Sustain pedal in musescore

• Nov 21, 2015 - 15:12


I like to use the piano in musescore with my midicontroller. It works great but the sustain pedal works not. Is it possible to add this sustain pedal future in musescore?

Best, Philip Bergwerf


The sustain pedal should work fine if you add the symbol correctly from the palette. See "Lines" in the palette. It is possible you are trying to set the end point of the line by dragging rather than using Shift+right arrow. You can also add pedal lines by selecting a range then double clicking the symbol.

if you continue to have trouble, please post the score you are having problems with and precise step by step instructions to reproduce the problem.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you for your reply.

No mean when playing piano with musescore. Not the playback of the score. That work fine indeed. It should be verry handy when i can use the piano of musescore exactly like a real piano with midi controller and sustain pedal. Right now i have to use a daw to get a piano with sustain pedal.

Maybe its a midi mapping issue? Let me be clear this is no problem but it should be a great little future i think.


In reply to by Philip Bergwerf

I don't understand what you mean "playing piano with MuseScore". Do you mean, clicking the keys in the Piano Keyboard window? It is true there is no sustain pedal in that window. Or maybe you mean, you have an external MIDI keyboard, and you are playing it and using MuseScore to generate sounds? I guess it is probably true that sustain wouldn't work, but it would also not really be expected when using the MIDI keyboard for its intended purpsoe in MuseScore: entering notes. It isn't really mean as a general purpose synthesizer for real time performance. There are other programs you can use for that purpose.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

''It isn't really mean as a general purpose synthesizer for real time performance.'' Well that's what i mean. I think it is really an added value to musescore if sustain pedal is added to musescore. because it is almost possible to use musescore as a real time piano synthesizer. it's a little stap to full live piano which is very usefull while working on a project to figure out harmonics.

This is a futere request beacause on windows it's nearly impossible to use a DAW and musescore(or any other audio program) together. On mac it's possible to use DAW and musescore together.

Well maybe this is not the purpose of musescore but this is a future request. if there are no other people into this we can forget it:-) But i hope you understand my point.

Best, Philip Bergwerf

In reply to by Philip Bergwerf

Can you be more specific about the problems you are having using MuseScore with DAW software? Shouldn't be *that* difficult. Do you have Jack installed & configured? Also, why does MuseScore need to be involved at all? Doesn't your DAW software support MIDI directly? I'm still not totally understanding your use case.

In reply to by sprock

Could you explain what feature you are looking for? I tried getting the person who started this thread to clarify but never really got a clear answer. It is possible you are looking for the same thing, but it's also likely you are talking about something different, and it may well be that the feature you are looking for is already present - certainly MuseScore does support the sustain pedal in its notation and playback.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The feature I'm desiring is not about sustain pedal within notation or notation playback but about the live functioning of the connected USB MIDI Keyboard's sustain pedal while playing into musescore's synthesizer.

I'm fully aware that the focus and absolute priority of the musescore developers is notation, but as a musician I'd really like to have this functionality for the sake of workflow. Like Philip, who started this thread, explained. It's about being able to use the MIDI Keyboard within musescore not only as an insert tool but as a musical instrument for composing/arranging/checking out harmonies/voicings etc. I.e. having one sound in musescore active and play, hearing this sound. Then just use the "N" key to rapidly and easily switch between notating and playing. That's a great workflow.

I mean, it works already, except for the sustain pedal feature and I would think that it could be solved quite easily (I am no MIDI expert at all but know that it has to do with CC 64, which would have to be recognised by musescore).

I hope that I've been able to make it clearer to you now, Marc. (By the way, I'm quite sure that I understood the thread opener correctly in that he meant exactly this. When I read this thread, I felt relieved that I'm not the only one missing this feature. It's probably a matter of perspective. If you, Marc, never use musescore in this way, you probably don't see the need for this.

But I had it again just yesterday, as a concrete example: I was checking out harmonies in the strings (while writing for orchestra) and its a pain to play widespread harmonies on the keyboard with only your two small little hands, a functioning sustain pedal would be such a help.

In reply to by sprock

I think you're right that the reason I had trouble understanding the original request is that I assumed that since MsueScore is a notation program, the request somehow must have related to notation, or at least to playback of a notated score. If I understand correctly now, you are saying it actually has nothing to do with notation or even playback - you just want to be able to use the built-in synthesizer within MuseScore for real-time performance., and right now the most noticeable missing feature for that purpose in your particular use case is the sustain pedal.

