User and Offset velocity in the Inspector

• Jul 6, 2015 - 15:08

The inspector allows the user to set velocity type, for a particular element (e.g.notes), with a choice of "User" or "Offset" and a numerical value.

But with nothing in the manual, what are the differences between the two kinds of velocity types and what are their practical uses? I noticed that in one score I was working on some of the notes were defined by user velocities and others by offsets, but I couldn't figure out why. Does MuseScore have a particular way of handling velocity assigment when you enter notes, import scores and MIDI-files etc?


User is an absolute value while offset is an offset from the current dynamic.
When importing MIDI files, velocity is set to user and the velocity value is read from the midi file.

I too have the same question and can find no satisfactory answer; and I empathize with you, because only one person responded to you by giving you an explanation using one of the terms you wanted defined ("offset") as part of his definition! And what is meant my the term, "absolute"?

In reply to by AaronA

"offset" and "absolute" are plain English words, used in their standard meaning.

Anyhow, let me have an attempt at explaining as well:

User - the "absolute" value:
The value you enter will be the real/actual value used for that note velocity. If the note is in a section that has for example the mf dynamic applied (with a MIDI velocity value of 80 in MuseScore) and you write a value of 10 in the value field for the note. Then the resulting velocity used when playing that note will be 10: exactly as the User requested it.

Offset - the "offset" value:
The value you now enter is a 'difference' to be applied to whichever the 'normal' velocity for that note should've been. Taking the exact same situation as above (mf in effect, value of 10) but selecting 'offset' as velocity type the resulting velocity when playing that note will be 90: the 80 of the mf plus the 10 from the offset.
When entering an offset you can also use negative values.

Why use one over the other?
That's entirely up to you :)
I personally prefer the 'offset' option most of the time because it is relative to whichever dynamic already exists. If (taking the same example again) we have mf and an offset of 10, my not will sound slightly louder. If I now change the mf to f, my note will still sound slightly louder: now at 106 (96 from forte + 10 from offset).
If I had -instead of using offset 10- set the note to 'User' value 90, the end result would be exactly the same while the 'mf' was the reference dynamic. However, if we then change the mf to a f, that note will now be less loud than the others, as it will remain at an absolute velocity of 90.

Hopefully this clarifies the term a bit more for you.

One more thing that might be helpful and hopefully already understood is that if you import from a MIDI file, the resulting velocities will always be absolute (user) -- so far this is the case for me. If you decide to copy and paste from an import into a working or fresh score, it might be smart to change the pasted notes to dynamic (offset) 0 in order to be in relation to whatever is going on in your original document.

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