MuseScore Piano Template Standards? 2 Voices or 2 Instruments?

• Aug 12, 2019 - 00:15

What is the recommended/preferred standard for creating a piano score that ENABLES SEPARATE PLAYBACK OF THE LEFT AND RIGHT HAND?

  1. Is there a recommended template?
  2. Do you recommend 2 Voices or 2 Piano Instruments?
  3. Fastest way to convert a 1 Voice Piano score to what you recommend in #2

If there isn't a 'standard', can you briefly explain why I might choose one over the other?
(and instructions how to convert a 1 Voice Piano score to both 2 Voices and 2 Piano Instruments?)

I have edited my original post to reiterate how important playback is for me.


When you add a piano or use the piano template you get one piano with a grand staff. Each staff has the ability to add 4 voices to it. Always start in voice 1 and use other voices only as necessary for separate rhythms.

You have total control over each staff, so it's unnecessary to create two instruments. If your purpose for wanting two instruments is independent dynamics, that is not necessary. Select a dynamic (mp, f, hairpin, dim. line etc.) and you can set the dynamic range to staff rather than the default part (which is the same as the instrument) in the inspector (F8). You can even change multiple dynamics at once by selecting all of them and changing the setting in the inspector. In short, there is no reason to use two instruments for a piano.

The only way to switch between a single instrument with two staves and two instruments is to add an instrument and then copy and paste. As I said, this isn't necessary, especially in version 3.

A benefit of a single instrument is that the pedal affects all staves on the instrument like on a real piano. There's no need to put one on each staff. If you have two instruments you will either need to add pedals to both or get poor playback. Another benefit is that as long as you enter consecutive dynamics on the same staff with the dynamic range set to instrument, you control the volume for the entire piano, which is more common than independent dynamics. You can also use cross staff notation (16th notes on both staves connected by a common beam for example) if you have only one instrument. This is impossible with two instruments. There are probably other benefits, but they are minor according to my knowledge.

Final recommendation is to use the solo piano template.

In reply to by mike320

Thank you for the detail comparing both and thank you for recommending the solo piano template.

Always start in voice 1 and use other voices only as necessary for separate rhythms

What about playback? It is imperative when practicing that I have the option to playback left and right hand separately (and together).

In reply to by mike320

Hi Mike. Thanks again for your help!

Sorry, I updated my original post to stress how important playback is.

Also, I don't think need to give a little more background:
I already have a composition that I imported from a PDF. I believe it is using a piano solo template (the mixer panel shows "Grand Piano" as the patch). After import, I made sure that ALL of my notes are on Voice 1.

Now, I want to move all notes on the bass clef to voice 2.

What's the easiest way to do this?

What I've tried:
1. Select all notes in the bass clef for the entire score
2. Tools > Voices > Exchange Voice 1-2

This did the trick, but now I have rests for Voice 1 sitting above the bass clef. On every single measure. Now I have to figure out how to get rid of these. Am I going down the right path? I am a newbie. I feel like this is a road well traveled and I don't want to go down a trail tears. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.

In reply to by Steve3p0

There is no need to put the bass clef in voice 2. As I previously said, always start each staff in voice 1. Since you imported the score from PDF I don't know what might have happened to it. It generally works only on simple songs and I'm not sure if it makes 1 or 2 instruments. If there is only one instrument in the mixer then you have a proper piano with a grand staff. The sound patch is irrelevant to this. In the top half section of the mixer the bottom right side has two rows of numbers like

1 2 3 4
1 2 3 4

These are the voices for the top and bottoms staves respectively. You can click a voice and then the M for mute or S for solo for each voice in each staff if you like or don't click a voice and mute or solo the entire instrument at once.

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