Articulations can be found in the Articulations palette.
These include all kinds of accents, staccato and vibrato markings.
Articulations can be added to your score in any of three ways:
Certain articulations (accent, marcato, staccato, and tenuto) can be added from the note input toolbar (above the document pane).
To add any articulation:
Alternatively, drag and drop an articulation symbol from the palette to a notehead.
To add an articulation with a keyboard shortcut (i.e. accent, marcato, staccato, or tenuto):
Certain articulations affect note playback—such as staccato, staccatissimo, louré (tenuto + staccato), and accents. This is handled automatically by the program.
For a selected articulation any editable properties will be shown in the Properties panel.
Certain default properties for articulations can be edited in Format→Style→Articulations, Ornaments.
Dynamics are symbols indicating the relative loudness or softness of a note or phrase of music. They can be found in the Dynamics palette.
There are two types of dynamics: standard ones, such as p and ff etc., which apply to the score from the point where the dynamic appears; and single-note dynamics, such as sfz, which apply only to the note to which the dynamic is attached
Dynamics can be edited just like other text objects. They also have a playback effect on the score.
To apply a dynamic to the score, use one of the following methods:
If the dynamic you want is not available in the palette, you can customize an existing one in the score. Since a dynamic is a form of text, you can edit it as such.
Dynamic indications such as p, mf, f etc., are actually special characters and need to be entered from the special characters box. Alternatively you can use shortcuts from the following table:
|Dynamic||Windows & Linux Shortcut||Mac Shortcut|
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The default positioning of all dynamics in the score can be adjusted from Format→Style→Dynamics.
Hairpins are symbols used to indicate gradual changes of volume in the score. There are two kinds: crescendo (getting louder) and decrescendo (getting quieter).
There are also crescendo and diminuendo lines which do the same thing:
All can be found in the Lines or Dynamics palettes.
To enter a hairpin from a palette use one of the following options:
To enter a hairpin using a keyboard shortcut:
To extend or contract the range of a hairpin, see Changing range of a line.
To change the height, select the height adjustment handle (shaded in the image below) …
… then use keyboard arrows, offsets (Properties panel), or dragging, to move the handle into the desired position. (See Basics: Adjusting elements directly.)
Alternatively you can adjust the "Height" in the Hairpin: Style section of the Properties panel.
To allow the hairpin to slope at a diagonal, check the "Allow diagonal" box in Hairpin: Style in the Properties panel. Then move the start/end adjustment handles to get the desired slope.
See Hairpin properties.
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You can edit properties specific to hairpins in the Hairpins section of the Properties panel.
Niente circle: Places a small circle at the point of the hairpin.
Allow diagonal: Allows the hairpin to be set at an angle; see Changing appearance of hairpins (above).
Line style: Choose solid, dashed or dotted lines.
Thickness / Height:
Height (new system): Specify the height of subsequent hairpins if the first one spans a system.
Position: Above or Below.
Properties here allow you to specify beginning, end, and continuation texts and their vertical offsets.
Default properties for all hairpins in the score can be adjusted from Format→Style→Hairpins:
A slur is a curved line between notes of different pitches indicating legato phrasing; exact interpretation depends on the instrument.
Slurs should not be confused with (note) ties which connect notes of the same pitch and extend the duration of the first note to encompass the connected notes.
After selecting a note, a slur can be created using any of the following:
The exact method of applications depends on whether you are in note input or normal modes of operation. The keyboard shortcut method will be used as an example.
Using method 2 (above) you can create a slur between notes in the same or different voices. Cross staff slurs can be created in exactly the same way. e.g.
You can also adjust the start/end handles of an existing slur to move the start or end to a note of a different voice:
To adjust the shape of a slur or its range, see Adjusting elements directly.
The following properties specific to slurs can be adjusted in the Properties panel.
Style: Solid, dashed or dotted line.
Position: Above or below.
Some default properties for all slurs in the score can be adjusted in Format→Style→Slurs/Ties:
Breaths and pause symbols may be found in the Breaths & pauses palette.
These symbols also have an adjustable playback effect.
A fermata, or pause appears above/below a note, and extends its written duration, indicating a pause in the music.
It may also be written above a rest, or a barline, indicating the end of a piece or section of music.
A breath mark is placed just above the staff, and tells a wind instrument performer or singer to take a breath here, or other instruments to pause slightly. It may occur between two notes or at the end of a measure.
The caesura also indicates a pause, slightly longer than a breath mark but less so than a fermata. It may occur between two notes or at the end of a measure.
To add a fermata:
Alternatively drag a fermata symbol onto a note.
