Stemside slurs - more a question than a critique

• Aug 15, 2022 - 09:38

In BRM Music's very nice score of Sousa's "Lamb's March" at, I saw two slurs which didn't look as I would have liked them to look - see the attachments "StemsideSlur1.jpg" (from the score) and "StemsideSlur2.jpg" (my opinion). To learn a little more (I'm an absolute MuseScore newbie: started just yesterday), I tried out a few examples from "Behind Bars", on pages 111 and 109 - see the attached score (which I "stretched" to have about Gould's note distances). The p.111 examples come out exactly as in BB; the p.109 example, however, is quite different and, IMHO, "not so nice": The end of the slur is too far away from the last note; and the slur is too near to the second note (c). I added a manually adjusted version that is nearer to BB, and what I'd like.

Now, I know that slur placement and form (anchors, and "flatness") is (a) hard, (b) subjective. So I won't criticize MS here (there was some discussion at - but rather just ask: What is the reason for MS's "deep(er)" slurs in the "Lamb's March" and p.109 examples? And is there some global configuration that would nudge MS towards making them "flatter [and somewhat more horizontal?], in general"?

Harald M.

Attachment Size
Stemside_slurs.mscz 6.06 KB
StemsideSlur1.JPG 10.95 KB
StemsideSlur2.JPG 10.89 KB


There have been quite a few changes to the defaults in MuseScore 4, so it's worth checking examples in the alpha build. But this particular case works out similarly, so I guess that part of the algorithm wasn't changed, or at least, not in a way that would makes a difference. I don't have much insight into the MU4 changes, but in current versions of MuseScore, the idea is to try to make the angle for the slur follow the angle the notes themselves. That's not always a good goal, but it is at least sometimes. In this case, the line is going up, but it's complicate because the first step is up but the last is down, and the default arrangement would then have the slur angling down. So MuseScore needs to take special steps to achieve the goal. The ways to do this would be, move the left end the slur further down the stem, and/or the right end further from the notehead. Too much of the first as compared to the second results in these steep slurs if the measure is relatively narrow, and that's what happened here.

So, it's very much a special case based on the width of the measure and the direction of the line and also the stem direction. A global option to flatten all slurs would not be the answer here - it would flatted ones that don't need it, and not help here, because the issue is more about the code trying to manage the angle, not code trying to manage curvature.

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