Inside MuseScore, you can play back your score using the internal synthesizer. This chapter covers dynamics and tempo notations, the playback controls, and ways to extend the instrument sounds. If you are having problem with playback, try suggestions written on How to restore sound if playback stops working
To change instruments setup in a score permanently, for example add a new instrument, use Instruments dialog instead.
To switch the instrument used by one staff permanently, use Staff / Part properties instead.
To switch to another sound sample (switch channel) (e.g. pizz., con sordino) inside an instrument, use Staff Text instead
When a musician is required to double up on a different instrument for a section of a piece, an instruction to switch instruments is generally placed above the staff at the beginning of that section. A return to the primary instrument is handled in the same manner.
MuseScore uses a special class of text called Change Instrument text for this purpose. This allows you to change the instrument for that staff at a chosen point in the score, and have this reflected in playback.
Warning: While the "Change Instr." text is also available from the Text Palette, it contains a bug in MuseScore 3.x where transposition for the new instrument might break. Use the Change Instrument Text from the menu instead to prevent this bug.
An instrument in Musescore is a concept including score settings, behaviors (transposition, playable range), sound etc. More info.
Sound setting changes using a Change Instrument text can be observed:
For example, here is a Mixer display showing the "Tuba" track (first track) among many others. Notice that the small arrow at the top of the Tuba track is dimmed. No new instruments have been added to it.
Now, to the Tuba stave in the score, a "Change Instrument" text has been added to the score, inserting an "Oboe". Notice now that the top arrow on the Tuba track in the Mixer menu has darkened.
Now, if that arrow in the Mixer menu is clicked, a sub-menu opens, showing the sounds of the Tuba are still there (1st two sub-channels), but a new "Oboe" sub-channel has been added. By clicking on this sub-channel, you can assign a sound to the Oboe from the "Sound" tab on the Mixer menu (see below):
To change the track back to its original instrument, just insert a new "Change Instrument" text into the stave after the first one, and name the original instrument. For example, in this example, the Tuba stave has been returned back to Tuba. Notice that in the Mixer menu, a new "Tuba" sub-channel has been added after the "Oboe" sub-channel.
The Mixer allows you to change instrument sounds, adjust volume and panning, and make other adjustments to the playback for each staff.
To display/hide the mixer, use one of the following:
Displays the Master Gain on the left, and columns of track controls on the right.
Know the difference between the instrument channel (an abstraction in Musescore) and the sound track:
For each set of staff (all staffs of one instrument) in your in your score, MuseScore creates an instrument (abstraction) by reading from a predefined definition file, more info. An instrument contains various details such as notation settings, symbol interpretation settings, sound etc. Each instrument has one or more channel, a channel represents a specific type of sound, similar to the concept of playing technique (e.g. a violin which can play in arco, tremolo or pizzicato, legato, vibrato), or articulation sample in commercial sound libraries.
Each track control is an instrument channel that you can adjust audio and MIDI output settings. You must click on a track control to select first before you can edit it, selecting on the score screen area will not reflect on the Mixer automatically.
Instrument containing more than one channel has an arrow button on top of the parent track control, click the arrow to show or hide all channels. Parent control shadows the first child control, modifing values on parent control modifies all children values. The parent track control is formerly referred to as "part track"
To add or remove channel, or set a default value, you must create a custom instrument by editing and providing your own instruments.xml, more info. You cannot add or remove channel inside Musescore.
For each staff (that can contain a clef symbol) in your score, MuseScore also creates a container that contains exactly four subtracks, which corresponds to the four voices. You can assign an instrument channel to each subtrack separately. Contrary to the concept of sound track in popular DAWs, the Mixer has nothing to do with these subtracks except the ability to mute (jump to).
Expanded parent track control, showing child track controls in pink.
The Master Gain controls the overall output volume. To adjust it, click and drag the slider handle or enter a value in the box underneath.
Instrument containing more than one channel has an arrow button on top of the parent track control, click the arrow to show or hide all channels. Parent control shadows the first child control, modifing values on parent control modifies all children values.
