Editable dynamic-mark velocities

• Apr 8, 2024 - 10:08

I'm preparing to upload an arrangement to Musescore.com, and wanted to adjust the velocities of its dynamic marks to improve playback. (The default range between p and f seems much too wide to me; with f slightly loud, p is nearly inaudible.)

I was surprised to learn (e.g. https://musescore.org/en/node/351677) that, as of MuseScore 4, the velocities of dynamic marks could no longer be adjusted. (I was also amused to see some of the less-than-helpful "why would you want to do that, anyway"-style "support" replies that characteristically, bafflingly occur here. 😄 )

A notation app isn't a sequencer, and dynamic marks shouldn't aspire to replace fine-tuned MIDI playback velocities. And because dynamic marks are intended to indicate consistent relative volumes throughout a score, it doesn't make sense to me—even for the purpose of playback—for their velocities to be individually editable.

However, as long as a notation app is used for playback (especially to the extent it is at MuseScore.org!), I believe its users should have some say over the global velocities of the dynamic marks in their scores. (I've never seen another notation app that didn't allow this.)

It's great that MS 4 lets one adjust the velocities of individual notes, for people with the time and interest for such fine-grained control. However—like the rest of us, I suspect—I'd simply like to use dynamic marks so they reflect, in playback as well as notation, how I'd like people to play my piece. If the default, unchangeable velocities can't do that, that's a fail, IMHO.

So, how to implement this? Very easily, I believe.

In the thread I cited above, there's some concern that editable dynamic-mark velocities would conflict with edited note velocities. Nope! Dynamic marks can be set to percentages—e.g., by default:

f = 120%
mf = 100%
mp = 80%

...and so on. When a dynamic mark occurs, it raises or lowers the velocities (whatever they may be) of subsequent notes by that percentage, until the next dynamic indication occurs.

Users could easily edit these percentages right on the Dynamics palette, by right-clicking a dynamic mark; clicking the new Edit Velocity command, and entering the velocity they want.

It'd be up to you to decide if these values were per-score, or program-wide (for all scores). (I'd be happy with either, as I use templates, requiring only one edit for all subsequent scores of that type... Anyone who's not doing this, and clicking "New Score" instead, is working way too hard IMHO!)

This is basic 21st-century stuff, guys, so I hope you can get to it soon.

Thanks for your consideration—and for all your hard work, as usual! – A.


Or it may make more sense to add a "Dynamics" page to Preferences and keep the settings there... You guys know best.

In any case, I do hope you'll make the values global. It'd be fine for each mark's velocity to be editable (I'm sure that users who create scores exclusively for playback would appreciate that), but I think most of us would be pleased just to be able to set our default values.

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