Dynamics

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    Dynamics are symbols indicating the relative loudness of a note or phrase of music. They can be found in the Dynamics palette in either the Basic or Advanced workspace.

    Dynamics palette (Advanced)

    Additional dynamics are available in the Master Palette (Shift+F9).

    Adding a dynamic to the score

    To create a crescendo or decrescendo, see Hairpin instead.

    To apply a dynamic to the score, use one of the following methods:

    • Select a note and click a dynamic symbol in a palette (double-click in versions prior to 3.4).
    • Drag a dynamic symbol from a palette onto a note.
    • Set up and use keyboard shortcuts with the Dynamics actions plugin

    NOTE:

    • Applying from the palette does not replace exisiting symbol, you can delete the existing one manually first, or use the plugin mentioned above.
    • Placing dynamics symbols on different voices of the same staff at the same time does not create desired playback, it is a limitation of Musescore, because the minimal area of effect on playback loudness (Dynamic Range property) is staff, not voice. If playback is priority, try splitting voices into individual instruments.

    Creating a custom dynamic

    Editing text

    Playback is unaffected by the displayed content. Use the Velocity property to change loudness.

    Dynamics symbols are Text, double-click on a symbol to edit its text, see Text editing.

    Professional glyphs for engraving

    Musescore is shipped with professional glyphs. They include for example the florin sign (the curvy hooked f, ƒ), which is different from an italic plain character f. These glyphs, like any other characters, are used for engraving purpose, they do not affect playback. Unlike plain characters, they use the font setting defined in Format → Style → Score : Musical text font . Shown below are the results of different text content and formatting settings. See also Fonts.

    Edwin vs. Leland Text MuseJazzText vs. Leland Text
    Edwin vs. Petaluma Text MuseJazzText vs. Leland Text

    To add them, make sure the app is currently in Text editing mode, use the special characters palette or one of the following shortcuts:

    Dynamic Windows & Linux Shortcut Mac Shortcut
    Piano p Ctrl+Shift+P Cmd+Shift+P
    Forte f Ctrl+Shift+F Cmd+Shift+F
    Mezzo m Ctrl+Shift+M Cmd+Shift+M
    Rinforzando r Ctrl+Shift+R Cmd+Shift+R
    Sforzando s Ctrl+Shift+S
    Niente n Ctrl+Shift+N Cmd+Shift+N
    Z z Ctrl+Shift+Z Cmd+Shift+Z

    Inspector properties of dynamics

    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:

    • Dynamic range: Area of effect of the symbol:
    • Velocity: 0 to 127. Use a higher number to make notes sound louder, use lower number to make notes sound softer. For more info, see Loudness of a note.
    • Velocity change: -127 to 127. The change in Velocity from the dynamic's parent note to the following one. It is ignored by some instruments. For more information, see SND.
    • Change speed: Slow, Normal, Fast. The speed of the change indicated by Velocity change, in real time. This is unaffected by the current Tempo. The default value is Normal.
    • Style: Text style to use; default is Dynamics.
    • Placement: Position on score, above or below staff. Press X to flip.

    Reusing custom symbol

    To save and reuse a custom symbol, see Add an existing score element to a palette.

    Loudness of a note

    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. To fix the problem, see How to restore correct playback of dynamics and hairpins in an imported MIDI file.

    MIDI velocity is also affected by each note's Velocity and Velocity type properties, Articulations (eg Accent >, Marcato ^) and Hairpins

    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:

    • changing the volume of individual instrument (and per instrument playing technique) in Mixer.
    • changing the overall volume of whole score, volume slider in the Play Panel, or in Synthesizer.

    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.

    Single Note Dynamics (SND)

    (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.

    See Also

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