How to move a note from the bass clef to the treble clef

• Oct 10, 2018 - 21:47

I have a music score that I brought in from Anthem Score. The translation is great, but there are quite a few notes that are on the bass clef instead of treble. As simple as this seems, I cannot move the notes from bass to treble. I've tried cut and paste between the clefs, but that was definitely not the right solution. I've looked in the manual and through this forum, but have not found this exact question. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


I suspect you imported the music from an xml file and the notes are moved to different staves than you expect in the xml file. Since I can't see either the MuseScore or intermediate file all I can do is guess. It is possible they are moved using cross-staff notation.

In reply to by djmusic130

Now that I've seen the xml it looks like every note are on the staff they should be on. There are actually relatively few notes that could be moved. The notes with the same rhythm you might want to move will have to be deleted from one staff to the other staff. If you need to move notes with a different rhythm you will still need to delete and reenter them, but you will need to refer to voices for instructions.

In reply to by djmusic130

I agree it's obvious to look at it which notes you might want to move, but anyhow, it's certainly possible to move notes using cut and paste if it is musically possible. Consider, if you have a note on beat 2 in the LH, you can't move it to the RH if there is currently a half note on beat 1. Not without first entering a quarter rest into a a second voice, anyhow. But you could change the half to a quarter, and now it would be possible using only one voice. Similarly, if you have two eighth notes on beat one in the LH, you can't move them to the RH if there is a quarter note there - again, not without using a second voice. Unless you decide to change the existing note in the RH to an eighth. These kinds of decisions require human ingenuity to resolve - MuseScore can't know how you'd want to modify the score to make room for the note you wish to paste. So, it will be up to you to do the appropriate entering of rests in another voice and/or shortening existing notes to make room for the notes you want to move.

Once you've figured out how you want to modify the score to make room for the note, then cut and paste works fine.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi I have a similar situation but the score I have spreads some of the bass notes onto the treble clef as shown in attachment. I'm trying to isolate the bass clef notes so they are all in bass clef. Specifically in the attached example, the treble clef should only have 7 notes after the move. There are many, many bars in this edition that has this situation. What is quickest way to move them all? Thanks

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Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 12.30.23.png 47.38 KB

In reply to by rockhammer

The quickest way is to use ctrl+click to add notes to the selection, then after several notes move them to the other staff at once with ctrl+shift+arrow. You can also select several notes in a row by clicking the first note then shift+click the last note. This does not work with ctrl+click though, so you can't click the C then shift+click the first G in the first measure then ctrl+click the second G to add it without other steps that would slow you down even more. These are really the only ways to speed up the moving process in this score.

In reply to by mike320

HI Mike, may I follow up please? I now have this situation (attached). I already had the notes highlighted in green moved to the bass staff but when I try to delete other notes in the treble clef immediately before that measure, those green notes were deleted as well. I tried also to delete the dotted 1/4 rest and the dotted 1/2 rest but they won't go away. I have a feeling these two situations are related. How can I move the green notes to the bass clef without them still being linked to notes in that treble clef? Thanks

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Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 15.45.13.png 101.42 KB

In reply to by rockhammer

It's easier to help if you attach your actual score, not just a picture, then add precise step by step instructions to illustrate the problem you are having. As it is, I'm not sure what you mean about trying to delete other notes - if you selected only the other notes, then only those notes would be deleted. As for deleting the rests, you can't delete the contents of voice 1 - it needs to be complete to show the correct number of beats in each measure, according to the usual rules of music notation. So instead you need to make sure you put the main notes you want into that voice. As it is, just from the picture, I'm not understanding why you put the notes you did in voice 2. or maybe they came in that way from import? If so, what you need to do is move them to voice 1. But fi you want to move them to the bass clef, simply use cut and paste - that's how you normally move things.

In reply to by rockhammer

All of this is based upon the assumption that the first two staves are not the piano you are trying to fix.