This does make sense, but realize MuseScore is actually very far from being a usable synthesizer for real-time performance. You might be noticing the sustain pedal now, but others are more aware of the latency issues. Others still may be most concerned about MuseScore's ability to respond to multiple channels at once, or to program change messages, or pressure messages, or the pitch bend or mod wheels, etc. And every week spent addressing those concerns for the sake of those few people trying to use MuseScore for real-time performance is a week that could instead have been spent making MuseScore a better notation program.

So I'm not saying it will never happen - MuseScore is open source, so if a programmer who values this wants to go ahead and implement it and can do so without causing problems elsewhere, then there is a perfectly good chance it would be incorporated into the program at some point.

Meanwhile, though, I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I do know that when we prioritize things to work on, we continue to focus on features relating to the primary purpose of MuseScore. Even playback is secondary, but we do realize its importance to a notation program, and this is something that pretty much has to be tackled within MuseScore to be viable. Real-time playback is something that any number of other programs and devices can already handle far better than we could ever hope to. It's trivially simple to press Ctrl+Tab to switch between programs in Windows or Linux; I assume macOS has something similar. So it should be simple to achieve the sort of workflow you describe using a program that is actually dedicated to and excels at real-time performance.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hello with the 2.2 release and midi-out enabled, enabling pedal to be used real time with an external midi keyboard would be nice. I managed to negate the latency issue by using a separate vst host but musescore is used as the midi input so pedal in real time is still not processed. Of course I can run two vst hosts at the same time one for note entry and other for real time playing, but at this point I feel like it is redundant. Please add the real time pedal feature. Thank you.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc Sabatella,

I think you are underestimating the usefulness of the requested feature. Also, Your CTRL+TAB solution doesn't actually work (at least on a Mac). If I have a DAW and Musescore both running and play a note, the note is played by both the DAW and Musescore. This is annoying. If I hold down the sustain pedal while playing a note, the DAW has sustain and Musescore does not. This is also annoying. If I then shut down the DAW, and play a note, the sustain pedal doesn't work because Musescore doesn't support that feature. Again, this is annoying. The only way around this is to start up the DAW when I want to play the piano, then shut it down and start up Musescore when I want to notate music, and then shut down Musescore and start up the DAW when I want to go back to playing the piano. This is not a trivial set of actions and completes ruins the creative process. Playing the piano and composing are two very closely inter-related activities. Many composers compose while playing on the piano. Please reconsidered your intransigence.

Thank you,
Peter Sramka

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc, seeing your continued attention to this thread is awesome :)
I think, however, that even after multiple people's explanations of the issue, even now, in the year 2020, I believe you do not understand the reason we are looking for this feature. Being able to use a sustain pedal is helpful to improve WORKFLOW. This is NOT a request to improve real-time performance. You continue to mention real-time performance. Improved real-time performance is NOT what anyone is looking for.

What we ARE looking for:
During the process of composing or arranging, it would be massively helpful if we could sustain the sound of the piano while PLAYING. NOT NOTATING. A very good example someone gave above is when you are orchestrating large chords that cover a large range. Our hands can't always reach every note we want to hear in the context of arranging. If the sustain pedal worked while PLAYING in MuseScore, this would decrease the amount of time it would take to determine whether or not that chord voicing will work the way you want it to. And this is simply ONE of MANY examples that would be significantly improved if MuseScore supported the sustain pedal.

As far as I can see with the latest MuseScore update, this has not been addressed. If I am incorrect, someone please correct me. Otherwise, I hope this issue gets resolved because this is practically a necessary feature for most composers/arrangers such as myself who use a full MIDI keyboard.

Thank you,
Cameron :)

In reply to by darthcamronius

I think you might be confusing the timeline here. I already acknowledge two years ago I understood the request. You say it's not about "real-time performance", but of course it is: you want to perform on your keyboard and have MuseScore respond by letting your hear the sounds in real-time. We don't really do that right now - we process the input one note at a time and ignore most aspects of the performance data, including velocity, duration, and controllers like the pedal.

So again, improving MuseScore's real-time performance functions does indeed sound like it could be useful to a subset of users, and I don't thin, anyone has questioned this in the years since the point was made originally.
The fact that this feature hasn't been implemented has nothing to do with anyone not understanding the request, just a matter of no one who is an expert in MIDI input processing code (I'm certainly not even close) having yet volunteered to implement this.

