The list below is a glossary of frequently used terms in MuseScore as well as their meaning. The differences between American English and British English are marked with "(AE)" and "(BE)", respectively.
- A short grace note which appears as a small note with a stroke through the stem. It is quickly executed and technically takes no value from its associated note.
- A sign appearing in front of a note that raises or lowers its pitch. The most common accidentals are sharps, flats or naturals, but double sharps and double flats are also used. Also koron, and sori and other quarter tone or microtonal accidentals. Accidentals affect all notes on the same staff position only for the remainder of the measure in which they occur, but they can be canceled by another accidental. In notes tied across a barline, the accidental continues across the barline to the tied note, but not to later untied notes on the same staff position in that measure.
- Note (or vocal) range used in a staff. Used particularly in early music.
- Anacrusis (mostly BE)
- See Pickup measure.
- The point of attachment to the score of objects such as Text and Lines: When the object is dragged, the anchor appears as small brown circle connected to the object by a dotted line. Depending on the object selected, its anchor may be attached to either (a) a note (e.g. fingering), (b) a staff line (e.g. staff text), or (c) a barline (e.g. repeats).
- A long grace note which takes value from its associated note. Its functions include: passing tone, anticipation, struck suspension, and escape tone.
- An arpeggio tells the performer to break up the chord into the constituent notes, playing them separately and one after the other. An arrow on the arpeggio indicates the direction in which the player should play the notes of the chord.
- A marking or symbol indicating how a note should be played, usually by altering the length of a note or shaping its attack and decay.
- Bar (BE)
- See measure.
- Vertical line through a staff, staves, or a full system that separates measures.
- Notes with a duration of an eighth or shorter either carry a flag or a beam. Beams are used for grouping notes.
- Beats Per Minute is the unit for measuring tempo, traditionally counted in quarter note durations. See metronome mark
- A double whole note or breve is a note that has the duration of two whole notes.
- A caesura (//) is a brief, silent pause. Time is not counted for this period, and music resumes when the director signals.
- An interval equal to one hundredth of a semitone.
- A group of two or more notes sounding together. To select a chord in MuseScore, press Shift and click on a note.
- Sign at the beginning of a staff](#staff), used to tell which are the musical notes on the lines and in the spaces.
Some transposing instruments make use of octave transposing clefs or have different clefs in concert pitch vs. transposing pitch.
See also Courtesy clef.
- Concert pitch
- 1. The sounding, or real pitch of a note—as opposed to the written pitch. See Working with transposing instruments.
- 2. A score viewing mode in Musescore, see Concert pitch box in the status bar.
- 3. The frequency of A4.
- Courtesy clef
- A reduced-size clef applied to the end of a system indicating a clef change at the start of the next system.
- Cross-staff notation
- A musical phrase extending across two neighboring staffs: e.g. bass staff and treble staff.
- To notate , see Cross-staff notation.
- To notate , see How to span a chord or stem over two staves.
- Crotchet (BE)
- See Quarter note.
- Double Flat
- A double flat (♭♭ or 𝄫) is a sign that indicates that the pitch of a note has to be lowered two semitones.
- Double Sharp
- A double sharp (♯♯ or 𝄪) is a sign that indicates that the pitch of a note has to be raised two semitones.
- Demisemiquaver (BE)
- A thirty-second note.
- See tuplet.
- A symbol indicating the relative loudness of a note or phrase of music—such as mf (mezzoforte), p (piano), f (forte) etc., starting at that note.
- Edit mode
- The program mode in which you can either edit text in text objects; or which allows you to move non-text objects with the keyboard arrows (where this is disallowed in normal mode). There are a number of ways to enter this mode, after clicking on the desired object: (1) Double-click (text only); (2) Press F2 or Alt+Shift+E; (3) Right-click and choose "Edit element".
- Eighth note
- A note whose duration is an eighth of a whole note (semibreve). Same as a quaver (BE).
- Endecalineo or endecagram, the stave for Solfège. See Solmisation (tutorial for MuseScore 3, pending update)
- See volta.
- Enharmonic notes
- Notes that sound the same pitch but are written differently. Example: G♯ and A♭ are enharmonic notes. To quickly switch between enharmonic spellings, press J.
- A feature that allows the user to split (or explode) the chords in a passage of music in a single staff into their constituent notes or voices. See Implode and explode.
