"Volume swell" diamond over a note ??

• Nov 9, 2020 - 04:24

In the symbols pallet, there is an articulation symbol called a "Volume swell". It looks like a diamond over top of a note.

(1) Why is a volume swell listed as an articulation rather than as a dynamic? Another way to ask this is "What is the difference between a volume swell and a cresc-decresc hairpin pair?"

(2) Since it is essentially a dynamic, should it be placed over the note, or below the staff with other dynamics symbols?

(3) Is this diamond a standard music notation? I have searched the internet, and cannot find any reference to it.

I often swell a note on flute, but I probably should not use a symbol that few people know about. WDYT?

To me, the symbol called "Soft accent above" looks more like a swell to me than the diamond does. But it sounds like that symbol is already taken for a different use.


In reply to by Shoichi

Still confused because I still do not see any examples of a diamond symbol over a note. The first article shows the addition of grace notes for expression. The second article shows no notation examples at all.

Thank you for answering though, Shoichi. However, my original questions are still unresolved.

Perhaps I should just add a fade-in and a fade-out symbol to a note, and drag them below the staff to look like hair-pins.
fade-in fade-out.jpg
But I am still curious about the "Volume swell" diamond symbol.
Volume swell.jpg

The volume swell is it's own articulation. It's not the most common symbol but I have seen it in printed scores. I've often used an invisible voice with rests 1/2 the duration of the note and put a < and > hairpin on the rests adjusting the velocity offset to something like 15 so the swell is heard. It also often looks like the swell so I decide if I'll keep that or make the hairpins invisible and add a swell.

In reply to by mike320

Thanks, Mike. That is what I figured. It is just that I have never seen that articulation in printed music, and I don't want to publish something with the swell diamond if most people will not know what it is.

I don't like the hidden-rest workaround for two reasons: (1) It is extra work, and (2) it looks cluttered when someone downloads a .MSCZ score. Some people might not even realized what is going on with the score. It also uses up a voice, and one must be careful to keep straight which is Voice 1 and which is Voice 2.

I am still hoping for simpler solutions from MuseScore, rather than workarounds. That includes active pitch-change articulations with the bend tool as a property, rather than as an invisible workaround; active volume articulations (utilizing a velocity offset or a volume graph); and single note hairpins (perhaps with a starting and terminal dynamic level in the properties). A single-note double hairpin for a swell, I think, would be more commonly recognizable than a diamond. The logic for active pitch articulations already exists (as a bend tool). It would simply need be implicitly callable from the properties pages of the respective articulation symbols, rather than added to the note as an invisible control.

Although this topic has been rehashed considerably, if I get a chance, I will come of with post of a succinct, comprehensive, well-defined enhancement proposal.

That said, I want to be sure that the MuseScore folks realized how much I appreciate them, and how much I love MuseScore. MuseScore, IMO, is better than its expensive, commercial competitors. And the support staff is far more responsive than any commercial company. KUDOS to everyone involoved! I promote MuseScore every chance that I get.

Considering that this is a free product, we are all pretty nit-picky ;-) Sorry about that. Vicarious arm-chair developers are like arm-chair sports critics.

I think that the only reason that people stick to the commercial products is acclimation. Those are the products that they learned on. And institutions (such as conservatories) prefer to pay huge amounts of money because they think that that will buy them better support, services, longevity and dependability (Hah!).

In reply to by dddiam

The attitude today among those who decide what goes into MuseScore is that it doesn't matter if it's free, it should be a quality product that competes with S%%%s and F%%%e. They have hired a staff that didn't exist a year ago to do a major rewrite a lot of the code to make MuseScore do what it currently does better. There are also plans to add new features as has been posted in the forums on a few occasions.

For the current version BSG wrote a plugin that helps with using articulations. I've not used it but between it and the Piano Roll Editor, you should be able to make a swell if you want to put in the work without the invisible workarounds. I do keep in mind that if it looks bad, I don't do it. Looks are more important to me than playback.

In reply to by mike320

Thanks for the feedback and inside info. Today's products are often market driven, and spec'd to compete with the competitors.

I will take a look at BSG's plugin, but my only concern with plugins is that they might not work with the next major version of MuseScore.

I fully agree with you about looks. Having a readable, uncluttered score in the editor is more important than playback. I wrote a PD arrangement of Clair de Lune for unaccompanied flute. I will publish it to MuseScore when I am done perfecting it. At the top of that score, I have a text disclaimer about mechanical sounding playback vs. listening to live performances.

We are somewhat hung up on nice-to-have features. But if nothing ever changes, I am still delighted with MuseScore.

Great work, Mike, to you and to the rest of the MuseScore staff.

David D.

In reply to by mike320

More specifically, you can reasonably expect a score you customzie using a plugin today will continue to look / sound more or less the same in the future. To the extent it might not, it would have nothing to do with the use of the plugin - I mean, sure, we might change the layout algorithms or soundfonts or synthesizer, but it will affect all scores, not just scores customized via a plugin.

Now, what is possible is that some future version of MuseScore will change the plugin framework such that the existing plugin won't continue to work, meaning you won't be able to use it to customize scores any more. But scores already customized in that way won't suddenly lose the customizations. The customizations are made possible by the plugin, but once customized, the score remains customized, you don't need the plugin anymore.

So far we haven't had a great track record in terms of plugin compatibility, so it's reasonable to be concerned that the plugin might not work anymore in MuseScore 4. But that should in no way prevent you from taking advantage of it today, And FWIW, as of right now there are no plans as far as I know to make further incompatible changes to the plugin framework for MuseScore 4, but a) I could be wrong, and b) even if there aren't plans currently, as I said, we haven't exactly instilled confidence here based on the changes from 1 to 2 and 2 to 3.

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