At the top a green S Solo button and a red M Mute button: click to toggle on and off. If any Solo button is checked, unSolo channels are muted regardless of their Mute status. These modify a channel, not voices.. To mute a voice, jump to Mute Voice
The dial below the mute button controls panning left and right. You can click and drag. Note that value 64, not 50, is center pan.
The slider controls the playback volume. This is a final post process output volume. The data size 127 is an arbitrary number not related to MIDI velocity, default 100 value is 90% sound sample volume, more info.
Not to be confused with instrument name in Staff / Part properties.
The details area displays and provides finer control of the currently selected channel.
Not to be confused with instrument name in Staff / Part properties.
Text for display within Mixer only, also known as Part name in Staff / Part properties
Does not affect score visually.
Does not affect sound.
Channel name cannot be modified inside Musescore, use custom instruments.xml instead, more info
Affects the whole instrument:
Changing without understanding will mess up your score audio.
Understand the concept of instrument channels and track controls and voices first, you may not want to edit this, use these instead:
If none of the above options fit, read on to edit sound.
The sound that an instrument channel is pointing to. The data reference method depends on the order of soundfonts in the Synthesizer, pay attention to Synthesizer setting before you close and restart Musescore.
The drop-down menu lists every sound from SoundFont loaded in the Synthesizer. They are ordered as the order of soundfont files in the Synthesizer: SF2/SF3 by MIDI Bank first, then SFZs. It is not an alphabetical order. To jump to the sound you desire quickly, while the list is open press on your keyboard (once or more) the first letter of the name.
Sound is formerly named Patch.
Same as volume on track control
Same as panning on track control
Affects whole instrument. For display in Mixer only. To change, click the colored rectangle to pick from the color palette.
Does not affect score visually.
The output MIDI port and MIDI channel.
As of Musescore 3.6.2, MIDI output driver of the program only use 1 port and 16 channels on the operation system.
The reverb and chorus value sent to MIDI out.
Sent to MIDI devices only. Does not affect MuseScore's built in audio playback.
Affects voices of whole instrument instead of current channel.
Mute individual voices. Each row represents a different linked-staff. So pressing '2' on the top row will mute the second voice on the first staff of the part.
This field is different from all others in Mixer, this is the only field that affects the voices of the staff directly.
At the bottom of the detail area is a wide button with a tiny triangle on it. Clicking this button will hide the detail area to give you more room. Clicking on it again will restore the detail area.
Note: From Preferences > Score it is possible to check the box Show MIDI controls in the Mixer to preset it expanded when opening the Mixer.
Understand the concept of instrument channels.
You can also do these instead:
Some instruments come with multiple channels that you can switch audio playback to and from. For example, the build-in string instrument (violin, viola, cello etc.) has three channels: "arco" (or "normal"), "pizzicato" and "tremolo." The build-in trumpet has two channels "open" (or "normal") and "mute".
Switch sound (channel) midway through a score by using a Staff Text. Every subsequent notes will switch to playback the new sound until you use another Staff Text symbol. Eg After 'pizz.' text, to return to normal (arco) later in the piece, you must add 'arco' text. Designate which voice to affect in the text properties.
To switch channel, use Staff Text:
use these 5 build-in Staff Text in the Text palette (pizz., arco, tremolo, mute, open), these affects all voices :
or create custom Staff Text :
There's also S/A, T/B, T/L and B/B texts to separate Soprano, Tenor, Tenor and Baritone (voice 1 and 3) from Alto, Bass, Lead and Bass (voice 2 and 4), respectively, on closed scores using the Women and Men 'instruments' or the closed score SATB and Barbershop templates, this allows for different settings of those in the Mixer.
The Piano Roll Editor allows you edit individual notes and tweak aspects of their playback.
The unofficial Musescore post-3.6.2 version (see End of Life plan for 3.x ?) provides "let ring" capability beyond 2000 limit so that better audio output is possible.
