Instrument labels on scores

• Jun 10, 2014 - 05:47

Question (Version 1.3., Mac.): When setting up a new score one gets a list of instruments for the staves of the system. Is there a way to add to that list or--alternatively--to edit the label in the finished score? I have not found a way. I am working on a string quartet and need (i.e. would like to have) the labels violin 1 and violin 2 (for a sextet you would also need viola 1/2 and cello 1/2, for an octet also violin 3/4--an option to edit the final labels would be ideal I think).

Violins 1 or 2 are on the list (for orchestral scores), but the singular is missing.

I tried to download a nightly build to find out what the newest situation is, but my operating system has become too ancient since I did that last time.


You can change the instrument names in the Stave Properties dialogue.

CTRL+click an empty bit of the stave and choose "Stave Properties" from the context menu.

You can also alter the Instruments.xml file which controls instrument names etc

This is found in the templates folder inside the MuseScore program directory - on Windows 8 that is C:\Program Files (x86)\MuseScore\templates

I'm afraid I have no idea what the Mac equivalent is :(

In MuseScore 2 Violins 1 and Violins 2 have been removed as representing an unnecessay duplication. The idea being that there will be templates set up with the required nomenclature. The user will then be able to customise these templates to cater for their particular working practices.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Yep. Rather than edit the instruments list, copy it somewhere that won't get overwritten by an update, then go into Edit->Preferences and change Instruments List under Paths, to point to your own version.

You can find out where it currently is, the same way. That process also means you have an easy way to put things back how they were, if it all goes horribly wrong.

Oops. I only saw the question. I didn't realise there had been answers. I'm not used to using this (clunky) forum.

FWIW, this was my answer;

There is a way to add to the list of instruments, and I've done it, but I can't remember how, off hand. I added a Bb flute. There's a way to substitute your own list of instruments, so you take a copy of the standard one and edit it - largely by guess work and trial and error because there doesn't seem to be any proper documentation on how they're defined. Adding a copy of an instrument with just a different name wouldn't be difficult though.

The easier way, by far, is to just edit the labels on your instruments in the score, provided what you want is on the standard list. Just right click on the label and choose Staff Properties. You'll see a box for the long name that appears on the first line, and another for the short name used for the others. You can just edit those.

I routinely do that to delete the short name for single instrument scores, which is mostly what I want it for, to make more room for the notes.

In reply to by AndyHornBlower

BTW, I'm not sure what you might be doing that caused you to only see the question and not the resposnes. Normally, the responses display directly underneath the original post, just like every other forum I've ever used. And on the main page for the forum, it shows how many response there are, how many are new, and when and by whom the last response was posted - again just like every other forum I've used. Perhaps some sort of browser incompatibility on your system is causing it to appear differently for you than it is supposed to?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I have no idea, Marc. There doesn't seem to be anything that would upset many browsers, and it's working now.

Possibly the page didn't load properly; possibly I had it zoomed, and was confused by seeing


in large bold type, after the end of the first post - which is not something I've come across in any other forum I've used.

I haven't used this forum much at all. I've tried asking for support in the mysterious groups, with mixed results, so I thought I'd see if the forum was a better place for that.

For example, I originally thought the group called Improving might actually be read by site administrators. It seems not:


In reply to by AndyHornBlower

Is there a way to change the labels half way through a score? Eg the score starts of with parts of S, A, T, B. Then later I wish to change the label on say the Alto part to "X" (for whatever reason) it seems that changing the label does it throughout the whole score including the first bit. I know there are workarounds eg creating new staves and hiding empty staves but that seems really cumbersome. Also creating new sections doesn't do the trick. Why can't the label be changed more easily?

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Appreciate and really grateful for your help, but we're not really any further forward - (incidentally I have version 3.0 - is that the latest?)
To repeat: all I want to do is alter the label part way through which seems a really, really, simple requirement. I suppose I could have NO labels and put manual text in many times but that seems rather too much like hard work... ! :-)

In reply to by Ali Wood

It's totally doable. Since the staff name is a property of the instrument assigned to the staff, the solution is to add an instrument change element from the Text palette at the point you want the change to occur. You don't need to actually change the instrument - it defaults to a copy of the current instrument, and that's fine. And you can make the instrument change text itself invisible. But now go to staff properties in that measure and change the staff names there. That's assuming you are on a recent enough version (current is 3.3.4), as this only became possible within the last few months.

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