Cross Staff Arpeggios

• Aug 23, 2011 - 20:03

Musescore Handbook states:
"In version 0.9.5 or later you can edit the length of the arpeggio by double clicking on it and dragging the handle up or down."
Below this is a picture of two staves (treble and bass?) with the arpeggio shown across both staves.

I've followed the Handbook instructions in the attached file.
The first arpeggio (treble clef only) and second arpeggio (bass clef only) are played correctly on playback as arpeggiated.
But the third arpeggio across both staves doesn't play correctly on playback.
I've slowed down the tempo to see what's happening - you can see and hear that in playback of the cross stave arpeggio Musescore correctly plays the bass chord as an arpeggio but simultaneously plays the treble chord on top of - not after - the bass arpeggio, and also plays it as a straight chord which is not arpeggiated.

What am I doing wrong?
Also, can the speed of arpeggiation be varied for the purpose of performance expression?

Many thanks for your help.

Attachment Size
Cross Staff Arpgeggio.mscz 1.67 KB


There is currently no way to make an arpeggio on two staves with the right playback in MuseScore. The speed of arpeggiation is not variable. You do nothing wrong but you might expect too much from the current MuseScore, it's a score writer with some playback capabilities but not a pianist ;)

Although technically you can't use MuseScore to notate an arpeggio to play correctly across 2 staffs, you can notate the notes that make up the arpeggio to sound correctly, in this case the lower set (Bass Clef) will start from the beginning of the bar. The top set (Treble Clef) will offset by an 8th rest and notated as half notes. Add the arpeggio separately and you have something that would sound roughly like what is required.

Next set all the rests & notes for the top set to Invisible. Then go to the Symbols menu and drag the symbol with the proper note head 1 by 1 into the staff. These are just symbols for display and will not play in MuseScore. This way takes a bit more effort but would produce something that would sound very similar to what you'd normally play.

Sample file included:

Attachment Size
arpeggio-playable.mscz 2.92 KB

In reply to by thepianoplayer

...that you can leave the top staff notes visible (make the stem invisible), then change the note head type to 'whole' in Note Properties. Next, position the whole notes over the notes in the bottom staff by double clicking to enter edit mode, then use the left arrow to move the notes.
(To get to note properties, select the chord, then right click and access 'Note Properties' in the popup menu.)
Use of the Symbols (Z) palette, would not be necessary in this case.

Select one note and add the glissando to the chord, triple click the glissando line, and press Shift-up or down to stretch it across both staffs.

Bit of a work-around, but here's what I do:

First, notate the entire chord in the lower staff, but make invisible the notes that belong in the upper staff. Then write the part of the chord you made invisible in the upper staff, except that in the Inspector, you un-tick the box that says "play". Lastly, add the arpeggio to the lower staff and extend it up so that it looks like nothing is wrong!

Attachment Size
Rolled_Chord_Across_Staves.mscz 4.72 KB

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