Add back textual tempo texts

• Oct 6, 2015 - 09:52
Reported version
S5 - Suggestion

In MuseSCore 1.3 we had a list of tempo texts (adante, moderato etc..). We removed it from 2.0 when reorganising the tempo text facility. We could add them back based on


The old list was sorted by language (Italian, English, French, German), then alphabethical.
Wouldn't it be better to sort by Speed?
Maybe even restrict to one language only, probably Italian?

My vote would be: Sorted by speed and Italian - the most important ones.

To jump right in, here'd my suggestion:
Grave, Largo, Adagio, Andante, Moderato, Allegretto, Allegro, Vivace, Presto

I know this list - while not being completely random - reflects only my personal feelings of what might come handy. Everything else (also different languages), however, could easily be derived from these and put into a custom palette.

Anyway, depending on the number of items we'd like, my next candidates would be:
Lento, Larghetto, Andantino, Allegro moderato, Prestissimo

Good lists. I'd suggest adding the contents of the first list, plus Lento, to the main Tempo palette. Then put anything you like into the Master.

Why, after copying it in a custom palette, can not we edit the text of a tempo and change the value (or label) and create its own values or aspects? (Currently, it is impossible to create a custom tempo other than on the score).
I would prefer this solution rather than names (or values) rigidly fixed by programming and it will always edit to change or adjust.

I am not understanding. What prevents you from creating your own custom tempo texts and then adding it to your custom palette? Customize the tempo text *before* adding it to your palette.

The problem is that it is not possible to place a custom tempo in a palette. This is not accepted by MuseScore. At least in my case, I have never been able to do and it's not for lack of trying all kinds of possibilities.

It should be possible, works fine for me. What goes wrong when you try? Can you create other custom palette elements? Have you read the Handbook on how to do this? If you are on Mac, have you tried a current nightly build? There is a known bug that prevent creation of custom palettes in the released versions that affects Mac only.

It seems that this part of the manual is not translated into French, some features are not always clear to me...
It seemed to me that a copy and paste or drag and drop was the easiest way to place an item in a palette ... that's clearly not the case.

WASam: are you assigning to this to yourself because you are are a programmer and you intend to implement a solution? Have you discussed this on IRC or elsewhere to get agreement that this is something that should be added?

No. I haven't discussed in details. But I have notified in IRC channel that I am working on it. I assigned it to myself in order to avoid any duplication.

The old tempo texts were removed on purpose, so I'm not sure there will be universal agreement they should be added back, which is why I asked. That is, this isn't a bug, but a feature that was removed deliberately. Still, I'd probably be in favor of adding a very small list back to the palette (maybe around half a dozen of them).

Can you please suggest the tempo texts that are to be added? Further, I will wait until it is confirmed that this feature is to added.

Can you please suggest the tempo texts that are to be added? Further, I will wait until it is confirmed that this feature is to added.

That seems a reasonable list to me. Basically, I'd look for what is traditionally printed on metronomes, although I'm sure there is variation. Although I still have mixed feelings on whether we really want to clutter the palettes with pre-typed texts when it is so easy to enter text yourself, and to customize the palettes. There are probably at least 50 text markings of various kinds that are more commonly found than, say, "Lento" - but what constitutes a common marking marking depends very much on style.

Worth considering is shipping a few additional palettes / workspaces - ones prepopulated with markings common to various different genres.

I believe it's good to have some tempo texts available. It's easy to type them, sure, but a lot of users will appreciate to have a default BPM value for Lento or Andante.

We have over 100 bagpipe embellishment in the Advanced workspace and the master palette... having a couple tempo text is fine. A top 5 could even be included in the basic tempo palette if we remove the dotted values if we consider that K-12(?) users will have more use of these then the dotted values.

