Splitting a chord between a grand staff

• May 5, 2014 - 10:22

This feature has never come to pass and I'm really curious as to why. For example, let's say you have a quarter-note C major triad, middle C-G-E (top to bottom), and you want to move only the E and G to the bass clef but still sharing the same stem of the middle C above in the treble clef. This is a common notation in piano music. I see that a request was posted here 4 years. The same deal with Sibelius. A cumbersome workaround was posted on its website 7 YEARS ago but no fix or plug-in. Is there some technical issue that makes it nearly impossible to fix? I would think a plug-in would be available by now.


In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Thanks for taking the time to show there's a workaround but this goes to the heart of the point I made earlier. WHY should there be a workaround for a function that should be included in a feature that is already in the core program? No one denies that is an issue but it's never fixed. There are two reasons that jumps out at me. A glitch in the program that prevents it from doing a seemingly normal function or it's been determined that it's not important enough to address the problem. Either way, it's really unacceptable. You don't have a "workaround" for cross-staffing "single" notes. Maybe it's not an important issue for many, but for piano notation, it is an important issue. The fact that you have to hide flags, extend beams, etc. to achieve a function that would normally take at most a couple of steps for a "single" note emphasizes that it's a major glitch that needs to be fixed. But once again, just like Sibelius, the response is to kick the can down the road... Really pathetic.

I'm not sure what cumbersome workaround you mean, but extending a stem as shown in the above link is actually quite simple. I guess maybe needing to hide the rests in the extra voice might be the part you are referring to as cumbersome? Still, it's not overly difficult (and will become easier in 2.0 - a shortcut "V" to toggle visibility) and needing to use multiple voices and sometimes hiding rests is going to be unavoidable in piano music of any complexity.

BTW, MuseScore does support moving an entire *chord* to a different staff via Ctrl+Shift+Up/Down, but no way to split the notes or a single chord in the way you describe. In principle, it's probably doable. But actually, I don't recall anyone asking for this in the past four years. More common has been a request to move *groups* of chords - an entire selection - between staves.

Is this really something that comes up often for you? It might be a standard / well-understood notation in piano music, but I don't find it common at all. I had to look through over a thousand measures of Romantic-era piano music before finding a handful of examples.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"I don't find it common at all"

More common than YOU think, but that's beside the point. It's STANDARD notation for piano. That's reason enough for the function to work PROPERLY.

"I had to look through over a thousand measures of Romantic-era piano music before finding a handful of examples."

Well, that's just plain silly... What about piano music written TODAY? Since when "Romantic-era piano music" is the litmus test for piano notation convention of TODAY???

"Still, it's not overly difficult" "In principle, it's probably doable. But actually, I don't recall anyone asking for this in the past four years."

I can see where this is going... This defensive posturing probably means that it can't be fixed because of a flaw in the core program. Why not just say that? Because lame excuses don't change the fact that a "workaround" is NOT a FIX, even if you believe the workaround is not "overly difficult." As I feared, this turned out to be a big waste of time...

In reply to by Carl Robertson

It's just music and software. So we should all remain calm...

If you really need a fix, you can make a fix. MuseScore is open source. The source code is here http://github.com/musescore/MuseScore and we will be happy to help you to compile MuseScore.

Last point, as highlighted, it's perfectly possible to have a C G E chord spanning two staves, on the same stem. It's not a workaround, it's the current way of doing it. Jojo kindly linked you to it http://musescore.org/en/node/8717

So, there is no reason why it would not be possible to program MuseScore to do it the way you want: Select a note and press some key to move the single note up down, if I understand correctly?
You asked why it's not yet implemented this way, the answer is because nobody cares to do it so far. Probably because the current way was not that painful and everybody was happy. This is how it works. If it's a pain for you, feel free to solve the issue by coding it yourself, or find someone to do it for you (hint: using capitals will not help).

In reply to by Nicolas

"It's not a workaround, it's the current way of doing it."