But the workaround is still pretty obvious, simply use a program that is actually designed for real-time performance while you are messing around, then switch to MuseScore when you are ready to start notating.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

No, I don’t mean adding the pedal mark in the score. After connecting the midi keyboard to Musescore as an input device and disabling note entry mode, you can play the piano freely with the built-in synthesizer. It would be nice if I can use the sustain pedal while playing. I’ve been using Musescore as a substitute to a vst host since I like to try stuff on the piano (midi keyboard) while composing.

In reply to by woojusmart

I agree. Here is a user story.

I have notated a passage in a piano score I am composing, with step input from my digital piano keyboard, mouse or computer keyboard. I can hear how it sounds by using the playback features, but, I also want to perform the passage by myself on my keyboard to get a sense of the playability for a human, for example to see potential fingering problems, or more natural feeling intervals, harmonies, or melody, and then make any adjustments to the score accordingly. In my work flow, i'm usually putting the pitches and rhythyms down, before I notate sustain, if I do notate it at all. It is common in popular piano music to omit sustain markings, and leave that to interpretation of experienced players. That being said, I find it is disruptive to the ear and to the performance of the notated passage to not have the pedal input rendered as sustain in the playback.

Try it.

notate a passage with step input from connected digital piano. Even put sustain markings in if you care too.
use the piano to manually perform what you just notated, even with the sustain markings or not.
notice that the synthesizer does not render pedal input.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

What everyone would like, including me, is this functionality:
When not inputing notes:
1) Depress (and keep depressed) a sustain pedal hooked up to a MIDI controller.
2) Depress a key on the MIDI controller and then release the same key.
3) Musescore plays the corresponding note from step #2 until the sustain pedal of #1 is released.
Understand? :-)

In reply to by psramka2

There may be way to keep the sustain pedal from resetting when you depress a key in note entry mode. I have a Sforzando sustain pedal that re-sets when I enter a note in Msc. It works fine if I am just MONITORING the midi out. (The Addictive keys won;t allow you to keep the pedal depressed.) But other apps allow you to disable controllers. So, I think it depends on the app you are using and what options are available upon "stop" or "play." There shouldn't be any difference between sustain, volume, reverb and pan in terms of enabling or disabling controllers.

Hi, I'd like to add my voice to the mix in this request as well.
When playing an 'idea' out on piano, I try to do it in realtime.
Obviously the notes appear in the score, which is cool! It means I don't have to storyboard and then start 'engraving'.

In Sibelius, I can use my sustain pedal to do this using the built-in playback (if it's just piano, I can obviously plug my headphones into my piano, but I don't want to do this as a) it's less convenient, and b) I might be playing a violin part and hearing a sort-of violin helps with the writing).

In Musescore, if I play a chord, not only does it not 'sustain' for the length of the notes inputted (e.g. a 60bpm breve chord should last 4 seconds), which I don't think you should do by the way!
but more importantly, I can't control the sustain of the Musescore-sounded chord using my sustain pedal.
(in Sibelius, you can do this. It doesn't 'register' the pedal as a marking etc, just that the sounded notes are held)

I believe at least some of the other contributors are also asking for this as well.

I'm extremely new to Musescore (1 day!) but this is something that would really help me break away from Sibelius

Kinda user story:
-In Sibelius (6 is what I have...), if I play a chord on the piano, the Sibelius piano sound is held as long as I hold my sustain pedal
-In Musescore, it is immediately released (it's not 'listening' to the sustain sound)

Hopefully that is clear, happy to add any additional clarification and absolutely love Musescore especially having seen what Tantacrul has brought to the team! Thanks for an amazing piece of software and community

In reply to by sa12e

One extra piece of context:
This is in Note input mode specifically.
It also happens in 'regular mode', but I can hold chord for as long as I want to by hand and the sound continues.
Moving to Note input mode, the sounds become really short and the pedal doesn't overcome that

In reply to by sa12e

Just noticed one last thing
How I think SIbelius is doing this is the MIDI is only 'checked' after the sustain pedal (and piano notes) are released
Whereas it looks to my naive eyes that Musescore is grabbing the notes immediately
Not sure if this is helpful context

In reply to by sa12e

Please ignore me here
The notes are inputted only when you let go of the keys, but the sustain pedal is independent.
You can add sustain pedal to Sibelius playback while it is playing, it isn't saved but allows you to hear what it would sound like with pedal

I too would be happier if MuseScore would recognize the sustain pedal on my midi controller - which I just bought and then discovered is ignored. As much as possible, I would like to hear how a passage would sound as if played on a piano. I don't expect (or want) it to be captured by MuseScore to be notated. I would just like a more realistic sound.

