Tempo

Updated 1 week ago

    This page provides information on Tempo markings, Fermata symbols, their playback details, and metronome tick sound.

    Tempo markings

    Tempo markings can be found in the Tempo palette of the Basic and Advanced workspaces.

    Add a tempo marking

    Use any of the following methods:

    • Select a note or rest and press the keyboard shortcut Alt+Shift+T.
    • Select a note or rest, and from the menu bar choose AddText...Tempo Marking.
    • Select a note or rest and click an appropriate metronome mark in the Tempo palette (double-click in versions prior to 3.4);
    • Drag-and-drop a metronome mark from the Tempo palette directly onto a note or rest.

    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.

    Edit the displayed content

    NOTE: Changing this alone may or may not affect playback as you may expect, read below.

    Tempo markings are Text. Edit the displayed content and it's styles and properties as required.

    Fermatas

    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

    Edit a fermata time stretch

    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.

    Tempo of playback

    To create playback, Musescore tries to understand 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 any tempo expression text such as Andante, Moderato, ritardando ("rit.") or accelerando ("accel."). Text, including tempo expression, added along side the metronome marking does not affect the metronome marking interpretation function eg Andante ♩ = 75

    Edit tempo used in playback

    Select a Tempo marking, edit its property in in the Tempo text section of the Inspector;
    Inspector: Tempo Text

    Note: Actual final playback tempo depends on the setting in the Play Panel. Check settings inside if your score does not produce correct audio.

    Ritardando and accelerando

    Musescore does not understand 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, so that only the ritardando shows on the printed score:

    Ritardando

    Overriding playback temporarily in Play Panel

    Use Play Panel to temporarily override Tempo markings and play the score back at any tempo:

    1. Display the play panel: ViewPlay Panel or F11 (Mac: Fn+F11):

      play_panel_v3_en.png

    2. 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.

    Metronome

    To add metronome ticks sound to playback inside Musescore, use Playback toolbar and Play Panel in Play mode
    A workaround to add metronome sound to exported audio file see Issue

    Beat subdivision

    Musescore add additional softer ticks sound to metronome only if:

    • compound time-signatures (6/8, 9/8, etc)
    • main beat below 60 BPM

    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).

    See also

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