Synth Not Honouring Ties

• May 7, 2018 - 19:08

Playing back my score tied notes are played as separate notes. Is there a setting to stop this happening? Fat Bottomed Girls - Harmony Parts.mscz


In reply to by brianejsmith still doesn’t play smoothly. Some of the notes in the 3 parts, although lined up in rhythm, are sounded separately,
OK... so which notes, which measures?
To better discern exactly when notes are played, choose a sound (in the mixer) with a more pronounced attack - like piano, for example.

Is this a synth problem or a notation error do you think?
Probably notation... check your ties and slurs.

I looked at your attached score and changed the first 4 measures:
Measures 1 & 2: I changed the timing, some ties, and the harmony.
Measures 3 & 4: I changed the timing and some ties, not harmony.
The remainder I left alone.

I also slowed the tempo and used piano sound. Have a listen:
Fat Bottomed Girls - adjusted.mscz


This may not be exactly related, but does a slur over two notes of different pitch sound any different from omitting the slur - in terms of the ending of the first note and the attack of the second? Certainly if two notes of the same pitch are tied, they should sound as one note, but what is the actual effect of a slur?

In reply to by mike320

What would it take to properly implement a slur in the synthesizer as a very quick fade from the first note into the second, without an attack? This would make it possible to fake a cresc/dim on a single long note by breaking it up into shorter notes connected by slurs. If you try doing this now, what you hear is a series of short notes with separate attacks. (A major shortcoming IMHO of the MS synthesizer is that it will not do cresc/dim or other dynamic effects on a single note - but this is a separate issue.)

In reply to by mike320

In MuseScore up to this point a slur is only a decoration
No, it does have a subtle effect on some instruments.

What would it take to properly implement a slur in the synthesizer
This is very different depending on instrument. Pianos would still have attack, flutes would not for example

In reply to by mike320

Re "a slur is only a decoration" - does this refer to the implementation in the code? What would be involved in modifying the behavior (specifically for wind instruments) from the cutoff of one note to the attack of the next, to be different according to whether the notes are slurred or not?

For the slurred case, there would ideally be a quick transition without a new attack. For the un-slurred case, I would also like to see a parameter-defined advance of the cutoff by a constant fraction of a beat, so as to give a definite separation between the notes. (At present, if I want a separation, I need to go into the pianoroll editor and adjust the duration of each note individually, from 1000 to e.g. 900 for a quarter-note, 800 for an eighth, 930 for a dotted quarter, etc. - a very tedious process.)

How practical would it be to implement each of these behaviors in the synthesis code? (Marc S., if you're reading this, can you add your thoughts?)

In reply to by dhfx

It's pretty involved to do this well and make it realistic for each of the different types of instrument - what "slur" means for a wind instrument is totally different from what it means on a stringed instrument, and different still for piano, etc. It's definitely something we'd like to do some day, and there has been some work done on this, but do keep in mind, the primary purpose of MuseScore is notation, not playback, so that is where the development effort goes.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella


Honestly, I don't understand why you say, sometimes, the above (the primary purpose of MuseScore is notation, not playback). I don't understand this in the current context, because, as we all read, the new people in charge of and, very clearly told that enhancing the playback, via developing soundfonts (and other funcionality) is a high priority for the new development team. So while it's clear MuseScore first priority is notation, now it's seems the playback is to be enhanced.

Slurs, along playback of dynamics over single notes, are among the most requested items regarding playback as far I can see, and I have no doubt that MuseScore will finally implement them.

I know that you yourself had put a lot of effort and code to enhance the playback (I routinely read old posts and long standing Issues, and I'm convinced of this) . That you end your post the way you did, I think it's a bit discouraging, in my opinion. Surely many of us (me included) use MuseScore for playback too, for commercial recording, and it seems a bit strange that while some aspects of the playback are lately being much enhanced, long standing requests like proper slur playback are not given some priority too, as far as I know.

In reply to by mdi1972

No doubt, playback does have increasing importance. But even given that, some things are easier to fix than others, and slur playback and single-note dynamics are complex. I have no doubt that eventually they will be implemented, but it's a much bigger issue than might be apparent. Sorry if I come off as discouraging; I was just trying to set realistic expectations. Again, hopefully this will improve!

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Whatever the original purpose of MuseScore, I think we should acknowledge that with the addition of playback it has become an integrated composing environment, essentially an IDE for music, and that this realization might be a guide for the direction of further development.

In reply to by dhfx

@dhfx... You wrote:
...with the addition of playback it (MuseScore) has become an integrated composing environment...

With MuseScore's evolution, it's not simply the addition of playback; it's the addition of all kinds of instruments. Gone are the old version(s) of MuseScore with the solitary 'piano sound' playback. If that were still the current state, slur playback would likely be a reality.
Nowadays, MuseScore's diverse instrument choices engender more realistic playback which, in turn, spawns the demand for even more realism.
(I encourage you to locate other posts by Mr. Shaffter. He has tirelessly labored to produce outstanding playback from within MuseScore.)

