Voices feature not working for me.

• Oct 11, 2011 - 16:43

I have carefully followed the directions in the manual but trying to enter the second voice causes the new notes to replace the voice 1 notes. I have tried clicking "2" before "N" and after "N" with no difference. I tried the combine method shown in http://musescore.org/en/node/12345 but it also caused the voice "2" notes to replace the voice 1 notes.
I am using: MuseScore 1.1 revision 4611
I have PC running windows 7 version 6.1 build 7601 service pack 1

I find no helpful references in the forum or the internet. If you can help, I should be grateful. What I am trying to achieve is a score with soprano and Alto on one stave, tenors and bass on the second stave. I am based in Norway.


you must first be in note entry mode before switching to a secondary voice for input. When entering note entry mode, MS automatically switches back to voice. Try these steps...

1) select a note or rest in voice 1 (you should see the note/rest highlighted in blue)
2) type 'N' or click the 'N' button for "note input mode" (you should see a blue vertical bar to the left of the note/rest)
3) type 'ctrl-I' followed by 'ctrl-2' or click the green '2' button in the voice panel to select voice 2 (you should see the vertical bar is now green)
4) enter the voice 2 note (you should see the note highlighted in green)

If you don't see what "you should see" at any of these steps, please post back.

In reply to by mtherieau

I've tried this multiple times and followed each entry I've found on the forum (which all say the same thing) but I never get a green bar.
In the attached screenshot I have created a new score with a Piano. I then entered 'N' mode and put in the C note; Then I pressed the back arrow to go back to the beginning of the measure and clicked on '2' to get the second voice (at which point I took the screenshot). You can see that Voice 2 is selected on the button bar but neither the vertical bar nor the note that I am about to put in using the mouse (shows as the B) are Green. If I click to enter this new note the original disappears.

I have only just downloaded MuseScore so it is the latest version and I run Win7 (32bit) patched to the hilt.

Any suggestions?

Other than that, looks like an impressive piece of SW!

Attachment Size
Untitled.png 71.14 KB

In reply to by zog

interesting...first question: can you select Help->About and verify that the "AboutBox" window shows that you're running "Version: 1.1." and "Revision: 4611"?

Also, you didn't specify which mechanism you're using to input the notes--I'm guessing you are pointing with the mouse and clicking to enter the notes? Can you try an experiment that uses only keyboard shortcuts to enter notes?

1) start with an empty score
2) the rest in the first measure the rest should be selected (highlighted in blue)
3) type 'N' to begin note entry mode (you should see a blue vertical bar to the left of the rest)
4) type 'C' to enter a C note in voice 1 (you should see the vertical bar move to the right of the note)
5) press left-arrow to move the vertical to the left of the note
6) type 'ctrl-I' followed by 'ctrl-2' to select voice 2 (you should see the vertical bar is now green)
7) type 'D' to enter a D note in voice 2 (the note should show up in green)

I've just had the same problem. If I clicked on the buttons for Voices 2, 3, 4, it wouldn't do anything. The cursor stayed blue, and if I entered a note, it would overwrite the existing Voice 1 note.

The problem went away when I restarted the program.

This was on the Mac version of Musescore 1.2, revision 5470. Operating system Mac OSX version 10.7.4. The problem occurred when running the program for the very first time.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I'm never confident when trying to click on the little coloured square to select a voice. I use the keyboard method:

Click anywhere in the measure in which you want to enter a second (or third or fourth) voice.
Press n then press 5 (or any other number, preferably corresponding to the duration of the first note or rest)
Press and hold [Ctrl], keep it held and press i the letter and the number 2 (for second voice; 3 for 3rd voice etc.)

So, that's n 5 [Ctrl]-i2

Now keep entering notes using the keyboard - right hand on your numeric keypad (if you have one) to select the duration and left hand to select your notes.

Once you get used to doing this you will get to remember sequences for common phrases of notes and rests such as:
n 6 [Ctrl] i 2 0 5 c d gives 2nd voice, minim rest, crotchet C, crotchet D
n 5 [Ctrl] i 3 4 . a 3 g 5 g 0 gives 3rd voice, dotted quaver A, semiquaver G, crotchet G, crotchet rest

Note to flamboyant keyboard players - the [Ctrl] key is best pressed with the ring finger of the left hand and the i and the 2 delivered with a flourish using the ring and index fingers respectively of the right hand. Ruffled shirt cuffs are optional.

You have to put in the second voice BEFORE you put in the first voice. If you do not see a rest for the first voice, try moving the second voices rests around. Tested on MuseScore 1.2-5470. I don't know about 1.3 but i will try soon.

