Different number of staff lines in each group of measures

• Sep 29, 2013 - 07:32
Reported version
S5 - Suggestion

I'm trying to transcribe a little piece I've composed on Sibelius. The piece is for baritone and alternates between unpitched sounds and pitched sounds. In Sibelius was very simple to write it, I started with a percussion staff and then changed to baritone staff, I returned to percussion, and so on. The only thing I had to do was to hide the names of the instrument changes and the score was ready. Now I'm trying to transcribe it to MuseScore, but I can't find any option to change instruments within a same staff. Could this be implemented? Is there any other posibility to write this piece on MuseScore?
Pieza para Voz.png

Attachment Size
Pieza para Voz.png 40.69 KB


Hi Daniel

Whilst it is possible to change an instrument within a staff in the forthcoming version 2.0 (see 'Instrument' in the 'Text' palette), I'm not sure about doing it between pitched and non-pitched, or the amount of lines.

Is someone able to check?

It is possible by using a nightly build, or the source code for 2.0.

Status (old) needs info active

I just checked and didn't work. I can't change the number of staff lines. This option only changes the sound of the instrument, nothing else... When I go to "Staff Properties"/"Type" there's no any option to change the number of staff lines, it only says "standard".

Title Change instruments within a staff Different number of staff lines in each measure

Considering that the option of instrument change is already under development, I update the issue title.
I think the best option that could be implemented to write this type of pieces (with undetermined pitch and determined pitch) would be the posibility to change the number of staff lines in each measure. That would make writing even simpler than in Sibelius.

Title Different number of staff lines in each measure Different number of staff lines in each group of measures

Having the same problem with the VIola Method Book I am writing. I hope MuseScore 2 comes along soon so we can solve this.

Thanks for all your help


You can already do that, by having 2 instruments, 'hide empty staves' and horizontal frames that you shrink to 0 width as separators between them

Not sure we're all talking about the same thing. This issue is about a *single staff* changing number of lines, eg from 1 to 5 as shown. I can't imagine any reason why a viola method book would ever need any but 5-line staves. And I think Jojo is talking about different numberss of *staves* per *system* (as opposed to *lines* per staff* - but that also is something I can't see why a viola method book would need. Charles, you might want to post in the forum and describe what you are actually trying to do.

Thank you for your advice on the problem I am facing with my attempt to go from a single line stave to a five-line stave in my viola method book. The very first subject I treat in the Beginning Volume of this method is rhythm, and it is not unusual in any book on rhythm to use a single staff line to present rhythmic examples and problems. In this beginning volume I alternate between rhythm alone with no pitch motion and rhythm in combination with pitch. I have found this progression effective in the teaching I have done. It is helpful for the beginning student to focus on one element at a time in the opening stages of instruction, and then learn to combine the elements.

I am very grateful for the interest you have shown and the suggestions you have made.

@Marc: no I meant it as written. With 'hide empty staves' and horizontal frames you can have an instrument change mid-staff. Now having 2 staves, a 1-liner and a 5-liner and it should look similar to the examples in the initial post.

Charles: understood.

Jojo: if I'm not mistaken, though, that still limits you to changes at systems breaks - one system with 1 line, the next with 5. I don't see how to get mid-system changes using this approach, which is what the original examples show. That's probably part of why I misunderstood what you were suggesting.

You're right! I didn't know that was possible, and still assuming you meant changes at system breaks, I read " horizontal frames" as "vertical frames", which further confused me. This is a cool trick, thanks for teaching it to me, and sorry I doubted you!

Wow this is great! I'm currently learning how to use musescore, have been a longtime Sibelius user, and thinking of finally switching.

Is it possible to do this mid measure?

Thanks in advance, so happy to have found this post,



My limited understanding of the newlayout code is that this is indeed an expected effect - the distinction between a logical "system" and physical "system row" was basically eliminated.

I wonder if this is an opportunity to consider making more staff properties depend on the current instrument definition? It's already the case that sound and transposition can change. Or some other similar more direct way (as opposed to trickery with frames and Hide empty staves) to get staff properties to change mid-score.

Considering "trickery with frames," a while ago I saved the "Responses.mscz" attached to this post . It really shows off the flexibility of MuseScore 2... it would be nice if it was possible to do the same thing in MuseScore 3.

Status (old) active fixed

This is now possible in master, using the "S" marker (Staff type change) from the Text Palette.
Capture d'écran 2017-05-27 21.02.12.png

Please report any problem with this feature in another issue.

It means something that will eventually become MuseScore 3, but there is still a ton of work to do, so no estimates on what month or year it might be available as anything other than experimental nightly build for testing purposes only (see Downloads link in menu at right of this page, but please do heed the warnings about *not* relying on this for any real work).

This type of change is being worked on as we speak. I'm not sure if it will ever be in 3.x (I think it could) but I'd be surprised to not see it in version 4.0.