Underscore in Lyrics (Extender) does not extend to the full extent of the note duration

• Feb 10, 2024 - 21:30

It seems the Underscore in Lyrics (denotes the extent of the duration to hold the note with the current syllable) does not match the actual duration. It seems it stops short. Can you fix this problem? In the figure attached, the line should extend till the end of the measure according to the length of the note.

Or, is there something I should do, in order to extend the line (underscore?) for the note duration.


Attachment Size
Underscore.png 14.7 KB


Sorry, but I don't think you will get much support for this idea.

In her definitive textbook about music notation "Behind Bars", this is what Elaine Gould says about Extenders (i.e. melismas):


In reply to by DanielR

Although her instruction WAS probably a correct practice for English lyrics and syllables, particularly as far as the traditional engraving was concerned, that is not the case in other scores I have seen. Particularly in Japanese scores. The Japanese composers and musicians have a different idea for the "extender". For example, the lines are not "underscore". It is a horizontal line in the position of dash or hyphen, but it is thinner and longer for full duration of the notes. You may recall that Microsoft Words can draw this type of line.

Moreover, in this age of digital scores and auto-play, we are often made aware of the actual duration of notes, for example, the distance between notes. Often actual duration of the notes matters in many cases in digital scores. So, I dare say that her idea about "extender" should probably regarded as outdated.

I have seen enough number of scores, where the composers put the "extenders" (or horizontal lines, not underscore or "extenders" ) to explicitly depict the duration of the notes or syllables, spanning the actual and full durations of notes.

For this reason, I have been told many times from others that, in my scores that I transcribed using MuseScore, my extenders were not long enough, i.e., not a faithful reproduction of the original scores.

So, even if Elaine Gould's way for "extender" is "a standard", probably there should be a global option to allow lines to stretch for the duration of the notes, v.s. stopping it at the note, perhaps in the Style menu of MuseScore.

" In the figure attached, the line should extend till the end of the measure according to the length of the note."

And to move this idea forward, you should make a formal Feature Request on Github. See an earlier question on the forum "Where to go to add suggestions/requests?";

In reply to by DanielR

Thanks for that. However, I would not put it under "melisma" (though, it would certainly affect the case of melisma, too). In melisma, there are numerous notes, shaping the melody line that is energetically going up and down and extending some prolonged duration, but starting with a single syllable. That is a different music concept. The line "extender" is a more general concept. Most cases, it is just multiple notes, tied together and played for a single syllable, for some prolonged duration, often spanning more than one measure. Nevertheless, as you also encourage the idea, it probably should be a Style option.

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