Clefs are applied to the score from the "Clefs" palette.
MuseScore automatically applies the most appropriate clef(s) for the instrument when creating a new score. You can easily change this from the score window if needed.
To change a clef at the start of a system, use one of the following:
To add/change a mid-measure clef before a note, use one of the following:
To add/change a mid-measure clef in front of a barline, use one of the following:
Notes: (1) “Mid-staff” clefs are always smaller than the main system clef. (2) Notes after a clef change are automatically repositioned so that they continue to sound at the original pitch.
To delete a clef, just select it and press Del. Note that clefs at the beginning of systems cannot be deleted.
To hide/show clefs at the beginning of all systems except the first:
Mid-measure clefs are unaffected.
To hide/show all clefs on a selected staff:
This affects clefs at the start of a system and mid-measure.
To hide/show courtesy clefs:
If courtesy clefs are enabled, you can still hide an individual courtesy clef as follows:
[To be added]
[To be added]
See Courtesy clefs (above).
Clefs applied to an entire measure or the first note in a measure are shown before the barline.
To move the clef after the barline:
1. Select the clef
2. Open the Properties panel
3. Under Position relative to barline, choose After
To replace the first clef in a score, see Add/Change a start clef.
Tablature users can select the type of TAB clef displayed:
Other style properties are available in Format→Style→Page, namely:
Create clef for all systems
Create courtesy clefs
For details, see Controlling the visibility of clefs (above).
Key signatures are applied to the score from the "Key signatures" palette.
The initial key signature is set from page 2 of the New Score dialog.
Use one of the following methods:
Note: It is also possible, though uncommon, to add a key-signature mid measure by selecting a note then clicking a palette key signature, or dragging the key signature to a note.
If you wish to add a key signature to only one staff, leaving others unchanged, apply one of the following methods:
If you wish to select a key signature for a single staff only, press and hold Ctrl (Mac: Cmd), then click on the key signature.
Use any of the following methods:
To replace the key signature on a single staff only, press and hold Ctrl (Mac: Cmd) before carrying out the above operations.
To show key signatures only at the beginning of a score, and at a key change:
To hide/show all courtesy key signatures (at the end of systems):
To hide/show a particular courtesy key signature:
Care needs to be taken when working in written pitch and applying a key signature directly to a transposing instrument. For example, a Bb clarinet is written a tone higher than it sounds; so, to get the clarinet to display in G major, you need to apply a key signature of F major from the palette. And so on.
Some instruments (e.g. French horn) are conventionally written with no key signature. To achieve this, you need to add an open/atonal local key signature to the staff (this is already done in scores created from templates).
An open/atonal key signature looks similar to a 'C major/A minor' key signature. However, unlike standard key signatures, an open key signature always remains the same, regardless of key changes to the rest of the score.
To create a custom signature:
Drag accidentals onto the staff image as required. Note: Accidentals are horizontally aligned by default. If you want to an accidental in a custom position, hold Ctrl (Mac: Cmd) while dragging it.
To remove an accidental select it and press Del. Note: The Clear button deletes all added accidentals.
Note: Custom key signatures are adapted to transposing instruments automatically. If You want transposing instrument to use custom key signature exactly the same, as it is in palette, You need to transpose it back. Select measure where key signature is placed and use Tools→Transpose.
You can edit properties specific to key signatures in the Key signature section of the Properties panel:
Show courtesy key signature on previous system: See Controlling the visibility of key signatures (above).
Mode: You can select a mode for the key signature if required—major, minor, dorian etc. The default is "unknown".
Various style properties affect key signature display.
Create key signature for all systems
Create courtesy signatures
The use of these properties is discussed in Controlling the visibility of key signatures (above).
Here you can change the way accidentals are displayed in key signature changes in the score.
Clef to key signature
Key signature to time signature
Barline to key signature
Key signature to barline
Key signature to first note
These properties control the various distances before and after key signatures in the score.
Transposition is the act of raising or lowering the pitch of a selection of notes by the same interval.
In MuseScore, you can transpose your music using keyboard shortcuts, or via the Transpose dialog.
To transpose with keyboard shortcuts, first select a range of notes (See Selecting elements). Then use one of the following options, depending on how you need to transpose your music:
Press ↑ or ↓ to move the selection up/down in semitone steps
Press Alt+Shift+↑/↓ to move the selection up/down in scale degrees (Mac: ⌥+Shift+↑/↓).
Press Ctrl+↑/↓ to move the selection up/down in octave steps (Mac: ⌘+↑/↓).
The Transpose dialog gives you more control over transposition, with options to transpose to selected keys or by specific intervals.
First select a range of notes you wish to transpose. (See Selecting elements). If no selection is made, the whole score is automatically selected for transposition.
