Optional pause at the end of playback loop

• Nov 8, 2021 - 02:36

It would be very helpful to have a property in the Play Panel to specify a number of beats to pause before restarting the loop.

Currently, to do that, I have to mark some number of notes after the closing flag as "Do no play" (i.e., Unchecking the "Play" box in the Inspector). I later need to undo and/or redo that process when I am done looping, or when I want to extend the loop's closing flag farther. Alternatively, I could temporarily insert a rest measure, and remove it later. Both approaches are error-prone, and really slow down what could be a quick, simple process of moving a loop flag.

Without that pause, sometimes the loop sounds like a jarring, run-on melody, that is hard to engrain in one's mind, and sometimes the loop is not a multiple of the number of beats to a measure, which also adversely affects imprinting the phrase into one's brain.

The enhancement could be a simple text box called "Extra beats" (or whatever you choose to call it). It would contain the number of beats to pause. It could even support a fraction, such as 1.5 beats.

Thank you for your consideration.


Try this:
Place a fermata from the Articulations palette onto the last note of a loop. Click on the fermata and, in the Inspector, increase the 'Time stretch' to 4.00 (or higher/lower if desired). Play the loop. This 'pause fermata' can be cut/pasted into any new loop you wish to make. It can be saved to a palette for future use in other scores.

Experiment with this:

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Thanks for the suggestion, JM.

It sounds like it works ok for piano, which has a quick decay.
But if you change the instrument to flute, the tone is sustained for the entire fermata duration. Since I am playing flute, and trying to internalize the precise timing of the phrase, that does not work for me.

But I appreciate your taking time to suggest a solution to me. Thank you.

For now, I will have to use one of the two workarounds that I mentioned in my original post.


dddiam wrote It would be very helpful to have a property in the Play Panel to specify a number of beats to pause before restarting the loop.

+ 1

I'd like to see MuseScore develop a streamlined and comprehensive set of tools for practicing and studying music. And @dddlam's idea of a pause for x number of beats (before a Loop selection repeats) would be quite useful.

I'd also suggest an option for x number of metronome count-in clicks—which could be independent of or combined with an optional pause at each iteration of the loop.

For instance, prior to loop playback one could have x beats of silence (i.e. pause) and x beats of count-in:

    • 2 beats of silence and four beats of metronome count-in.
    • 0 beats of pause and four beats of metronome count-in.

... anything that provides the practicing musician a chance to reset, followed by a count-in, so they have a good chance of catching the start of the loop on each pass.


I agree someday if MuseWScore decides to move into the "practice tool" world, this could be a good feature. probably makes more sense for the mobile app, though, which is more geared towards that.

Meanwhile, the simple workaround I'd recommend is adding an actual pause from the breaths & pauses palette (note - I mean what is technically called a "caesura", not a fermata or a rest). You can easily customize the delay in the Inspector.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Brilliant, Marc! Why didn't that occur to me?

Here is a line from Chopin's Waltz in C Minor, Op. 64, No. 2:
caesura loop test.jpg

And here is the formula for calculating the caesura duration (which is a field in the Inspector):
You calculate it from the tempo.
In this case, ♩ = 120.
♩ = 120 beats/minute.
♩ = 60/120 seconds/beat. (The 60 is a constant. There are 60 seconds/minute).
♩ = 0.5 seconds. (Use your phone's calculator).
♪ = 0.25 seconds. (Half of a quarter-note).

In the above example, I want to pause five eighth-notes (quavers). 5 x 0.25 seconds = 1.25 seconds.
If I like I can add another measure to the pause, bringing the caesura duration up to 2.75 seconds.

If I change the tempo in the Play Panel to a percentage of the tempo, I don't need to start completely over.
I can just divide my original caesura duration by the percentage tempo reduction.
For example, if I want to practice at 65% of the tempo, I set the tempo in the Play Panel to 65%, and divide my original caesura duration (1.25 seconds) by 65% (or by 0.65 if you phone's calculator does not have a "%" symbol). That comes out to 1.92 seconds.

In reply to by dddiam

Yeah, the math required if you're looking for a specific number of beats of pause is definitely a drawback of this approach. If that's really what I wanted, frankly I'd be more like to just insert the extra beats. But I seldom want looped passages to have extra space in them - that defeats most of the purposes I might use the loop feature as a composer.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yeah. You are looking for the continuity and transitions in your compositions, whereas I am using it for instrument practice.

It is good, though, to have all of those workarounds at your disposal. Thank you for the caesura solution.

For the person who is math adverse, or who does not want to use trial and error to find the right caesura duration, or who wants to frequently change the Play Panel tempo percentage value, then silenced notes, or duplicated measures with deleted notes, or similar approach, will allow MuseScore to automatically adjust the timing.

+1 on this feature too. It can be especially tricky to loop phrases that start and/or end on incomplete measures, inserting an extra measure before an anacrusis usually messes up the tempo.

In the meantime I have taken to adding a 'Practice Loop' area at the end of the score and cutting and pasting the section to be looped into that area. This way I don't mess up the original score. Like this:

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