To open the Piano Roll Editor (PRE), right-click on a measure (the spaces within the five lines if it is a five line staff. Not: the space between two piano staffs, nor right-click on a note / rest) in the score and choose the Piano Roll Editor option from the context menu. The Piano Roll Editor will open showing the staff and measure where you clicked. If the Piano Roll Editor is already open, it will be updated to show the new staff and measure you clicked on.
The Piano Roll Editor is divided into several sections. At the very top is a row of buttons and controls that affect playback and can modify notes. The name of the part being edited is at the top right.
The central portion contains the Note Display Area which allows you to view and edit notes. Each note is displayed as a block, with yellow blocks representing selected notes, and darker green blocks representing unselected notes (these colors can be changes in the Preferences). Given sufficient space, each block will display its pitch on the left and the voice it is assigned to on the right. Changing the size of the note blocks is covered in the navigation section.
To the left of the Note Display Area is the Keyboard. By clicking on a key in the Keyboard, you can hear a sample of that note playing. As you move the mouse in either the Node Display Area or the Keyboard, a key on the keyboard will light, corresponding to the pitch you are over. You can also hover your mouse over a particular key to get more information about that pitch. If you are using a Drumkit, the keys of the keyboard will show the name of the drum assigned to that particular pitch. For instruments that are not concert C, the keyboard will be adjusted so that the C of the keyboard matches the C of the instrument.
Along the top of the Note Display Area is the Measure Ruler which displays the current position of the playback head, as well as the current looping range if it set.
The bottom of the editor contains the Levels Display Area. It is a bar graph showing extra data values assigned to each note, such as its velocity or cutoff time. To the left of the Levels Display Area is a dropdown menu allowing you to select the type of data you wish to see displayed or edited.
There are several ways to move about in the Piano Roll Editor. First of all, you can click and drag on the scroll bars on the edges of the Note Display Area.
The mouse wheel can also be used to pan and zoom as follows:
To jump to a particular measure, switch back to score view and find the measure you wish to see. Then right-click on the measure and select Piano Roll Editor. The Piano Roll Editor will scroll to center on the measure you clicked.
In the Note Display Area, you can click on single notes or click and drag to select a group of notes. Holding down the modifier keys will affect how your selection changes:
To change the pitch of a selection of notes: Drag a selected note up or down to a new pitch; or press the ↑ or ↓ arrows. Note: Dragging the note horizontally to change the start time is not supported at the moment.
To delete a selection of notes: Press the Del key.
To move a note selection to another voice: Click the desired voice number button at the top of the editor.
To add notes:
Notes can be inserted by clicking in the Piano Note Area with the modifier keys held. These edit operations will use the beat or subbeat line to the left of the spot where you click as the point where a note is altered:
Ctrl: A note of the current insert note duration will be added at the subbeat and pitch where you clicked. The note insert length is the same as the one you use to add notes in note entry mode in the score. If you wish to change the duration, you will need to select this in the Score View as the Piano Roll Editor does not currently have these buttons. If notes already exist in this location, a chunk will be cut out of them to make room for the note you are inserting, unless they happen to have the same start time and duration of the note you're adding, in which case the new note will simply be appended to the existing chord. Tuplets are currently not supported, and so will be ignored.
Shift: Looks for a chord that already spans this subbeat line. If it finds one, appends a new pitch to the existing chord. Otherwise, this is a rest and the rest will be replaced with a note of equal start time and duration to the existing rest.
Ctrl+Shift: Looks for a chord or rest that spans this subbeat. This chord will be cut in two at this subbeat line. Tuplets are currently not supported, and so will be ignored.
To edit note event data:
Note event data can be changed in the Levels Display Area. To edit event data such as velocity or cutoff time, first select the notes you wish to edit in the note area. Then click in the Levels Display Area on the corresponding bar; the value of the level will changed to correspond to the point where you clicked. You can also click and drag in this area to change the levels of several notes with a single gesture. If you want the levels to all be set to the same value, hold Shift while dragging. Only selected notes will have their value changed - this is to prevent you from accidentally changing the values of other notes.
