Multiple pieces in one file

• Jul 31, 2012 - 23:44

I want to create a 2-sided A5 card for the congregation with various standard music bits on, but if the page turn happens to be best in the middle of a piece, it's quite difficult to make this work using exported bitmaps and Word (for example).

So, is it possible to create multiple (separate) pieces in one file?

Many thanks - Steve.


In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Sorry Michael to contradict you, but what essdeay asks for is mostly possible; I do it regularly.

Let's distinguish to points:

1) Include several pieces in the same MuseScore file

2) Having page turnings at the end of a piece.

1) Several pieces in a single file

Simply write each piece one after the other, inserting a line break at the end of each (drag the corresponding icon on the last measure of each piece; the icon is the first of the "Breaks and Spacers" section of the main palette).

If the pieces are in different keys and/or in different times, select "Edit | Edit general styles", tab "Page", then uncheck the "Create courtesy time signatures" and "Create courtesy key signatures" to remove the courtesy indications at the end of each piece.

Insert any required formatting, like for instance a double bar line at the end each piece and so on.

If you want, you may insert a vertical frame ("Create | Measure | Insert vertical frame") before the first measure of each piece to hold title, composer, etc, and / or a horizontal frame to indent the first line of each piece a bit.

This should give you a reasonable approximation of a multi-piece file. If you meet other specific problems, describe them and a solution can often be found.

2) Page turning

Matching page turnings with piece endings usually requires some trials and errors.

Basically, you define your page size and margins with the "Layout | Page settings" dialogue box and you mark the end of a printed page by dragging the "page break" icon (the second of the "Breaks and spacers" palette) to the measure after which you want the page break: all the following music will be moved to a new page.

To fit as much or as little music as you need / like on a page, play with the "Layout | Page settings" "Scaling space" value: the larger the value, the larger the music (and almost anything going with it) will be, so less music will fit in a page (and vice versa) (just for info: the value is the distance in mm between two lines of a staff). It is better not to go below 1.4 or the music will be too small and difficult to read.

If a single measure (or very few measure) insists in exceeding the line or the page, it is possible to compress a piece by selecting some of its measure and applying the "Layout | Add less stretch" command; do not compress anything more than TWICE or the result will be too crowded and, again, difficult to read (if you mess up with stretch, un-select anything and use "Layout | Reset stretch" and start again).

All these settings interact with each other, so some trials and errors are usually required, but a reasonable result is usually possible (unless you are really trying to fit too much music, or too long pieces, into little space).

Is is MUCH better to do all of this once the piece(s) are completely entered, including text and anything else which can alter the horizontal flow.

This should get you started, I believe. If you find any specific issue, don't hesitate to ask again.


In reply to by Miwarre

I'm currently typesetting some fife music and it would be nice to be able to put together medleys on the same page.
I'm using Windows XP and MuseScore 1.2.

1) Key signature changes

In general, you need to uncheck Create courtesy key signatures in Style -> Edit General Style -> Page. But this still leaves a problem when switching, for example from the key of D (two sharps) to the key of G (one sharp). MS 1.2 wants to tell you that you now have a C natural in the new piece. (See Exercises.mscz, attached.)

Workaround (which I'm sure is a bug, but I'm glad of it):

- Go to Style -> Edit General Style -> Page and make sure that Create courtesy key signatures is unchecked.

- Now uncheck Create key sig. for all systems and press Apply.

- Now check Create key sig. for all systems and press Apply. The natural sign is now gone.

- Now press the X in the top right corner of the Edit Style box. Do NOT press the OK button; if you do, the naturals will appear again.

This workaround is very fragile. If you do anything else at all, the naturals show up again, so do it just before you create your PDF file.

2) Time signature issues, when the first measure of the next piece has a pickup measure

If the second piece begins with a pickup measure, there is a problem with the time signature. In Melody S in Tunes-in-g.mscz (attached), for example, I want the first measure to be a pickup measure. If I create the measure as such (Measure properties -> Measure Duration Actual set to 1 / 8) and then drag the 2/4 time signature to the beginning of the staff, my pickup measure loses its 1/8 setting (and I still get no time signature).

As a workaround, I put in enough rests to fill out the beginning of the measure and turned these rests invisible, but that is really ugly.

3) Showing instrument names on only some staves, or using different instrument names on only some staves

In the attached Tunes-in.g.mscz file, I don't want to see the instrument names in most of the pieces, but I'd like to see "Fife 1" and "Fife 2" on Morilla's staves. I've made the instrument names invisible, for the first reason, but then Morilla has a problem.

4) Having different numbers of instruments in different sections.

For example, in the attachment Tunes-in-g.mscz, Morilla has two fife parts, while the other pieces have only one part.

This can be solved by using Style -> Edit General Style -> Score and checking the Hide empty staves box. But you have to do this after you enter the second part's notes, I think.

The attached examples are beginner's exercises, so it's not all that important. But for our fife medleys, these limitations would make the resulting scores inadequate.

The real answer to the problem is as ChurchOrganist originally responded: wait for MuseScore 2.0. But I'm hoping that some of my workarounds might be helpful in the meantime.

Any idea when 2.0 is supposed to be released?

Attachment Size
Tunes-in-g.mscz 6.04 KB
Exercises.mscz 3.61 KB

In reply to by Fifist

Last I've heard, thinking was fto release 2.0 around the end of the year (which I take mean, early next year). But you will be glad to hear that there are actually simpler workarounds to most of the issues you mentioned.

1) You can permanently hide the naturals in a key signature by simply right clicking it and selecting "hide naturals". No need for the fragile procedure you described. Unfortunately, it seems that for key signatures already entered that way, the Hide Naturals menu item does not appear. So you'd have to delete that key signature and re-enter in order to get that option back on scores you've already created.

2) You can get the pickup measure to work correctly if you *first* add the the time signature *then* change the actual duration.

3) Instrument names can simply be deleted - click and hit Delete. Of course, you'll still have to add names manually if you want them for some systems only.

4) Yes, you are correct that you should wait until you are done before using hide empty staves- otherwise, you won't be able to enter any more music, because all the empty staves on which you might have wanted to enter it will be hidden!

If you are trying to assemble a collection of fairly unrelated pieces - different instrumentation, etc. - you might also consider creating them all separately then assembling them in a word processor or desktop publishing program. Especially if it's a sheet of exercises and you expect to need much text. You might find this LibreOffice extension I developed to be useful for this purpose.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you for your much nicer workarounds than the ones I found. I will try them out right away.

The two files I attached are the first I've tried this on, as a test of how difficult it would be.

The reason for assembling the unrelated pieces in MuseScore is to be able to have the tunes all together in a single PDF document on a single page. Many of the existing medleys are made up of graphics files stuck together with Word. This method results in a much larger file size, and also fuzzier scores, since they're turned into pixels that might have to be resized to fit the space allowed for them. Much nicer to be in PDF.

Your Humble and Obedient Servant, &c.


In reply to by Fifist

MuseScore is perfectly capable of exporting the exercises at a resolution high enough that they won't look fuzzy, and both Word and the free / open source LibreOffice are perfectly capable of generating PDF's. Not saying you can't keep doing it the way you are, but it's definitely quite a lot easier, at least with 1.2, to assemble things using a word processor or DTP, and results are at least as good. I suppose file sizes could be slightly larger, but PNG does a great job of compression on simple black and white graphics like music. Definitely worth looking into. 2.0 will simplify the processing of assembling groups of exercises, but if you extepct to want to add much text, you'd still probably be better off using a word processor.

Here's a link to a book excerpt I just posted, created using my LibreOffice extension, which makes the process really painless:

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