Dynamics

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    In music, the dynamics of a piece are the variation in loudness between notes or phrases (wikipedia. In Musescore, dynamics symbol objects should be used to indicate dynamics. They are Text objects. Musescore understands them to create appropriate playback.

    Adding a dynamics symbol to a score

    Using the palette

    Dynamics palette

    All dynamics symbol objects are in the Dynamics palette. To add a dynamics symbol to the score, use either one of the following methods:

    • Select one or more notes, and then click an item in a palette; or
    • Drag an item from a palette onto a note.

    To add a dynamic symbol that is not present in the Dynamics palette, for example poco f, follow these steps:

    1. Choose one symbol that is musically closest to the desired symbol. For the example above, it is reasonable to add a f symbol.
    2. Add it onto the score and then modify it.

    Using keyboard shortcuts

    There are no shortcut assignment options yet for adding any dynamics symbols onto a score.

    Changing appearance of a dynamics symbol

    Depending on software version, changing appearance of dynamics symbol on a score may or may not change its playback, refer to "Changing playback" section below.

    Adding plain characters

    Plain characters are characters entered using (typing on) a computer keyboard, their formatting behavior is different from that of professional glyphs. See musescore 3 handbook Fonts chapter.

    1. Select a dynamics symbol.
    2. Enter edit mode (double click).
    3. Type text before or after the dynamics text.

    Adding profession glyphs

    Profession glyphs are not plain characters, their formatting behavior is different. They are not italic plain characters. They are only created using keyboard shortcut shown below, but not copied from other programs or the internet, as they are not exactly raw unicode characters. See musescore 3 handbook Fonts chapter.

    1. Select a dynamics symbol.
    2. Enter edit mode (double click).
    3. Use the following keyboard shortcuts:
    Glyph Windows & Linux Shortcut Mac Shortcut
    Piano p Ctrl+Shift+P Cmd+Shift+P
    Forte f Ctrl+Shift+F Cmd+Shift+F
    Mezzo m Ctrl+Shift+M Cmd+Shift+M
    Rinforzando r Ctrl+Shift+R Cmd+Shift+R
    Sforzando s Ctrl+Shift+S Cmd+Shift+S
    Niente n Ctrl+Shift+N Cmd+Shift+N
    Z z Ctrl+Shift+Z Cmd+Shift+Z

    Combining dynamics with Expression Text

    An Expression Text object can be added beside a dynamic symbol object to indicate dynamics. To add one to the right of a dynamics symbol:

    1. Select a note that has a dynamics symbol attached, or select the dynamics symbol.
    2. Click on the expression item in the Text palette.

    Snap to (An automatic layout feature)

    When an Expression Text object is added to a note that is already attached to a dynamics symbol (or vice versa), the two items align automatically. Dragging and moving either one of them moves both. Changing the Position property of either one changes both. This behavior is called "Snap to", and can be changed with the Expression Text object's Properties panel: Snap to dynamic property, see also the main chapter for Expression Text object. source https://musescore.org/en/node/351407.

    Changing formatting of characters inside a dynamics symbol

    Explained in Dynamics symbols properties and "Dynamics symbols style" section below.

    Changing playback of a dynamics symbol

    Playback feature of dynamics symbols is under vigorous developement, it may change drastically among software versions. Information provided here is valid for Musescore 4.2 beta (November 2023). It could be outdated at the time of reading. Please help update this chapter.

    To summarize the difference from musescore 3,

    • Dynamics symbols work regardless of instrument's Sound, see Mixer chapter.
    • Muse sounds understand dynamics symbols but the effect is not adjustable.
    • The Velocity property is only available in individual notes (but not of dynamic symbols), it is functional when Soundfont is used, 64 is the default value, see Properties panel. Volume does not depend alone on Velocity property.

    The followings are details of changes, it is also suitable to read for users not familiar with musescore 3:

    Same as MuseScore 3, when a Standard dynamics symbols, such as p and ff etc. is added to the score, it affects playback from the parent note onward until the next dynamic symbol. Final barlines or rests do not reset the loudness to default. Single-note dynamics symbols, such as sfz only affect the playback of the particular note they are attached to.

    Playback depends on each affected instrument's Sound setting, selected in the Mixer. See MuseScore 3 features not implemented in MuseScore 4: Velocity controls.

    Playback is pre-configured and does not change with text content. This allows a f symbol to be modified into poco f, by adding plain characters, while keeping the playback effect the same as the original f symbol. This is true, however, even if new and correct profession glyphs are used. For example, a ppp symbol created by replacing the content inside a f symbol (added from palette) with three p glyphs, looks exactly like the ppp in the palette, but it creates f playback.

    Playback settings of dynamics symbol , the Property Panel: Playback tab , present in MuseScore 4.0, has been removed. See https://github.com/musescore/MuseScore/issues/13858.

    Velocity property of dynamics symbol existed in MuseScore 3 is removed. The Velocity property is only available in individual notes, see Properties panel, its effect on playback also depends on Sound setting, see Mixer chapter.

    Dynamics symbols properties

    Selected dynamics symbol(s)' can be edited in Properties panel. Under Properties : Dynamics:

    • Scale: Size of professional glyphs inside. Plain characters are not affected.
    • Avoid barlines: By default, dynamics markings avoid colliding with barlines, but this can be turned off.
    • Position: Choose whether a dynamics sits above or below the stave
    • Alignment with notehead (under Show more) : For dynamics symbols with plain characters added. Align the attached note vertically with the professional glyphs only, or align it with the entire object including plain characters.
    • Frame (under Show more): Add a square or circular frame to the dynamics marking and customize its styling

    Dynamics symbol objects are Text objects, character formatting using Properties : Text is covered in the Formatting text chapter. The Font property affects plain characters, but not the professional glyphs. Professional glyphs use "Musical symbols font", see "Dynamics symbol style" section. Dynamics symbol objects differ from other Text objects in that they do not have the overriding Text Style property (under Show More) used by plain characters inside. They always use the "Style for text inside Expression" profile.

    To edit the score-wide settings, see "Dynamics symbol style" section.

    Dynamics symbols style

    See the main chapter Templates and styles

    • Values of the "Musical symbols font" can be edited in Format→Style→Score.
    • Values of the "Style for Dynamics" can be edited in Format→Style→Dynamics. Settings of "Style for Dynamics" affect professional glyphs only, plain characters do not use them.
    • Values of the "Style for Expression text" can be edited in Format→Style→Expression text.
    • Values of the "Style for text inside Expression" can be edited in Format→Style→Text Style→Expression.
    • "Style for text inside Dynamics" existed in Musescore 3 is removed. Plain characters inside dynamics symbols uses "Style for text inside Expression". Professional glyphs inside dynamics symbols uses "Musical symbols font", it can be overidden with "Style for Dynamics" : "Override score font" setting. See musescore 3 handbook Fonts chapter.

    Dynamics style settings