Breath Marks

• Oct 2, 2021 - 06:16

I mostly use MuseScore to make practice recordings for the choir I sing with. (I understand that music playback is not the primary intended purpose of MuseScore. Still, it works pretty well, and it's preferable to the alternatives available to me.)

I thought I'd give breath marks a try, but I wasn't sure how they work. I wondered if they steal a few milliseconds from the preceding note, or possibly the following note. I wondered if a negative value in the "pause" setting would affect which note contributed to the brief pause.

I experimented with unreasonably large values in the "pause" setting. It looks like it doesn't do either of the foregoing. Instead, it seems to pause the playback by the specified number of 1/100 seconds, interrupting the rhythm in the process.

Is that correct? If so, that's really kludgy and not worth using. Possibly it's an interim measure, pending a future upgrade?

If I want to indicate a pause for a breath, it seems preferable to shave a 1/16 or 1/32 off the preceding note and enter a corresponding small rest, instead. That way the rhythm isn't interrupted.

Or is there a better way?


It seems to me that a pause and a breath are two different things. A breath has more to do with phrasing. You could indicate a pause with a rest, but that would break the musical flow, to me at least. Besides, the conductor gets to decide those things. Not software, for the most part.

In reply to by bobjp

As far as I know, there is no difference between a breath mark and a very short rest. Whether the rest comes out of the preceding note, the following note, or some of each is up to the conductor. Conventionally, it comes out of the preceding note. (Director says, "Breathe on the 'and' of three." The next note might be a quarter note that starts on four.) If I'm making a practice track for the choir, the conductor might have already given breath instructions. I can follow those instructions by entering short rests not originally printed in the score. It might be more convenient if I could do the same thing with a breath mark in MuseScore. The value of the breath mark would correspond to the duration of the small rest. A positive value would "borrow" the rest from the preceding note. A negative value would "borrow" from the following note.

I'm sure you have a list of feature requests a mile long, so I'm not going to be a jerk about this. If a lot of others are asking for the same feature, I'd be glad to see it implemented.

In reply to by bobjp

Okay, we understand each other. We might have come close to a misunderstanding, but we avoided it.

It's not that hard to turn a dotted half note into a half note tied to a dotted eighth note, followed by a sixteenth rest. However, it is quite a bit easier to add a breath mark after the dotted half note, with a duration equivalent to a sixteenth rest.

There might be lots of other feature requests more important than this. I don't know. It is certainly a feature I would use, and be glad to have.

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