Entering and editing tablature notation

    Computer keyboard entry

    1. In normal mode, select a measure, or note/rest.
    2. Switch to note input mode: the cursor appears as a small “blue rectangle” on the currently "active" string.
    3. Select the duration (see below) of the note or rest to be entered.
    4. Press the up/down arrow keys to move the cursor between strings. Use the left/right arrow keys to navigate through the score.
    5. Press a number from 0 to 9 to enter a fret mark from 0 to 9. To enter numbers with several digits press each digit in sequence (Note: You cannot enter a number higher than the “Number of frets” value set in the Edit String Data dialog).
    6. Press ; (semicolon) to enter a rest of the selected duration.
    7. To enter grace notes, see Grace notes.
    8. You can enter notes in different voices if required—just as you would in a standard staff.

    Note for period instrument tablature: A to K (skipping I) can also be used to enter numbers 0 to 9. In French tablature the corresponding letters appear instead; for L, M, N, you need to type respectively 10, 11, 12.

    See also, Editing notes and rests" (below).

    Mouse entry

    1. Enter note input mode and select the note or rest duration (see below).
    2. Click on a string to create a fret mark there. Notes are initially created on fret 0 (or a for French tablatures); to change the default (or any) fretmark, just type in the desired number from the keyboard.
    3. You can also increase/decrease the fret mark using Alt+Shift+; or, Alt+Shift+.
    4. You can enter notes in different voices if required—just as you would in a standard staff.

    See also, Editing notes and rests" (below).

    Selecting note duration

    Whether you are using a keyboard or mouse, you can set note duration using one of the following:

    • Press Shift+1 up to Shift+9: to set duration from a 128th note to a longa (availability of these shortcuts may depend on the platform and/or keyboard layout);
    • Press NumPad 1 to 9: to set duration from a 128th note to a longa (if a numeric keypad exists and NumLock is on);
    • Click on the desired note duration icon in the Note Input toolbar above the document window;
    • Press Q to decrease the selected duration and W to increase it.

    Note: This applies to note input mode only. If you want to change the duration of a selected note in normal mode see Changing duration in normal mode.

    Period tablature notation

    MuseScore also supports tablature notation for period instruments such as the renaissance and baroque lutes, Theorbo etc. There are a number of notation systems in use (French, Italian, German, Spanish), but the most common is French.

    French tablature features 6 lines representing the top 6 courses. Instead of numbers, fretmarks are indicated by letters—as explained above. Any notes on bass courses below the 6th string (fretted or unfretted) are represented by symbols in the space underneath the 6th line of tablature.

    To enter symbols below the 6th line:

    1. In note input mode, move the cursor until it is in the space below the 6th line. Press to move the cursor to the next lowest course and so on. As you do so a "cue mark" appears at the left side of the cursor to show you which course is active:
      • no cue = 7th course,
      • / = 8th course,
      • // = 9th course,
      • /// = 10th course,
      • 4 = 11th course
      • 5 = 12th course
      • 6 = 13th course
      • 7 = 14th course
      • 8 = 15th course
        Conversely, pressing moves the cursor back to the next highest course.
    2. If the course is fretted, enter the desired fretmark. If the course is unfretted/open, press "a" (or, in fact, any fretmark key) and the correct fretmark will be added automatically.

    Editing tablature notation

    Changing the pitch

    In note input mode:

    1. Position the cursor above the fret mark and retype the desired number.
    2. Increment or decrement the fret mark using Alt+Shift+; or, Alt+Shift+ (The fret mark automatically changes strings, if necessary, to achieve the lowest possible fret position).

    In normal mode:

    1. Select one or more fret marks.
    2. Use any of the following commands:
      • To increment or decrement, without changing the string: Press /.
      • To increment or decrement, changing strings, when possible, to minimize the fret number: Press Alt+Shift+/.

    Note: The fret mark cannot be higher than the “Number of frets” value set in the Edit String Data dialog.

    Moving the fretmark to a different string

    To move the fret mark to an adjacent string without changing the pitch:

    In note input mode:

    • Position the cursor over a fret mark, and press Ctrl+/ (Mac: Cmd+/).

    In normal mode:

    Use one of the following methods:

    • Select one or more fret marks, and press Ctrl+/ (Mac: Cmd+/).
    • Drag a fret mark up or down to an adjacent string.

    Note: This operation can only proceed if the relevant string is free and can produce that note.

    Changing the duration

    See Changing duration in normal mode.

    Crosshead/Ghost notes

    To change a fret mark to a crosshead/ghost note:

    1. Select one or more fret marks (in normal mode).
    2. Press Shift+X to toggles ghost noteheads on/off.