May I voice my opposition to removing the dotted values? They are really a great improvement over 1.3. and I encounter and use them often.
Generally one uses a tempo marking once per piece (or movement if in classical music) so I don't think adding tempo-words is such a high priority. And regardless of what selection you choose you will keep finding ones that you need to type or modify (like words in German or something like Adagio espressivo or Allegro molto moderato--the second example isn't even all that rare).
But I don't have a problem with adding the words back in, only please let me keep the dotted values!

I never talked about removing the dotted values. I'm talking about removing them from the basic workspace only. The goal of the basic workspace is to keep MuseScore accessible to people who have no use of 12/16 time signature (and so no use of dotted 8th note tempo marking). Given the time signature in the default palette we could probably remove half note and half dotted notes from the basic workspace too).

Also, you don't need these dotted values in the palette to use them. They are inserted automatically when you create a tempo text via Alt+T if the time signature is compound.

Given the time signatures in the Basic workspace, half (2/2 alla breve), quarter, eighth (3/8), and dotted quarter note tempos are the only ones needed. I think the "basic" user would rather use numerically defined tempos than Italian descriptors, though.

I wouldn't be so sure about the "basic" user - I think it's genre-dependent. Someone just interested in re-entering their favorite classical pieces to hear the playback will see "Allegro" on the music and want to copy it.

BTW, I wonder how feasiable it would be to add a tooltip to the items in the tempo palette to suggest the shortcut Alt+T - and similarly for other palette items that have shortcuts?

Well, to be honest, I really don't have a clear concept of who the "Basic" user really is. But I'm picturing someone who has had, say, two years of lessons on his/her instrument, wanting to input some piece in order to hear the playback, or write some new piece using the concepts they've learned in those first couple of years of lessons. I think the Basic palette does a reaosnable job. Certainly there are no clefs the average 2nd-year piano or flute student is ever going to need, and tremolo would not be needed for 99% of the music they are dealing with either, etc.

There probably isn't a basic user. If they are doing classical music they will need time signatures like 6/8 all the time, no matter how inexperienced. Ditto with Italian tempo markings. If somebody plays say the viola or cello more clefs will be required than the two that make up a piano system. Etc.
And I imagine it is similar for people who work in different styles. If you define as "basic" the stuff that everybody needs then everybody will have to add some "advanced" features based on individual need to have a workable system.

Still, I think the Basic palette actually does a reasonable of capturing this. It has all the clefs that would be needed by violists and cellists as well as other instruments, it has 6/8, etc. So I actually think a workable definition of "basic" might be, markings most commonly encountered in basic 2nd-3rd year music for piano, guitar, and orchestral instruments. But of course, there are a very large number of such markings if we include text, and it isn't reaosnable to expect every single marking one might see to have its own palette item - it's trivially easy to type your own text compared to creating your own time signature. The small handful of tempo texts we are talking about here and arguably the only exceptions worth adding. Not because it is hard to type "Allegro", but because it would be kind of nice to have default playback semantics predefined.

I think it was nice to have the tempo text as it was in version 1.3, to not have to remember that "Adagio" for example, was 72 BPM. And in any case, you could still change that number when you selected one of the Italian words in the Text>Tempo drop down menu. Now I will have to create a palette to do the same. I don't see how the change in the new version is an improvement.

Advanced palette (bpm as in 1.x):
Grave (48bpm), Largo (48bpm), Lento (48bpm), Adagio (72bpm), Andante (96bpm), Moderato (112bpm), Allegretto (120bpm), Allegro (132bpm), Vivace (144bpm), Presto (184bpm)
On top in Master palette:
Larghetto, Andantino, Allegro moderato, Prestissimo (200bpm)

