Lyrics Above Staff

• Dec 21, 2011 - 05:28
Reported version
S5 - Suggestion

This issue has popped up on the forums but has never made its way into the issue tracker... until now.

I would like to see some way to support lyrics both above and below the staff. The best way would likely be to have options for "Create >> Text >> Lyrics Above Staff" and "Create >> Text >> Lyrics Below Staff."

Using global text styles to set the Y value to a negative number (as has been mentioned in the forums) is not an acceptable solution because: 1) It is unintuitive, 2) It would apply to every single lyric (we usually only want some lyrics to appear above the staves, not all) 3) It does not add staff space in order to accommodate the lyrics.



This feature would be a huge help for me. I focus primarily on barbershop quartet music, so I'm constantly using voices 1 and 2 on the top staff of the system and 3 and 4 on the bottom. I usually associate the lyrics with voice 2, which puts them between the staves, but when the lyrics differ for another part, I'd like them to automatically be positioned appropriately. Since Musescore already correctly fixes note stems for voices 1/2 and 3/4, I'd love it if the lyrics system noticed that voice-based stems were in effect and automatically placed the lyrics above or below based on the stem direction of the note I clicked.

Has the status of this thread changed in recent times? Are movable lyrics going to be supported in the future?

I tried to highllight a whole line of lyrics and move them above the staff en masse, but all the lyrics except for the word on which you have the cursor simply vanish when they move above the staff.

What version are you trying with, and how are trying to do the move? It should work just fine to select them all and move them, as long as you hold ctrl when initiating the drag (otherwise, you lose your selection). In 2.0, this is a bit sawkward because ctrl constrains dragging to horizontal, but it works to hold ctrl when starting the drag, then switching to shift to constrain the drag to vertical.

In either version, when moving items a long ways, there is a glitch where some items may temporarily appear to disappear, but as soon as you release the button, they should show up. At most, maybe they'll disappear until the screen is redrawn.

I am using version 1.2 for Macintosh. I thought this was the latest version. Is version 2 available for Mac?

Anyhow, to respond to your suggestion: on a Macintosh computer, the Control key doesn't do what you say it should. That is because, since we don't have Right-Click on Macs, we have to use the control key for that; so, when we hold the Control key down and click on an element, we get a drop menu. I have been using Mac's "Command" key to move the line of text. First I select the line of text and then, with the Command key held down, click on one of the words and move the whole line of text upwards. This works fine until I get to the the staff. At that point all the words except for the one over which the cursor rests, disappear. Only that single word follows the curser above the staff.

2.0 will be the next version, but experimental nightly builds have been available for quite some time (click the download link in the menu on the right side of any page on this site, scroll down). When submitting a bug report or feature request, it is often to good to check the nightly build to see if it has perhaps already been resolved.

Anyhow, while as I said there are temporary glitches where things *seem* to disappear when dragged a long ways, they normally reappear as soon as you release the button, or when the page is next redrawn. If you are finding that to not be the case on your system, it would be good to install a nightly build, try it there, and if it still an issue, file a separate bug report, with a sample score and steps to reproduce.

Wow, that works! I didn't think of releasing the text line. I just saw that it was disappearing and, since I didn't want to have to type it over, I moved it back to its original place so I wouldn't (as I thought) lose the line of text.

I have been a bit scared to try the versions still under development, since I don't actually understand how MuseScore works and am not a programmer. But maybe I should take a look.

Might I suggest that it would be much easier to have two options for creating lyric text:
-Create >> Text >> Lyrics Above Staff
-Create >> Text >> Lyrics Below Staff

This would be more intuitive and would also save the user the hassle of individually selecting each word with CTRL click and then dragging them around. This would prove very difficult with a page or two of lyrics below and above the staff. While the user should still be able to move a piece of lyric text wherever he wants, as is currently the case, having these two options would simplify the process.

Isaac, I am under the impression (though not sure) that the solution your are suggesting is in the works and will be available in the future.

As for selecting lyric text, it turns out you don't have to do it word by word. Instead, hold down the Shift key and then, with the cursor, outline all the text you want to select. You can tell when the text has been selected because it turns blue. Then, on a Mac, you hold down the Command key and click and drag the text, or delete it, or whatever you want to do to it. (I imagine it is the Alt key on a PC).

Forgive me if you already knew this. I just recently learned it myself and it has been a tremendous help.

