Breath Marks

• May 28, 2018 - 21:17

This is just something I came across while transcribing a tune for brass band. I needed to put in a breath mark to tell the player to take a breath before the next note, to, in effect shorten the previous note. Then I realized that in musescore, a breath mark stops all music for the duration that I input. But shouldn't a breath mark just shorten the note slightly being played by that specific instrument, like in definitions like this: ?


If you check the inspector, (F8) you should notice that the default value for a breath is 0, so adding the marking should not affect playback. If you want to actually hear a pause, you have to add a value greater than zero. If you want to hear the previous note shorter, add a stacatto mark, and if necessary, make it invisible. (V)
In any event, your performer should know how to correctly interpret the marking, even if Musescore seems to do it differently.

I suspect you are using the "pause" (aka "raliroad tracks" - two parallel lines) rather than the actual breath mark (looks like an apostrophe. The pause pauses, just as it should, but the breath does not - again, just as things should be.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I have the same problem. Using the (apostrophe) breath sign, the playback SHOULD lift the sound briefly at the end of the preceding note so that the next note begins on its assigned beat, without effecting the tempo. As it is now, the last note before the breath plays its full duration. The only way I see to manage an aural lift (to break the sound between the phrases) is to change the pause duration from 0, but this adds time rather than maintaining the tempo by "cheating" the note before the breath mark, which is one of the first things a young singer or instrumentalist learns.

In reply to by jeetee

Thank you SO MUCH! Will get right on that. I'm actually using this to teach my 14 yr old, who is interested in composing and arranging. I want him to be able to hear the effects of different markings, so he can experiment. It's hard for a young musician to audiate, this should really help him on a lot of levels!

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