Melisma Problem

• Sep 25, 2016 - 21:10

I'm re-working a 4-part song where each part has lyrics in different places. I enter the lyrics for the First Tenor part (first voice of the Tenor-(top)- stave) and then use inspector to move the lyrics so that hey appear above the notes, thus leaving room for the second tenor lyrics below the second tenor notes. Similarly for the two bass parts.

Works fine EXCEPT where a melisma continues from one line of music to another. What happens then is the actual lyrics are moved above the notes as expected BUT the portion of the melisma on the second stave does NOT move. I can't find a way of selecting the melisma to move it via Inspector.

I've attached an example showing the problem. The First Tenor melisma begins after the word "works" on the minim in bar 3 and continues to the dotted minim in bar 5, but bars 4 & 5 are in the second stave. You can see that the melisma has not moved above the notes in bars 4&5 as the lyrics have, and so interfere with the lyrics for the second tenor voice.

The only solution I can think of is to split bar 3 after the first beat so that the remainder of bar 3 plus bars 4&5 fit on the same stave (I hope) but really I shouldn't need to do that (should I).

What am I missing that will get, a melisma to locate correctly?

Attachment Size
Melissma_Problem.mscz 15.86 KB


This becomes more weird.
After posting my previous example, I noticed I hadn't added the lyrics for the second tenor voice at the end of bar 1, bar 2 and part of bar 3. As I added the melisma for this Second Tenor voice, my problem melisma in the first tenor, corrected itself.
he attached file shows what I expected in the first plkace.

But WHY?

Attachment Size
Melissma_Problem 2.mscz 15.85 KB

And yet even more weird.
I went to continue the song. Clicked on the First Tenor crotchet rest in bar 5 and typed 4 so that I could add 2 quavers, and lo and behold, the First Tenor melisma repositioned itself under the second tenor lyrics in bar 4.

I need help---please.

Attachment Size
Melissma_Problem 3.mscz 15.91 KB

This is indeed a bit strange--and I don't purport to understand what's happening at the program level--but the way you're trying to lay out the score is odd as well, and doesn't strike me as particularly easy for the singers to interpret. I would suggest you split the tenor I and II parts into two separate staves and set the lyrics for each part under the appropriate staff. That will enable you to generate separate parts for each part, and thus simplify life for all concerned.

Multiple parts are generally only combined on a single staff when the score contains so many instruments and vocal parts that there is no other practical way to get an entire system on one page without making it too small for the conductor to read. That doesn't appear to be the case for you in this piece.

Answering from memory as I'm not finding the paper trail on this:

There was some debate as to best way to handle cases where a lyric on one line has been manually moved but has a melisma line continuing to the next line. In at least some cases, you *don't* want the melisma line to keep this same manual adjustment - consider an adjustment made to a lyric below the staff just to avoid a note that is also below the staff This case came up enough that the behavior of MuseScore was changed at some point (maybe during the 2.0 beta period?) so that the melisma line reverted to the default position according to the text style.

This suggests the way to avoid this is not to use manual adjustments to move your lyrics above the staff, but instead use a custom text style set up that way. Unfortunately, I just tried it, and it doesn't seem to work - you still get the melisma in the default position.

The good news is that it appears for 3.0 these sorts of workarounds won't be needed at all - you will have the direct ability to specify that lyrics should be above the staff, and if you use that method, the melisma line does follow. I'm pretty stoked about this as it was actually perhaps my #1 outstanding request, perhaps maybe the only thing still missing from the list of wants I had when I first started using MuseScore six years ago.

Thanks for the comments.
Using separate staves for each voice is not something I want to do as all our music is currently on 2 staves, though having said that, there are a couple of songs where I've had to do just that because the lyrics/notes were so different for each voice that it bec ame impossible to follow when using just 2 saves.

Seems I'll have to wait for v3 for a solution.
I have o admit, it's not vital, this is a song our choir has never sung, I'm just producing decent copies of everything in our song books "just in case", less than 100 to do now.

Thanks again.

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