Measure operations


Append an empty measure to the end of a score

  • Press Ctrl+B (Mac: +B).

  • Or select the menu item: AddMeasuresAppend One Measure.

Append multiple measures to the end of a score

  • Press Alt+Shift+B (Mac: Option+Shift+B); fill in the "Number of measures to append" field and press OK.

  • Or select the menu item: AddMeasuresAppend Measures...; fill in the "Number of measures to append" field and press OK.


Insert an empty measure into the score

  • Select a measure, then press Ins (no shortcut on Mac).

  • Or select a measure and use the menu item: AddMeasuresInsert Measure.

Insert multiple measures

  • Select a measure and press Ctrl+Ins (no shortcut on Mac); fill in the "Number of measures to insert" field and press OK

  • Or use the menu item: AddMeasuresInsert Measures...; fill in the "Number of measures to insert" field and press OK.


Delete a single measure

  • Click on the measure, then press Ctrl+Del (Mac: Cmd+Del).

Delete a range of measures

  1. Click on the first measure in the range, pressShift and click on the last measure in the range; release the Shiftkey.
  2. Press Ctrl+Del (Mac: Cmd+Del).

Delete from a selected measure to the end of the score

  1. Click on the first measure in the range, press Ctrl+Shift+End (Mac: Cmd+Shift+End); release the keys.
  2. Press Ctrl+Del (Mac: Cmd+Del).

Delete from the start of the score to a selected measure

  1. Click on the last measure in the range, press Ctrl+Shift+Home (Mac: Cmd+Shift+Home); release the keys.
  2. Press Ctrl+Del (Mac: Cmd+Del).

Note: In multi-staff scores, measure deletion also removes all corresponding measures in the other staves of the system, even if these don't appear to be selected.

If you wish to delete only the elements (notes, symbols, text) and not the measure itself, then select a measure or range of measures and click Del. The selected measures are filled with whole measure rests.


To edit the properties of a measure, right-click an empty part of the measure and select Measure Properties...:

Dialog: Measure Properties

You can use the Previous/Next buttons buttons (bottom left) to navigate to the previous or next measure.


  • The visible property allows you to show/hide the notes and staff lines for the current measure.
  • The stemless property allows you to show/hide all note stems for the current measure. Notes that normally have a stem such as half notes (minims) and quarter notes (crotchets) only show the note head when marked as stemless.

Measure duration

This section allows you to make the actual duration of a measure shorter or longer than that indicated by the visible (nominal) time signature. Use it to create a pickup measure (anacrusis) at the beginning of a section, incomplete measures in the score, cadenzas, ad lib passages etc.

  • The Nominal duration of the measure is the same as the time signature displayed in the score, and cannot be edited.
  • The Actual duration of a measure can be set to anything you like regardless of the time signature displayed on the score.

In the figure below, for example, the quarter note pickup measure has a nominal measure duration of 4/4, but an actual duration of 1/4. The measures in the middle have both nominal and actual durations of 4/4. The complementary measure with only a dotted half note at the end has an actual duration of 3/4:

Incomplete measures


  • Exclude from measure count
    Use "Exclude from measure count" for "irregular" measures, i.e. ones that should not get counted in the measure numbering. Normally, a pickup measure is marked as "Exclude from measure count".

  • Add to measure number
    You can also use the "Add to measure number" option to influence the measure numbering. You can enter positive or negative numbers here. Please note that this affects all subsequent measures. A value of "-1" has the same effect as marking a measure to be excluded from measure count.

  • Layout stretch
    You can increase or decrease horizontal space between score elements (notes, rests, etc.) with this option. This provides a more precise control over the exact same measure spacing property as the menu commands or keyboard shortcuts for Increase/Decrease Stretch ({ and }), which are accessed outside of the Measure Properties dialog while a measure is selected.

  • Play Count (as of version 2.1) / Repeat count
    If the measure is the last of a repeat, you can define how often it is played.

  • Break multimeasure rests
    This property will separate a multimeasure rest at the start of the selected measure. This option should be checked before you turn on the "Create multimeasure rests" option in StyleGeneral..., in the "Score" tab.

    Multimeasure rests are automatically broken at important breaks, such as rehearsal marks, time signature changes, double barlines, irregular measures, etc. The default for scores is off, for parts is on.


MuseScore automatically numbers the first measure of each System (except for the first system, actually except for a measure with the number 1), but more numbering options are possible. From the main menu, choose StyleGeneral..., in the left pane, choose the "Header, Footer, Numbers" tab. At the bottom of the right pane is the "Measure Numbers" ("Bar Numbers") section.

Mark the checkbox next to the "Measure Numbers" ("Bar Numbers") to turn on automatic measure numbers.

Mark "Show first" if you want the first measure numbered.

Mark "All staves" if you want numbers on all staves. Otherwise, only the top staff of each system shows measure numbers.

Choose to show numbers on "Every system" which numbers the first measure of each line, or show numbers by "Interval" and specify the size of the interval. For example, an interval of 1 numbers every measure; an interval of 5 numbers every fifth measure.

Split and join

You may want have to have a longer or shorter measure without changing the time signature. You can change a measure's duration in Measure Properties, but there is now a new option to split or join measures. (Beams may be automatically modified.)

  • Join

    1. Select the measures you want to join
    2. EditMeasureJoin Selected Measures

Note: If you select measures on only one staff in a score with multiple staves, the same measures will be joined in each staff of the system.

Example of joined measure

  • Split

    1. Select a note (or chord)
    2. EditMeasureSplit Measure Before Selected Note

Note: If you select only one note from one staff, each staff of the system will be split at the same place.

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