Mezzo soprano clef reverts to treble clef

• Mar 16, 2019 - 19:45

I am trying to write out some Anglican chant, which is on only two lines. There is a flat sign on the upper line. To get this configuration, I have to put it in the Mezzo-Soprano clef (middle C is on the second line from the bottom). Besides the problem of it constantly reverting to the treble clef, the file also quits unexpectedly.

You may notice that there is a long, rectangular, black notehead. That is a .png image that I have put in my notehead palette so that I can, more or less, reproduce the notation as it appears in the original score I am copying.

Here is what I want it to look like:
Screen Shot 2019-03-16 at 3.41.10 PM.png
This is the same thing, but with the clef showing—more or less. The notes shifted when I made the clefs visible again, so some of them are wrong. But I am done with trying to get accurate screenshots!
Screen Shot 2019-03-16 at 3.20.42 PM.png

My problem is that it keeps reverting to the treble clef whenever I try to do anything in the Staff/Part Properties window.

Here is what it looks like when the clef reverts to the treble clef:
Screen Shot 2019-03-16 at 3.27.08 PM.png

Here is the same thing, again, but with the clef visible:
Screen Shot 2019-03-16 at 3.21.05 PM.png

I am not sure what is happening here—whether it is a glitch or if I am doing something wrong.


I did find a work-around. I simply put the whole thing in the key of C, use the treble (G) clef, and then insert a flat sign as system text. Not very elegant, but with the limited range of this sort of chant, it works. So, I would guess that the problem has to do with the various C clefs used in a staff with fewer than 5 lines.

In reply to by Jake Sterling

I've never seen what you are trying to do before and so I've never actually done this. Perhaps you should use a different C clef, and keep in mind that the staff lines disappear from the bottom as you reduce the number of lines. It doesn't matter if the clef is called the wrong thing, what is important is that middle C is in the correct spot for your notes.

In reply to by mike320

This is a way of writing out chant that is used by the Episcopal Church in the USA. I am not sure if it is done this way anywhere else. Here's a scan of some in the Episcopal Hymbook, "The Hymnal 1982." The top line can be assigned to "do" or the space beneath the lower line could be "do." So, starting from the space below the two line staff, it goes:

whole-step, whole-step, half-step, whole-step.
Screen Shot 2019-03-17 at 1.25.21 PM.png

There is no absolute pitch ascribed to these pitches. The idea is to sing the chant where it is comfortable for the chanters.

I think the answer to my problem is that there isn't any way to do this with MuseScore using the various clefs to put the flat sign on the top line. The best I can do, I think, is to use the Staff Text feature to write in a flat and then move it into position. Since the goal is a good printed copy, this will work fine for my needs.


In reply to by Jake Sterling


Here a score that looks like your pictures (except the bogus lyrics). I

  • Used the Mezzo-Soprano clef
  • Opened Staff/part properties
  • change the number of line to 2
  • clicked advanced style properteis and check Stemless
  • entered the notes and slurs. (I had to flip one slur)

You are probably doing something wrong. If you attach your score, I can look at it.

In reply to by Jake Sterling

I made it invisible because I didn't want to hide what I was doing. What I didn't realize is that the problem seems to be a bug when you remove the check from Show clefs and then save. This causes the clef to change back to the instrument's default. Since there is no instrument defined that uses the mezzo clef, what you are doing won't work until the bug is fixed. You can report it at

I can confirm this doesn't seem to work well, although it seems very much a corner case. Meanwhile, the easiest method to accomplish the goal is probably to create a custom key with Fb (or, use a bass clef instrument and use Ab, etc).

In reply to by Jake Sterling

View / Master Palette / Key Signatures (Shift+K) brings you to the place where you can do this, see the Handbook under "Key signatures" for more info.

Indeed, the playback won't be "correct", but in this case at least, it seems that isn't an issue, as this notation isn't meant to convey specific pitches in the usual sense anyhow. In fact, it's kind of nice that it doesn't play, because otherwise you'd be stuck with Fb's for your top line notes, making them sound the same as the top space E's.

BTW, another workaround would be to keep using treble clef and the standard one-flat key signature (F/d), but when you're done, right-click the key signature, select all similar elements, and change the vertical offset in the Inspector. Wouldn't survive format changes that alter the number of bars per line, but I'm guessing that needs to stay pretty well fixed for what you're doing anyhow.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I came up with another work-around. Here it is:

  1. Set up the 2-line staff with the Mezzo-Soprano clef, the Time Signature, and set it to F-major/D-minor.

  2. Go to Styles/Page and uncheck the box, "Create clef for all systems."

    Screen Shot 2019-03-19 at 11.49.35 AM.png

3.Now, select the first M-S clef and the Time Signature and, using the Inspector, make them invisible.

By deselecting the "Create clef for all systems" option, you eliminate the necessity of making the clef invisible on each new line; but, since the clef and the time signature are still there (even though invisible) the configuration remains stable (and the playback is accurate).

It's good enough for me.

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