Lyrics during rests

• Aug 5, 2013 - 14:46

I want to write lyrics during a beat where instruments rest. How can I do this? I also have a problem when a note is played in the bass staff, but I want lyrics ABOVE the bass staff.


Ctrl + L under the note, separate the words with Alt + Space;
When you have entered the text, use the arrow keys (inside the blue frame) to move the words.

Edit the values ​​as in the attachment to move the lyrics above the staff

Attachment Size
Parole0.png 3.84 KB
Parole1.png 53.14 KB

You might also consider why you are trying to use lyrics where there are no notes. Is it possible these aren't lyricsw at all but simple text markings? If so, then you should be using staff text. Or maybe you are trying to show the lyrics being sung in another part? In which case, maybe enter the part but hide the notes. What exactly are you trying to do here?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The music I am scoring is only for the accompaniment (not the singer). There are beats where the accompaniment rests but the lyrics (for the vocalist) continues. I am not a music expert, my scores are not concert level, but indicate what accompanying musician plays while singer does lyrics. (The singer does not have a score sheet.)

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

My reply may have been confusing. The score I prepared is for accompanying musicians only. The vocalist does not have a score. I typed in the lyrics against accompanying musicians' score, but could not by default include lyrics for beats where the accompaniment rests while vocalist continues. I eventually got lyrics in (possibly because another musician playing the bass line continued during the beats where main accompanist playing treble line had a rest). I used Lyrics lower margin, which I believed gave me lyrics above the bass line.

In reply to by yolz

This does make sense. Since you are talking about entire lines of lyric that won't necessary line up with notes being played, I'd personally have done it by entering the lyrics as staff text rather than as lyrics. Why use the lyrics mechanism - which is designed to automatically connect individual syllables with individual notes - if you aren't actually trying to make that connection? You just end up fighting the facility.

Another thing you might consider is simply include the vocal part in full with the accompaniment parts, perhaps using a small staff. This is the way much published music I am aware of works, especially for pieces that are vocal or instrumental solo with piano accompaniment. The solo parts contains just its own staff, but the accompaniment part includes a small version of the solo part.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I recently added lyrics to rests as a cue to instrumentalists. My solution was to replace the long, multi-measure rests with small ones in the rhythm of the lyric. I found I could CTRL-L on each rest and add a lyric syllable. Not very convenient, as I had to do this for each syllable, but doable. Also, this method doesn't provide hyphenation, etc. I fudged by adding hyphens using regular text.
I would like to see a mode allowing lyrics on rests, because I have needed this from time to time, and probably will again. I'm hoping it is as simple as adding an on/off control to the existing lyrics logic.

In reply to by kenwarnold

In 2013 lyrics on rests was not possible, it was added by popular demand. It is tedious to add lyrics to several rests because normally rests are skipped during lyric entry. I'm not sure what kind of cues you are adding. It's possible there is a more efficient way to do this.

In reply to by mike320

Wow, Mike! You replied before I could even tidy up my post with an edit!
Thanks for the reply.
My use case is this.
I'm the handbell director at a small church, and my ringers are beginners.
We're accompanying the organist in "O Come, All Ye Faithful."
The kids have a long rest during the refrain, which consists repeats "O come let us adore him," three times.
They rest for two of the three phrases, and come in on the third.
By placing the lyric in their chart, I help them keep time.
Glad rests-on-lyrics is possible, but I wish it were more integrated.
Or maybe it is, and I'm not using it well?

In reply to by kenwarnold

I happened to look at the forum at just the right time.

Your original description was quite accurate about entering lyrics on rests. It's tedious. There is a possible workaround.

  • Enter the notes in voice 2 (or another unused voice), they can all just be a b or f so the stems never stick to far above or below the staff.
  • Enter your lyrics on the notes in voice 2
  • Select all of these measures and open the inspector (F8) and click the "Notes" button. Since you only have voice 2 note, only the notes you want to deal will will be selected.
  • Also in the inspector, remove the checks from Visible near the top of the inspector and Play near the bottom. This will prevent the notes from playing if you want to listen to assure your notes are correctly entered, otherwise just make them invisible.

This will leave the notes looking light gray on the screen and the lyrics totally visible. The gray notes won't print and if you don't want to see them use the View menu and select "Show invisible" the check will disappear and so will the notes.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I actually would very much like to be able to not only paste on rests, but also move across rests as I would across notes. I sometimes like to make my own chord sheets, and all I really need is the lyrics and the chords, and timing of chords with rests. It saves a lot of time to not input the melody, especially if I can just copy the entire lyrics, and paste word by word, to put the lyrics in roughly the right spots.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I use the rests to tell me the timing of the chords. So, invisible notes would essentially double the workload I think. If rests were treated as notes that would be perfect.

