Dynamics

Updated 1 day ago

    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 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.
    • Use a keyboard shortcut via a plugin.

    Note: To create a crescendo or decrescendo__, see Hairpin.

    Creating a custom dynamic

    1. Edit the dynamic symbol to your liking
    2. Save it for future use in a palette of your choice (see Add an existing score element to a palette).

    Editing text

    Playback is unaffected by the displayed content, use the Velocity property instead.

    Dynamics symbols are Text objects , and can be edited as such (see Text editing).

    Professional glyphs can be added from the special characters palette, or by using 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:
      • System: every instrument in the score
      • Part: one instrument (all of its staffs)
      • Staff: one staff (eg one hand in piano)
    • 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.

    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.x, Velocity to MIDI velocity assignment is exact assignment without conversion. Check this table for default values of Velocity of popular dynamics symbols in Musescore.

    Notes ignore 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.

    If you do not specify any dynamics symbol, the whole score is in mf. This is because Musescore will try to assign MIDI velocity 80 to notes that are not affected by any dynamics symbol, 80 is the also the default Velocity of mf (mezzoforte).

    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 boardly. 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 volume per voice, but you can adjust existing note's Velocity property based on its voice with the Voice Velocity plugin

    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.

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