Lyrics

Enter lyrics in a score

In order to attach lyrics to music in a score:

  1. Enter the notes to which you intend to attach lyrics.
  2. Click on the note where you want to start entering lyrics.
  3. Type Ctrl+L (Mac: +L); or from the main menu, select AddTextLyrics. Then type the syllable for the first note.
  4. Use the following options to continue entering lyrics:
    • Type Space (or Ctrl+) at the end of a word to go to the next note.
    • Type a hyphen - at the end of syllable to go to the next note. The syllables are connected with a dash.
    • Press Shift+Space (or Ctrl+) to move to the previous syllable.
    • Press to move down to the next lyric line (Note: Don't use the Enter key from the numeric keypad!)
    • Press Up to return to the above lyric line.
  5. PressEscto end lyrics entry.
  6. To type a second or further lyric line repeat steps 2 and 3 above, or double-click the first syllable, hit and type the syllable for the first note, then continue at step 4

Example

Sample lyrics: A-des-te fi-del-es

Melisma

A melisma is a syllable or word that extends over two or more notes. It is indicated by an underline extending from the base of a syllable to the last note of the melisma. The underline is created by positioning the cursor at the end of a syllable and pressing Shift+_: once for each note in the melisma. See the image below:

Syllable extension line, Melisma

The above lyric was created in the following manner:

  1. Type the letters, s-o-u-l, then a comma.
  2. At the end of the word, press Shift+___.
  3. Type the letters T-o, then press Esc.

For non-last syllables to extend, just use additional dashes -, only one of them will show, and the syllable will right-align to the first note, similar to last syllables that got notated with a melisma, see above.

Elision / Synalepha / Lyric Slur

Two syllables under a note can be joined with an elision character, also known as a "lyric slur" or "synalepha".

Sample lyric slur under a note

In the text toolbar, click on the keyboard icon Keyboard Icon, or hit F2 to open the Text Symbols palette. The synalepha is the 4th from the end (U+203F ‿ "undertie"). The synalepha will be evenly centered separating the syllables with two spaces and by inserting it after the first. For the "e͜ A" example shown above:

  1. Type e
  2. Insert the synalepha using the F2 palette
  3. Type Ctrl+Space (Mac: +Space)
  4. Type A

Not all fonts include the synalepha character. To find out which fonts on your computer support the synalepha, see "fontlist" (look for any font that shows a tie between "e" and "A" instead of a blank rectangle). The alignment of the character also varies between fonts.

Special characters

Lyrics can be edited as normal text with the exception of a few characters: If you want to add a space, hyphen, or underscore to a single syllable, use the following shortcuts:

  • Ctrl+Space (Mac: +Space) enters a space ( ) into the lyrics text
  • Ctrl+- (Mac: +-) or AltGr+- enters a hyphen (-) into the lyrics text
  • Ctrl+Shift+_ (Mac: +_) enters an underscore (_) into the lyrics text
  • Ctrl+ (Mac: +Return) or Enter (from the numeric keypad) enters a line feed into the lyrics text

Adjusting individual lyric lines

The top margin and line height of all lyric lines can be adjusted globally from the menu, StyleGeneral...Page.

However, the horizontal (and vertical) offset of individual lyric lines can be finely adjusted by right-clicking on a word in the desired line, and using the various selection options available to select all the words that you wish to change. Then adjust using the offset option in the Inspector.

For example, to change the horizontal position of the lyrics in one staff only of one particular system: right click on a word in that line, choose SelectMore..., then tick the boxes labelled "Same Staff" and "Same System". Now use "horizontal offset" in the Inspector to fine tune the line position.

To select lyrics for a range of notes, first select the range of notes (click first note, shift+click last), then right click a lyric and choose Select / All Similar Elements in Range Selection. Now use the Inspector to adjust the lyrics.

Copy lyrics to clipboard

In MuseScore 2.0.3 and above, select EditToolsCopy Lyrics to Clipboard.

Paste lyrics from clipboard

To copy and paste lyrics from a text file into a score:

  1. Enter the notes in the score to which the lyrics will be attached.
  2. Set up your lyrics in a text file, with appropriate spaces, hyphens, line-breaks etc.
  3. Copy the lyrics from the text-file.
  4. Select the start note in Musescore, and press Ctrl+L (Mac: Cmd+L) (step 3 under Enter lyrics in a score).
  5. Repeatedly applying paste will enter successive words of the lyrics. You may need to enter melismas and make other corrections as you go along.

See also

Do you have an unanswered question? Post it in the forum.