How to change accent (sforzato) playback volume/velocity

• May 28, 2018 - 00:20

Hi everyone,

Please forgive me if I've missed something obvious. I've searched through each menu item in musescore, I've searched the handbook, and I've scoured the forum, and I cannot find any way to change the playback volume of an accent mark ("sforzato" in musescore lingo).

The closest I've gotten was trying to edit the instrument xml to play the sforzato at a different velocity, but when I changed that file, it had no effect. Also, this seems overly complicated to change the playback volume of an accent mark.

Another idea was to edit each note individually to manually adjust its volume, and this did work. However, making adjustments is extremely tedious and not an practical for listening to get the balance that I want, or for making quick changes as my arrangement evolves.

Am I missing something? I feel like I'm probably overlooking something very basic and simple. But maybe not? Any help would be hugely appreciated. I've been trying to figure this out for over 2 weeks now.

More specifically, I'm trying to adjust the accents on this attached score.

Thanks so much,

Attachment Size
Aaron's Hi-Hat Accent Volume Demo.mscz 22.69 KB


Hello, Aaron!
I am FAR, FAR from being knowledgeable on Musescore and worse yet on this topic but if there is no one else to assist you at this time and you are in a jam, if you go to the "support" then "tutorials" page you may wish to consider viewing Lesson 10 on articulations which may or may not answer your question, but I sure hope it does!

You were close in editing instruments.xml. But you need to tell MuseScore to use your edited instruments, in Edit / Preferences / Score. By default it uses one built in to the program. You should save your edited version somewhere other than in MuseScore's own folders, BTW.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi Marc Sabatella, I've seen your name on the forum helping with other posts that I've searched through, so thanks also for all of the advice on those other posts!

I've tried adding a velocity tag to the hi-hat instrument, but when I point musescore to that file, it doesn't seem to do anything. I've tried the velocity at 130, 200, 20, 0 -- and they all sound the same. This leads me to a few questions:

  1. Is there a special process to activate a non-default instrument xml? I also tried closing and re-opening the program.
  2. What are the units for the velocity? I copied that 130 from the original file's global settings, but I'm not sure exactly what 130 represents.

I'm attaching a screenshot of my custom xml file and the preferences dialog, just in case. Plus the xml file itself.

Thanks again!

In reply to by AaronGrooves

Changes to instruments.xml only affect actual instruments - like if you add an entire staff devoted to hi-hat and nothing else. It doesn't affect relative sound of individual pitches within a Drumset instrument. For that, best to wait until you're done entering notes, right click one hi-hat note, Select / More / Same pitch, then use the Inspector to adjust the velocity.

Units for velocity are standard MIDI - a scale of 1-127. Depending on the context, there are some places where it might be expressed as a percentage, or in thousandths.

In reply to by AaronGrooves

Changes to instruments.xml should affect existing music, but it might also be the case that the original instrument definitions have by now already been embedded in the score, so further changes to the external file may not do anything. However, you could make the same edit to the score itself, and it should work.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I also want to tweek the lodness of a sforzato. So I made my own instruments.xml and put it in preferences:score:Default Files:instrument list 1. But I do not hear any difference.

For this test I changed the entry to
Articulation name="sforzato"
velocity100 /velocity
gateTime100 /gateTime
( i had to delete the angle brackets because they get interpreted by the browser)
So I'd expect that there will be no difference between sforzato and standard articulation. But this change does not seem to be honored after restart of Musescore 3.
I'm afraid this corresponds to your saying that the properties might have been stored in the score, already. The score property doesn't include a setting for instruments.xml. Where do I have to overwrite the settings for an existing score?
And if this is posible, do I really overwrite the original settings? Most of the time they work very well for me.

OS: Windows 10 (10.0), Arch.: x86_64, MuseScore version (64-bit):, revision: 58dd23d

In reply to by SlyDr

You can edit the score manually. MSCZ is just a ZIP archive containing an MSCX file, which is in XML format and contains the exact same articulation definitions.

But, if you really mean you want to keep the defaults except for a few notes, don't do any of that. just use the Inspector to change the velocity of the note.

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