I'm not totally sure what invisible notes are, tbh, but I do know I need to see the timing divisions so that I know how to play the chords.

Here's a better question. Why wouldn't you treat rests as notes in so far as lyrics are concerned?

If you would use them, they work. If you don't care to use them, then it doesn't affect you.

In reply to by a-muse-sing

Actually it does. It means every time you press Space to move to the next note and there is a rest, you'll need to press Space again, and again, and again, until the next note. Since 99% of the time we want to skip those rests, it's a lot of wasted effort to have to keep pressing Space to skip over things the vast majority of people will never want to put lyrics under.

In reply to by a-muse-sing

How are rests more work to enter than notes? Same exact number of clicks / keystrokes.

If you need to see them, though, then don't make them invisible. If you are saying you don't need to know pitches, make it rhythmic slash notation.

As for why rests aren't treated like notes, it's because 99% of published music does not put lyrics under rests, because 99% of lyrics are sung to actual notes, not rests. So when one is entering lyrics normally, you would normally need to skip the rests and only enter lyrics under the notes.

If you attach your actual score and explain what you are trying to do in more detail, we can understand and assist better.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Ok, maybe rhythmic slash notation is a good way to go. I'll see how easy that is to implement.

"As for why rests aren't treated like notes, it's because 99% of published music does not put lyrics under rests, because 99% of lyrics are sung to actual notes, not rests. So when one is entering lyrics normally, you would normally need to skip the rests and only enter lyrics under the notes."

Yes, I understand that, but that isn't a reason for not allowing it, really. If it is useful for some people.

But if the rhythmic slash stuff is just as good, that's ok.

I have a ton of scores like this. I just put the chords at the top, but I want to know when they are played. Musescore lets you put them exactly where you want, but the visual information isn't good enough. So, I was just lining up the rests, so I had good visual information in regards to when the chords should be played. The rests just showed me where the chords are, without adding melodic information.

EDIT: How does slash notation work exactly?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Ya, I just tested it, and I can't use slash notation. If I set all my bars to whole slashes, the minute I change it to say a half note, it's going to make the other half a rest, so now I have to convert that new rest into a slash note again. That adds way too much work for me. The lyrics are a pain the way they work with rests, but it's workable, and I don't use lyrics that often.

But thanks for your help, it was certainly worth a try.

Sorry, you're right, it is allowed, but like you said, you can't space between notes, and you can't do things like add dashes between notes and holds and stuff. It would be convenient for me if rests behaved just like notes as far as lyrics were concerned. Would be the fastest way to make a lead sheet with lyrics, so that all the chords had their proper timing notated, and all the lyrics appeared in the right spots, without actually going in and writing in all the melody.

In reply to by a-muse-sing

I think you're misunderstanding how rhythmic slash notation works. You wouldn't normally enter the slashes then change their rhythms; you enter the notes first with the correct rhythms (just as you are already presumably doing for rests - same exact number of keystrokes) then convert to rhythmic slash notation.

This method works exactly like what you are asking, except instead of seeing your score littered with rests that no published music would ever show, you see nice simple rhythmic slash notation like how music is normally written.

Again, if you attach your actual score, we do a much better job of assisting, giving you the advice that works best for your particular use case.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

With the rests it's much easier. I just have each bar set to whole rests. All I need to do is highlight the rest, and press 5, and it converts it to two quarter rests, or I hit the period, and then I get a dotted quarter and an 1/8th. It's really fast and easy.

If I use notes or slashes, it's going to let me tell it how long I want a specific note, and then fill the rest with rests, which means I'd have to go and fill the rests with a slash or note. I'm not inserting any notes ever. I'm just changing the duration of rests.

If I ever want an actual rest, I just notate N.C. where the chords are, and then the rests become the duration of the N.C. It's a much faster way to accomplish my goals. The only downside is it doesn't work well with lyrics.

I don't really care if people don't publish it this way. It's for personal use. I just want chord charts as fast and easy as I can make them, so I can get the proper timing for chords, and occasional have the lyrics as well.

If I could edit slash notes the same way that I edit rests, where I had to deliberately tell musescore when to put rests, instead of how it works, which is to fill everything that isn't notes with rests, then that would be just as good. But programming it to let me write lyrics on rests the same as on notes would be a lot easier to do.

That said, it would be a bit difficult for people that would expect hitting spacebar to skip straight to the next note, rather than go to the next rest.