As per Wikipedia:
Larghissimo – 24 bpm -> 24
Grave – 25–45 bpm -> 35
Largo – 40–60 bpm ->50
Lento – 45–60 bpm -> 52.5
Larghetto – 60–66 bpm -> 63
Adagio – 66–76 bpm -> 71
Adagietto – 72–76 bpm -> 74
Andante – 76–108 bpm -> 92
Andantino – 80–108 bpm -> 94
Marcia moderato – 83–85 bpm -> 84
Andante moderato – 92–112 bpm ->102
Moderato 108–120 bpm -> 114
Allegretto – 112–120 bpm -> 116
Allegro moderato – 116–120 bpm -> 118
Allegro – 120–168 bpm -> 144
Vivace – 168–176 bpm -> 172
Vivacissimo – 172–176 bpm -> 174
Allegrissimo or Allegro vivace – 172–176 bpm -> 174
Presto – 168–200 bpm -> 187
Prestissimo – 200 bpm and over -> 200

Where to put them? Between the note=value and the note=note or below the note=value?

It's an improvement if you want to actually use metronpome markings rather than the Italian words / phrases, as using metronome marks took *many* more steps previously. It's a very slight step backwards if you want to use the Italian words phrases, as that now takes one extra step. But indeed, adding back a small set of common Italian words/phrases would be nice.

BTW, one prpoblem with the old system is that it created the false impression that Adagio *means* 72. it doesn't. That just happens to be one possible interpretation that might sense or might not depending on whether the previaling rhythm of the piece was quarter notes, eighth notes, or whatever. So you really sholdn't be thinking in terms of remembering any specific number to associate with a tempo marking. You should choose the marking and the numebr independently, and the currewnt system makes this about as easy as before.

To be sure the metronome figures associated with tempo texts depend also on the time signatures (generally in triple meter one ought to err on the fast side). Also most people don't follow these numbers--for sound musical reasons. Adagio in particular is hardly ever played as fast as these numbers demand.

So automating metronome numbers along with tempo texts might not be really all that helpful as they will need to be edited on many occasions.

are you saying thet bpm for these doesn't mean quarters per minute (like in MIDI), but literally beat per minute, so need to take the timesig into account?

Sane defaults are fine; I have no opinion on specifics since I doubt I'd ever use the defaults anyhow. I was addressing the comment that it was an advantage "in version 1.3, to not have to remember that "Adagio" for example, was 72 BPM". I don't see what memory has to do with it. Surely if you place the word "Adagio" in your score, it's because you *know* you want it played slowly, and chances are next to zero that 72 will turn out to be the exact tempo you have in mind. Rememebring that 72 happened to have been the default seems pretty irrelevant to me.

@Jojo-Schmitz Yes that is exactly what I am (in part) saying. The list in post 33--as far as I can see--is essentially the one that has been printed on Metronomes for a long time now (don't know if Maelzel already printed it on his).

The tempi there are generally on the fast side (compared to general practice), especially for slow tempi.

Moreover they depend on the beat: Not only does the figure apply to a half note in cut time and to a quarter in 4/4. On average a half note in cut time is played slower than a quarter note in 4/4 under the same tempo marking (most of the time it is allegro for cut time).

Also in triple meters (3/4, 3/8) the beat tends to be faster than in even meters (4/4, 2/4 etc.)*.

Given all these complexities it will be extremely difficult to come up with a system that will automatically produce reasonable playback tempi for a marking like "adagio".

* This is because we need to feel the whole measure as a unit in order to achieve the lilt that characterizes uneven meters, one measure as a sort of higher order beat (in theory this would require a crotchet 1/3 faster in 3/4 than in 2/4). Often the actual beat is one measure in triple meter, look at (almost) any Beethoven scherzo. Or Viennese Waltz.

So we may need something like a variable and time sig dependant divisor, resulting a bpm that is calculated that the time the tempo text gets added to the score or even later at runtime, rather than a fixed predefined one.

IF you want to take this on. To do it right you'd have to analyze and compile a sufficient number of samples (from recordings--you don't necessarily have to listen, just divide the number of beats by the performance time, taking into account all repeats if any--oops: To know if they take the repeat you have to listen after all) to give you the parameters. I am certainly not going to volunteer for this job.
Alternatively you may use composer's M.M. numbers, but they are often not by the composer in the first place and are routinely disregarded by performers--often, but not always for good reason.