The green notes are in voice 2, blue notes and rests are in voice 1 (see Voices if you think this refers to a choir. You cannot delete rests in voice 1. You can exchange voices 1 and 2 using Tools->Voices->Exchange... and then delete the green rests that are left over.

I think you are aware that the green notes are currently in the treble clef, but I'm pointing it out to be sure. I'm assuming your notes are not all entered into the measure with the green notes, or there would be no need to 1) move the green notes to the bass clef and 2) delete the rest in the bass clef. If I'm wrong, what you are trying to do makes no sense.

In reply to by mike320

Thank you Marc & Mike. It appears that when I tried to move the notes from treble to bass not all of them were completely moved over even though they all looked like they did. Those which did not probably were conflicting on the voices. So when I tried to delete the remaining notes in the treble clef (that I did not want moved to bass), those notes that I thought were moved to bass but were still associated with treble got deleted as well. There appears to be no easy way to copy & paste such notes into bass. So I am re-entering them manually in bass within the right voices, etc. A little tedious but at least there is a path. Thanks for your help.

In reply to by rockhammer

You are obviously not understanding. I will try to clarify for you.

If you want to copy say a D4 followed by an F4 from the treble to the bass, select the notes, copy and paste. Keep in mind that if the staff has another voice on it, it will be copied also unless you use the filter selection (F6) to disable copying it. This copy includes rests, which will replace anything that exists in the destination in the same voice.

Copy and paste between voices is easy. if you keep in mind the above. If you want to move a note using cross staff notation, that's also easy, select that note and press ctrl+shift+arrow. This will give the appearance that a note is in the other staff on the appropriate line or space. Moving a note with cross staff notation will move the entire chord.

If you select a section of notes, either by selecting an entire measure or using shift+click to select a group of notes, all notes in every voice actually on that staff are selected. When notes are selected, they are changed to the color of their voices. As I said above, cross-staff notation only gives the appearance that a note is in the other staff, but MuseScore still knows it is in the original staff. Click a note that's been moved and you'll see that MuseScore says it's on the other staff.

If this doesn't make sense, then feel free to ask questions.

In reply to by mike320

Thanks, Mike, for going the extra mile. This is going to be long to explain but I am attaching my whole file.

I guess what I had done was the "cross staff notation" with Cmd+Shift+ArrowDown (I'm on mac) after selecting the notes I wanted moved from treble to bass. I had to go bar by bar to select the notes that I want moved. As it turned out most of them moved over exactly as I thought they would but many had "the appearance that they got moved" only. I am up to bar 47 (total bars in piece 72) in terms of manually moving them. May be we can use bar 47 as an example how I can move them from the treble of the harp into the bass of the harp.

Now what I'm trying to do is that I'm trying to convert this score ( for violin & harp into one for violin & cello by isolating the bass of the harp part into something playable on the cello while moving some of the treble harp part into violin and discarding the rest including other non-playable voices in the bass. But instead of completing discarding them at this stage (purely typesetting), I am preserving these notes by moving them into a new instrument staff that I will eventually hide or delete entirely once I get to the real music editing part. One potential outcome is that I might convert that into a viola as a 3rd instrument but I will cross that bridge when I get there. The treble of the harp will definitely be removed once it is all empty.

Thanks a lot!

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mozart.k339.laudate vc.mscz 42.85 KB

In reply to by rockhammer

I don't want you frustrated by not understanding how the program works. There is a handbook that explains voices, note entry and cross-staff notation. These are actually the terms used on the table of contents if reading them will help. I realize that reading a manual is not the way some people learn, so I'm more than happy to help you.

As far as being on a Mac, most Mac users know to automatically use cmd when a windows user says to use ctrl, so you are using the keys I would expect you to use.

In measure 47, what I see is the B and A in the bass were moved from the treble clef. They are in voice 2 of the treble clef but appear in the bass clef. If you select the treble measure you will see they turn green, if you select the bass measure they stay black. The chords in the bass clef are in voice 2, while there is only a rest in voice 1. Perhaps what you want to do is exchange voices 1 and 2 (Edit->Voices->Exchange...1-2) so the rest is in voice 2 and you can delete it. Voice 1 is mandatory and its rests cannot be deleted. For your purposed there is no reason to use voice 2 of the bass here.