So, I can understand why it's not like that actually. That's ok. Slash notation would have been cool though, but it's a lot more work, so, I think I'll just keep using the rests method.

However, if I could then convert a section of rests all into slashes, that might be cool.

In reply to by a-muse-sing

Again, it's really hard to understand without a score. I've literally never in my life seen a score with lyrics written under rests in the way it seems you are describing, so I'm having trouble picturing it. Probably it's still possible to do, but it's very difficult to advise without a better idea of the goal here.

But the way one normally enters both notes and rests is very simple - left to right. What you are describing about first entering whole rests then turning them into quarter rests and then somehow turning them into the correct rhythm for the lyrics - that's also something I'm having a lot of trouble picturing.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

What I'm really talking about is implementation, method of writing. How it appears won't really help you. The lyrics are secondary. I don't generally write lyrics. When I do, I just write them so the right lyrics appear under the right bar, that's it. I'm not writing lyrics and syllables to match every rest. I don't care about the notes. It;s just to see the lyrics where the chords are.

What I'm doing is strictly chords. I could write all the chords along the top and just leave whole rests underneath, of course. And I could place the chords in the right spots where I want them played as well. But, I don't find it easy to visually tell where the chords are. if I only had one chord per bar, or half measure, that would be fine. But I want to be more precise in my chord placement. However, I also don't want to spend all the time writing melodies. So, the fastest solution I have, is to just put the rests, so that they're timed to follow where the chords are. This lets me easily read how to play the chords, just like slashes would do.

But slashes are much longer to put in. Because I would keep having to tell musescore that every rest should be a slash. That's a huge pain. Similar to having to press N every time I enter a note. That infuriates me.

So, using rests is much easier. Much faster to enter, and I get all the information I need. It's not as easy for lyrics. That's ok, I don't do lyrics often, and It's still faster to deal with that, than to do notes or slashes.

If there was a way to convert all rests into slashes or something, that would be cool, I could do entire sections of rests, and then convert them with one command. But other than that, it's not worth the trouble. I'll just keep using the rests. That works well, and it's quite fast, especially if you're good with the shortcuts.

If you want to imagine what it looks like, just imagine I was using nothing but slashes, never any rests, except they're all rests instead. But also there are no ties, so I can't split the bars into two halves.

In reply to by a-muse-sing

You don't have to press N every time you write a note. You press it once then enter all the notes you want. And as I've explained, entering notes takes exactly the same amount of time:- literally the same number of clicks or keystrokes - as entering rests. But now, it also appears you are talking about entering rests in the same rhythm as chords? I thought you've been talking about using rests in the same rhythm as lyrics. In that case, probably nothing we've said has made sense, but then, I'm also not understanding how you'd propose to enter lyrics on rests when there are likely way more lyrics than rests (unless your song changes chord on every syllable).

It definitely seems like you are misunderstanding some pretty basic things about how to use MuseScore, and we're misunderstanding some pretty basic things about what you are trying to do. But it's really hard to tell exactly what. I'd really love to help you, but again, it's virtually impossible without a score to work from. So instead, I will simply wish you luck in figuring things out!

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Ya, I forget exactly what's the situation where the "n" irritates me, but I know the way I use it, I always have to press it all the time. It works exactly opposite to how I would like it to work. But you know, I'm sure it works exactly how others like it.

"And as I've explained, entering notes takes exactly the same amount of time:- literally the same number of clicks or keystrokes"

Respectfully, no, it doesn't. I've explained why before, but I get it that it's hard to understand without watching it. When you put in a note, musescore automatically writes the rests to fill out the measure. If all you're doing is rests, those rests are like notes being inserted for you. If I wanted to write two half notes in a bar, I need to write one half note, and turn the half rest into a half note. If I'm doing only rests, I press 6 once, and both my "notes" are finished. Literally half the work in that instance.

" I'm also not understanding how you'd propose to enter lyrics on rests when there are likely way more lyrics than rests (unless your song changes chord on every syllable)."

I just fill however many lyrics fit on each chord change.

Thanks for all your help. I don't mean that sarcastically lol. It's ok, I know I'm not using the software conventionally. I do use it conventionally sometimes, but this is just to have fast lead sheets for me to use, and so I want to prioritize speed of editing over all else.

In reply to by a-muse-sing

The way you enter two half nores isn't to "turn a rest into a note" - it's just to type the note name twice, stay in note input mode the whole time. So, in note input mode, to enter a bunch of half notes, you type "6 C C C C C C C C C C" and you've got a ton of half notes. Combine that with pressing "R" to repeat entire measures or phrases and you can fill a page pretty darn quickly.

