MuseScore's Misunderstanding of Tempo in Infuriating

• Jul 29, 2022 - 22:46

Look, I love MuseScore and I love the MuseScore community.

But PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE could the next version realize exact what a numeric tempo means? Not to programmers, but to musicians. As in, when you use the new score wizard and enter a tempo / BPM (the UI actually uses both words) of XXX, you expect that (in 4/4, a crotchet = 120; in 2/2, minim = 120, and 3 6 9 or 12/8, a dotted quarter = 120). IT IS SIMPLE. IT IS NOT HARD. PLEASE.

For instance, I just entered a tempo of 116 for a new piece in 2/2 and the tempo marking on the score is half note = 58. There is not a musician in the world who would be told that the tempo of a piece is 116 and play it at 116 beats per minute. REALLY.

I've heard the explanation. That when you are entering the tempo / BPM in the new score wizard it is always the number of crotchets per measure (which is not what the UI says). In my example, 58 minims equals 116 crotchets. (Well, so bloody what? The meter was already entered as 2/2. Neither the perform nor the composes care about crotchets. And if they play it with the crotchet getting the pulse, I'll minimize their paycheck.) And there's the calculation to make if I want a piece in 6/8 to be played at a true 132 bpm. It is either "take the tempo you want and add 50% to the tempo are THINK because you are a musician you should enter and then the tempo will be right on the score" or it is "multiple by 2/3".

This is a RANT because this is small and stupid and has been reported many times before


I can't say that I much care for the tempo marking system either. In fact I have unchecked that box in the wizard, and add the tempo I want in the score. Takes the same amount of time.
But think about it. MuseScore is doing exactly what you told it to do. 2/2 time, half note plays at 58.

FYI, this change is coming for MuseScore 4. The updated New Score dialog lets you choose how you are defining the tempo, whether that's in terms of quarter notes, dotted quarters, etc. Screenshot 2022-07-29 193724.png

Meanwhile, while waiting on MuseScore 4, the simple workariound for now is, don't use the tempo box in the wizard. Just add the tempo afterwards, with Alt+Shift+T, and the proper note value is selected automatically. So all you have to do is type the number, and everything works.

I think (as far as I can remember from my experience with MuseScore 3) that in the Play panel, reported tempo in BPM (it is labeled as BPM) is actually given in QPM (quarters per minute) and not in BPM (beats per minute). Now, that is confusing.

In reply to by DMarcus123

You mean in current MuseScore 4 builds? There is no more play panel - the controls are in the toolbar. But the tempo display does still show quarters per minute (even shows an actual quarter note). Not sure if there is any way to override that or plans to update it. Feel free to test a nightly build and submit an issue if necessary to GitHub.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The toolbar In MS4 looks to me as an improvement, in this aspect. The number is still not BPM but it is not labeled as BPM. So it is not confusing. It clearly shows that the number is given im quarters per minute.

However, when you select a tempo annotation and look in the Properties, if you check "Override written tempo", in the textbox there is a BPM label - although the number is given in quarters per minute. As a quick fix, there should be "quarter note equals" shown, like it is in the toolbar. The "quarter note equals" can be in the textbox or, perhaps easier to implement, appended to the end of label "Override written tempo". Admittedly, this is less important because in great majority of cases people will just edit the number directly in the tempo annotation.

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