Play mode

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This page shows old instructions for MuseScore 3.
For MuseScore 4 users, see Play mode.

    Playback toolbar

    Basic playback functions are accessed from the Play toolbar located above the document window:

    Playback toolbar

    From left to right, the icons are:

    • Toggle 'Midi input':
    • Rewind to start position: Playback returns to the beginning of the score, or to the start of the loop (if one is set).
    • Start or stop playback: See Start/stop playback.
    • Toggle loop playback: See Loop playback.
    • Play repeats: Turn off if you want playback to ignore repeats.
    • Pan score during playback: Turn off if you want the score to remain stationary.
    • Play metronome: Toggles metronome ON and OFF.

    Playback commands

    Start/stop playback

    To start playback:

    1. Click on a note, rest or the blank part of a measure to establish the starting point. Note: If no selection is made, playback returns to the place it left off; or, if no previous playback, to the start of the score.
    2. Press the Play button; or press Space.

    During playback you can jump to a specific note or rest in the score by simply clicking on it.

    To stop playback:

    • Press the Play button; or press Space.

    During playback

    Once playback has started, the following commands are available:

    • Go back to previous chord:
    • Advance to next chord:
    • Go back to start of previous measure: Ctrl+ (Mac: Cmd+)
    • Advance to start of next measure: Ctrl+ (Mac: Cmd+)
    • Rewind to start of score: Home (Mac: Cmd+Home); or press the Rewind button (playback toolbar).

    During playback you can still use keyboard shortcuts to open and close panels, such as Play, Synthesizer, Mixer etc.

    Loop playback

    • Playback should be off, and the "Loop playback button" on.
    • Select the desired region of the score for loop playback.
    • Press the playback button.

    Playback will now cycle within the region marked by the blue flags.

    • Use the "Loop playback" button to toggle the loop on or off.

    See also: Play Panel (below).

    Play panel

    To open the Play Panel use one of the following options:

    • Press F11 (Mac: Fn+F11).
    • From the menu bar, select ViewPlay Panel.

      Play Panel

    The Play Panel allows you to make temporary changes to tempo and volume, to loop playback between specified points etc.

    • Loop playback: Select a start note and click on the Loop in button; select an end note and click on the Loop out button. Press Play to hear the loop. The controls also work during playback.
    • Rewind, Play: Playback controls.
    • Metronome: Toggle metronome playback ON or OFF. Note about beat subdivision: the metronome adds 'beat subdivision ticks' for sufficiently slow tempo of the piece (see Tempo), but they are not added when the % Tempo is slowed down in the playback panel (it is necessary to edit the piece's tempo to achieve them).
    • Count in: (Conductor icon) Adds a count-in when you start playback at the start of a measure. Extra beats are added if you start mid-measure. Toggles ON and OFF.
    • Tempo: Make temporary change to tempo. See Tempo : Changing monitoring playback tempo in Play Panel chapter.
    • Volume: Make temporary change to volume (resets when program is reopened). Note: To change the default playback volume of the score, see Synthesizer.

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