You also wrote:
For the slurred case, there would ideally be a quick transition without a new attack.
That may be true for an instrument like flute... but...
for an instrument like piano a new attack would be needed. The same holds for other instruments.
To forestall any anticipated criticism about realism, each and every instrument would have to be assessed -- not a small task.


In reply to by Jm6stringer

Jm6stringer: If I understand you correctly, you're really agreeing with me that MuseScore should be seen as an IDE for music, combining notesetting with playback, rather than primarily a tool for notesetting (i.e., printing). Or am I missing something you're saying?

In reply to by dhfx

Over the past decade, the oft touted forum reply: "MuseScore is primarily a score writing application. Playback is of secondary importance", has lessened in its frequency. (Even though you have encountered it here.)
That's because regarding notation, much has come to fruition:……

The accomplishments above were not possible with early versions of the software.

Presently, since users no longer frequently encounter the impossible-to-notate musical phrase; and features like tablature, figured bass, etc. have arrived, focus naturally shifts to improving other areas like playback:

My point is that playback is coming along, but maybe not as fast as some people would like.
MuseScore as an IDE for music, though, may be on the distant horizon.


In reply to by dhfx

Musescore doesn't make a special playing effect for the slurs currently.

For a human player:
1. Slur with different pitches: It plays like a legato. (very tied to each other and as far as possible without attack)
2. Slur with same two pitches (not used; it's a tie normally): In classical engraving (note writing): Places a staccato point at the note-heads to avoid confusion with the tie. It is played with minimum attack. (such as tenuto) // writing with "tenuto" articulation (or a text-line: "legato") makes more sense.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Seems to reproduce staccato, legato, slurred and detached notes very well, to my ear anyway. Many of the things conductors obsess about are lost on the average listener. Staccato versus very staccato, emphatic versus very emphatic and so on. Particularly when it's a single note in the middle of a phrase. (same applies to dynamics with one performer's mf another's f and so on.)

In reply to by Jm6stringer


The difference is noticeable - the marked slurred measures sounds as intended, with a very soft attack. But, strangely, if I put a slur in covering the notes in any other measures (for example, in measure 11), it still sounds not slurred (even saving the score then opening it again).

I did this test with MuseScore 2.0.3 using the default Fluid soundfont. Which version of MuseScore (and soundfont) did you used for this sample you attached?

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

It's about the same (for me at least) in 2.2.1 and MS_General.sf3, Jojo. Just tried it.

Maybe I'm losing ear. Jojo, if you put a slur covering all the quarter notes in measure 11, do you hear differently, do you hear them as noticiably slurred?

In reply to by mdi1972

In a prior version of MuseScore, a note's execution could be offset using the Inspector. My file (Flute_1.mscz) was based on an example I made years ago when someone posted an observation that the default flute sounded 'too legato' with not enough note separation.

For this present discussion, I recycled and modified that (old) file to answer dhfx's question: ...what is the actual effect of a slur?
As you have noticed: The difference is noticeable - the marked slurred measures sounds as intended, with a very soft attack.
Indeed... That's exactly what I wanted dhfx to hear.

You then continued...
But, strangely, if I put a slur in covering the notes in any other measures (for example, in measure 11), it still sounds not slurred.
Yes... that is why slurs seem more like a 'decoration'. To (nowadays) produce a noticeably slurred measure the piano roll editor would be needed.

You can copy a slurred measure from my score and paste it into a different measure and the legato sound 'sticks'.
So, if you want measure 11 to sound slurred you can paste a slurred measure into that and then change the pitches.

Alternatively, you can wrestle with the piano roll editor to modify, as dhfx wrote: ...the cutoff of one note to the attack of the next, to be different according to whether the notes are slurred or not.
(I do miss the former feature to do that via the Inspector, instead of using the piano roll editor.)


In reply to by Jm6stringer

One thing I've done to simplify the process is work on a recurring rhythmic figure of 1 or 2 measures using the pianoroll editor, and then copy-and-paste it to other places and change the pitch values; this preserves the durations as set in the pianoroll editor. But it's still a lot of work.

Again, if the slur can be made to sound like a real slur rather than a legato, then it is possible to work around the fact that the synthesizer will not (yet) do a cresc/dim on a single note, by replacing a longer note with a series of slurred shorter notes of the same pitch.

In reply to by dhfx


If you are interested, I've uploaded to my Google Drive space ( my build of user @hpfmn's GSoC 2016 work over the implementation in MuseScore of the CC 11 MIDI Expression Controller.

I gave details in and .

I know that this item is current work in progress (MidiSpanners), but it passed 7 years since this request, and the above work (call it an intermediate step), in my opinion, is very well done. It nicely implemented single-note playback (with some shortcomings). This MuseScore devel. build is now somewhat old, and of course is unstable - but for me was good enough to make some interesting pieces.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

@jm6stringer, got it...many thanks for the explanation!
Yes, I too observed the copy-measure trick some hours ago. It's a pity the gate time, etc are not longer exposed via the inspector. Honestly I found the piano roll editor clumsy for these class of tweaks, but well..

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