We highlight the impact of cluster-mass-dependent evolutionary rates upon the evolution of the cluster mass function during violent relaxation, that is, while clusters dynamically respond to the expulsion of their residual star-forming gas. Mass-dependent evolutionary rates arise when the mean volume density of cluster-forming regions is mass-dependent. In that case, even if the initial conditions are such that the cluster mass function at the end of violent relaxation has the same shape as the embedded-cluster mass function (i.e. infant weight-loss is mass-independent), the shape of the cluster mass function does change transiently during violent relaxation. In contrast, for cluster-forming regions of constant mean volume density, the cluster mass function shape is preserved all through violent relaxation since all clusters then evolve at the same mass-independent rate.
On the scale of individual clusters, we model the evolution of the ratio of the dynamical mass to luminous mass of a cluster after gas expulsion. Specifically, we map the radial dependence of the time-scale for a star cluster to return to equilibrium. We stress that fields of view a few pc in size only, typical of compact clusters with rapid evolutionary rates, are likely to reveal cluster regions which have returned to equilibrium even if the cluster experienced a major gas expulsion episode a few Myr earlier. We provide models with the aperture and time expressed in units of the initial half-mass radius and initial crossing-time, respectively, so that our results can be applied to clusters with initial densities, sizes, and apertures different from ours.