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.
This chapter discusses the appearance of notehead in Musescore.
One aspect of music notation systems is notehead scheme. A scheme is a set of rules used to decide notehead shape's meaning, some of them are supported in Musescore. Supported schemes relate notehead meaning to a note's:
The most widely used scheme is very likely the only one known to many musicians. It is referred to as "Normal" in Musescore and is the default settings for new staff. Details of the nine schemes available in Musescore are covered in Custom staff types:Notehead scheme.
These two-way relationships are usually strictly one-to-one, but could also be loosely one-to-many. Shape note solfege is like a variant of movable-do solfege. For example, in one type of "shape note notation", a triangle must be used to notate a relatively pitched "C4", but triangles are also read as relatively pitched "C"s or "F"s only, and triangles must sing "Fa" or a syllable agree upon by singers on-site. The loosely related shape note solfege notates interval perception way better than "Normal".
Shown above, the diamond notehead can be used for harmonic notes in guitar, violin etc; and slash notehead for guitar strums etc. The cross is also known as crosshead, ghost note, or dead note.
Final display of notehead shape in Musescore is determined by three factors: the notehead type factor, the pitch factor, and the duration factor (or note-value, rhythm).
Note pitch may affect affect notehead shape, depending on the scheme. But it only happens on note(s) that do not use an overriding Notehead type property, see "Notehead type factor" section. "Normal" notehead scheme does not use pitch to determine notehead shape.
The duration factor is determined by note's duration, to edit duration see Entering notes and rests and Editing notes and rests chapters. It also can be visually overridden for individual note, while keeping the real value and playback intact.
Options available for notehead type factor depends on staff type:
Notehead scheme is used to determine notehead shape unless overridden by individual note's Notehead type property. When notehead scheme is not overridden, note pitch may affect notehead shape, depending on the scheme. "Normal" notehead scheme does not use pitch to determine notehead shape. When a note use an overriding Notehead type property, note pitch information does not affect notehead shape at all.
On standard staffs (type 1a, type 1b), when "Normal" notehead scheme is used, Musescore assigns the first (circle) option (named "normal") to the note's notehead type property automatically by default.
On percussion staffs (type 3), when "Normal" notehead scheme is used, depending on the instrument (like snare or hi-hat, not the "drumset" Musescore Instrument), Musescore assigns one of the four options automatically to the note's notehead type property by default. They are boxed with pink rectangles in the images below, the four Properties panel: notehead type options, correspond to the four items in Notehead palettes.
Do not confuse the first (circle) option named "normal" with the "Normal" notehead schemes. The circle option will not be discussed anywhere else inside this chapter to avoid confusion.
In Musescore, you can assign custom noteheads onto notes on Standard staffs and Percussion staffs but not on Tablature. There are six methods to change the notehead type factor and duration factor.
These three methods changes notehead type factor of notes on standard staffs, and only works when each other are properly configured, read and understand the three level in the overview first.
To change notehead type factor on percussion staffs, see Drumset customization. Only some items in Noteheads palette work on percussion staff.
To change a note's duration factor:
shown above 7 Shape (Aikin), a "shape note notation"
There are six methods to change "pitch".
"Normal" and some notehead scheme (see Overview) relates vertical position to pitch:
Some notehead scheme (see Overview) relates notehead shape to pitch information, and loosen the relationship between note vertical position and pitch.
To move notehead(s) horizontally to the other side of stem, use one of the following:
(Note: Contrast this command with X which move notehead horizontally and vertically to other side the stem and beam)
Selecting a note(s) on score, in the Properties panel Note: Head tab :
There are 8 font options (two new options compared to Musescore 3) for notehead set in Format→Style→Score. Notehead does not use style profiles (Templates and styles).
Noteheads palette is displayed with Bravura font.
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.
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.