You can use swap (called exchange in the menu) on any instrument, including the second violin staff if you were trying to only keep the B and A, then (since you now have the unwanted notes in voice 2) use the filter selector (F6) to select voice 2 (checked by default) and not voice 1 (you need to uncheck it) and delete voice 2 only. Note: since there are no voices 3 & 4 they are not affected by the filter selector.

If you want the B and A really moved to the bass, I would swap voices 1 & 2 in the treble (since voice 1 of the bass only has a rest). Use the selection filter to select voice 1 (and not 2). cut the notes since they aren't needed in the treble. Select the rest in voice 1 of the bass and paste. This will prevent voice 2 in the bass from being overwirtten. You can then swap voices 1 & 2 in the treble and delete the unneeded rest in voice 2.

I'm going to bed now since it's midnight here. I be back on in about 8 hours. Feel free to continue asking questions. There are many people on the forum who can help you, or I'll continue answering any more questions in the morning.

In reply to by mike320

Hi Mike, thank you very much for your continued patience. I only get to work on this stuff on weekends so has not had time to come back to it until now.

Your explanations of the voices and how to select individual voices within a staff were very clear. I think I finally get it. To sum up in a nutshell, for my purpose what I needed to do was copy & paste notes from the treble to the bass, not Cmd+Shift+ArrowDown which only gives the appearance of the notes going to another staff while still belonging to the source staff.

Now I'm still at the same bar. I managed to do the copy/paste above. But as I was trying further to experiment moving everything in the 2nd staff into the same voice, I'm stuck. I managed to copy/paste the first five 1/16 notes down to the 2nd voice. But the last five 1/16 does not want to be moved in the same way. I'm getting a "No destination to paste" error. Updated file attached.

What I had in mind to do was to move everything into 2nd voice, then swap voices 1 & 2 and then delete the 2nd voice.

Thanks a million!

In reply to by mike320

Hi Mike, let me rephrase... how do I get the 2nd staff to look like the bass clef in this screenshot (ie everything in a single voice irrespective of octave & clef)?

Method #1 is to copy the last five 1/16 notes in question and paste them into the position of the last 2 rests in that bar (and then eliminate the voice with only rests). But when I tried to do that (in the file attached previously), it gave me the "no destination selected" error. This I don't know how to get around. I think I had done that in the first half of that bar. That's why I'm a little confused why it doesn't work for the 2nd half of the bar.

Method #2 is simply to duplicate those five 1/16 notes in the position of those last two rests which is exactly what I had done to make the bass clef look the way it does in this screenshot.

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In reply to by rockhammer

If you have notes in voices that do not conflict as you do here, you can select the entire measure and press ctrl+alt+1 (or click the voice 1 button on the tool bar). This will put all notes into voice 1 and rests into voice 2. You can then delete the rests in voice 1. If you start with the last rest, the previous one will be selected after a delete and you don't have to continually select the next rest.

In reply to by mike320

Thanks a lot, Mike. That works. Somehow on the mac Ctrl+Alt+1 duplicated all the notes instead. However clicking on voice 1 on the toolbar did the job.

Now the treble clef in the harp staffs are clear of all notes. I have duplicated the bass staff into a separate cello staff and removed the harp staffs altogether. Now onto actual music editing. Thanks a lot for your help!

In reply to by rockhammer

Glad it worked. Obviously you understood to delete the rests in voice 2 rather than voice 1 as I accidentally said above. I don't use a Mac, but it's my understanding that when a windows user says to press ctrl a Mac user will press cmd or its equivalent. If the keyboard shortcut is of interest to you, you can hover your mouse above the button and a yellow box will appear showing you what the button does with the shortcut in parentheses.

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