slur placement as style

• Jun 30, 2022 - 23:00

Hi, I'm just curious how to change the default automatic placement of slurs to place them next to the notes instead of to the point of stems. See attached sample.
I can do that manually slur by slur, but I'm looking for a more convenient way, such as a style.
Of course, the issue is up when the slur overarches notes next to each other. In any other case slurs have to be placed out of stems.
Can anybody have an idea for the solution?

Attachment Size
slur-style_sample.mscz 7.31 KB


The correct placement of slurs is sometimes by the notehead, other times by the stem, depending on whether the stems are all the same direction or if they vary, also depending on whether there are multiple voices. So a single setting to force it to always be one or the other would mean it's wrong a lot of the time.

It seems maybe you are referring to something a little different - whether or not MuseScore performs the optimization of pulling the slurs closer to the notehead in cases where the slur goes on the stem side. It does in some cases but not others based on a variety of calculations derived in part from suggests in "Behind Bars", but overall it's pretty conservative. The algorithm for this has changed in MuseScore 4, but there is still no setting to control whether or not it happens.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you so much, Marc! What do you mean under "correct placement"? Is there a tacit agreement or an
unwritten rule or a standard procedure or sg like among professional engravers for the placement of slurs? The placement is obvious in lot of cases and the comprehensibility is over the attractiveness of course, but I'm not able to imagine why slurs placement is better when it is farther from the notehead than closer to it when notes are next to each other and the ambient space is open....

In reply to by nil_nocere

I mean, the rules normally followed by professional music engravers. There is some subjectivity, but for the most part, the style guides followed by professionals are fairly standardized and consistent. Probably rather more so than, say, style guides for writing English. The most well-known reference these days is Elaine Gould's "Behind Bars", but there are others too.

If you consult the literature - meaning, published music examples, not just reference books like Gould's - you'll find that actually, placing slurs at the stem ends is the norm - probably because it mimics the placement of other articulations. Gould allows for it to move in "slightly closer" if there are no issues, but her examples are nowhere near as extreme as the adjustments you've made. When I check the literature, I see some publishers willing to move in closer than Gould does on occasion. Still, I wouldn't think of that as the norm to shoot for.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you Marc, again! I highly appreciate your help and detailed explanation.
(((Well I immediately tried to look after the book "Behind Bars", when you have mentioned it in your fist reply, but without the name of the author, the search engine was not able to prescind from the jail topic... :) and I had no enough patience in the middle of the night...)))
Finally, now i found an exact differentiation between ties and slurs, which justifies the placement of the slur to the stem ends: "The tie should almost touch each notehead. An arc further away from the noteheads may be taken for a slur." And in addition I found a further reason to leave the slur at the stem end: when a beam also exists, the only place of the slur is at stem end. I am convinced now. Thanks!

In reply to by nil_nocere

Yes, that's definitely part of it, although of course, the norm for single voices is for slurs to be on the notehead side instead of the stem side, and there, it's actually pretty easy to mistake slurs and ties - just kind of an unfortunate fact of life. But for stems that do need to go on the stem side, we do also allow the slur to move closer to the notehead in certain conditions. For instance, if the stem directions differ, then moving closer to the notehead can be necessary to make sure the direction of the slur matches the contour of the melody:

Screenshot 2022-07-01 6.41.56 AM.png

But overall we're pretty conservative on this. There are cases in multiple-voice music where it can make sense to move stem-side slurs in closer. But figuring out which cases are which is, again, subjective, and really depends on an expert eye judging the amount of space available and the presence of other markings, and then making an informed call. So we leave it to the user. Lots about the slur algorithms, BTW. has been improved in MuseScore 4 based on input from a professional engraver who is now in charge of such matters.

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