In reply to by xavierjazz

SO this is my instructions:

1. Open MuseScore
2. Create a new score
3. Click on the first rest
4. Hit "n" for note entry mode
5. Hit a number for tempo selection
6. Select the second voice
7. Enter the notes you want
8. Go back to the beginning and click on the blue rest
9. Go to note entry mode, select your tempo and input the notes

If you do not believe me, TRY IT.
If you want to put in 3 or more voices, just put them in decreasing order. 4, then 3, then 2, then 1.
Make sure to put the first voice LAST.
Hope this helps.
MuseScore 1.2-5470

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

These reports are not non-sense. I'm using Mac OS X 10.6.8 with Musescore 1.1 (4611) (yes, I need to upgrade OS and Musescore both) and can unequivocally confirm that there is an issue wherein sometimes the program does not allow for separate voice entry using keyboard or mouse (have not tried MIDI), and that the symptom of this problem is that voice 1 is overwritten.

Yes, I was in Note entry mode before switching to voice 2(,3,4), yes the proper voice was highlighted before attempting note entry (shows green in the palette), cursor was at the start of the system, etc. It's a bug, and it's intermittent, but it does happen - you're fortunate to not be experiencing this, and/or we're UNfortunate to be experiencing it, or however you want to look at it.

I fully concede that it may be (and probably is) a common problem for people to perform these operations out of order, but there are apparently circumstances or conditions under which proper order is failing to produce the intended results. A little qualification for these assessments and assertions: human adult, can read and follow directions, and have worked in software (some QA, mostly as engineer) for the last 19 years - I absolutely guarantee and certify I'm not screwing it up, and the application is indeed acting squirrelly.

In reply to by THwang2

First, you should upgrade to MuseScore 1.3 if your operating system support it.
Second, you can enter voices in any order.

  1. Select the blue rest
  2. Press N, 5, C, C, C, C and you will have 4 quarter notes
  3. Press left arrow 3 times to go back to the first quarter
  4. Select voice 2 in the voice selector
  5. Press A, A, A, A to add 4 A in the second voice
  6. If you want to put in notes in voice, do it in the order you want!

In reply to by THwang2

Hi GaneFreaked -

This is not a bug. I agree with the other responders. You are doing something wrong. Please read the documentation and follow it exactly.


In reply to by Fifist

Let me tell you a story:

I had read the documentation over and over, but it never worked.
And I was really made because whenever I put in notes for the second voice, it kept overwriting the first voice.
I was just bored so I tried putting the second voice in first and then the first voice.
VOILA! It worked, and even better, its fixed for LIFE. I do not have to put in the second voice in first ANY MORE.

The only problem is that I want to make a drum beat, but the voices don't work for drums. Even my method of putting the second first doesn't work.

In reply to by THwang2

There may be a bug about this, but I don't believe its in Musescore. I have used this program for a long time and when this happened to me, it was ME not getting it right.

In reply to by THwang2

For non-drum parts: as others have said., voices can be entered in any order. If you are seeing different results depending on the order you enter them, then you are doing something incorrectly. The following works, every time, regardless of which voice you enter first:

1) click a measure
2) hit N to go to note entry mode
3) press the key for the voice your want
4) start entering notes for that voice: select duration, enter pitch, repeat
5) press the key for the voice you want to switch to
6) start entering notes for that voice: select duration

At steps 3 and 5, the cursor will back up to the beginning of the measure you are in - or at least, the point at which that voice left off. But it works the same whether you do voice 1 or voice 2 first.

Drum parts, as mentioned, do work differently. Definitely start by reading the handbook entry and watching the various tutorial videos on the subject. Each note you enter already "knows" what voice it should be in, so you don't actually need to touch the voice buttons at all most of the time. It's possible to override this, but its best not to, or if you really want to do things differently, to edit your drum set definition to make the voices you want the defaults, rather than trying to force notes into voices other than the ones they are configured to use. It *should* work to force notes into other voices, but it's an easy way to confuse yourself as well as to expose obscure bugs.

In reply to by THwang2

Hi GameFreaked -

The video that Jojo-Schmitz mentioned earlier is a very good place to start. It is featured on the MuseScore homepage as Part 9 Drum Parts . While all of the videos on the homepage are good to watch, this one goes into writing drum parts, and it does cover using multiple voices on a 5-line drumset staff.

The version of MuseScore that is used in these videos is a bit out of date, but the information is still valid.

Check it out.


I figured out that when I click on the stave, the voices work properly, BUT when I go to the pallet and double click the drum note, it overwrites the notes. Im always used to typing in notes, so im not used to clicking inside of the stave. I guess I will have to learn to click inside the stave when im doing drum parts.

In reply to by THwang2

You *can* type notes for drum parts. The same dialog where you can customize voices, you can assign the shortcuts A-G to whatever drum you want. In theory, I think pressing a key is supposed to switch voices and enter the note, but that seems a bit glitch, so sometimes you have to exit and enter note entry mode before you can enter notes in a different voice. But still, you don't have to switch voices manually.

For an example of this in action, see the Jazz Combo or Jazz Big Band template. The shortcuts for individual drums are assigned as follows:

A - hi hat in voice 2
B - bass drum in voice 2
C - ride in voice 1
D - snare in voice 1
E - tom in voice 1

F & G are also assigned, but not specific drums. G places a note with a slash head in voice 1; you can then remove the stem (right click, note properties) to create slash notation. F creates a note above the staff with stem up in voice 3, and I use that to notate "kicks" to be played in passage that are otherwise just slashes.

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