There are many different kinds of text objects in MuseScore (see tables below); text may also be found incorporated into lines. This chapter shows you how to create, format and edit text objects, and also includes information about the following types of text:
|Staff text||General purpose text attached to a single staff: appearing only in that instrument part.|
|System text||General purpose text attached to a single staff: appearing in all instrument parts.|
|Chord symbols||Display the chords associated with a melody: usually above the staff.|
|Fingering||Numbers or letters attached to notes showing which fingers to use.|
|Lyrics||Create lyrics attached to a melody.|
|Rehearsal marks||Facilitate rehearsals, divide score into sections, bookmark passages etc.|
For other types of text available in MuseScore, follow the links below:
|Tempo marks||Apply metronome and/or expression marks.|
|Dynamics||Indicate the loudness of a note or phrase.|
|Swing text||Change from straight to swing time, and vice versa.|
|Instrument text||Apply mid-staff instrument changes.|
|Repeats and jumps||Da Capo, Dal segno, Fine etc.|
|Figured bass||Period notation for keyboardists.|
|Frame text||Title/composer/lyricist details at the start of a score; songsheet lyrics etc.|
|Headers/Footers||Page numbers, copyright info etc. at the top/bottom of a page.|
|Text-lines||Voltas, ottavas, pedal lines, guitar barre lines etc.|
To add a text-based element to the score, use one of the following general methods:
Every text-based element in the score has three levels of formatting:
To position a text object, use any of the following methods:
When you apply a text element to the score, its anchor position will depend on the type:
To enter Text edit mode use one of the following methods:
In this mode you can apply formatting to individual characters, including options such as bold, italic, underline, subscript, superscript, font family and font size. These are accessed from the Text toolbar below the document window:
To exit Text edit mode use one of the following:
In Text edit mode, the following keyboard shortcuts are available:
You can use the Special Characters window to insert quarter notes, fractions, and many other kinds of special symbols or characters into your text. A few symbols can also be accessed by shortcut (see below).
To open Special Characters, use any of the following methods:
Note: (1) This only works in Text edit mode; (2) The Special Characters dialog should not be confused with the menu item of the same name in the macOS version of MuseScore.
The dialog is divided into 3 tabs: Common symbols, musical symbols and unicode symbols. The musical and unicode tabs are further subdivided into alphabetically-arranged categories.
Double-clicking an item in the Special Characters dialog immediately adds it to the text where the cursor is positioned. Multiple items can be applied without closing the dialog box, and the user can even continue to type normally, delete characters, enter numerical character codes etc., with it open.
In Text edit mode the following keyboard shortcuts can be used to access certain special characters:
Ctrl+Shift+P: Piano (dynamic mark).
This is the highest level of text formatting and applies to all text elements in the score of a particular type. Staff text objects, for example, have a unique style, as do all tempo markings, all lyrics, all chord symbols and so on. Editing a text style allows you to change the appearance of all objects which share that style in one go.
To edit a text style, use any of the following methods:
This will display the Edit Text Styles dialog:
The options available are divided into categories:
Note: Opacity is set by the parameter "Alpha channel" in the colors dialogs: a value between 0, transparent, and 255, opaque.
This text style will be saved along with the score. It will not be available in other scores, unless you explicitly save the style sheet and load it with another score.
You can apply any changes made to either the score or the part you are seeing, by pressing Apply and then OK.
If you are in one of the parts of your score, you also have the option to use the Apply to all parts button before OK, so you don't have to manipulate all parts individually.
If you have made changes to an individual piece of text and you want to return it to the defined text style for the score, or if you changed the style with an old version of MuseScore and you want the style to correspond to the default text style in MuseScore 2, you can use the Reset Text to Style option.
Select the text you want to reset to style and click on Reset Text to Style in the Inspector. If you need all text from a given style to be "reset", right-click on one, then from the context menu choose Select → All Similar Elements first.
Text styles (together with all other styles in a document) can be saved as a style file and loaded into other MuseScore files. See Save and load style.
