articulations invert when moved between top and bottom

• Mar 23, 2024 - 16:27

I've just discovered that many (all?) of the items on the Articulations palette invert when you flip them from top to bottom (or vice versa) of the note they are affecting.

In some cases, this doesn't matter: the shapes of a dot (staccato), a line (tenuto), or a 'greater-than' sign (accento) are unchanged by inverting them. But the shapes of a caret (marcato), a U (unstress), a V (up bow), or the top three sides of a box (down bow) do change. And, at least in the case of the last two, the intuitive meaning changes by inverting them.

I would think that you would want all of them to remain in the same orientation when moved ... but then I consider the fermata, which must be inverted when moved between top and bottom, and I suppose that the marcato is always open to the note? But the up- and down-bow need to stay in the same orientation when moved, as the comma-shaped breath mark, and the angled caesura do.

Is this something happening on only my computer? Is this a known issue? Is this standard practice????? :-O

If I should report it, where and how?


I don't think that MuseScore is doing anything wrong. The original authors followed the guidance of Elaine Gould in her notation handbook Behind Bars.

In any case, as you have noticed there is not one orientation rule that can be applied to all articulations. Page 117 of Behind Bars offers some guidance about placement:

In reply to by TheHutch

"The up-bow and down-bow symbols should not invert"

According to Gould "Where two instruments share a stave in a score, the bowing symbols for a lower part are inverted below the stave. However, since the up-bow sign can be mistaken for an accent, it is best not to place two parts on one stave when bowing is to be included - and most certainly not if the score is to be played from."

I understand from this that bowing symbols can be inverted but it is better not to. And Musescore seems to cater for the possible but has the desirable as default. And that seems to be a Good Thing.

In reply to by SteveBlower

a) No, it doesn't "cater for the possible". You cannot place a correctly oriented up-bow under the staff.

b) I must say that, in this, Gould's advice seems to be the worst of all possible worlds. It should be very simple: up-bow is "V" and accento is "^", regardless of location. No possibility of mistaking one for the other.

Finale has some articulations that reverse when below the staff, but the majority are the same either way. The up bow and down bow stay the same, but the marcato does reverse. The upbow and marcato, although similar, are different articulations (in Finale, at least.)

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