A few beginner questions

• Aug 2, 2011 - 11:43

Hi everyone,

I'm just starting with MS, and I have a few questions that I wasn't able to figure out by myself. I would really appreciate some help for any of them, many thanks in advance.

- I have a quaver (8th note) rest that I would like to delete, however after clicking on it and pressing Delete or Ctrl+Delete, nothing happens; only if I select it using Shift+(mouse selection) does Ctrl+Delete work, but it deletes the whole measure rather than just that rest

- Is there any way to place notes on the stave by clicking on a "virtual keyboard" on the screen (not a MIDI keyboard, but just a diagram of piano keys drawn on the screen), as you can with other music-notation software? Or is clicking directly on the stave the only method?

- The Space Bar seems to act as Play/Stop only from the current position of the cursor. How can you start playback from a certain point in the music? I noticed that clicking somewhere on the stave does not start playback from that position


1. Rests in Voice 1 cannot be deleted. (Every measure must contain a combination of notes and/or rests that adds up to the 'correct' duration for a measure in the time signature currently in effect.) You can, however, make any rest invisible by right-clicking on it and choosing Set Invisible.

2. See Note entry in the Handbook. (Besides using a MIDI keyboard or clicking on the staff, you can also enter notes from your computer's keyboard by using the letter names of the pitches.) The 'virtual piano' method you describe doesn't presently exist in MuseScore, but it appears to be planned for the next major release of the program.

3. I find that the easiest way to start playback at a given point in the score is to click on (i.e., 'select') a note where you want playback to begin before pressing the spacebar.

In reply to by stevebob

Many thanks for your answers - I really appreciate the help! Follow-up below.

1. I understands that everything needs to add up to (in my case) 4/4, but what happened here is that I accidentally had that rest in between two notes, and because of that I now can't add the last quaver to the end of the measure, where it belongs. This is why I need to delete (and not just make invisible) just that rest. Replacing the rest with a note isn't really a good option now, as that would mean replacing every subsequent note with its succesor, which would effectively be a very complicated 1-note shift backwards of the whole score.

2. Good to hear the virtual piano is being implemented!

3. My bad. Clicking on a note in the score and then hitting Space does indeed start playback from that position.

In reply to by longtalker

Did you really get yourself into a situation where all your notes are off for the rest of the score because of that extra rest? That would be extremely unusual; most people would have noticed things were off by the next measure. But whether it's a whole measure or the rest entire of the score that is off, the solution is simple - select the notes you want to move, hit "copy", then click where you want them to start (eg, the rest you wish to "delete") and hit "paste". The idea here is that you aren't (just) deleting rest - you are moving the notes that come after. In a word processor, it's taken for granted that deleting a word would mean you want to shift everything elft from that point on, but this is very rare with music. Normally, you wouldn't want anything you do in measure 4 to affect anything in measure 17, etc. So that's why an explicit action is required is you want to move notes.

1. You have to ask yourself what you mean when you say you want to delete a rest. A rest is silent, so deleting it has no effect on the music. Presumably, you either just want to make it invisilbe (right click, select from ,enu), or you wish to replace it with something else (in which case, simply enter what you want instead - no need to delete the rest first).

2. See the tutorials that display in the MuseScore Connect pane when you start MuseScore. The most efficient note entry method is using the computer keyboard - just type letter names, using number keys for duration. The Note Entry section of the Handbook also covers this, as mentioned.

3. You have to click an actual note or rest set the playback cursor to that spot. Then htting space will work as expected.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Maybe there's something I'm missing here. Was something faulty, inaccurate or incomplete about the answers I gave several hours earlier?

If not, why answer questions that were already answered with new answers that are substantially identical to those already provided ... and which neither acknowledge nor build upon the previous responses?

Even after 15+ years on internet discussion forums, it's still strange to me when people just shout out as though in a vacuum -- when it's so easy to have a conversation, and nurture a sense of community, instead.