- See also, Implode
- See beam.
- Sign (♭) that indicates that the pitch of a note has to be lowered one semitone.
- French Beam
- Beams where the stems only extend to the first beam, but don't intersect all the way through. To create use the French Beams plugin.
- Grace note
- Grace notes appear as small notes in front of a normal-sized main note. See acciaccatura and appoggiatura.
- Grand Staff (AE)
- Great Stave (BE)
- An instrument or part with two or more staves, featuring treble and bass clefs, used to notate music for keyboard instruments and the harp.
- Half Note
- A note whose duration is half of a whole note (semibreve). Same as a minim (BE).
- Hemidemisemiquaver (BE)
- A sixty-fourth note.
- A feature allowing the user to combine voices from separate staves onto one staff. See Implode and explode. This is similar to, but not exactly, score reduction (wikipedia).
- See also, Explode
- The difference in pitch between two notes, expressed in terms of the scale degree (e.g. major second, minor third, perfect fifth etc.). See Degree (Music) (Wikipedia).
- A term used to describe two interlocking, oppositely-beamed sets of notes. To create, use the voice function and the beam palette. See Interleaved beam directions
- In MuseScore, "jumps" are notations such as "D.S. al Coda", found in the "Repeats & Jumps" palette.
- Key Signature
- Set of sharps or flats at the beginning of the staves. It gives an idea about the tonality and avoids repeating those signs all along the staff.
A key signature with B flat means F major or D minor tonality.
- An Iranian accidental which lowers the pitch of a note by a quarter tone (in comparison to the flat which lowers a note by a semitone). It is possible to use this accidental in a key signature.
See also Sori.
- Legato is a play style which involves playing the notes in a slurred manner. Legato may be written as text or shown through the use of slurs.
- Local time signature
The time signature on a single staff when different from the overall score time signature. See Adding a local time signature for a single staff.
- A longa is a quadruple whole note.
- Ledger Line (AE)
- Leger Line (BE)
- Line(s) that are added with and for notes above or below the staff.
- Measure (AE)
- A segment of time defined by a given number of beats. Dividing music into measures provides regular reference points to pinpoint locations within a piece of music. Same as bar (BE).
- Metronome mark
- Metronome marks are usually given by a note length equaling a certain playback speed in BPM. In MuseScore, metronome marks are used in Tempo markings.
- Minim (BE)
- See Half note.
- A natural (♮) is a sign that cancels a previous alteration on notes of the same pitch.
- Normal mode
- The operating mode of MuseScore outside note input mode or edit mode: press Esc to enter it. In Normal mode you can navigate through the score, select and move elements, adjust Inspector properties, and alter the pitches of existing notes.
- Note input mode
- The program mode used for entering music notation. Enter it by pressing N or clicking on the pen icon in the note input toolbar.
- Operating System (OS)
- Underlying software that controls and manages the hardware and other software on a computer. Popular OSes are Microsoft Windows, macOS, and GNU/Linux.
- An alternative passage which may be played instead of the original passage (from the Italian for "alternatively", meaning "or be it").
- 1. In MuseScore, the music notation for an individual instrument staff extracted from the main score. See Parts.
- 2. A single melody line in a polyphonic musical composition. MuseScore 4 never uses this definition, but there is a similar feature Voice.
- 3. Instrument(s) or their staves. MuseScore 4 never uses this definition.
- Pickup Measure (mostly AE, also known as an Anacrusis (mostly BE) or Upbeat)
- Incomplete first measure of a piece or a section of a piece of music. See Measure duration and Create new score: Pickup measure and also Exclude from measure count. May or may not be compensated for at the end of the score or section.
- See tuplet.
- Quarter note
- A note whose duration is a quarter of a whole note (semibreve). Same as a crotchet (BE).
- Quaver (BE)
- See eighth note.
- See tuplet.
- Respell Pitches
- Tries to guess the right accidentals for the whole score (see Accidental).
- Interval of silence of a specified duration.
- Re-pitch mode
- Allows you to rewrite an existing passage of music by changing the note pitches without altering the rhythm.
- In MuseScore, a region of the score between section breaks; also from the start of a score to the first section break, and from the last section break to the end of the score.
- Semibreve (BE)
- A whole note (AE). It lasts a whole measure in 4/4 time.
