Voices 101 (or maybe 100, 99, ,98....)

• May 28, 2013 - 02:27

1. How do I create 3 staves as show in the attachment? (The attachment is for piano and voice)

2. Do I need to uses voices, say, 1 and 2, to notate the first measure in row 1?

3. Or are voices only for, voices, that is, other instruments? (If that's the case the vocal part could be "voice 1" and the entire piano part "voice 2")



Attachment Size
Voices.png 230.62 KB


Hi fingers -

1. If you aren't using a template (and are using the New Score Wizare, from File -> New...), you can add the staves from the Instrument list. (Vocals -> Voice, then press Add. Keyboards -> piano, then Add.) If you are using a template, you can add additional staves after you've created the empty score.

2. The top (Voice) staff looks like it can be entered using a single voice (Voice 1).

The piano right hand will need two voices, it looks like. The quarter notes will be in Voice 1 and the whole notes will be in Voice 2.

The piano left hand looks like it can be done with a single voice, from what you have shown in your image. But that depends on what is in the remaining measures of the song.

Take a look at the attachment to get you started.

Have fun!


Attachment Size
Voices_101.mscz 2.14 KB

In reply to by Fifist

Thank you Fifist,

That is a clear explanation especially with the attachment. (I'm new to Musescore and music notation in general, Takes me more time to come to grips with this way of thinking.)


In reply to by fingers

In a general sense, 'different voices' can be construed to be different instruments.


In Musescore, entering notes on a single staff as different voices refers to the ability of a single instrument, like the piano, to play more than one rhythm simultaneously.
If you look at the piano's first measure (below the 'a tempo'), you will see a rest followed by three quarter notes. In addition, there is a whole note which is supposed to sound for four beats. All this adds up to 8 beats, but (judging by the lyrics), the song is in 4/4, with four beats per measure.


By splitting the measure into voices, one 'voice' plays the one rest followed by the three quarter notes. *Simultaneously*, the other 'voice' plays the whole note (the middle C), holding it for 4 beats. All together, 4 beats transpire in real time.
Had this middle C been a quarter note and *not* a whole note, a second voice would not have been needed.
(A more complicated piece might have the lower voice playing something rhythmically more challenging than a simple whole note.)


The first measure of the piano bass clef shows two whole notes played at the exact same time, held for the exact same duration, so a second voice would not strictly be necessary at that place.

I think you've gotten good specific answers. Let me try to answer more generally as well:

"Voices" are needed any time a single staff needs to show two independent rhythmic figures. It in no way implies anything about multiple instruments, or anything about the human voice. It just means there are independent rhythms in the same staff,

It is quite common for a given staff to be able to use a single voice for most of its duration but need to split into two for one passage. The standard is to do so for complete measures - if you need to split into two voices starting in beat 3 of one measure and continuing to beat 2 of the next, you actually show the leading and trailing rests for the full two measures. But there is then no need to show the rests for the second voice in any other measure. The exception is if your multiple voices really are representing two different instruments (like showing parts for two flutes on the same staff), where the rests can help the players sort out which one of them is supposed to be playing. But it also works to just put a text indication in there.

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