Working with multiple voices


    A voice is a musical line or part with its own rhythm independent of other voices on the same staff. Voices are sometimes called “layers” in other notation software.

    The example below uses two voices: voice 1, upstem in blue, and voice 2, downstem in green:

    Voices example

    You can have up to 4 voices on each staff line. By default voices 1 and 3 are upstem, while voices 2 and 4 are downstem. You can, of course, change the stem directions if desired.

    Note: Be careful not to confuse the concept of a "voice" in the sense of a self-contained part on a music staff, with the word "voice" as used in vocal scores. In the latter case, you should always start in voice 1, and only use other voices (in the order 2, 3, 4) if there is more than one vocal line in the same staff.

    Entering notes in multiple voices

    To notate the musical example above:

    1. Start with an empty score: a treble staff, in 4/4 time and in the key of G.
    2. Enter voice 1. Select the first rest. Enter note input mode (N): The “Voice 1” button in the toolbar becomes highlighted in blue. Enter the notes in the top melody line.
    3. When you have finished entering the top line, press the key repeatedly to move the cursor, note-by-note, back to the first note of the section; or alternatively use Ctrl+ (Mac: Cmd+) to move the cursor back one measure at a time. Or else you can simply exit note input mode (press Esc) and click directly on the first note.
    4. Enter voice 2. Make sure you are in note input mode and that the voice 1 note at the beginning of the section is selected. Click on the “Voice 2” button (on the right of the toolbar), or use the shortcut Ctrl+Alt+2 (Mac: Cmd+Alt+2 ). Now enter the notes in the bottom line.

    Rests in multiple voices

    Hiding /Deleting

    Rests may be hidden in voices 2–3 by selecting them and unchecking the "Visible" box in the Properties: General panel. However, they should not be deleted.

    Voice 1 rests are mandatory; these should only be deleted as part of a "Remove selected range "operation. See Inserting and removing.


    Rests frequently have to be repositioned to avoid collision with elements in other voices. See Changing position of elements.

    See also