But, since you are really just using these rests to show you where the chords fall, there's actually a much simpler way, that again matches how much music is actually written: just use Tools / Fill With Slashes. Now you can see each beat, so your chord symbols are perfectly clear, and you have notes you can attach lyrics to in the same approximate way you are already doing.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Not a bad idea. I could maybe try that. But I might find that too difficult to tell for 8th notes and stuff like that. But, it would be faster. One thing I kind of liked about doing rests as well, is that it helps me learn to read. I'm not academically trained, so I can't sight read or anything, but being able to see where the notes fall does help me, and it helps me learn to read as well. For timing at least. That's a pretty good suggestion though. Maybe I'll try that for lead sheets where I intend to put lyrics, and this way I can do a little of both. Thanks.

In reply to by a-muse-sing

Placing a chord between the slashes pretty nicely identifies it as being on the "&". But if your rhythms are more complex than this, then that is exactly what rhythmic slash notation - my original recommendation - was invented for. It's crazy simple to enter and works perfectly Once again, if you attach your actual score, we can help you so much more easily.

In reply to by Ziya Mete Demircan

Yes, exactly, except, I am also the singer lol. This way I can see the chords, see the timing I should play them at, and also read the lyrics as I go.

And I'm transcribing the songs, so being able to do it as quickly as possible is pretty key for me.

It actually works quite well. The only downside is you can't use spacebar to go to the next rest, and you can't use hyphens for split syllables. So, what I do is I just add some text of some other type, write a hyphen, and then manually place it in the right spot. It works well, but that part is pretty slow, unfortunately.

In reply to by a-muse-sing

You wrote:
Yes, exactly, except, I am also the singer lol. This way I can see the chords, see the timing I should play them at, and also read the lyrics as I go.

A screenshot of your score would sure help us to visualize.
For example, some people use something like this:
Attaching an actual MuseScore (.mscz) file would be even better.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

How do they do that? That would work fairly well, but I'm being quite specific with my chord timing. I have a lot of dotted 1/4s and 8ths divisions. I'm also sort of using writing these lead sheets as a way to practice reading timing of notes. I'm not academically trained, so putting the timing helps. If it was easy to do it like rhythm section notes, I would definitely do that, but rests is quite a lot faster. But tbh, I mostly just do the chords, without lyrics. Your example would work ok in a basic sense, but for most songs I would do, it wouldn't really be specific enough for the timing, and I wouldn't get any of the learning factor out of it.

In reply to by a-muse-sing

At first thanks to the developers for this great tool making music notation available to everyone!

While just laying down ONLY the Score for a flute player that wants to accompany our band I stumbled upon the same "issue":

a) the flute melody will have rests where the player sings
b) The flute player will need to see what is sung at the moment in order not to loose track of the songs progress.
c) I don't want to (and can not) have any more work laying down also the singers melody as the singer has it already memorised

Now I have the flute score with quite many rest and can not convienently add the lyrics to them. I find the constraints with this not necessary and all the proposed workarounds impose more work. At the very least it should be possible to "spacebar" to a rest e.g. by pressing a modifier like the "alt" key (this combination seems not in use at the moment) leaving all other lyrics-mechanics alone. Like this the existing workflow would not be impeeded for the 99% work that has been mentioned earlier but would seriously reduce worktime for the cases already described...

For me a great deal of scoring is to lay down individual instruments for players that can not - by ear - get right their own voice. The rest of the band will not need scores. So this feature would reduce my workload enormously....

The music I am scoring is only for the accompaniment (not the singer). There are beats where the accompaniment rests but the lyrics (for the vocalist) continues. I am not a music expert, my scores are not concert level, but indicate what accompanying musician plays while singer does lyrics without a score sheet.

Thank you very much Shoichi. I used your tip and got the lyrics where I wanted by applying both Lyrics Upper Margin and Lyrics Lower Margin. It is fine now.

>> yolz wrote >> I want to write lyrics during a beat where instruments rest. How can I do this?

I like Mike's workaround.

But I'd also like a workflow, in a situation like the one yolz presented, where I can:

    • enter lyrics on a normal staff (so I easily go back and edit) and benefit from the features and functions of that method of lyric entry.
    • then select that staff and toggle visibility of everything but the lyrics (so the staff itself, the notes and everything else are hidden) and leaving only the lyrics displayed.

I hope to see a feature like this in MuseScore's future!

#314338: Request for an option to Hide Staff except Lyrics, Chord symbols, Fretboard diagrams


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