I don't think we need something more complex. The initial idea is that currently people believe they can't use a textual tempo text. So it's convenient to have a few of them with sensible value (meaning lento is slower than allegro). I will merge the PR, and we can refine later.

Status (old) fixed active

Okay, this is not good—everything is counted in quarter notes. Now Andante in common time is 92 BPM, and Andante in cut time is 46 BPM!

Status (old) active fixed

How is this not good? We now have textual tempo texts and they have decent BPM values.They don't follow time signature? None of the tempo text does currently... It will be a hard to maintain the tempo when the time signature changes... This bug is fixed. Please open a feature request if you want with details about how you would make it work.

I still think of this as very much a work in progress. I have received scores created with MuseScore 1 where the creator was led to use a decidedly wrong tempo marking because it created the right playback effect—which will be inevitable with the current implementation, unless you assume that all scores are in 4/4 common time.

A work in progress, I agree. But isn't it rather low priority? The variations are almost endless, e.g. 3/4 needs to be counted sometimes in quarter notes and sometimes in whole measures. How would Musescore guess? Maybe there is a way where the guess is correct often enough. But even then the tempo preset is going to be off most of the time and the user needs to change the tempo almost every time.
I would prefer to stay with the modus operandi of musescore 2. At some point the musician needs to take over from the computer; I think this is a good point for that to happen.

I would prefer to stay with the modus operandi of musescore 2. At some point the musician needs to take over from the computer; I think this is a good point for that to happen.

That seems perfectly reasonable to me, and indeed I think that's why the change was made from version 1 to 2.

Words are too difficult to define in music when it comes to tempo. I would just scrap the entire idea. Just sayin. I am nothing but a user who transcribes a lot of classical to late romantic scores. It would take a lot of code to determine if adagio is in 4/4 or 3/8 or any other time and its real meaning. I struggle with this in every score I transcribe, and sometimes still don't get it. I just adjust the BPM to make the score sound right from listening to performances.

You have a different opinion that I do. Which is fine. If the work is done, then it might as well be added, if it's not I think developers could spend their time on something more beneficial.

old wooden mechanical metronomes lists (standard list) :

Largo		 40 -  60  
Larghetto	 60 -  66   
Adagio		 66 -  76   
Andante		 76 - 108  
Moderato	108 - 120 
Allegro		120 - 168 
Presto 		168 - 208 *

* newer versions split this  :
Presto 		168 - 200
Prestissimo	200 - 208 

Right, but the of course that's really just a rough guide. After all, "Allegro" means something very different for a piece made mostly of quarter and half notes versus a piece made mostly of eighths and sixteenths. And it also depends on time signature - the same number of beats per minute means something very different in 4/4 versus 2/2 versus 6/8, and currently we don't account for this. That is why attaching specific BPM numbers to these text markings is not a fantastic idea - it really will lead to wrong results a lot of the time.

Which isn't to say this isn't worth thinking about - perhaps there is a way to add them but with playback effect disabled. Or, eventually, to adds smarts to MuseScore to attempt to sort out the time signature issue at least. The first *might* be possible for 2.1, but probably not the second.

Having back textual tempo markings have been asked for several times.
We can't do much more than giving them some more or less meanungfull Defaults, and those on an old mechanical metronome indeed have been taken for the ones that got added to master.
With the 2.x inspector it is now much easier to see and change the BPM than it ever was in 1.x.

Yes, it may get improved by making the "B" of BPM being dependant on the denominator of the active time sig, but that hasn't yet been implemented, while the 'regular' textual tempo markings have been done. Having them in this form is better that not having them at all

As said, this feature has been asked for quite often, that alone is reason enough. Playback is second anyway, not to speak of 100%c orrect playback, just having (some of) the texts is needed

But the people asking for it wouldn't want it if they understood. Anyway, in the absence of anything approaching consensus, I think it's reasonable that we should leave it as is for the moment: in for 3.0, not for 2.1.