To add a breath mark or caesura:
Alternatively drag a breath mark/caesura symbol onto a note.
MuseScore automatically places the breath mark/caesura in the correct position, just above the staff and after the selected note.
Pause symbols have a playback effect in the score. To adjust the pause length, click on Playback in the Properties panel and adjust "Time stretch".
The position of selected pauses can be altered by clicking on Appearance in the Properties panel and adjusting the offsets. Alternatively you can drag a symbol, or enter Edit mode and use the keyboard arrows to move it.
In addition you can position a fermata above or below the staff by selecting the desired option in "Placement on staff" in the Fermata section of the Properties panel.
You can specify default positional properties for all fermatas in Format→Style→Fermatas.
Ornaments and ornament lines can be found in the Ornaments palette.
These include turns, trills, mordents and so on.
To add an ordinary ornament to the score:
For a trill only, it is possible to use a custom shortcut instead at step 2.
The procedure for applying ornament lines is just like any other line, i.e.
If you subsequenly need to adjust the ornament's length, see Changing the range of a line.
To apply an accidental to an existing ornament, such as a trill:
Note, that accidentals added in this way do not affect playback.
The following properties of selected ornaments can be edited from the Ornament section of the Properties panel:
Performance: Choice of Standard or Baroque style of playback.
Placement: Choose from Above staff, Below staff, Chord automatic, Above chord, Below chord.
Certain default properties for ornaments can be edited in Format→Style→Articulations, Ornaments.
Arpeggios, glissandi (slides) and strum arrows can be applied from the Arpeggios & Glissandi palette:
Many have an adjustable playback effect (see below).
To add an arpeggio/strum to a score:
Alternatively you can drag an arpeggio/strum symbol from a palette onto a notehead.
Click on an arpeggio and two adjustment handles will appear at the top and bottom of the symbol. You can move either up or down by dragging, or by selecting a handle and using the up/down keyboard arrows.
By default arpeggio symbols only span notes of the same voice. If you have a chord consisting of more than one voice, just extend the arpeggio as shown above.
To create an arpeggio that crosses two staves:
The arpeggio should now extend to cover the chord in both staves.
To change the speed of a selected arpeggio, press Playback in the Properties panel, and adjust "Spread delay".
If you want to turn off playback altogether, untick the "Play" box in the General section of the Properties panel.
Default properties for all arpeggios in the score can be adjusted from the style menu at Format→Style→Arpeggios:
Note: Guitar slides are covered in Guitar techniques.
Alternatively you can drag a glissando symbol from the palette onto a notehead.
Glissandi can cross staves if needs be:
If required, you can change the start or end position of a glissando as follows:
This method can also be used to move the edit handle between voices and across staves.
The line type of a selected glissando—whether straight or wavy—and any text associated with it, can be changed in the Glissando section of the Properties panel. You can also turn off text by unchecking the "Show text" box.
To change the playback effect, click on Playback and select an option from the dropdown list: chromatic, white keys, black keys, diatonic, portamento.
You can also choose to turn off the playback effect by unchecking "Play" in the General section of the Properties panel.
The following properties are available in the Glissando section of the Properties panel.
Glissando line: Choose from "Straight" or "wavy".
Show text: Uncheck/Check this box to turn off/on the display of the glissando text.
Text: Specify any text to appear with the glissando.
The default style of all glissando text is determined by the settings of "Glissando" in Format→Style→Text styles.
Note: For guitar bends, see Guitar techniques.
The Arpeggios & glissandi palette also contains bend symbols for brass instruments such as the trumpet:
These have a playback effect on the score.
if you are not sure what's what, mousing over the palette icon will display the name of the symbol in a tooltip.
Alternatively, drag a bend symbol onto a notehead in the score;
To change the shape of the bend, click on it and four adjustment handles become visible. Drag the handles, or click on them and press the keyboard arrows, until you get the shape you want.
Grace notes can be applied to the score from the Grace notes palette.
For bagpipe players there is a comprehensive range of grace notes in the Bagpipe embellishments palette.
Grace notes are small (cue-size) notes which ornament a previous or following note. They take their value from this parent note but do not themselves count towards the measure duration.
There are several kinds:
Acciaccatura(): Usually written with an oblique stroke through the note flag, or through the beam, if there is a beamed series.
Appoggiatura: A stressed note which takes half the value from the parent note.
Grace note after (trill endings):
Note: For standard staves and tablature, the following instructions for adding grace notes work in both note input and normal modes.
Alternatively, you can drag and drop a grace note from the palette onto a note in the score.
