Getting the same line breaks and page breaks in multiple parts

• Aug 3, 2017 - 23:08

What's the recommended way to get the same line breaks in more than one part? (Often lots of parts demand the same breaks because they differ only in pitches and not in rhythms). I've tried selecting the breaks in one part, copying, and then pasting into another part, but this doesn't work.


Unless a line break every so many measures is what you are looking for, you will need to do each line break one at a time.

There are things to help with this. You can use View->Documents Stacked from the menu and view one part on the top and the other on the bottom so you can use one as a template.

If a break every X measures is appropriate then you can use Edit->Tools->Add/Remove line breaks from the menus. You will have to do this to each part.

A utility to copy breaks from the score or from one part to others has been discussed, in principle it's easy to implement and could probably be done via a plugin. Figuring out the right way to present this as far as how the function might take further discussion.

Maybe I am dense but I have two questions:
1. If the parts all have the same rhythm (a very rare occurrence indeed but it seems to occur here) don't they automatically break at the same measures?
2. If they don't break at the same measures why is that a problem?

In reply to by azumbrunn

Generally, for readability, one doesn't prefer to keep the default breaks. In music (such as pop and jazz) where the structure of the arrangement is mostly in eight-bar sections, it's much easier to read a part in which there are four or eight bars per system, which is rarely the case by default.

Using the "Add/Remove Line Breaks" function to place the breaks at regular 4-bar or 8-bar intervals doesn't do the right thing if there are voltas or multimeasure rests, which is why it has to be done by hand. For example, a repeated eight-bar section with a 1-bar first ending and a one-bar second ending takes a total of nine bars of music, so one might prefer to divide it into a four-bar system and a five-bar system. And for example, and eight-bar section that includes a four-bar rest in the middle only takes up five measures on the printed page, and I'd therefore want to have a five-bar system which consists of the entire eight-bar section of music.

In reply to by Solomon Douglas

It's worth noting that at least one publisher prefers to keep exactly four bars per line for lead sheets even in the presence of voltas. But I too prefer to juggle things if possible to fill lines "logically", not just based on raw counts. Still, I only do this for lead sheets. Arrangements rarely work that way, except for rhythm section parts.

The default breaks would indeed be in the same place, but what if you go to some trouble in one trumpet part to optimize the breaks for readability? Chances are actually not bad that other trumpet parts at least might want the same. Probably not an entire orchestra or band though. So to me, in order for the facility to be of much value, there would need to be a way to specify which parts to synchronize.

For Concert Band, with or without Strings, for Big-Band, the parts of instruments, are, very often the same (of course not for the pitch), and when I write the separate parts (3 or 4 Flutes, 3 or 4 Clarinets, 4 Saxs Alto-Ténor, 4 Trumpets, 3 or 4 French Horns, 4 Trumbones, I often think, it will be very useful, for the time to spend, to have this possibility

For me, the simplest way for this to work would be as follows: I'll put in the line and page breaks into one part in the usual fashion; then I'll select the breaks from that part which I'd like to replicate in another part and copy them; then I'll go to the other part, select the measure which is to have the first break, and paste.

Note: this functionality would be very similar to the way one copies chord symbols from one section of the score to another.

If I desire to paste the breaks into more than one destination part, as for example when I'm coping the breaks from the lead alto sax part into the four remaining sax parts, then according to my model this would have to be done one at a time: copy the breaks from the source part; view the first destination part, select the destination measure, paste; view the second destination part, select the destination measure, paste; etc. Maybe this sounds a bit cumbersome but frankly I think it wouldn't take much time and effort, and would certainly take a lot less time and effort than what's currently possible.

Incidentally, this functionality could be used to copy breaks from one section of a particular part into another section of the same part, and I can indeed think of a few cases where that would be useful (for example, in a jazz chart with an odd chorus length, I might want a repeating pattern of system-lengths; say, a 13-bar blues, in which I want 4, then 4, then 5 bars per system).

In reply to by Solomon Douglas

That's an interesting idea. It does sound a bit cumbersome, but it has the advantage of being easy to implement and not requiring a complicated new UI.

One improvement I could see is to eliminate the requirement of selecting the right destination measure. We already handle multiple copy/paste differently for chord symbols than for lyrics or articulations - chord symbols are copied by relative time position, the others note-by-note. We could make the rule for breaks that they are always copied to the same measure. So the process would be, in source, right click one break, Select / All Similar Elements, copy, then visit each part in turn and just click measure 1, paste.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Indeed, I pointed out the similarity with pasting chord symbols because I've noted that chord symbols go by relative time position, unlike other objects.

I can get behind your idea of coping breaks always to the same measure. I like that. In spite of what I said above about pasting into a different measure than the one I'm copying, I frankly don't think that would happen very often.

However, it does bring to mind a possibly simpler way to do it: select the breaks, right-click on one of them (or select nothing, and right-click on a single break), and choose "copy breaks to other parts", and then be presented with a list of parts to which to copy the selected breaks.

In reply to by Solomon Douglas

Yes, I think a dedicated utiltiy to copy breaks to parts makes sense. Could be a menu item, like Edit / Tools / Copy Breaks, that popped up a dialog listing the parts and allowing you to check which to apply to.

Unrelated note: I just discovered my web site ( is down - apparently some sort of corruption of my WordPress installation. I'm getting tired of fighting these sorts issues, so last night I started the process of setting up a new site and copying over the old Jazz Improvisation Primer files, and saw your name there as one of the proofreaders in the credits. Even more coincidentally, was going through boxes of old CD's and cassettes yesterday and came across yours :-)

Arrived here because I'm trying to do the same. I think it would be nice to at least have an option in the create parts dialog that allows to copy all line breaks from the mother sheet. I arrange parts for horn sections, and then it really helps to have the phrases in the exact same layout on the different parts.

In reply to by Gymnor

Also trying to do the same. Coming from Lilypond, it might be interesting to compare how it's done. In Lilypond, one can create special arrangements of breaks, as well as many other elements that are common to multiple staves. It's like regular staves in which notes (a, b, c, d, e, f) and rests (r) are replaced with "s". One can write a complete staff with everything but pitches. Then, each real staff can be made of a combination of one rhythm staff (possibly including breaks) and one pitch staff.

This is somewhat like what can be done in MuseScore with Re-pitch, although it is dynamic and not static.

Most often, several instrument staves share a single rhythmic staff (typically one per section). If an instrument needs a specific arrangement, it's easy to copy the common rhythmic staff to create a new one and modify it.

I do not suggest that MuseScore should do the same, but having the possibility to copy the breaks like any other elements would basically achieve the same result, again, statically but not dynamically.

In reply to by Pierre-Yves Saumont

There's a plugin that will copy breaks from score to parts. It's weird to use for this purpose since the score wouldn't normally have breaks, but you could add them temporarily in order to run the plugin. Presumably it would be simple to modify the plugin to instead copy from the current part to all others.

EDIT: actually, that works already, but weirdly, in that you end up with two sets of line breaks in the part you started with.

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