This is the worst case of denial I've seen in a while... First of all, it's not the "current" way, it's the ONLY way! (And there's nothing wrong with using caps for emphasis.) And it's been the ONLY way for at least FOUR YEARS! This is OBVIOUSLY a workaround and it's just a total cop-out to say it's the "current way of doing it." I'm not basing this GLITCH on how I want the program to work. I'm basing it on how it should work according to how cross-staffing works, except when it comes to chords, it doesn't work. This is called a BUG, GLITCH, FLAW, DEFECT... Pick one. Play the blame game, make excuses or whatever to soothe your fragile egos, but your responses only show that you're not really professionals. Hint: More time fixing your BROKEN program, less time worrying about using CAPS. LOL

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

The fact that "professional" musicians are questioning whether this is standard piano notation would be hilarious if it weren't so disturbing... And I find it absolutely incredulous that any professional "pianist" wouldn't know this. As for Sibelius, they can't do it because they're just flat-out arrogant and incompetent. What a pure waste of time this has been. If you can't get this simple thing right, what other bugaboos are lurking under the hood? I don't want to find out...

In reply to by Carl Robertson

Carl, sometimes the phrase "you get what you pay for" is very true. This program is free, and open to those who want to improve it. There is a small group of very dedicated, but time-limited, people working on it. If all you can do is complain and badger then you will get nowhere. Lend a hand and be constructive!

In the rare cases where I need to use cross-staff, I admit that it's not the most obvious feature but it works. If indeed you want this feature improved then by all means post a feature request, or improve it yourself.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

There is no need for insults, whether directed at the developers of this completely free open source program, fellow users trying to help you use the very simple method that is already provided, or even the developers of Sibelius.

Obviously, the notation is standard enough that it needs to be possible and not terribly difficult. And it is clearly already possible. The only question is whether the current method - and I say "current" because who knows what the future holds - is terribly difficult. To me, it's not. It uses a technique - multiple voices - that I employ on a regular basis. Practically every single measure in piano music of any complexity. So the additional time required to make this happen is practically negligible.

So I am trying to ascertain if perhaps you are having trouble understanding how to use this method - the same method used to accomplish dozens of other tasks in MsueScore as well as other notation software. Or if you agree that it takes only a few additional seconds per measure, but you find even those few seconds are too painful given that this happens in a large number of measures in your experience, and it's just a question of us having different experiences regarding how common this is.

I looked at Romantic-era music first because it seems pretty clear it will be more common there than Baroque or early Classical works, and it is the music of these eras that sets most people's expectations. Apparently, you are among those more interested in 20th & 21st century piano music, but I assume you realize this is in itself is relatively uncommon. And in any event, the fact that no one else has requested this in four years should say something. But if there are particular publishers of more modern piano composers you think we should be looking at in addition to the music that forms the bulk of my own collection, I'm all ears. Really. I do think this *would* be a useful feature; it's just question of priority.

My honest - and not uninformed - assessment is that this feature would obviously save some time. But not a lot given that the current method takes only seconds per use, and *in my experience* it just doesn't come up that often. And also from what I understand of the implementation of MuseScore, it would not be very easy to implement. Possible, yes; easy no. So it has a relatively poor cost-to-benefit ratio compared to other enhancements that have been made over the past few years and are already on the list for future consideration. At some point, once all the bigger bang-for-the-buck issues are taken care of, I see no reason this couldn't be implemented as well.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

My outburst of annoyance is borne out of frustration with the sometimes cavalier attitude as to what's "important." It's "all" important if it effects productivity even if it shaves off "only seconds per use." Seconds add up to minutes which adds up to hours. I certainly can't argue against cost-to-benefit ratio being a constant factor, but it also shouldn't be a catch-all excuse for issues that really should be addressed at some point of time. There's a BIG difference between ignoring an obvious flaw year after year just because there's not enough users complaining, and actual plans to FIX a flaw but it's much lower on the priority list so it may take a very long time (4 years is still too long, in my opinion). Interestingly enough, you point out that 20th & 21st century piano music notation is "relatively uncommon" but you seemingly got a number of those features working without a hitch, even the ones that are far more obscure than the split-chord feature I'm talking about. At least the split-chord feature is useful across multiple genres whereas, for example, feathered-beaming is used almost exclusively in contemporary classical music, which is REALLY "not so common." Perhaps you should re-evaluate your "priority" list. :)

In reply to by Carl Robertson

It's true feathered beams are less common. But there was no simple workaround, and I suspect it was also easiest to implement.

