On/Off Functionality for Tremolo

• Apr 28, 2022 - 06:34

The tremolo function in Musescore lacks the ability to turn off or on depending on its use case. I know this topic has been addressed before but from what I can tell it has been a substantial length of time since, and I have a different position to bring to the argument for this feature. I have seen in other forum posts that people counter with having this functionality would be useless since the playback of the music in Musescore isn't indicative of how the music will be played by a performer. I think at this point that idea has no ground not only because Musescore is trying to make itself more consistent (there are already a plethora of toggleable articulations and ornaments) but the space of music composition has shifted in "recent times" with more and more musicians taking up composing as a hobby, who will never likely hear the "correct playback" of an actual human.

The specific reason I think that Musescore needs this feature lies in percussion notation. I don't think that I'm the first person to say that the original percussion sounds that Musescore comes with leaves a lot to be desired, and honestly, I see no reason to improve these sounds as they are fitting for the rest of the original SoundFont. The tremolo which is used to indicate a roll however poses problems when you yourself try to use new sound fonts that can utilize the Multi-Channel Playback feature in the mixer through the Staff Text Properties menu. The tremolo will continuously play back at the beginning of the sample. Say for example you create a Marimba SoundFont and you want to have a separate roll sound included in the SoundFont to be used on a separate channel. You now cannot use that sound if you want the proper notation of a tremolo to indicate to the performer.

You may ask why not just make use of the Master Palette, to which I will reply I have tried to and it becomes a clunky system of carefully positioning each specific tremolo over each note just for that note to move over just a hair and ruin everything as you write out more on that page of the score. I have tried to figure out a solution that revolves around creating a custom pallet and saving a properly positioned tremolo to it but as it stands I do not believe custom palettes save position data relative to a notehead, which could also be a very useful feature to add.

Lastly, I don't know how Musescore's code works. For all I know, it may be impossible to implement this feature without major re-writes. A Band-Aid solution could also be adding a new element under a "Percussion" workspace similar to the Basic, Advanced, and MDL left sidebar menus that has the same automatic placement of tremolos but has no actual function, other than being ink on the page. This solution, however, would not be ideal because it could cause confusion with newer users of Musescore.

Hopefully, this post doesn't fall on deaf ears. I have been using this program for probably nearly seven years now and it is how I fell in love with composition, transposition, and arranging. I've seen this program improve so much since I started using it and I only want to see the best for it and its users.


Where has that topic been discussed before?

Where has the ability to disable playback of tremolos been requested before? I don't see it in the issue tracker, it'd be a valid Suggestion IMHO

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

While they do discuss this want for other reasons some not too dissimilar to my own it has been requested before. I'm glad that we agree about the usefulness of this! While the tremolo in its current form is useful, there are other ways that the symbol can be used, and users being able to augment the way playback sounds by proxy of a little more work on their end seems (at least to me) like best practice.


I agree, no reason not to have a toggle for this playback as there is for other symbols.

Meanwhile, perhaps a simpler workaround to the issue of not liking how they sound for percussion would be to set the note itself to not play.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

While I do agree with the workaround, I do still like to hear how things sound as I'm writing, and if I am willing to go through the extra work of creating my own Soundfonts with specific roll sounds it'd be best to be able to visually and audibly be able to observe what is happening in my own score. Of course, I could just not use tremolos, but where's the fun in that. It would also make the scores a bit more difficult to read while editing. Also at that stage where I'm "muting notes" aren't I just using manuscript paper with more steps? :P
Kidding of course!

In reply to by JordanBeuhler

Another workaround that is often used when the notation does not result in the desired sound is to have two instruments in the score, one looking the way you want but muted and the other sounding the way you want but invisible. It would be quite easy to first make the visible one, copy to what will be the invisible but audible instrument and then right click on one of the tremolos and use Select all similar to delete them all. Next make that instrument invisible in [Edit]>[Instruments]. Of course any changes to one would need to be copied to the other, but if the duplication process is left as late as possible any such difficulties would be minimised.

In reply to by JordanBeuhler

To be clear: I only mean mute the note with the tremolo. The difference between muting the note and the disabling playback of the tremolo is almost nil. Disabling the tremolo playback would presumably replace the dozen or more strokes with a single stroke; muting the note replaces it with no strokes. You'd be hard-pressed to hear the difference in most contexts - a single stroke for the tremolo-less note would add very little.

And as always when using these sorts of techniques - including if you were to disable the playback of the roll itself and thus replace it with a single stroke - the assumption is you will provide the correct playback manually on another staff. So really, you probably would want to mute the note in question anyhow. Otherwise you'd hear the initial stroke of the roll hit twice.

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