Can I write for horn section as chords, then separate out notes for each instrument?

• Mar 15, 2019 - 00:01

I haven't used MuseScore in a long time, but I saw that 3 was available so I got it. I always wondered if there was a feature of MS that let me figure out horn section parts by writing them out as chords, then splitting the chords out so I could get a complete sheet for each instrument part. Like taking the top note and giving it to the alto sax, take the middle note and giving it to the tenor sax. Is that a workflow that works? Chords, then separate and transpose for the different horns? Or is the work flow write out the chords, then delete the notes not to be assigned to a horn, save as a different file name, and transpose?


If you've consequently written chords and none of the instruments have a rest while the one "below" it should play, then you could make use of Explode.

Why would you want to enter you score this way though, and not just write it for each instrument directly? It seems you wish to go trough a lot of extra hoops to get where you want to be while a more direct approach is available.

In reply to by jeetee

Thanks, I'll have to look at Explode.

Why? Because for me it's easiest to sit at a keyboard and sound out the chords then write them out for keyboard. Or sometimes there is a sheet music for piano starting point that kind of emulates the horn section part. Then I need to figure out tools to explode and transpose.

Here's the objective. A band leader just contacted me, says he'd like to expand his Boomer Rock type band of vets to include horns. I'd like to teach the band to play "Heatwave" by Martha and the Vandels, to start. It's a pretty simple horn part, repeated a couple of times. It's so simple I almost could get by with my causal approach -"Listen to the track, guys, pick out your part. We'll try it tonight at 7:00." But that gets inefficient when you want to work up more songs, and more complicated songs. Sometime, you don't have personnel that can handle this. A starting point could be, the simple piano version has the horn part in a form that sounds somewhat lacking, but has the correct rhythm. The piano/voice/guitar skips the horn part altogether. So the simple piano version could be a starting point. If I could just learn how to assign each note to a horn and explode it.

In reply to by MajorGeek

Enter the score the way it looks in your link using two horns (not a grand staff), for the second one change the clef to bass clef and keep the other as treble clef. You can use horns and enter the notes while in concert pitch mode.

Next, open the instruments (i does this) and add a horn and move it up between the two and then add another horn under the bottom staff. Select the first staff and explode it. It will then automatically put notes on the empty second staff. You can then select the third staff and use explode to split the notes between the 3rd and 4th staves. You may need to do a little bit of cleanup like in measure 22 where you have different rhythms in the treble.

Click the concert pitch button and you will then see all of the notes transposed for the horn.

At this point, you can decide what you want to do with the transposed clefs so the musicians can read the music. You may want to ask them if they want to see any bass clef or always use ledger lines for notes below the staff. Dragging clefs to change them is easy. Just drag them so the measure where you want the new clef to take effect turns pink and release it.

In reply to by MajorGeek

If you enter all the notes as a chord in the top staff, you can explode them and the highest note will be in the top staff, the second highest note in the second staff, and so on. I don't think it is possible to assign a note to a horn and then explode. If explode doesn't do what you want, you can cut and paste each note from the chord at the top to its proper place. Also watch the video I linked to above if you have the time. It is the latest episode of MuseScore Café, where Marc Sabatella demonstrates some techniques for writing horn arrangements in MuseScore.

If I'm understanding correctly, what is actually wanted here is Tools / Explode. Create the score with staves for each instrument, write your chords on the top staff, then use Tools / Explode which will separate it out to each staff. Then you can use File / Parts to actually generate separate parts for each instrument.

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