11:16

Hi, I am writing a score which has lyrics with multiple "swung" notes.
See attached score (where I've written dotted quavers), before you read on.
If you know this song(!) you will also know that the required effect is a triplet swing feel, not necessarily a hard dotted feel.
MS Playback is not good - the slight delay on the semiquavers is really annoying - but that is a different point.
What I'm really asking is, would you suggest introducing a musescore swing (and writing the notes as straight quavers) or leaving as is?

Attachment Size
Three Lions.mscz 29.19 KB


If you wish triplets, best to write them as such, or write in compound meter - eg 12/8. Swing eighths are not the same as triplets - they are usually straighter than that. But if swing eighths is what you want instead of triplets, then indeed, write eighths and add Swing text from the palette. You can even customize the ratio in the System Text Properties to make them actually sound like triplets, or dotted eighth / sixteenth.

Not sure about what you mean about slightl delays in playback, but if you are experiencing some sort of issue with the playback of this score, feel free to describe in more detail. As far as I can tell everything sounds correct as you've written though.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Many songs are written in 4/4 (16/16), but are sung as 12/8, with the swing triplet 2/8+1/8 represented as a regular 3/16+1/16 dotted note. When this music is entered on musescore, it sounds mechanical and militaristic.
Compare https://musescore.com/user/30522520/scores/5377306 (written as 16/16) and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3KxLPrxX-Y&t=22 (sung as 12/8 - the accompaniment even has triplets)
In printed music, I've seen "swing" indication that say that 3/16+1/16 means 2/8+1/8 The first time I saw 1/8+1/8 meaning 1/8+2/8 was when I used the "swing" text in musescore (I was surprised).

In reply to by musicactus

To be clear, you mean 2+1, or you mean you customized it and you were surprised MuseScore allowed you to do it backwards? To be clear, the default for swing is 60%, meaning the first eighth takes 60% of the beat, the second 40%. But you can customize it to be more "triplety" by setting the ratio to 67% instead. Or you can write it as dotted eighth / sixteenth, or write as eighths and set swing to 75%. It's mechanical indeed, though, compared to "true" swing, which is usually more like the 60%. Could be anywhere from 51% to 67%, based on style and termpo, but usually somewhere in the upper-50's to lower-60's area.

If you're saying you wrote it dotted but meant triplets or swing, MuseScore doesn't support that - only ore traditional notation in which simple eighths are used.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The surprise for me was learning that swing is written with regular notes, and played with dotted notes, because I've been swinging dotted notes since I blundered into them. The swing feature is doing a great job at representing swing, but it doesn't help to represent the way that some pieces are written - they're written with dots, and played with swing. The piece is written in 4/4 with dotted notes, but is played as 12/8.
In congregational singing, it is common for dotted notes (3+1) to be reduced to triplets (2+1) , because everything tends towards a lazy interpretation.
I would like setting similar to the swing setting, but which applies to dotted notes.

This piece mixes regular 1/8 notes and lazy triplets. Simply dropping the dots and saying "swing" would not do the trick - https://i.pinimg.com/736x/9b/ef/65/9bef65f687f1c828f7dd43b6e04f0a1b.jpg "when we all" written with dots, sung with triplets ... youtube.com/watch?v=6Qf1JSCiml0 The singing of the dots is so lazy that when I went to look for videos of performances, I found three that don't sing the dot at all (100% lazy).

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Unswing.mscz 13.27 KB
9bef65f687f1c828f7dd43b6e04f0a1b.jpg 182.12 KB

In reply to by scorster

This is incredibly common in hymnals. I'm slowly learning to just write 8th notes when putting them into Musescore. The dotted 8th + 16th is almost NEVER the correct feel. But musescore's changing of note values is EXTREMELY clunky when a note needs to increase longer than it's current duration. I've found no way other than just deleting the whole phrase and reinserting them as 8th notes. You can't grab multiple notes and say 'make these all 8th notes'. And doing it by removing them loses lyrics.

It may be 'correct' in its current form but it doesn't reflect common usage. I wonder if negative swing is feasible.

In reply to by nstewart

> "You can't grab multiple notes and say 'make these all 8th notes'"
You can, but it doesn't do/mean what you want it to mean. MuseScore dutifully does exactly that and change duration from back to front on your selection. It doesn't also "move these notes then so they are contained within the same time duration because it just so happens to match in this particular selected range".

For these types of corrections, I have found the Duration Editor Plugin to be quite helpful. You still have to click the duration in there for each note separately, but it is quiet fast leaving the mouse in place and pressing the right arrow key to navigate over the notes.

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