Mid-staff instrument changes

Updated 1 week ago

    When a musician is required to double on a different instrument for a section of a piece, the instruction to switch instruments is generally placed above the staff at the beginning of that section. A return to the primary instrument is handled in the same manner.

    MuseScore enables users to insert a special class of text called Change Instrument text for this purpose. This class of text is different from either Staff or System text in that it links the text to the playback and changes the sound to the new instrument.

    Effect of instrument change

    When an instrument change is made:

    • The sound played will be changed to that of the new instrumentment from that point onward, but the staff type will not be changed.
    • A new 'channel track' will be added in the Mixer, which allows separate mixer settings for the new instrument.
    • The new instruments name will be displayed in front of the relevant staves.
    • Accidentals will be added to the score to match the selected instrument, without changing the key signature.

    Add an instrument change

    1. Select the start point of the change by clicking on a note or rest.
    2. Open the main palette by typing F9 (or by using the View menu), and click on Text to open the text sub-palette.
      Text palette
    3. Double-click on Change Instr.
    4. The words "Change nstr." will appear above the anchor note or rest.
    5. Double-click the word "Change Instr.", then type Ctrl+A to select all of it.
    6. Type the actual text you wish to appear in the score, then click outside the box to exit text edit mode.
    7. Right-click the text and choose "Change Instrument…"

      Menu: Instrument change

    8. Choose the instrument, then click OK

      Select instrument change


    Mid-staff instrument changes are limited to the same type of staff. For example, you cannot change between a percussion staff and a pitched instrument staff or vice versa.

    See also

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