This is the next level down in the formatting hierarchy and affects the style of the text in one specific text object only.
To edit the text properties of a particular object—and no other:
This displays the following dialog:
Most of the properties on display will be familiar from the Edit Text Styles dialog. You also have a Reset to Style button allowing you to apply a style to the object from a drop-down list.
For general-purpose text, use Staff Text or System Text. The difference between these two types of text is whether you want it to apply to a single staff, or the whole system. This matters when extracting parts: staff text will only appear in a part that contains the specific instrument the text is attached to, while system text will appear in all parts. Additionally, if you choose to hide empty staves, any staff text belonging to an empty staff will also be hidden. System text is never hidden by the "hide empty staves" feature.
Staff text is general purpose text associated with a particular staff at a particular location in the score. To create staff text, choose a location by selecting a note or rest and then use the menu option Add → Text → Staff Text, or use the shortcut Ctrl+T (Mac: ⌘+T). A small text box appears and you can immediately start typing. You can exit the text box at any time (even without typing anything) by pressing Esc.
Staff text can, for example, be used to apply indications such as "Solo" or "Pizzicato" to one staff in a score. Depending on what the instructions of the staff text are, MIDI playback of that staff at the text location can be altered to match the instructions by right-clicking on the staff text and selecting
Staff Text Properties…. See Mid-staff sound change.
System text is used when you wish to apply text indications to a whole system rather than just to one staff line. This makes a difference when extracting parts, or if you choose to hide empty staves. To create system text, chose a location by selecting a note or rest and then use the menu option Add → Text → System Text, or use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+T (Mac: ⌘+Shift+T). A small text box appears and you can immediately start typing. You can exit the text box at any time (even without typing anything) by pressing Esc.
Chord symbols are an abbreviated way of representing musical chords (see Chord names and symbols (Wikipedia) for further details). For example:
The cursor is now positioned above the score ready for input. Enter the chord symbol just like normal text, as follows:
When you exit the chord symbol, the characters you have typed will automatically assume the correct format: by default a root note typed in lower case will turn into upper case (for alternative options, see Automatic Capitalization); a "#" or "b" will turn into a proper sharp (♯) or flat (♭) and so on. Do not try to use actual flat and sharp signs as MuseScore will not understand those properly.
After you have finished entering a chord symbol you can either:
The following commands are available during chord symbol entry:
MuseScore understands most of the abbreviations used in chord symbols:
An existing chord symbol can be edited in a similar way to ordinary text: See Text editing.
Chord symbols are automatically transposed by default if you apply the menu Transpose command to the containing measures. If this is not required, you can untick the "Transpose chord symbols" option in the same dialog.
To adjust the appearance of all chord symbol text, use any of the following options:
This displays the Edit Text Styles dialog, allowing you to make changes to any text property.
Formatting options for chord symbols are available in Style→General...→Chord Symbols, Fretboard Diagrams. Adjustable properties are listed under the following headings:
Three options are possible: Standard and Jazz and Custom. You can select between these using the radio buttons.
In the Standard style, chords are rendered simply, with the font determined by your chord symbol text style.
In the Jazz style, the MuseJazz font is used for a handwritten look, with distinctive superscript and other formatting characteristics. The Jazz style is selected by default if you use any of the Jazz templates.
The Custom style option allows you to customise the look of chord symbols (and also ensures compatibility with older scores). Select a customised Chord symbols style file in the field below: this can be created by copying and modifying one of the pre-existing files in the "styles" folder. Documentation can be found in the same folder. Note, however, that this is for advanced users only, and there is no guarantee these files will be supported in the future.
By default, MuseScore uses letter names for chord symbols. For users in regions where other note naming schemes are used, MuseScore provides the following controls:
By default, MuseScore automatically capitalizes all note names on exit, regardless of whether you entered them in upper or lower case. However, you can also choose other automatic capitalization options:
You can also turn off the automatic capitalization completely, in which case note names are simply rendered the way you type them.
