A computer font (font family, font face, typeface, wikipedia) is a digital data file containing a set of graphically related glyphs, characters, or symbols. This chapter discusses object's font assignment and font options and other related info. There are several different usage of font data by an object depending on:
- the object's type (see "Text objects" section and "non-text objects" section, and Notation types and Text types chapters); and
- each character's type (see "Text objects" section).
Font file cannot be embedded into a score file.
Formatting of Text 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. Text object can be edited in Edit mode, simply double-click on it to enter Edit mode. Text line object (Line object containing Text) has Begin Text, Continue Text, End Text properties, see Lines chapter.
There are two types of characters in a Text object, plain character and professional glyph ("Musical text" character), they have different formatting options.
Plain characters, entered using a computer keyboard, use font assigned in Inspector (musescore 3), Properties panel (musescore 4) and the Style windows (Format → Style → [item] and Format → Style → Text Styles → [item]), see formatting concept in the Layout and formatting in Musescore and Text styles and properties chapters. Their font options are explained in the "Font options of plain characters" section below.
Professional glyphs and internal encoding
Musicians use symbols and marks to indicate various aspects of a composition, most of these glyphs cannot be found on any typical computer keyboard. To add new professional glyphs into any Text object on a score, use the "Symbols and special characters" window's Common Symbols tab and Musical Symbols tab (Some items under these two tabs are not professional glyphs.), or Keyboard shortcuts, see Text editing chapter. They are also present in some of the pre-configured Text objects found in Palettes. Musescore displays them using data that only exist in fonts designed specifically for musical notation. The font assignment and font options are distinct from plain characters, see "Font options of glyphs" section below.
Special internal encoding such as <sym> is used to store professional glyph inside Text object, rather than using its raw unicode codepoint. Some features relies on this special internal encoding to work, including
- Professional glyph's musically coherent impact on the score, see Notation types chapter. For example only the augmentation dot professional glyph works with Tempo marking's "Follow text" function; and
- "Musical text", a feature that aims to provide easy score-wide font switching for professional glyphs.
It is possible but not advisable to achieve similar visual result by directly using 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. Using raw PUA unicode characters bypasses font fallback mechanism and creates unnecessary risk of displaying the unsupported character symbol (tofu, wikipedia).
Formatting of non-Text objects
There are objects that are text visually but are not Musescore Text object technically because they cannot be edited using (typing on) a computer keyboard. These objects utilize font file data. Also, some non textual objects utilize font file data. All of these objects are referred to as non-Text objects in this chapter. To change their "font" (font assignment and font option) see "Font options of Professional glyphs inside Text objects; all non-Text objects" section below.
Plain characters inside Text objects
It is advisable to only use fonts that are generally available across different machines. 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.
Professional glyphs inside Text objects; all non-Text objects
- 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).
Both the Non-Text objects and professional glyphs only use fonts already built into the Musescore program, they cannot directly use fonts installed on the OS. 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 different version of a particular built-in font is installed on the OS, Musescore uses it instead. This allows using custom fonts indirectly on that particular 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?.
- 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
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.
Other 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.