The Levels area can display the same data in multiple ways. For example, velocity data can be displayed both as absolute (i.e., relative to the output midi volume) and relative (i.e., as an offset to the dynamics value). You can switch between these display modes as you see fit.
From left to right the controls have these functions;
Subdivides the beat by adding extra divisions to the Note Display Area. The value indicated the number of time the beat will be subdivided. So for 4/4 time, a division of 2 will draw grid lines at every eighth note; a division of 3 at every sixteenth note, and so on. Setting the subdivision is necessary for some editing operations if you wish to place notes off the beat.
For larger numbers of subdivisions, you may need to be zoomed in to see the extra grid lines since grid lines are not drawn below a certain density. Combines with the tuplet control which also affects grid line placement.
Adds additional grid lines, subdividing the beat to show the rhythmic placement of tuplets. For example, setting tuplets to 3 will show the beat subdivided into three parts. Combines with the subdiv control to show subdivisions of the tuplet. For example, setting tuplets to 3 and subdiv to 2 will draw grid lines showing the tuplet beats subdivided into two parts - i.e., the beat will be subdivided into 6.
Selecting a tuplet mode other than 1 will disable some of the note insertion tools for the Piano Roll Editor. For larger numbers of subdivisions, you may need to be zoomed in to see the extra grid lines since grid lines are not drawn below a certain density.
Shows the velocity of the currently selected note (only one note may be selected). Indicates the loudness of the note. This can be expressed as 'Offset' or 'User':
When you switch from User to Offset or vice versa, the value will be recalculated to best match the value in the other system. This way you could, for example, switch to User mode to set the value as you would like it to sound in MIDI output and then switch to Offset so that this value respects the dynamic marking instead of overriding it. At the moment you switch back, the offset value will be recalculated to match the User value in loudness but will no longer act as an override so you may later change the dynamic.
Some keys are hooked up to perform special actions:
The Piano Roll Editor will display in both normal mode and dark mode. If you wish to change the colors the Piano Roll Editor uses to display in these modes, they can be adjusted in the Preferences under the Advanced tab. All the Piano Roll Editor related properties begin with ui/pianoroll/light for light mode and ui/pianoroll/dark for dark mode.
Basic playback functions are accessed from the Play toolbar located above the document window:
From left to right, the icons are:
To start playback:
During playback you can jump to a specific note or rest in the score by simply clicking on it.
To stop playback:
Once playback has started, the following commands are available:
Playback will now cycle within the region marked by the blue flags.
See also: Play Panel (below).
To open the Play Panel use one of the following options:
From the menu bar, select View → Play Panel.
The Play Panel allows you to make temporary changes to tempo and volume, to loop playback between specified points etc.
To laydown chord symbol as notes on score automatically, see Chord symbols: Realize Chord Symbols instead.
If desired, you can adjust the playback properties of selected chord symbols as follows:
The following shows how the Interpretation and Voicing options affect the playback of a C major seventh symbol (Cmaj7 or CM7).
Note: The "Close" and "Auto" Voicing options are the same for this particular chord, but this isn't necessarily the case for every chord. So if you specifically want "Close", it is best to make the option explicit.
To enable or disable chord symbol playback of the Musescore software (
this setting overrides individual score's setting):
score/harmony/play/disableNew(default is unchecked, playback)
score/harmony/play/disableCompatibility(default is checked—no playback)
To turn playback of ALL chord symbols on/off, do either one of the followings:
To turn playback of a SELECTION of chord symbols on/off:
Note: If your file contains multiple Parts, you need to adjust this for each Part individually as required, as the "Play" settings are saved in a Part, but not shared among them.
Chord symbols play "Grand Piano" sound by default regardless of instrument, except where a score created in Musescore 3.5.1 or later using the Guitar solo template, the "Nylon String Guitar" sound is used by default.
To change the chord symbol playback sound:
This setting is saved in the score file, and shared among Parts.
