merging multiple staves into one

• Mar 7, 2017 - 05:23

I've been trying figure out to do this, and i'm not having much luck. I've attached a midi file I used as a source to import into musescore.

Then following the instruction found here (, I've merged the two bass staves, and then tried to merge the 'merged bass staff' with 'the treble staff'

But if I select the first rest of the treble staff, and paste the copied stuff from the bass staff, it overwrites it.

I've managed to transpose the piece by an octave, and I need the bass staff notes to be in the treble staff with the rest, so I can clean it up afterwards.

How will I accomplish this?

It's for transcribing piano music to be played on a guitar. (i know some pieces are just impossible. But people make sacrifices in terms of the pitches and the number of notes and make a piano piece playable on a guitar)

Thanks for any insights.

Attachment Size
bwv-988-v01.mid 4.66 KB
bwv-988-v01.mscz 31.68 KB


In reply to by seanincali

Changing the clef isn't really necessary, but if you want to do it, select the measure and double click the staff on the palette.

To filter, press F6 to open the selection filter and uncheck voice 1, then select the entire second staff, copy, and then select either the first note or rest (it doesn't matter) and paste. Check Voice 1 so you don't forget when you need it later during cleanup.

Sorry Folks, I am having the exact same problem here again with a different midi import file. At first it wouldn't let me copy and paste anything until the midi was saved as a mscz file.

Then when I transpose the bass clef to treble, and the select voice 2 only, and copy and paste into voice 1 clef after checking the voice 2 off and 1 on, I get overwritign efefct.

I've tried it with voice 1 off, voice 2 off, both on. and so on.

Attached the screenshots and mscz.

PS. what's with the midi files having instruments, and the musescore not being able to change it? I've changed the flute denoted in the midi file to guitar, and it shows upper notes above c in red indicating it's out of the range which clearly shouldn't be


Actually I did find out what the problem is.

I didn't change the top staff, exchange voice 1-2. Once I had done that, the overwriting stopped, and I was able to merge the staff and transpose to c. and then lower the top staff notes by an octave.

Attachment Size
merging problems.jpg 375.82 KB
IMSLP350872-PMLP533917-wtc1.mscz 30.16 KB

In reply to by seanincali

To make things easier until you get 2.1, you only need to turn on and off the voices affected and leave everything else checked. No need to unselect everything else.

When you copy voice 2 of the left hand,
check voice 2, uncheck voice 1
Click the first note/rest of the destination
Check voice 1

The problem with the instrument changes has to do with the flute using a normal treble clef and the guitar uses a treble clef with the 8 under it. This is because the guitar is a transposing instrument, that is everything sounds an octave below what is written. So what you see on the page is actually an octave above where it should be on a guitar staff. Changing instruments does not automatically change clefs, you must do that yourself. This clef with the 8 below it is in the advanced palette.

Depending on your MuseScore version:

if you paste into Voice 1 it will leave Voice 2 intact;
if you paste into Voice 2 it will erase everything in Voice 1.

That is a serious fault, but it has a simple workaround.

To be safe, first Save As a new version with new date, time or both in the score and the filename. Apart from avoiding risk of loss of content, keeping old versions of compositions, including in independent backups such as Dropbox, is good practice for proving originality of work.

In the staff to be kept, set all notes and rests to Voice 2.

If they are all Voice 1, the quick way to select and switch them is:

click in an empty space in the first measure (selects it - outline appears around it);
Ctrl Shift End - (expands selection to end - same as in text editing);
Edit - Voices - Exchange 1-2;
Home (returns to top, does not deselect - different from text editing)

Doing Exchange before Home lets you see that the exchange has worked at both the end and the top.

If your keyboard lacks Home and End keys then you are stuck with the clumsy selection method:
select first measure;
scroll to end;
Shift select last measure;
scroll back to top

In the staff to be removed, set all notes and rests to Voice 1.

Select all of that staff.

Ctrl X (cuts all selected content)

Select the first note or rest in the staff to be kept.

Ctrl X (pastes)

That should result in a merger of the two staves.

Check that your merger worked properly. If so, remove the spurious staff and Save.

You will still have separate voices in the kept staff, but they will all appear the same when your score is printed, and if you later decide to copy notes and rests of only either voice from the merged staff or split it again then you can easily do so.

Depending on the complexity and numbers of voices in your original staves, you can experiment with using Voice 3 and Voice 4.

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