MuseScore on high resolution displays

• Nov 22, 2014 - 21:26

Just wondering who is using MuseScore on a high resolution display, and what problems (if any) you encounter. Different operating systems provide different types of support for high resolution displays, and Qt (the OS-independent toolkit on which MuseScore is built) has its own role to play here.

Lately I have been running MuseScore on Ubuntu / xfce installed on a Toshiba Chromebook 2, which has a 1080p display on a 13" screen for a physical DPI of 166 (a typical standard display is more like 96 DPI; MacBook Pro "Retina" displays are around 220 DPI). Ubuntu & xfce don't provide much in the way of special support for high resolution displays aside from allowing you to set a larger system text size, which carries over to the main menu and dialog boxes for most applications (including MuseScore). But the score view itself, as well as icons, palettes and other graphical objects in MuseScore, don't scale, so at high resolution, they look tiny. I'm experimenting with a workaround for this - a command line option to set a scaling factor for the fixed-size objects. But I am wondering what experiences others might have. I want to make sure my solution is as generally useful as it can be.

I have no idea what might happen on Windows, but from what I understand, MacOS does some internal magic to allow applications to maintain the illusion that they are running on a 96 DPI display. This works for MuseScore 2.0 builds almost everywhere - most things appear to be a good size by default. The exceptions, apparently, include the labels on the palettes and the "Concert Pitch" button. Perhaps other similar objects with text labels, if there are any. I am pretty sure this can be fixed independently of the scaling option I implemented.

See the following issue I created for more information - #39601: Poor scaling of GUI on high resolution displays


I use xubuntu (using xfce, Nvidia latest drivers) 14.04-1, MuseScore Nightlies and 1.3.
I have a 23" ViewSonic monitor running at 1920 * 1080, 60Hz (approx 96 dpi).
No problems at all, IMHO, on MuseScore other than slight discrepancies in the score when zooming in to ridiculous magnifications such as 1600x but no problems with the menu icons. In general, I have more problems zooming in on PDFs of sheet music than with MuseScore.

MS 1.3, Beta and Nightlies running fine. Score @ 100% appears larger than with previous settings (in my post, above). Shrinking it to about 46% and the Font down to 6 looks very good. Clearly ubuntu/MS combination is doing "something" with regards to screen appearance since the text in other applications (Firefox etc.) all appears tiny (as one would expect). Changes made in the System menu to "Appearance" take effect immediately for the system but MS only changes on exit and re-launch.

ViewSonic 24" monitor
1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz

Default font - Sans 6
DPI 226
Anti-aliasing ON
Hinting NONE

ubuntu 14.04
XFCE desktop

The "real" DPI for my monitor is, as pointed out, not high-res:

1] Find the actual size of the screen (in cm)
xrandr | grep -w connected
521mm x 293mm
(using Pythagoras this corresponds to a diagonal of 598mm)

2] Convert to inches (divide by 25.4)
20.5 x 11.5
(diagonal is 23.5 inches which accords with what the monitor claims to be)

Divide pixels by inches:
1920 / 20.5 = 93.6 DPI
1080 / 11.5 = 93.9 DPI

I'm using MuseScore on my ASUS Zenbook UX303LN laptop, which has a 13" 3200x1800 touchscreen display (282 DPI). Buttons are very small, around 0.5 cm, so they are very difficult to touch accurately. I tried doubling the icon size in the Preferences -> General -> Style, but this only affects the toolbars, not the palette or the Navigator, which are TINY. Scale the attached image to 6.5 x 11.6 real inches and you'll see what I have to use.

These scaling problems really only affect readability and touch input, because otherwise it's easy enough to use the mouse. On the subject of touch input, there's not much in the way of making a really intuitive touch interface. UI elements would need to be enlarged a bit, pinch-to-zoom needs to be fixed (it's not working properly for me; it tries to zoom but snaps back to the original zoom level), Note Entry would need to be insert on-release instead of on-press.

Attachment Size
highres.png 164.03 KB

In reply to by CombatCube

Did you try the scaling option I referred to? It is "-x DPI" - where you susbstitute DPI with your actual screen resolution (282). Only problem will be that the specific elements that seem too small on your system might not be the same ones that are too smal on mine. But give it a shot, and let me know how it works. I specifically did not change anything about *font* sizes. MuseScore inherits the system font size you have set. So if you find the fonts small, you should up the general system font size. But the "-x" option should take care of icons etc.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks Marc. 2.82 was too high, but 1.7 seems to be a sweet spot. I currently have OS-level DPI scaling turned off, so the titles are small, but that's the case for all windows. Moving the window to a normal-DPI screen results in an interface that's a bit larger than usual, but still usable, especially since the score can be zoomed out with ease. If pinch-to-zoom worked, the interface would be almost completely usable with my touch screen. Cheers =)


running on Windows on a Surface Pro 3, at 160 DPI OS setting. The -x switch works pretty well, but Oxygen itself doesn't scale well and looks a bit awkward and particularly cramped between items (Qt recommend projects use Fusion for High DPI support)
In other projects I've had great success having Qt find the DPI ratio by querying QScreen and dividing by the constant 96.0. This means Musescore will basically follow the OS setting without intervention, and works on Win and Linux at least (I haven't been able to test this approach with OS X).

A couple of niggles: Start Centre doesn't seem to scale, and the fonts in the General Style dialog are not consistent.

The new scaling on 2.0.3 unbalance the size of icon in palettes to the icons in Play Panel.
This example is Windows 10 with 15" display with 2880x1620 pixel.


In general, the palettes icons appear quite heavy.