Note: If your file contains multiple Parts, you need to adjust this for each Part individually as required, as the track settings are saved in a Part, but not shared among them.
To turn the sound of the symbols on/off when editing:
MuseScore 4.0's Sound and playback support:
Jump to a curated list of free soundfonts downloadable, feel free to add to the list.
All instruments added onto a score is capable of creating audio playback without further setup. Audio playback is generated by the Synthesizer using virtual instrument techology. MuseScore 3 comes with the free MuseScore_General.sf3 which contains the virtual instrument and human voice sounds, drum/percussion kits sounds, and sound effects needed.
You can also add and use custom virtual instrument files, Musescore 3 supports two types:
Playback is generated in real-time, Musescore cannot save rendered audio into a score file. When Musescore cannot locate the required virtual instrument, it falls back to use the default soundfont. If you share your score and need the receivers to listen to the exact same score audio inside Musescore on their computer, you need to provide the virtual instrument along with your score. Alternative is to share the exported audio file.
SoundFonts (.sf2/.sf3) are virtual instrument files. The SF2 format is invented by a now defunt company, but a copy of the format specification can be viewed online, see Soundfont, MIDI velocity and instruments.xml: Online Resources. Sound data is compressed in SF3 but not SF2, see Glossary. You can speed up Musescore program startup by using less soundfonts, esp. SF3 files, as Musescore need time to process them on startup.
One soundfont is capable of embedding (packaging) all data required for multiple instrument sound generation inside MuseScore. You cannot edit the embedded data inside soundfonts in Musescore, try the free Polyphone editor. Polyphone converts sf2/sf3 into sfz and vice versa, but with some definition data loss.
MuseScore 3 comes with the free default MuseScore_General.sf3. It is located in a system directory and should not be modified. This directory and its default SoundFont file is:
xxxbeing the MuseScore version)
a simplified illustration
GM SoundFonts are sf2/sf3 files that conform to GM (General MIDI) program / preset numbering standard that Musescore use. If you remove the build-in soundfont from the Fluid tab in Synthesizer and setup the new one as 1st ordered item , staffs will create correct playback without further tweaking and picking in the Mixer.
SND SoundFonts are sf2/sf3 files that contains sounds that response to MIDI CC 2 signals created by Musescore 3's SND mechanisms, see Glossary: SND.
If you're having problem, move / copy the file manually. MuseScore's SoundFonts directory can be viewed or changed in MuseScore's Preferences, the default location is:
- macOS and Linux:
To uninstall a virtual instrument, delete it from the soundfont directory. This may change the virtual instrument ordering in Synthesizer, which affects all scores previously created with this Musescore program because the order of soundfonts affects playback. Score may play an incorrect sound even if it does not use the virtual instrument you just uninstalled. Only if Musescore cannot locate any data, a staff playback falls back to use default soundfont's "Grand Piano" sound.
SFZ is a free virtual instrument format, see https://sfzformat.com . The SFZ definition files can be edited with any plain text editor, you cannot edit them inside Musescore. The free Polyphone editor converts sf2/sf3 into sfz and vice versa, but with some definition data loss. SFZ definition files do not embed (package) audio data.
Musescore 3 understand and uses one SFZ for one articulation sound of one instrument only.
SFZ does not embed audio data, audio files (WAV or FLAC format) are located in folder(s) next to SFZ:
If the sound you need is shipped with Musescore, use it by adding instruments onto a score instead, their sounds are already configured properly.
To add a custom sound, choose and add an instrument that use a staff style similar to one your sound would use, then change its sound in the Mixer.
To use custom sound more easily, config instruments.xml to create a custom instrument in the "Choose Instruments" menu. This link also provide info on how to make a soundfont more compatible with MuseScore 3 such as adding sound change text (eg pizz.) support, adding MIDI CC response etc.
File that contains common instrument sounds of the four families:
Since soundfonts are large, they are often zipped (compressed) into a variety of formats, including .zip, .sfArk, and .tar.gz. You need to unzip (decompress) these files before they can be used.