Anyhow, I agree at some point it will be nice to have the ability to move individual notes within chords. Feel free to submit an official request to the issue tracker.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Ooh Dear ! I've seen piano music from every century and more obscure music as a piano performance major and I dont recall ever seeing a stem split between two staves (is it to be played in one hand generally just use one stem or put the note in the other hand.Anyway,reading this was shameful.Why would anyone ask for a favor and be so haughty about it ? that's the real querry?
God ,I just found the reference above(I didn't see the many replies here for some reason just the first two letters.Anyway I have seen what was being talked about :it is extremely rare and honestly it is done because 20th century composers like to make their scores look like paintings seeFinnissy and Birthwhistle the new complexity people ,probably startd with Stockhausen.Boulez doesn't do it in any of his 3 sonatas .It tells you how genuinely honest a craftsman he is compared to Sockhausen and so many others.I love it . I will start using it especially as i t makes a stress seem indicative in the score. I wish I could kiss all of you guys and bake you cakes -you will never know the joy you gentleman have given me! I just hope I can get some string glissandi and brass glissandi sounds one day.I knw that's unfair to ask.Also ,can someone tell me how to get the sounds of the quarter tones on here.They have oboes that can do this now too not just pianos and eastern instruments!

In reply to by 21st ccentury boy

I have certainly seen it, although I'm not sure it is as common as the OP is making out.

If you look at the work of the French Impressionist composers you should find examples easily.

IMO it is more common in organ music where often chords are played with the left hand while a melody is played by the right on another keyboard.

But then organ is my first instrument :)

In reply to by Haotian Yu

Common in the sense we all agree it has been used from time to time, yes. And as discussed elsewhere in the thread, it is perfectly possible, works very well, and not particularly difficult. Just create the LH part as two voices, and extend the stems up for the bottom staff so they merge with those in the top. It does take a few seconds per measure longer than it would if MuseScore supported this more directly (as it does for moving entire chords between staves).

Hello. This is an old thread and my first visit here. I am a musician and use Muse Score often. I think it's brilliant! But I stumbled into this discussion because I was looking for a solution to the problem mentioned above: it's possible to move an entire chord across a stave but not a single note from a chord. Despite what some people here are suggesting, it is indeed a reality. The score I'm working with is a piece by Ibert. Capture.PNG

When I try to apply the work around suggested, I find this problem:


Note that the final crotchet worked fine with the fix, but the quaver before it isn't in line with those below. I tried adding (and then setting as invisible) a beamed quaver before it and removing the beam. I tried shifting the note head to the other side of the beam. But still, the stems won't line up with those below (in order to do the work around).

I understand that this probably isn't a common requirement from this kind of software, and I intend no criticism to this fine software, but is anyone aware of a fix or any kind of solution? Perhaps I'm missing something quite obvious. Thank you

In reply to by ralphus

No one ever said that it doesn't happen ever, just that it isn't extremely common.

Anyhow, it looks from your screenshot like you may be using an very old version of MuseScore. First thing to do is update to a current one which has enormous imorovements in layout, for cross staff notation and otherwise. If you still have problems, please post the score you are having problems with and steps to reproduce the problem.

In reply to by ralphus

When I first started composing in the 80s, I found working with the grand staff was inefficient and cumbersome, so I invented my own system, called the "Double-Staff", which compresses the treble and bass staff and makes the notation more efficient and cleaner. Problems like this disappear, and as it turns out, MuseScore works well with Double-Staff.
You can find an example of it here in one of my Flute Csonatas.

Of course if you're trying to create old-school scores, it doesn't help you. But if you're interested in using the staff for your own scores, let me know and i'll give you a write-up of the standards and how to best use it. I use it for all of my piano notation.


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