In reply to by stevebob

I thought my answers built on yours, discussing details you did not. In particular, I mentioned the video tutorials and the idea of replacing a rest with something different. Where there was overlap I either mentioned that explicitly (like the fact that you had also mentioned the Handbook) , or else I made only brief allusion (like making a rest invisible). I did miss, however, that you had also mentioned clicking on a note for #3; it's true I didn't add anything there. Sorry I missed that. i was more focused on the first two.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I have one more question: I was trying to add an extra note somewhere in the middle of the score, and I noticed that, however I would try to do this, I can only change the duration of existing notes but not insert any new ones. How does one "push" everything to the right in order to make room for an extra note in the middle of the score?

In reply to by longtalker

I think 'Insert Measure' (in 'Create'>'Bars') would do something towards it at the moment, although it's not quite the same.

In terms of pushing notes, copy/pasting would probably be the best option currently to make room, although I don't know if it would cause problems (especially at the moment with some bugs) - plus it's a little cumbersome in comparison to a function that would push anything out of the way (left or right).

Not sure.

In reply to by longtalker

This, too, has to be done by either copy/paste or cut/paste, as Marc has already explained.

I just wanted to add that there's a helpful word processing metaphor here -- in case you happen to be familiar with word processing software: 'insert' mode vs. 'overtype' mode. Whereas 'insert' mode allows you to enter new characters at the location of the cursor while pushing existing material to the right, in 'overtype' mode the new material would replace the existing characters outright.

Using this analogy, MuseScore always functions in 'overtype' mode -- whether you're in Note Entry mode or cutting/copying and pasting. Whenever you want to enter new notes/rests that have durations of their own (i.e., not just adding notes to existing chords, or adding a new voice to an existing measure), the space they will occupy must exist first. (It can seem counterintuitive because, generally speaking, a word processor operates by default in 'insert' mode.)

Anyway ... if that doesn't quite make sense, don't be concerned. Just remember that you cannot ever (1) 'delete' a note or rest and have the subsequent notes 'move forward' or 'move left', or (2) 'insert' a note or rest and have the subsequent notes 'move over' or 'move right'. The program just doesn't function that way, but you'll get the hang of it soon enough!

In reply to by stevebob

Thanks Steve, the Insert vs Overtype analogy is indeed intuitive, I was hoping that MS might have the Insert(Pushing) mode available, or at least that the developers would consider making it available in a future version (perhaps they will, I think it would make users' life much easier!). Until then, cut/paste should do it though.

Thanks for your help everyone.

In reply to by longtalker

Fwiw, while I agree an insert mode could occassionally be useful - and this topic has been discussed a number of times before - I also think that as you get more accustomed to how MuseScore works, you will make far fewer of the kind of mistakes that insert mode would help fix. I know when I first came to MuseScore from Finale, it took a while to adjust to a new note entry method, and it was a frustrating first few attempts in which I made lots of mistakes from which the only I could fimd to recover was to erease the whole measure and start it over. Now, however, note entry seems as natural as could be.

I'm not saying this to suggest that insert mode would be good to have, but to give some hope that soon enough, you won't find it so necessary.

Yes, I think the insert mode would be good too.

Not sure if it will introduce problems in the score, but worth asking at least.

In reply to by chen lung

I admit I’ve been curious about this topic, just as a matter of understanding better how MuseScore works. But absent a dedicated thread entitled ‘Why no Insert mode?’, I wonder if anyone on the development team will even notice the question here and be willing to clarify -- and perhaps a search would reveal that it’s been addressed in the past, anyway.

I have no programming knowledge nor any knowledge of other music notation programs for comparison, so speculation about this is probably outside the scope of this thread and my own experience. However, I do have a sense that ‘Insert mode’ would be impossible in MuseScore due to, for lack of a better term (or a better understanding), the underlying architecture of the program.