I support the wish to have the basic tempo text in the palette (the ones that were there in Musescore 1.x). I prefer them with no metronome numbers attached but if a majority wants them (even though they are going to be incorrect almost every time) I can live with that too.
Though on the other hand: Typing the word allegro is not that much work either, so maybe this is not a top priority issue.

I agree, typing a word is not difficult, and of course you can customize the palettes. But a lot of beginning users aren't aware of either of these options - if they don't see something in the palette, it might as well not exist. So it *is* a concern. I don't have strong feelings about it, but FWIW, I guess my current feeling is the best thing for 2.1 would be to add them to the palette in such a way that they have no playback effect at all by default, requiring explicit interaction with the Inspector to make that happen. Right now we don't really allow a tempo of 0 to be set via the Inspector, but perhaps we could make it so these tempo markings were set to 0 and that this was a no-op, much as we do for dynamics like sfz that need to not have any playback effect.

No playback effects means 120BPM, thia wrong in about 100% and as such a bad default. What has been done in master is at least pretty close to correct in about 90%, all time sigs with a 4 in the denominator

I mean literally *no* playback effect, not having the effect of changing tempo to 120. If setting a value of 0 doesn't do that now, we could presumably change the code to *make* it so - there shouldn't be existing scores depending on this since there is no supported way to create such a marking currently.

I am not as comfortable with the idea of going back to the badness of 1.3, where text markings had *wrong* effect much of the time.

In create new score you have the option of changing the default while setting up your new score. If you chose not to, you either are pleased with the default or plan to change it later, just like the key or time signature.

Downside of making them system text is that they can't easily be made to have meaningful playback effect just by entering a number into the Inspector.

Which would alert people that they needed to make sure of the tempo themselves. But really, why not just code for the necessary smarts, the same way Add > Text >Tempo checks the time signature and adds the appropriate version?

120 bpm might be less logical or consistent than Marc's new definition of zero but I think it is easier for users to alter an existing bpm number than to add one that does not exist as yet. I am voting for the 120 bpm default tempo.
It is true that it is 100% wrong (actually probably closer to 99%, allegro in 4/4 or 3/4 is quite often close to 120), but zero is zero percent right also.

120BPM is the Default in Absence of a real tempo marking. Marc's 0 would mean 'no change', so would result in 120 if it is the first and only marking and in something different if it is not the first marking, so show highly inconistent results. Makeing 0 mean literaly 0BMP, would cause playback to not work at all.
If there is a good way to add smarts to take the timesig into consideration, hey, let's go for it, but in master first, then cherry pick for 2.1, if it is not too invasive.
This issue here is about the tempo markings that are in master already.

I agree it is technically feasible to use the time signature to calculate more reasonable tempo values. What I'm not sure if are the compatibility implications. It would be easier if we could add a new flag to tempo texts, but that might have to be 3.0 only. Hmm, unless maybe we used *negative* tempo values? Or turned the Follow option into an enum with multiple values - no, absolute, and relative-to-time-signature?

It should be possible to add smarts to textual tempo text that do the right thing when adding them, calulating the BPM based on the timesig right there.
Having something like relative or moving tempos texts, ones that change on the fly when timesig gets changes after they got added would almost certainly be something for 3.0, as it would Need changes in the tempo texts' proerties and as such a change in the file Format, I don't think this can be done in a backwards compatible way.

Hmm, maybe not, I just created a score with 2 tempo texts, one with ollow text and one without, saved as mszx, opened with editor and changed the followText 1 (true) to 2 (0, false, don't follow) is not written to the file, being the default), and en opened it with a portable 2.0.1: it open it without a probem, and showd that tempo as 'follow text'. On write it changes it back to 1, so loses that information, but it had a BPM value stored, so didn't even lose Information then.
On read in 2.1/master the absence of a note = value plus the presence of a followText could be used to mean relative tempo, save as 2.