MuseScore also doesn't capture the dynamic level of notes as they are played but you do hear this when playing in MuseScore. Why not the simple sustain (damper) pedal?

What I think we are all asking is for MuseScore to recognize and reproduce the effect that the sustain pedal has when pressed but to record only notes as they are pressed on the keyboard. So if I pressed C E G on the keyboard in a mode where MuseScore would notate them on my score, I could alter how that sounds by pressing the sustain pedal without changing what MuseScore records.

This post was started 5 years ago. I could theoretically try to implement this myself, but it would be a very steep learning curve for what I imagine would a relatively modest change. (I could certainly be wrong about the difficulty!)

Because of the global pandemic I have been teaching piano from home via zoom using a midi controller with pedal input (no own sound output). I share my musescore screen to my students and alter between notating and playing frequently while they can hear me and see the keyboard displayed in musescore. I tried using another software lika ableton or kontakt to generate the sound and have the pedal do what it's supposed to do, but having two seperate programs run at the same time causes a lot of problems and is no solution. I love using musescore for teaching this way, but every day I miss having the pedal. I'm no programmer, but I imagine it can't be too difficult to have the pedal work over midi, since the synthesizer already has a sustain function when you put it in the score.

In reply to by Plotz89

The thing is, as explained above, it really isn't just about the pedal - we also don't sustain notes, or respond to velocity, or really anything else. It's not not set up for real-time performance, It's conceivable that enough of this will be rewritten for MuseScore to no longer be an issue, but I think getting it to really be usable in the currrect system actually would be hard than you think. Meanwhile, I'd encourage you to keep exploring the two-programs-simultaneously solution, I suspect it wpouldn't be that hard to work out whatever glitches you are seeing.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc, after following the thread for a while, I still don't think you understand the people's workflow completely. The statement that note length and velocity received from a MIDI input device doesn't work in MuseScore is simply not correct. As long as I'm not in a note input mode, these parameters work quite as expected - at least in my Mac app, not sure how Windows handles that. Every note sounds exactly with the realtime velocity and length that I play on my keyboard. Sustain pedal is really the only thing that keeps MuseScore away from being a decent piano synthesizer.

On the other hand, not having this feature makes people have MuseScore and Logic/Ableton/GarageBand/whatever open at the same time. MuseScore to record notation, and the other app just to play. And because both synths produce the sound at the same time, one of them has to be muted, and that can become a back-and-forth process.

I would say it's quite expected to have a workflow in which you first improvise or try to play a fragment in realtime and then record notation from it.

Side note - half of the time when I have Logic open and then try to launch MuseScore, it crashes on startup (v.3.6.2 Mac). So I additionally need to be sure that I launch the apps in particular order.

+1 with this request.
It's a bummer if I just want to randomly play something, using sustain pedal, in the middle of a session.
The MIDI-to-DAW method MIGHT work, but it will surely be a pain to setup with a bunch of instruments.

I've read through this entire post and understand both sides of the discussion. But my problem is that I use only Musescore (on Windows) with a simple but decent midi controller, a stand-alone piano (which is downstairs), and score paper to take notes on. I don't have a DAW and am not much interested in learning how to use one just to have the sustain pedal functioning while I'm working on my computer.

However, if someone could recommend software that coexists with Musescore, meaning that both can be active at the same time, and that I could use to play short passages with the sustain pedal, I'd be very grateful.

In reply to by stephencbryant

In June, I asked about software that could coexist with Musescore and now have an answer to my own question. I have a copy of LMMS, free software available at, and a soundfont that is installed in both LMMS and Musescore. By itself, LMMS recognizes the sustaining pedal.

If I start LMMS (which I then minimize) and then start Musescore, Musescore behaves as it always does but LMMS continues to support the pedal.

NOTE: I have not tested this on Windows

  1. Open a DAW (GarageBand, Logic, Cubase, Ableton) and set it to whatever instrument you want.
  2. Plug in your MIDI keyboard.
  3. Turn your MIDI keyboard on.
  4. Open MuseScore.
  5. Open the Mixer in MuseScore.
  6. Turn the Master Gain all the way down.
  7. TA-DA!

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