ZIP is standard compression format supported by most operating systems.
sfArk is a compression format designed especially for compressing SoundFont files. To decompress it, use Polyphone (cross-platform software); or this online service: https://cloudconvert.com/sfark-to-sf2
.tar.gz is a popular compression format for Linux. Windows users can use 7-Zip; Mac users can use The Unarchiver, or macOS' built-in Archive Utility. Note that if using 7-Zip, you will need to apply decompression twice—once for GZip and once for TAR.
If the toolbar play panel is greyed out, or not visible, follow the instructions below to get your sound working again:
If you are setting up a SoundFont for the first time, please use one of the recommended SoundFonts listed above.
If playback stutters, then your computer may not be able to handle the SoundFont being used. The following advice may help:
MuseScore's swing feature allows you to change the playback of your score from a straight to a swing rhythm. Swing can be applied globally or only to a section of the score, and is fully variable.
To apply swing to all staves in a system:
Click Swing in the Text palette (double-click in versions prior to 3.4);
This inserts a System Text object which affects all staves in the system with a default swing percentage of 60%.
Edit the Swing text as required;
If you need to vary swing from the default setting, right-click the Swing text and select System text properties... Click on the "Swing Settings" tab and adjust note duration and "Swing ratio" as required.
To apply swing only to specific staves in a system:
Often this notation is used to indicate swing:
MuseScore does not have a way to include a triplet in text as a tempo marking, but there is an easy workaround:
If you want playback to return to straight time after a swing section, use one of the following options:
From version 3.4:
Prior to version 3.4:
If you wish to apply swing to the whole score, you can do so from the menu:
In the "Swing Settings" section, set the desired note value and "swing ratio."
This page provides information on tempo markings such as ♩ = 80 , ♩ = ♪ etc , fermata symbols, their playback details, and metronome tick sound. To add markings such as ♬ = ♪ 𝅘𝅥𝅯 see Swing instead.
Use any of the following methods:
Note: The advantage of applying from a palette or using a keyboard shortcut is that you can decide beat note value, because it follows the exisiting time signature automatically.
NOTE: Changing this alone may or may not affect playback as you may expect, read below.
Fermatas are available in the Articulations and Ornaments palette.
In playback on a score with multiple instruments, if a note or rest of one instrument is extended with a fermata symbol, every notes sounding the same moment as that note will continue to sound until the extended note ends.
Fermatas applied to barlines has no effect
Select a Fermata symbol, edit its property in Fermata in the Inspector:
Placement: Above or below note
Time stretch: Multiplication of normal time duration to play back the current element. Value 1.00 is meaningless as it means no time extension.
To create playback, Musescore understands metronome markings such as ♩ = 80 and metric modulations such as ♩ = ♪ . This function can be switched on and off for each marking individually.
Musescore does not understand and does not create playback for any tempo expression text such as Andante, Moderato, ritardando ("rit.") or accelerando ("accel."). Any text entered alongside a metronome marking serves engraving / visual purpose only, it does not affect the interpretation and playback. For example, Andante ♩ = 75 and Moderato ♩ = 75 are both interpreted as ♩ = 75.
Note: Actual final playback tempo depends on the setting in the Play Panel. Check settings inside if your score does not produce correct audio.
Musescore does not understand and does not create playback for any tempo expression text, including ritardando ("rit.") and accelerando ("accel."), and thus cannot create correct playback for these.
To create ritardando ("rit.") and accelerando ("accel.") playback, you must add multiple tempo markings. Make tempo markings invisible as required, visibility does not affect playback. Use the TempoChanges plugin to automate this process.
For printing and reading purpose, you can also use Staff/System Text to add the expression text.
In the example illustrated below, the tempo was originally 110 BPM (beats per minute). At the ritardando, the tempo decreases by 10 BPM on the first note of each measure. Each tempo change is made invisible by unchecking the Visible checkbox in the Inspector (Keyboard Shortcut V), so that only the ritardando shows on the printed score:
Display the play panel: View→Play Panel or F11 (Mac: Fn+F11):
Move the tempo slider up or down as required. The tempo is shown both as an absolute value and as a percentage of the currently indicated tempo mark. Double-click the tempo slider to reset it.