- Semiquaver (BE)
- A sixteenth note.
- Semihemidemisemiquaver (Quasihemidemisemiquaver) (BE)
- A hundred and twenty eighth note.
- See tuplet.
- A virtual instrument format developed by E-mu Systems and Creative Labs. See SoundFonts.
- An invention of Werner Schweer, the Musescore developer (source). This format supports sound sample compression. See SoundFonts.
- Shared note head
- A single notehead with two beams—one up, one down. Especially common in guitar music, for example. See Noteheads
- Sign (♯) that indicates that the pitch of a note has to be raised one semitone.
- Slash chord
- See Slash chord (Wikipedia).
- Slash notation
- A form of music notation using slash marks placed on or above/below the staff to indicate the rhythm of an accompaniment: often found in association with chord symbols. There are two types: (1) Slash notation consists of a rhythm slash on each beat: the exact interpretation is left to the player (see Fill with slashes); (2) Rhythmic slash notation indicates the precise rhythm for the accompaniment (see Toggle rhythmic slash notation).
- A curved line over or under two or more notes, meaning that the notes will be played smooth and connected (legato).
See also tie.
- see Endecalineo
- An Iranian accidental which raises the pitch of a note by a quarter tone (in comparison to the sharp which raises it by a semitone). It is possible to use this accidental in a key signature.
See also Koron.
- A virtual instrument format supported by MuseScore. A SoundFont is a special type of file (extension .sf2, or .sf3 if compressed) containing sound samples of one or more musical instruments. In effect, a virtual synthesizer which acts as a sound source for MIDI files. MuseScore 4 comes with its own native soundfont, MS Basic.
- Spatium (plural: Spatia) / Space / Staff Space / sp. (abbr./unit)
- The distance between the midpoints of two lines of a music staff (or one-quarter the size of the full five-line staff, assuming a hypothetical staff line thickness of 0). The sizes of most elements in the score are based on this setting (see Page settings).
- Staff / Staffs
- A set of lines and spaces, each representing a pitch, on which music is written. In period music notation (before 11th century) the staff may have any number of lines.
- Staff Space
- See Spatium (above).
- Stave / Staves (BE)
- See Staff (above).
- Step-time input
- MuseScore's default note input mode, allowing you to enter music notation one note (or rest) at a time.
- Set of staves to be read simultaneously in a score.
See also Operating System (OS).
A curved line between two adjacent notes of the same pitch to indicate a single note of combined duration:
- Quarter note + Tie + Quarter note = Half note
- Quarter note + Tie + Eighth note = Dotted Quarter note
- Quarter note + Tie + Eighth note + Tie + 16th note = Double Dotted Quarter note
See also slur.
The act of moving the pitches of one or more notes up or down by a constant interval. There may be several reasons for transposing a piece, for example:
- The tune is too low or too high for a singer. In this case the whole orchestra will have to be transposed as well—easily done using MuseScore.
- The part is written for a particular instrument but needs to be played by a different one.
- The score is written for an orchestra and you want to hear what the individual instruments sound like. This requires changing the transposing instrument parts to concert pitch.
- A darker or a more brilliant sound is desired.
- See tuplet.
- A tuplet divides its next higher note value by a number of notes other than given by the time signature. For example a triplet divides the next higher note value into three parts, rather than two. Tuplets may be: triplets, duplets, quintuplets, and other.
- See pickup measure.
- The velocity property controls how loudly the note is played, from 0 (silent) to 127 (maximum). This usage of the term comes from MIDI Velocity: on a keyboard instrument, it is the speed with which a key is pressed that controls its volume.
- 1. In Musescore, voice is a software feature, you can use up to 4 voices per staff, see Working with multiple voices, also see staff.
- 2. The musical term "voice" refers to a musical line or part which can have its own rhythm. MuseScore does not have a feature to implement the exact same idea, if the voice feature does not suit your need, try adding separate instruments instead.
- In a repeated section of music, it is common for the last few measures of the section to differ. Markings called voltas are used to indicate how the section is to be ended each time. These markings are often referred to simply as endings.
- Written pitch
- Transposing instruments (such as the clarinet, French horn, trumpet etc.) are notated at a different pitch (and key signature) to how they sound. The notated pitch is called the written pitch,