In reply to by tobik

The size of the toolbar icons is under your control in Edit / Preferences. Hard to tell because screenshots are resolution-dependent and also I don't know your system font size (which would help me understand how big your menu text is in real life), but the sizes in your look about right to me based on typical defaults. What is clearly off is the icons in the Play Panel - those are way too small.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

My menu font size is Windows standard 9 pt. But the generic scaling of text, apps and elements is set to 175%.

Thanks for your helpful Preferences / Icon size tip. BTW, when I apply changed sizes, just the second line of toolbar icons (Note input, Note durations, etc) actually change there size. Only when I press OK also the first line of icons (New, Open, Save, etc) will change their size to. But the first line does not change its size to the same extend as the second line. Probably the first line does only accept the icon height, not the width. Is this intended?

In reply to by tobik

I am legally blind and need the Note Input Menu enlarged. HOW did you get yours to be enlarged for Musescore 3? In Musescore 2.3.2, I had a fix. I would hit WIN key + "R" and place the fix:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\MuseScore 2\bin\MuseScore.exe" -x1

Thanks for any help!

R Bryan Anthony

P.S. I'm using two (2) 40-inch monitors/TVs

In reply to by b2sing4u

-x1 should have been a NOP, i.e. should do nothing, increasing by factor 1, but might have served as a workaround for misdecting your screens' DPI settings. Esp. TV screens are know for those misdetections.

That option is available in MuseScore 3 too, that additionally to -x factor has a -D dpi option, maybe you'd need to "play" with those options and their arguments.

"C:\Program Files\MuseScore 3\bin\MuseScore3.exe" -x2

In reply to by b2sing4u

You could uninstall and install again, this time using the default options.

Or are you on a 32bit Windowns and/or installed a 32bit version of MuseScore?
Then it may be
"C:\Program Files (x86)\MuseScore 3\bin\MuseScore3.exe" -x2
"C:\Program Files (x86)\MuseScore 3\bin\MuseScore3.exe" -D 72

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I reinstalled Musescore and found it at:
"C:\Program Files\MuseScore 3\bin\MuseScore3.exe"
"C:\Program Files (x86)\MuseScore 3\bin\MuseScore3.exe"

I opened Musescore and it's BIGGER than my 40 -inch screen! I tried changing the display settings, but it didn't work. Plus, -D 72 made the note input menu TOO BIG. Some of the note entries are OFF the screen.

I know this has to be some kind of display issue. I just don't know what it is. And with me being legally blind, I find it difficult to figure out. I appreciate your input...means a lot, Jojo!

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In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I'm sorry but, what does this mean? what exactly did you do? in the musescore folder, I don't see a musescore.exe available to open and edit. I only see the blue musescore 3 icon, which opens the program. all other files are .dll files? in preferences I was able to increase icon size, but that still leaves my pallet icons and time signature properties icons tiny. could you please explain in further detail what -D xxx is, where to find it, how to access/edit it?

this explanation is very technical and I do not understand it.

In reply to by Socalsalas

Unfortunately Microsoft didn't make this as easy as they could have. And really, monitor manufacturers didn't help when they started producing high DPI displays without helping standardize how programs would interact with them, So we're left having to deal with this.

Every system is different, or else we'd be able to always get this right by default. In order to tell you the right answer for your system in particular, we'd need to understand more about what is going wrong, and really the only way to do that is by some trial and error.

While the -D option is the right answer for some systems, it isn't for all. Now that you've found the EXE file, try right-clicking it, Properties, Compatibility, and Change High DPI Settings. In that dialog are a couple of different controls. Try a different setting, then close out of there, restart MuseScore, and see if it's better. If not, repeat and this time try something else. I know, it sucks, but it's what we have.

EDIT: oh yeah, another roadblock MIcrosoft put up here is hiding the EXE in the filename, No idea what they were smoking when they thoughtdecided to hide part of the file name for some files by default. There's an option somewhere to turn it off, but anyhow, the blue icon you are seeing probably is the exe file even if Windows is hiding that info from you.

Only if none of these options works would I then turn to using -D, at least on Windows, where it seems this isn't always the right answer and is harder to make use of anyhow.

But to use -D, you don't set this on the EXE file but on the desktop icon. Right-click that, Properties, and you'll see a place where the command line is given, and that's where you add the -D 200 or whatever.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I really appreciate the detailed answer. I was able to follow your directions, it was the Microsoft part of things I didn't understand. None of the DPI settings fixed it. Compatibility mode for windows 8 made the icons bigger.... but huge lol I also right clicked the desktop shortcut > properties > shortcut. I see a text input box labeled "target" and "start in" but adding -Dxx tells me that it won't be a valid pathway.

I like to use dark themes. I switched to the dark theme. I tried to change the font and the size but the font rendering was always blurry (on Windows - I also use the MuseScore on Mac BigSur where it looks better).
On the other hand the text in the UI is a bit tiny yet blurry. I hope this would be fixed in the new QML based version.
I had such issues in other Qt based applications in the past.

In reply to by roccoor

Seems this is probably about font hinting or anti-aliasing, and there are probably environment variables or other settings that would affect this. On Windows, it's also about your OS settings for scaling. So you might want to do a bit of research about these issues - almost certainly there are solutions that would work on your system. Unfortunately each system is different so it's impossible to give create a one-size-fits-all solution.

SIze of text in the UI for MuseScore is totally under your control, you can set that in Edit / Preferences / General. That's assuming it's really just the text. If you see icons, palettes, and the score itself small, then you need the "-D" command line option to tell MsueScore your correct display resolution (add "-D xxx" where xxx is the resolution in DPI).

BTW, you mighty also try change anti-alias setting within MuseScore in Edit / Preferences / Canavs, but I think that is only about the score, not the UI? Worth a shot though.

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