You can add a run of grace notes to a selected note by repeatedly applying any of the following:
To apply a chord of grace notes:
To edit the visual duration, click on the grace note in normal mode, and select a duration from the note input toolbar or by using a keyboard shortcut (see Selecting duration).
Standard staves. To change the pitch of grace notes, use one of the methods described in Editing notes and rests.
Tablature. To change the pitch of grace notes, use one of the methods described in Changing the pitch in normal mode (tablature).
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You can adjust the default size for all grace notes in Format→Styles→Sizes.
A Tremolo is the rapid repetition of one note or chord, or a rapid alternation between two notes or chords. The placement of tremolos is handled automatically by the program.
For stemmed notes, the rhythmic value of the tremolo is indicated by the number of diagonal strokes through the stem. One stroke indicates that the original note is divided into eighth notes. e.g.
Two strokes divides the note into sixteenth notes, and three strokes into thirty-second notes. On whole notes the tremolo symbol is placed above the note.
In traditional two-note or two-chord tremolos, incomplete beams are drawn between the notes to indicate the rhythmic value of the tremolo (to change the style see below). One beam indicates eight notes, two beams sixteenth notes, and three beams thirty-second notes. e.g.
A buzz roll symbol is also available from the Tremolos palette. However, it is notational only and currently has no playback properties.
Tremolo beams appear between the notes/chords and the appearance of the noteheads is adjusted accordingly.
Example: To enter a two-note tremolo with the duration of a half note (minim), enter two normal quarter notes (crotchets). After applying a tremolo symbol to the first note, the note values automatically double to half notes.
Three styles of tremolos between notes/chords are supported in MuseScore; the default is traditional. To change the style:
Note: The following page applies mostly to special-purpose lines such as guitar barre lines, fingering/string number lines, ornamentation lines, vibrato lines, palm mute lines etc.
Information on more general-purpose lines can be found at:
Lines often have text associated with them, and may feature a playback effect appropriate to the line type.
Lines are applied to the score from a palette like any other element. By default, most can be found in the Lines palette; other specialist lines in the Guitar palette.
To apply a line to a selected range:
Alternatively you can drag a line from a palette to the start note, then use the end adjustment handle to extend it (see Changing range of a line).
To apply a line to a single note:
To adjust the range of a line, see Changing range of a line.
The following also have playback effects:
See Tempo markings.
A staff text line, like staff text, is affixed to one staff in a system, and is indicative only for that staff. It appears only in the part featuring that staff.
A system text line, like system text, is affixed to one staff but is indicative for all the staffs in the system. It appears in all instrument parts.
A variety of trill lines are available from the Lines palette.
Plain lines are applied from the Lines palette. They can be purposed to anything you like; their use in fingering/string number lines is discussed briefly above.
The Properties panel allows you to view and edit General, Appearance, and Playback settings.
The name of the section below varies depending on the type of line. But it will have two tabs marked Style and Text:
Clicking on the Style tab allows you to set the properties of the line itself:
Line type: A choice of straight, hooked, angle-hooked, or double-hooked.
Thickness / Hook height:
Style: Choice of solid, dashed or dotted line.
Dash / Gap: Adjust the appearance if "Dashed" is selected.
Clicking on the Text tab allows you to apply and position any text associated with the line:
Beginning text: Enter the text, if any, to appear at the beginning of the line.
Vertical offset: Allows you to move the text vertically in relation to the line (in sp.).
Text when continuing to a new system: If the line spans a system, this is the text that will appear before the line in the next system.
Vertical offset: As above.
A few properties of all lines in the score can be set in Format→Style→Text Line; and in Format→Style→System Text Line:
The Symbols palette is a large repository of musical symbols additional to those found in the main palettes area. It is actually a section within the Master palette.
To view the Symbols palette, select View→Master Palette, or use the shortcut Shift+F9. Then click on “Symbols” in the list of headings. This reveals all the symbols. You can also click on a subcategory to focus on a specific set of symbols.
You can search for a symbol by entering a term in the Search box at the top of the Symbols section. Specify the musical font you want in the dropdown at the bottom right.
Symbols added from the Symbols palette scale in line with the score (see Staff size), but their font-size is fixed.
If you need a symbol with an adjustable font-size, you should consider adding it instead from the Special characters palette as staff text.
Use one of the following methods:
After adding a symbol, you can, if required, add an additional symbol to the existing one. Use one of the following:
To reposition, you can drag the symbol, or edit the offsets in the Apprearance section of the Properties panel. You can also move the symbol using the keyboard arrows—after selecting it and entering edit mode by pressing Alt+Shift+E or F2.
If two symbols have been joined together (see Add to other symbols, above), moving the first-added symbol moves both. However you can still move the second symbol in relation to the first.