Then open the dialog by selecting Tools → Transpose...
When this is selected, you can choose to transpose to a specific key, or by specified interval.
To transpose selected notes up or down in semitone increments:
Select this to transpose the selection by a specified interval without changing the existing key signature(s). Note: the intervallic relationships between pitches in your selection will change as a result!
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, while the actual pitch is called concert or sounding pitch.
By default the program is displayed with all the staves at written pitch. However, if you wish to view the score at concert pitch just check the "Concert pitch" box (to the left of the tuning fork icon) in the status bar.
When you set up a score in the New Score, or Add or remove instruments dialogs, transposed key signatures are automatically applied to any transposing instruments. However if for any reason you need to set up the staff transposition manually, this is how to do it.
The correct transposed key signature will now appear on the staff.
The enharmonic spelling of the transposed key signature, whether in sharps or flats, is set in Staff/Part properties (see Setting the interval of transposition ).
To change the enharmonic spelling of pitches in the score, see Change spelling.
Octave (Ottava) lines are used to indicate that a section of music is to be played one or more octaves above or below written pitch; the line may be dotted or solid:
8--------┐or 8va--------┐: Play one octave above written pitch.
8--------┘or 8va--------┘: Play one octave below written pitch.
8va alta/bassa lines are particularly common in piano scores, though they are sometimes used in other instrumental music. 15ma alta (2 octaves above) and 15ma bassa (2 octaves below) are also occasionally used.
MuseScore automatically adjusts playback of the score under the ottava to the correct pitch.
Ottava lines may be found in the Lines palette.
To adjust the range and vertical position of the line, see Adjusting elements directly.
Properties specific to the selected ottava(s) can be adjusted in the Ottava section of the Properties panel, namely:
Type: Specifies whether the Ottava line is 8va, 8vb etc.
Show number only: Hides any text (such as “va”).
Show line: Makes the line visible / invisible. Text is unaffected.
Allow diagonal: Allow line to slope if required.
For other properties in this tab, see Line properties.
This has a similar user interface to general lines (see Line properties), but uses special code to specify the ottava text.
Default properties for ottavas can be adjusted in Format→Style→Ottava.
You can choose from an extensive range of alternative noteheads including diamond, crosshead, and many others.
A number of alternative notehead systems are also available allowing you, for example, to write music with pitch names in noteheads, solfege, or shape-note music. e.g.
To flip a notehead horizontally (left to right of stem or vice-versa), use one of the following:
This also works for a selection of notes.
(Note: Contrast this command with X which flips the stem and beam vertically (top to bottom or vice versa)
Alternatively, you can drag a notehead symbol from a palette onto a notehead in the score.
When two notes in different voices coincide on the same beat, they can either share a single notehead, or else be offset to allow the display of both noteheads. This is done automatically by MuseScore according to certain rules (see below).
To force two offset noteheads in different voices to share a single notehead, use one of the following methods:
Rules for automatically sharing or offsetting noteheads:
If you are using paired standard and tablature staves you will come across situations where a shared notehead in the standard staff generates two fretmarks in tablature. In this case simply hide one of the fretmarks by making it invisible.
To apply an alternative notehead scheme to all notes on a staff:
To apply an alternative notehead scheme to only selected notes on a staff:
There is a choice of normal noteheads, noteheads enclosing pitch names, solfege or various shape-note styles.
To edit the playback velocity of a note:
To modify the playback pitch of a note (without altering notation):
After selecting a notehead, the following properties can be edited in the Note section of the Properties panel:
Notehead parentheses: Add or remove parentheses.
Notehead type: See Changing notehead shape (above).
Hide notehead: Makes notehead invisible (see also, Properties: visibility).
Duration dot position: This provides an alternative vertical offset for the duration dot.
Notehead system: See Alternative notehead systems (above).
Notehead type (visual only): See Change offset noteheads to a shared notehead (above).
Note direction: See Changing notehead direction (above).
Notehead offset: This changes the offset of the notehead only (to change the offset of the complete note, use "Offset" in Properties: Appearance instead).
An ambitus indicates the range of notes included within a stave. It is used to indicate the appropriate voice for a particular part. See Wikipedia: Ambitus.
To create an ambitus choose one of the following methods:
The top and bottom notes of the range can be manually adjusted via Properties.
Four different properties of the ambitus can be manually altered:
1. style: vertical or diagonal
2. notehead type
3. notehead duration
4. line thickness of the line joining the two noteheads
To change the enharmonic spelling of a note, or notes, in both written and concert pitch views:
To change the enharmonic spelling in the written pitch view, without affecting the concert pitch view, or vice versa:
Note: If the pitches of selected notes are not all the same, the effect may be unpredictable.