In MuseScore, the measure seems to be the basic element that governs the entry of data -- as exemplified by the requirement that every score have a time signature. Barless notation isn’t possible, after all, and a fundamental property of every note or rest is its duration and location as a beat (or fractional beat) of an existing measure (as displayed in the Status Bar at the lower right corner of the screen).

Also consider how selecting a measure (i.e., by clicking in an empty spot in that measure) selects not just the notes/rests of the measure but also the barline that follows that measure. I have a strong hunch that this is because the barline itself contains (or at least represents) essential structural information about the preceding measure and the organization of all the notes/rests contained within it. Experienced MuseScore users have probably noticed that the result of cutting/copying and pasting entire measures is consistently reliable and predictable ... while doing the same operation on a partial measure is less so.

I don’t mean to belabor the word processing analogy here, but I see something similar in the way Microsoft Word functions: the pilcrow (the paragraph symbol at the end of every paragraph that shows when non-printing marks are displayed) contains vital formatting information about the paragraph that precedes it. And in Word, too, the results of cut/copy and pasting will be very different depending on whether an entire paragraph is selected (including the pilcrow) or a partial paragraph (any or all of the text up to but not including the pilcrow) is selected instead.

So even knowing the limited amount we do as end users, consider how an ‘Insert mode’ could possibly function in MuseScore. At a given point of insertion -- the spot where the cursor is located -- what would be the consequences of ‘pushing over’ all the subsequent music? To preserve the structure and integrity of the following measures, the positional value (i.e., the ‘number’ of the beat or fractional beat) of every single subsequent note would need to automatically recalculate on the fly -- and it would then have to change yet again every time a different duration was chosen for one of the new notes being inserted.

When you consider further that many (if not most) scores are polyphonic and written on multiple staves -- and consider that everything played simultaneously must ‘line up’ vertically and continue to line up vertically -- it seems like an impossibly complex proposition to imagine that anything resembling ‘Insert mode’ could be implemented without some enormous sacrifice in speed that would only increase in proportion to the size and complexity of the score.

Part of the learning curve of any new software is accommodating ourselves to how it functions, even if it’s different from what we’re used to or think we’d prefer. (Just ask any office worker who transitioned from WordPerfect to Word during that mass migration back in the 1990s -- sorry for yet another word processing correlation!) But my point, really, is just that MuseScore functions perfectly well within its measure-based paradigm. It’s not broken, and doesn’t need fixing -- though if any developer would care to offer a ‘real’ explanation (as opposed to my own guesswork) that’s understandable to non-programmers, I’d be very interested in reading it!

In reply to by stevebob

that the two levels of granularity in word processing, letters and paragraphs, are independent of each other, as the paragraph has no fixed length constraint, while in music, measures must contain the number of beats specified by the time signature. I doubt that there's any data associated with ordinary bar lines (repeat signs may have counts, though).

The issue is that insert and delete with pushing and pulling has to be done at the coarser granularity level of measures to prevent upsetting the fixed relationship between the two granularities. And that's how it works now in MuseScore.

Using the example discussed above, suppose you're in 4/4 time, and you have a whole note in measure 17. If you delete an eighth note in measure 4, and everything pulls up, that whole note becomes an eighth note at the end of measure 16, tied across the bar to a double dotted half note in measure 17. The remainder of measure 17 becomes an eighth note's worth of whatever gets sucked forward from measure 18. And all the rest of the score gets that same kind of messy alteration.

That's how the fixed relationship of beats to measures forces us to restrict the push/pull thing to whole measures, except for the rare case of having to copy and paste at the note level to fix an error in that relationship. (I've made that kind of mistake using MIDI entry -- if you don't get your fingers all the way off every key, the notes intended for the next chord get crammed into the current one, rather than starting a new duration.)

-- J.S.

I'm brand new to this, have watched all the videos, but can't figure out how to start a measure w/a quarter rest, & insert a quarter rest.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.