Might I suggest that it would be much easier to consider that text line are staves ?
And in case of voices we can place text line / staff or staff // text line ?
And by this way, we can modify spacing between staves and text lines as we modify spacing between two staves ? Like instruments ?

I do agree it would be nice to have two different types of lyrics, one for above and one for below. There are already two different lyrics styles - for odd and even lines - but if there is a way to get this to work to oput some lines above and some below, I haven't been able to figure it out.

As for treating text like staves, that sounds like a pretty major architectural change - I can really see anyone having the stomach for that.

As for selecting text, you can also right click a word and choose "select all similar elements in same staff". So one strategy might be to enter the lyrics you want above the staff first, as verse two - then use this technique to select it all and move it above the staff. Then enter the lyrics below the staff as verse one.

The way I would imagine things working in the future, there would be a marker representing the baseline for each line of lyric, and you could drag this where you wanted.

One small issue with the present way of manually needing to move text above/below the staff is the extra space left between the staves that the lyrics used to occupy. Manually moving lyrics doesn't remove the space allocated to the lyrics and you can't remove it either. There are some limitations to lyrics placement right now, but these are the ones I've found the most troublesome to deal with. I have found ways to deal with them, but typically the solution is not pretty.

1. Adding lyrics above a staff
2. Adding between the staff when the notes are only in the bottom staff
3. Having the extra space between the staves because lyrics had to be manually moved
4. Changing the lyric margins and how it affects manually moved lyrics

Yes, I would very much like an option to have MuseScore *not* add additional space for lyrics, and instead let me manage that myself. That's how it is for chord symbols, staff text, dynamics, hairpins, slurs, and everything else - only lyrics for some reason cause MuseScore to change its spacing. I *really* wish I could turn that off. That combined with the issue here - wanting lyrics on two different baselines - are the two biggest issues with MuseScore for vocal music, in my view. Perhaps the two biggest issues period at this point, not counting outright bugs that presumably will be fixed.

Extra vertical space

Extra vert. space for lyrics is a point I also used not to understand. However, I have come to agree with this architectural choice.

It is not the only case in MuseScore; for instance, TABs might have extra stuff above or below the stuff, either in the form of note value symbols (historic tabs) or stems-and-beams (modern tabs); also in this case extra vert. spacing is created to maintain the proper 'blank space' above and below the staff.

Blank space above and below the lyrics (i.e. between the staff and the lyrics and between the lyrics and the next staff) can be customized in the "Style | General | Page" dlg box: default is 2sp for each, but either can be reduced to 0.

Lyrics above:

This is almost possible via the custom text styles. The procedure would be:

1) Create a new text style with the required font, size and placement relative to the staff
2) Enter the lyrics: they assume the default lyric style
3) Select the lyrics you want to move
4) With [Ctrl] right click (or equivalent Mac), apply the custom style

This currently does not work, because there is code to force either odd or even line lyrics style; I have a pull request pending (// which removes this constrain.

Having such a text style available by default may of course speed up the process and make it less arcane.



I agree having automatic extra space for lyrics is often useful, so I wouldn't want to give up that feature. I'd want a style option to be able to turn it off. The problem comes when creating music where there are lyrics below some staves but not others, or different numbers of verses below different staves, and the publishing standards you are trying to adhere to require constant staff spacing. I'd want the ability to choose my own staff spacing and haveit honored no matter what.

Perhaps there would be a way to leverage the "min/max" spacing parameters used in 2.0 to implement what was formerly "page fill"? A min and max staff distance, and extra is added only up to the max, so setting them the same would achieve the desired result?

As for above, below, yes, in principle, that would be a way to get the job done. I'll be curious to see how things work with your code. I had already triedmaking the "even" style set Yposition to above the staff, hoping to trick MuseScore into placing a second verse there, but it ignores the Yposition parameter of the Even text style. Will your fix address that, too, or istht hardcoded?

Anyhow, text styles should work, but I'd still suggest there is room for a top level command for lyrics above versus lyrics below. Same with staff text - although of course the same workaround is available, and the customizable palettes actually do a pretty good job of streamlining this.

I consider this a non-minor feature - one of the more important things to address post 2.0.

BTW, I am finding that simply using the Inspector to set the offsets to an appropriate negative value is an easier-to-use workaround than actually defining and apply a text style.