How to make strings play in Pizzicato

• Aug 20, 2011 - 22:55

How would I make my violins and violas play in pizzicato?


Click the first note you wish to be pizz, hit ctrl-t to enter staff text, type the abbreviation pizz, then right click it and select sff text properties. Then you will be able to choose the pizz sound. Do the same for arco when you wish to return to bowing.

As you can see, being a music-score oriented program that also has playback capability, MuseScore relies upon the same "placement of markings" that a human reader does ... but, being a computer, it doesn't actually undertake to read the text. Instead, you edit the marking and specify the computer-oriented settings that (the human player never sees, but...) the playback engine actually responds to.

In reply to by Kevin Shaw

If you right click on the entered staff text (eg. arco., pizz.), then under 'Staff Text Properties', you can select 'normal', 'pizzicato', or 'tremolo' for the sound you want associated with the text. Just be sure to click in the 'Channel' box to activate the choices.
See attachment.


Attachment Size
Violin sounds.mscz 2.09 KB

In reply to by JBrandao

Please say what version of MuseScore, what OS, and attach the score you are having problems with and describe exactly - step by step - what you tried, what you expected to see, and what you saw instead. contrasbass works fine with pizz for me with MuseScore 1.3 on Linux.

In reply to by JBrandao

It isn't really clear how you created the score, but it doesn't look like you used the normal Contrabass instrument. For one thing, it has the wrong clef - treble instead of treble-8 (octave transposing), and for another it has the wrong sound in the Mixer (Strings CLP instead of Contrabass). So I'm thinking you probably created it as some other instrument then changed the name and sound. That doesn't work. if you want the pizzicato channel to be available, you have to use the actual Contrabass instrument. You can fix it in this score by right clicking the staff, selecting Staff Properties, clicking the Change Instrument button, then changing the instrument to Contrabass. Now you'll have the proper channel options in Staff Text Properties.

I can't do it either and I have regular counter bass. I right click the pizz text and go to staff text properties and click pizzicato and it turns blue. then I go to my music and play it but its still bowing

In reply to by Party_Animal

I had a recent inquiry about this same dialog which did not seem to mesh with the design prerogatives of the product – so I dropped it with no hard feelings – but maybe you have encountered it.

If you want to assign staff-text to produce an effect such as "Pizz," you must BOTH select the effect AND the voice(s) that you wish to assign it to. The "OK" button of the dialog-box will remain active the entire time, even though "it does not represent 'a complete thought, therefore action,'" unless you specify both of these.

If you simply select "Pizz," but do not also select a voice, nothing at all will happen.

I'm having this problem too now, eight years later. How is this not fixed? Pizzicato is unbelievably common. I still can't figure out how to get plucky sounds even after reading all the instructions here. Things like this make users buy Finale.

In reply to by Shoichi

I got it working, but it really shouldn't be that complicated. There should be a pre-existing palette of very common staff texts which automatically apply midi changes. I want to be able to recommend MuseScore to my mom.


The first-time user will be utterly baffled, provided they even find this dialog window.

In reply to by jDawganator

What you want exists in version 3 in the text palette. There was a point that there was a change, so a score made in version 3.0 will not work properly in version 3.0.5 unless you change the instrument to the same instrument to update the definition. It does what you as for automatically.

in the newer version of musescore this doesn't work as easy, and for some reason the viola and cello sound like muted brass instruments and the contrabass sounds like a tuba

In reply to by Ronan Bodisch

Actually it works far more easily in current versions of MuseScore than it did nine years ago - just add Pizz from the palette and everything should just work. If you have some specific score where it doesn't, please start a new thread, attach that score, and tell us if you have loaded any non-standard soundfonts.

This feature was working perfect as stated in the comments but after adding a new soundfont it is playing a trumpet sound for the pizz. and a piano sound for the trem. When notated as arco it works as normal. I have tried changing it to different violin sounds but no luck. (edit. Nevermind I just noticed the arrown for "part tracks".

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