Split chord across staves in cross-staff notation

• Jan 29, 2012 - 05:40
P2 - Medium
S5 - Suggestion
GitHub issue

1) The easiest way to explain what I'm looking for is to attach a file. Open the file and look at the eighth notes. (It may look like this capability already exists in Musescore, seeing as how I created the notation I was looking for. However, there is no supported way to achieve this notation. What is on the file is a workaround in which I inserted the eighth notes on the lower staff in a separate voice, then dragged the beam to overlap with the one above.)

This should work like cross staff beaming, except that, it there were multiple notes in one voice, you would not be forced to move all the notes in the voice; you could leave some on the top staff, and put some on the bottom staff.

2) In implementing this, it is important that we let it remain easy for the user to beam all the notes across staves if (s)he wants to (this is the current behavior). If item #1 were implemented, this would become more difficult (you would have to individually press Ctrl+Shift+Down/Up for each note of each chord). Therefore, I would suggest that it be possible to beam multiple notes across staves at the same time by selecting the notes, and then pressing Ctrl+Shift+Down/Up.


In a nutshell, here is what I'm proposing: the user should be able to select multiple notes, and then press Ctrl+Shift+Down/Up, and have every selected note move staves accordingly, AND every non-selected note stay in its current position. If there was a chord with only some notes of the chord selected, and the user pressed Ctrl+Shift+Down/Up, only those selected notes would move, stretching the stem to accommodate the move (as in the attachment).

Attachment Size
One voice across multiple staves.mscz 2.01 KB


No, I have not, but I did essentially the same thing in the attached file. Both my method and the howto page entail far more work than necessary and require the user to trick the computer into displaying what (s)he wants. This does not solve either problem I've mentioned.

Anyone writing or transcribing keyboard music in general, and polyphonic keyboard music in particular will have voices which meander from the top to bottom staff and back again. In order to maintain continuity of the voices (especially in contrapuntal music) it is best to use cross staff techniques.

I am attaching a couple of scores to demonstrate this.

This leads me on to the reason I'm posting this.

1. Currently we have to implement cross staff voicing one note at a time - it would be extremely useful to be able to select the first note of the group you wish to cross staff, shift-select the last note, and then hit the cross staff key shortcut.

2. Quite frequently you will find a chord is split between staves - an example from Saint Saens is attached. Currently there is no way of achieving this in MuseScore other than by a fiddly workaround mentioned before. Please may we have the ability to move one or more notes of a chord cross staff.

Apologies for the quality of the pic - this score didn't scan at all well :(

As this is an important part of entering music for keyboard I am altering the priority to normal, and changing the type to "Feature request".

Attachment Size
3rdFantasie.mscz 35.5 KB
PassacagliaBWV582.mscz 71.46 KB
3rdfantasie-crossstaff.png 68.99 KB

I tried but ran into a problem: the note that I wanted to fiddle with is the last note within a bar, and the lower staff already have notes that used up all the beats for that bar, so I could not add an extra note. Is there a workaround for this?

It sounds like you probably need to use multiple Voices - see the Handbook for info. But in general, you should use the forum for questions on how to use MsueScore (and posting the actual score and a good decription of exactly what you want to do would help); the Issue Tracker is for reporting bugs.

I think there should be a way to do as shown in the pic by the other poster without using multiple voices. It's far too tedious to fake it to make it work and there's no reason why such a commonly used notation technique should not be doable without faking it to make it look this way

Title Cross-staff notation within one voice; beam multiple notes across staves with selection Split chord across staves in cross-staff notation


["I voted"]. This should definitely get an implementation in M.S. Little things like this are met with as one develops notation skills, and functionality-wise this would make the program more 'professional' rather than relying on graphical workarounds.

Dealing with this has to be cautious with backwards compatibility. Right now the cross-staff property belongs to chords, but in order to implement this it should belong to notes.

Workaround No Yes

workaround: use notes in voice 2, cross-staff them, lengthen their stems via inspector and disable autoplace for the stems

Workaround No Yes

There is a workaround, whether you like it or not. Where there a proper solution this issue would be marked fixed or closed

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Workaround Yes No

Oh, yes. I'm sure. If you have to write a measure as posted, you only have to spend three times more than if it was directly supported by the application. Just because you posted the "workaround" doesn't mean it's good for everyone.
I thought it was good to report the bugs to make the app work better in the future. I guess I was wrong.
You keep using MuseScore, I will keep using Finale or Dorico. So is good for both of us.

Checking the workaround box doesn't mean the issue is closed, it's just something we can use to help prioritize, collect metrics, etc. There is a workaround, so the box must remain checked - it's not good for bug reports or feature request suggestions to contain inaccurate information. But the suggestion remains open and I have no doubt it will be considered someday.

And yes, it's good to submit bug reports and feature requests, we depend on users to do this. But it's also important they contain accurate information, so sometimes we edit the settings or make comments to clarify. Nothing to worry about, it just means we care enough about the issue to want to make sure it is logged properly.

Workaround Yes No

I thought that in the new version 4, this problem would finally be taken into account.
I think I was wrong.
EDIT: I've tried to post without changing the workaround into "no", but I really don't know how it works. It was not my intention.
How can I post without changing this staff? I just wanted to do a comment.

Normally the field wouldn't change all by itself - you'd need to change it manually via the dropdown. But, if you already had the browser tab window open on this page from a time when a setting was different, then that old setting reinstates itself.

Anyhow, it's true that there hasn't been any progression on this issue yet, but there are people working on these types of engraving improvements, and even if it doesn't happen by 4.0, I suspect it will be 4.1. or 4.2 or whenever.

I do also vote for this improvement. The easiest solution is just: If you put one note (with ctrl+shift+up/down) in another staf, than the chord isn't moving with it.