Switch noteheads to opposite side of an overlapping note

• Jul 28, 2017 - 10:20

I am rescoring a piece in Musescore that doesn't have sheets but has a video, and I was wondering if there was some way I could make the [see file attached] first minim move to the right side of the semibreve [see second attachment] instead of the left as is shown. Is it like this because it is musically incorrect to write it on the right side? Without highlighting it, having the minim on the left side may make it a little confusing when distinguishing which note the natural is designated to.


To move the notes around, open the inspector if not already open (F8). Select a single note and in the inspector use the horizontal offsets in the chord section to move the notes around. This is the 3rd set of offets. If you use any of the others you will not be happy with the results at some point. It may also be necessary to move the accidentals, but move all of the notes first.

For the record, there is debate within the engraving community over the best way to notate this, but the most respected authority in the world today - Elaine Gould, author of "Behind Bars" - explicitly says in her book to do it the way we do. The rule she states and gives examples for is, if the voices overlap, the downstem note should go to the left.

To me, this is reason enough to leave the default alone. But if you need another reason, consider that any such manual adjustments you make are likely to be "fragile" and won't look correct if some day something changes in your score or in a future version of MuseScore that affects the spacing of that measure.

That said, I could see occasionally special circumstances - like the accidental in this example - giving one reason to break the rule in certain cases. Still, I wouldn't decide this lightly.

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