With regard to font usage, Musescore has several different formatting mechanisms to display objects on score. The method used depends heavily on the object's type, to understand object type see Notation types and Text types chapters. To explain settings clearly, it is useful to differentiante two categories of formatting methods, "Methods for Text objects" and "Methods for other objects".
Methods for Text objects
"Methods for Text objects" are used on Musescore's Text (based) objects. A Musescore Text object is an object that contains individual characters that can be entered and removed by using (typing on) a computer keyboard. To determine if an object is Text, simply double-click on it to enter Edit mode. All Text objects can be edited in Edit mode.
"Methods for Text objects" includes two different (sub)methods, one for plain characters, another for "Musical text" characters (professional glyphs).
Plain characters, entered using a computer keyboard, use font assigned in Inspector (musescore 3), Properties Panel (musescore 4) and the Style window (Format > Style), formatting concept is covered in the chapters Layout and formatting in Musescore and the Text styles and properties. Their font options are explained in the "Font options of plain characters" section below.
"Musical text" and professional glyphs
"Musical text" is a Musescore feature that aims to provide easy score-wide styling. A "Musical text" is a professional glyph displayed on a score, using data content that are only present in specialized fonts created for musical engraving. Inside text objects, Musescore use special internal encodings such as <sym> to store them, rather than unicode codepoint(s). Their font options are explained in the "Font options of glyphs" section below.
They are used in some pre-configured Text objects. These objects can be found in Palettes or added by Keyboard shortcuts etc. To add new professional glyphs into a Text object, use the "Symbols and special characters" window's Common Symbols tab and Musical Symbols tab or keyboard shortcuts, see Text editing chapter. Some items under these two tabs are not professional glyphs.
They are usually functional, which means they are understand by Musescore to create correct playback, for example only that augmentation dot works with Tempo marking's "Follow text" function. Therefore, it is important make a distinction, using them is differnt from adding a specific raw unicode characters. It is possible but not advisable to achieve similar visual result, by using a Text object and adding raw unicode characters defined in Private Use Area (PUA, wikipedia). To do this, use "Symbols and special characters" window Unicode tab, or the Master palette window Symbol category, or copy from other programs or from the internet. Unicode characters entered this way are plain characters. See Notation types chapter.
Adding raw unicode characters damages a score's compatibility to Musescore's score-wide styling function, as the internal encodings are not used, see above. It also creates unnecessary risk of displaying the unsupported character symbol (tofu, wikipedia), as it bypasses font fall-back mechanism.
Methods for other objects
"Methods for other objects" varies between object types, see "Font options of non-Text objects" section below.
Fonts shipped with Musescore
Musescore create in-app user interface, and musical symbols and notation on score, with data content from font files. Some fonts are invented by Musescore project development team for Musescore and maintained by the team. Some fonts are from other companies, the team does not edit their content at all. Read the readme file https://github.com/musescore/MuseScore/blob/master/fonts/README.md . Musescore software development focuses on engraving creation, based on real world notation popularity and significance, it does not aim to create support for every symbols included in any one particular font.
Emmentaler has been renamed as "mscore" after musescore 3.6.2
Standard Music Font Layout (SMuFL)
Standard Music Font Layout (SMuFL) is a standard way of mapping the thousands of musical symbols required by conventional music notation, to the code-points of Private Use Area (PUA, wikipedia) in Unicode's Basic Multilingual Plane. It improves font format independence. The SMuFL standard itself is not managed by the Musescore project development team.
"Musical text" is a component of Musescore's implementation, the internal encoding schema does not conform to any standard, research the musescore 3.6.2 archived source code
Font options of plain characters inside Text objects
It is advisable to learn which fonts are generally available across different machines first, and use them only. Scores containing text that uses fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial etc. should render correctly on all machines. Same goes for scores on www.musescore.com , but for related issues please contact official dot com support rather dot org volunteers.
Font options of non-Text objects, and for professional glyphs inside Text objects
Non-Text objects and professional glyphs, both of them only use fonts already built into the Musescore program, they cannot use fonts installed on the operation system. As Musescore program is shipped with a limited set of font due to licensing reason, it leads to limitation on their font options.
However, if a differnt version of a particular built-in font is installed on the current operating system (OS), Musescore uses it instead. This allows rendering custom fonts on one machine. Musescore check the font's name only, when determining whether these verions belongs to the same font. See details of this method at https://johngrren007.blogspot.com/2018/04/musejazz-customised-font.html, and https://musescore.org/en/node/299448#comment-1171159. Score files (*.mscz) using this trick do not reliably render identically on other machines, because the modified font files are not embedded into the score file. To install a new font file onto an OS, refer to the instructions written for that OS, or try google.
Font option restriction explained in this chapter is valid for Musescore 3.6.2, but musescore is open-source and there are forks (wikipedia), see MuseScore, MuseScore 3, MuseScore 4 and How can I add third party SMuFL Fonts?.
- In the Style window (Format > Style):
- "Musical symbol font": used by notes, rest symbols, accidentals etc. Font compatible often does not have wording "...Text" in its name, for example "MuseJazz". (6 options in musescore 3; 8 options in musescore 4)
- "Musical text font": used by professional glyphs, inside Segno, Coda, ottavas, dynamics etc. Font compatible often has wording "...Text" in its name, for example "MuseJazzText". (6 options in musescore 3; 8 options in musescore 4)
- In Staff / Part properties : Advanced Style Properties: settings for tablature staff used by Tablature :
- in "Fret Marks" tab: used by fret marks. (8 options) .
- in "Note Values" tab: used by "Note symbols" (5 options) .
- Figured bass (1 option, the MuseScore Figured Bass).
- Default Chord symbols font is Edwin (you can choose other font, as with all text objects). Except on a new score created with any of the Jazz templates such as "Jazz Lead Sheet" where default is MuseJazzText instead.
- Default Roman Numeral Analysis font is Campania . Musescore relies on OpenType formatting functionailty provided by Campania for correct RNA foramtting.
- Default "Musical symbol font" is Leland (musescore 3.6.2)
- Default "Musical text font" is Leland Text
Useful methods to create desired engraving
- Noteheads and notehead schemes
- Staff / Part properties for Tablature elements
- Plugins that analyze notes and add musical symbols such as fingering diagrams are available at https://musescore.org/plugins .
- The MuseScore Drumline extension also contains extra pictograms, to download see Language, translations, and extensions.