Note: BPM is always measured and displayed in quarter note beats per minute, regardless of the (denominator of the) time signature in effect.
Musescore add additional softer ticks sound to metronome only if:
Note that compound time-signatures' main beat is one dotted quarter-note and as such, this is the natural note for the note=number text of compound signatures. If a different note is used, this does not enforce a metronome tick on that note, because it's the time signature that dictates the beat for the metronome. A different note merely affects the playback speed and if the result is less than 60 dotted quarter-notes per minute, the secondary ticks will be heard (e.g. using an eight-note, the number would have to be below 180 to give below 60 dotted quarter-notes per minute).
Also note that the metronome is only responsive to the piece's tempo and not responsive to % tempo adjustments from the playback panel (a feature to allow that is requested - see #304412).
Additional dynamics are available in the Master Palette (Shift+F9).
To create a crescendo or decrescendo, see Hairpin instead.
To apply a dynamic to the score, use one of the following methods:
Playback is unaffected by the displayed content, use the Velocity property instead.
|Dynamic||Windows & Linux Shortcut||Mac Shortcut|
You can edit the properties of a selection of dynamics in the Dynamic section of the Inspector. To apply a previously-edited property to all dynamics in the score, click on the "Set as Style" button (the small S on the right of the property)
Note: For more about selecting objects of a specific type, see Selection modes.
The following is a list of properties in the Dynamic section of the Inspector:
IMPORTANT: When a dynamics symbol is added to the score, it affects playback from the parent note onward until the next dynamic symbol. Final barlines or rests do not reset the loudness to default.
The Synthesizer creates audio for each note based on its assigned MIDI velocity value, ranging from 0 (softest) to 127 (loudest). The possible range of actual loudness is determined by the soundfont creator. A dynamics symbol uses its Velocity property to assign a basic MIDI velocity to the current note, and all following notes, until another symbol is added. In Musescore 3, Velocity to MIDI velocity assignment is exact assignment without conversion. Check this table for default values of Velocity of popular dynamics symbols in Musescore.
If you do not specify any dynamics symbol, the whole score is in mf (mezzoforte). This is because Musescore assigns MIDI velocity 80 to notes that are not affected by any dynamics symbol, 80 is the also the default Velocity of mf .
Note's playback is not affected by dynamics symbols if the note itself's Velocity type property is set to 'User'. This is common in scores imported from .MID files. Tto fix the problem, see How to restore correct playback of dynamics and hairpins in an imported MIDI file.
The above describe loudness per note, you can also adjust volume broadly. The following sliders affect volume but have nothing to do with MIDI velocity:
You cannot adjust default volume of voices, but you can batch adjust existing notes' Velocity properties based on their voice with the Voice Velocity plugin (notes added afterwards will not be affected, you need to run the plugin again)
If you want notes to remain loud for a longer period of time, eg a tom drum hit sound to linger longer, try adding a reverb effect in Synthesizer instead.
(After Musescore 3.1)
A dynamic symbol with a non-zero Velocity change property can simulate Attack envelope effect (wikipedia) if the Instrument, Synthesizer and Soundfont is setup correctly, such symbol is called Single Note Dynamics (SND), SND also has several different meanings due to continuous software development. SNDs also use Change speed property.
sfz (sforzando) and fp (fortepiano) are designed to work on certain instruments only; e.g. sfz symbol's effect on the violin does not exist on piano.
For more information, see How to setup Musescore for correct playback for all dynamics and hairpins.
MuseScore allows you to transpose the playback of a staff, without affecting the music notation. This simulates the effect of a capo (Wikipedia) on the instrument.
Note: Capo playback will apply from the note that the staff text is attached to, until either the next staff text with "Capo Settings" enabled, or until the end of the score.
To remove capo playback from a staff, returning the instrument to its normal tuning: