MuseScore 3.5 Beta
Today we are announcing a beta release of what will soon become MuseScore 3.5. Although MuseScore 3.5 is considered a "minor" release, it contains an unusually long list of new features, bug fixes, and other improvements, and we expect that it will set a new standard for stability and usability.
We hope many of you will download and help us test this beta version. This is especially true of the more significant new features such as chord symbol playback. We anticipate having a release candidate within a couple of weeks, and then the actual release after that. You can install the 3.5 beta version alongside the stable 3.4.2 version.
Download MuseScore 3.5 Beta Release
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Chord Symbol Playback
One of the most requested features for many years has been playback of chord symbols. Peter Hieu Vu implemented this as part of the Google Summer of Code last year, and with the help of Dmitri Ovodok and new team member Igor Korsukov, this facility is now available in MuseScore 3.5. For now, it is disabled by default. To hear playback of chord symbols, go to Edit > Preferences > Note Input and enable the Play Chord Symbols option. There is also an option there to control whether chord symbols are played while editing them, and additional style settings and properties you can set in the Inspector to control how the chord symbols are played.
Another Google Summer of Code project that has been incorporated into MuseScore 3.5 is a series of improvements to how you work with instruments. Much of this work was originally done by Josh Wood and was then adapted by the core MuseScore team. Upon adding an instrument change text from the palette, MuseScore will automatically display the dialog to allow you to select the new instrument, and it will automatically update the instrument name accordingly. MuseScore will also add a clef and key signature change if appropriate; these will be deleted automatically if you remove the instrument change.
In addition to these improvements, we've made it easier to control the display of instrument names, with double-click automatically opening the Staff/Part Properties dialog, and provide better control over the display of instrument names and brackets when hiding empty staves. Similar instruments are also numbered automatically when creating a new score, and there are improvements to the Instruments dialog to make it easier to control the position of newly added instruments.
Voices to Parts
One of the new features in MuseScore 3 was the ability to generate parts from individual voices on a staff, allowing you to combine multiple flutes or clarinets (for example) on a single staff. Unfortunately, a number of serious bugs in this feature prevented it from actually being usable. New contributor Niek van den Berg has made it a priority to get this working, and we're happy to report that MuseScore 3.5 has much improved support for this feature. To generate parts from a single voice of a staff, go to File > Parts, press the Single Part button, select the instrument, press the "+" button, and select the voice you wish to use. Repeat this process for the other voice(s) you wish to use.
Simplified Editing of Lines
When you want to change the duration of a crescendo or diminuendo, most users instinctively try to drag the handles. But this never actually did what you would expect—it just altered the length of the line without changing which note it was logically attached to. You needed to use Shift plus the cursor keys to actually change the duration. Martin Keary/Tantacrul, MuseScore’s Head of Design, pushed for us to improve this, and now we have. In MuseScore 3.5, dragging the end handles of hairpins and other lines will change their actual durations. There are other improvements to the behavior of editing lines as well, but since one of the goals was to make the process more discoverable, we'd like you to try things out and see for yourself!
New contributor Howard Chang has made some really nice improvements to the layout of tremolos, meaning you will need to do a lot less manual adjustments. However, this also means if you’ve made careful adjustments for tremolos in previous versions, they now need a reset. MuseScore 3.5 will also support the "beamed half note" style of minim-based two-note tremolo commonly used in older piano and orchestral music. You can select this style in the Inspector.
Howard also implemented a long-requested feature allowing you to specify—in Staff/Part Properties for an instrument—whether transposition should prefer flats or sharps in the key signature. So saxophonists who prefer seeing Db major over C# major when transposing from B major concert will be happy!
Piano Roll Editor
Mark McKay, who implemented a bunch of piano roll improvements a few releases ago, has implemented many more for 3.5, including tools to make it easier to edit notes (adding and erasing, cut and paste, dragging groups of notes, adjusting ties), keyboard shortcuts for zooming, a way to highlight individual rows in the note area, and enhancements to the levels window to make it possible to set levels for multiple notes at a time.
Measure and Multimeasure Rest Numbers
Measure numbers now support a number of new features, including the ability to display centered under the measures. Multimeasure rests can also be customized further. The relevant settings can be found in the Inspector and in Format > Style.
We continue to make advances in the accessibility of MuseScore, both with respect to keyboard navigation and screenreader feedback. In MuseScore 3.5, the navigation of the palettes is improved dramatically, and screenreader feedback is improved for a number of elements. We also can now support the Orca screenreader on Linux, and improvements to MusicXML export will facilitate conversion to Braille music.
- New smooth scrolling option for playback in continuous view
- Double-click a header or footer to access the dialog for editing it
- Ability to set notehead scheme (e.g., named noteheads) for individual notes
- JACK audio/MIDI support working on all platforms
- Store backup files in a separate folder
- Improvements to the wording and appearance of various UI elements
- New splash screen with progress messages
- Fixes for a variety of crashes, score corruptions, and other bugs
- There are many, many more improvements for you to explore in the MuseScore 3.5 Alpha Release Notes
- And many more for you to explore in the MuseScore 3.5 Beta Release Notes