Note: In addition to the settings described here, the default position of applied chord symbols is also determined by settings in the Text Styles dialog. The effect is cumulative.
Enter the number of the capo position at which you want to display substitute chords, in brackets, after all chord symbols in the score.
Fingering symbols for various instruments are found in the Fingering palette in the Advanced workspace.
Guitar music uses the numbers 0–4 to represent left-hand fingering (T is occasionally used for the thumb). Right-hand fingering is indicated by the letters p, i, m, a, c. Circled numbers represent instrument strings.
The last five symbols in the palette are used for lute fingering in historical music. Note: To enable display of fingering in tablature, right-click on the TAB, select Staff Properties...→Advanced style properties, and tick "Show Fingerings".
Use any of the following methods:
When fingering is added to a note, the focus immediately shifts to the symbol, so you can adjust it right away.
To change the position of one symbol, use any of the following methods:
To change the position of multiple symbols:
Note: You can also use the fingering positioner plugin mentioned above to optimize the layout of piano fingerings.
To restore a symbol to its default position, select it and press Ctrl+R.
Fingering is a form of text symbol and can be edited and styled like any other. Right-clicking on the symbol gives you a range of options.
If you want to add another lyrics line to an existing one (e.g. a 2nd or 3rd verse etc.):
In most cases, lyrics can be edited just like normal text. However, special keyboard shortcuts are required to enter the following characters:
Character space: Ctrl+Space (Mac: ⌥+Space).
- (hyphen): Ctrl+- (Mac: ⌥+-) or AltGr+-.
Line feed: Ctrl+↵ (Mac: ⌥+Return) or Enter (from the numeric keypad).
A melisma is a syllable or word that extends over two or more notes. It is indicated by an underline extending from the base of a syllable to the last note of the melisma. The underline is created by positioning the cursor at the end of a syllable and pressing Shift+_: once for each note in the melisma. See the image below:
The above lyric was created in the following manner:
For non-last syllables to extend, just use additional dashes -, usually only one of them will show (more when the distance between the syllables is large enough), and the syllable will right-align to the first note, similar to last syllables that got notated with a melisma, see above.
Two syllables under a note can be joined with an elision slur, also known as a "lyric slur" or "synalepha". For example:
To create the example lyric text, starting with the syllable text "te":
Use one of the following options:
The top and bottom margins and the line height of all lyric lines can be set globally:
To adjust the position of a particular lyrics line:
To copy all lyrics to the clipboard (as of version 2.0.3):
To copy and paste lyrics from a text file (say) into a score:
Rehearsal marks can be used in a number of ways:
Typically, rehearsal marks consist of one or more letters and/or numbers, and appear in sequence in the score—e.g. A, B, C…, or 1, 2, 3… etc. Alternatively, they may display measure numbers (usually larger than standard measure numbers, boldface and/or enclosed in boxes). Multi-measure rests are automatically broken before and after rehearsal marks.
Rehearsal marks can be added to the score (i) automatically—which ensures that they are named in sequence—or (ii) manually, allowing you to name them as you wish.
To create a rehearsal mark manually:
Use either of the following options:
Notes: (1) By default, marks are added in the sequence, A, B, C etc. (2) To change the format of subsequently-added marks (to lower case letters, or numbers), edit the previous rehearsal mark accordingly. (3) Marks added between existing rehearsal marks append a number or letter to the previous mark: it is a good idea to apply the Resequence command afterwards (see below).
MuseScore allows the user to automatically re-order a series of rehearsal marks if they have got out of sequence for any reason. Use the following method:
MuseScore automatically detects the sequence based on the first rehearsal mark in the selection—all rehearsal marks in the selection are then altered accordingly. The following sequences are possible:
Rehearsal marks are a variety of system text, appearing both on the score and on every part. By default, they are in a large bold font, and enclosed in frames with rounded corners. All aspects of their appearance can be changed globally via the rehearsal mark Text style.
See Find (Viewing and navigation).