Change the number of beats per minute, delete the entire tempo marking, then type Larghissimo, Grave, Lento, Largo, Larghetto, Adagio, Adagietto, Andante Moderato, Andante, Andantino, Marcia Moderato, Moderato, Allegretto, Allegro, Vivace, Vivacissimo, Allegrissimo, Presto, or Prestissimo when Larghissimo = >20, Grave = 20-39, Lento = 40-44, Largo = 45-49, Larghetto = 50-54, Adagio = 55-64, Adagietto = 65-68, Andante Moderato = 69-72, Andante = 73-77, Andantino = 78-82, Marcia Moderato = 83-85, Moderato = 86-97, Allegretto = 98-109, Allegro = 110-131, Vivace = 132-139, Vivacissimo = 140-149, Allegrissimo = 150-167, Presto = 168-177 and Prestissimo = <177. Hope that helps in Musescore 2.0.0.

Setting a value is only valid for one unit of time = to quarter note (crotchet) in n / 4. These values no longer make sense in n / 2 or n / 8 with unit of time as dotted quarter note, dotted half note (minim), half note or whole note (semi breve). Unless this value changes automatically according to the rhythm and the unit of time chosen.

Editing the tempo and fixing its value myself has never seemed unbearable ... it is not the most frequent action that one takes to enter a score and is therefore not really a loss of time.

I agree that tempos should be based on the time signature, but as a quick solution for 2.3, why not just add two new tempos:

  • "Custom text"
  • "Custom text (♩=80)"

This would indicate to users that they can change the text, with or without a BPM specified.

If any tempos are going to be removed from the Basic workspace, my vote would be to keep at least one dotted tempo (probably dotted quarter note) otherwise people might be unaware they exist.

If this is to be restored, can I make a suggestion:

Make the text bold, but the bracketed information (containing the note value and number, etc) normal.

In reply to by chen lung

I think the suggestion is to have the words without notes and tempos displayed. When the note and tempo are displayed they are normally bold like the words. Making the note and tempo non bold would be most unusual and can easily be changed by the user if they insist.

In reply to by chen lung

I'm sure I could find examples of nearly any notation I want, but an isolated case, or even a few, does not make it usual. In thousands of classical, band and jazz scores I've seen, the note + BPM, when present, is always in bold like the tempo text. Even when the normal text is all in italics, all the tempo info is all in bold and usually italics also, but that is not usual either.

Elaine Gould's Behind Bars confirms that the metronome marking (and the brackets around it) should be non-bold. It doesn't explicitly say so, but there is an example on p.184 that clearly shows it to be the case:


This appears under the heading "Tempo Primo and Tempo Secondo". Gould is saying that the first time one of these terms appears the tempo it refers to should be stated in brackets to avoid confusion. Anyway, I chose this example because we can easily see that the tempo is bold and metronome marking is not, thanks to the different weight of the brackets in each.

I think this is a little unfortunate from MuseScore's point of view, because it means that the tempo marking as a whole does follow a single text style. Possibly the metronome marking should be made a separate object within a tempo and only be configured via the Inspector (i.e. choose a beat unit and BPM in the Inspector, then enable or disable a checkbox to "show metronome marking"). The chosen setting would also affect playback.

In reply to by shoogle

I suspect this would require a rework of the Tempo text so the user will be able to identify the note the BPM is based upon as an option in the inspector, otherwise the tempo text would always show the same note. This would actually be a big improvement. The current method of always changing BPM to the 1/4 note in the inspector is confusing to the new user. Let the playback algorithm by the location of the conversion to 1/4 note if needed.

Indeed, that's what I meant by "choose a beat unit". As you say, this would be a big improvement over always using crotchets (quarter notes).