Moving measures between systems

• Nov 14, 2019 - 03:10

I'm making great progress in mastering MuseScore, but there are a couple of things I stall can't solve after perusing the manual and tutorial.

  1. Moving a measure or measures at the beginning or end of a system up or down to the next or previous system. In Finale PrintMusic this was easy; you just select the measure(s) and hit the down or up arrow to the adjacent system. How can I do that in MuseScore?

In the attached sheet there is a dangling single measure at the end. I want to move this up the the preceding system and even the whole score out. Some of the systems have only three measures, so I'll need to move measures up accordingly so that everything fits neatly in the score. How can I do this?

I'll hold off on the second problem until I can solve this one. thanks, Scott


To put measures on the next system, select the last measure you want on a system and press return. If there is a system or page break on the next measure you will need to remove that to avoid a 1 measure system.

To move a measure up, you can usually select all the measures you want on a system and press { as many as 10 times and the stretch will be removed in all of the measures and measures will move up if they are not still too long. If this doesn't work, you need to rethink if you really need the measure moved up, if you do then the easiest way to make this happen is to use Format->Page settings... and reduce the scaling. Just be aware that this will affect the entire score, so you may need to put in system breaks other places to put the proper number of measures on systems.

In reply to by mike320

Hi, mike, thanks for responding. I selected the first measure in the system, hit return and as you warned, it created a one-measure system above. So how do I find the system or page break you mentioned to remove it?

I selected the last measure in the system, hit return, and the measure got inserted as the third measure in the system below. It toggled back easily enough the where it was, but I have no idea why this is happening.

The stretch function was easy, but I don't need to stretch the measure(s) until I can move a measure up from one system to another. Can you clarify? I breezed through note entry, etc. but Muse Score seems very clunky as far as moving measures around. There's gotta be a way to do this. thanks.

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In reply to by scottinpt

It's normally better to attach an actual score rather than a picture. But based on what I see, if you want another measure on any given system, you just need to delete the system break that is currently preventing the next measure from moving up. Just click the little icon above the last measure of the line and hit Delete. You do need to reduce stretch if you ever want to force more measures on a system than actually fit given your current settings, but I don't think that will be the case here. The process is simple once you realize how it works.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks, Marc. I did try to attach an actual score but couldn't even figure THAT out yet. That said, I've made great progress with Muse Score and I can see it's a great improvement over the "junior Finale" (PrintMusic) I've been using for years. Okay, I'll try your solution; more thanks.

In reply to by scottinpt

System breaks are the gray carriage return symbols on your screen. They force a line break just like in a word processor. You got my warning backwards. If you want a measure to move down to the next system, select the measure before it and press return. This will move the measure after the one selected down to the next system. As I suspected, you have system breaks on every system. Doing what I said will put the last measure on a system by itself. You will need to select a system break and press delete to remove it so the next system will move up.

For stretch, press { removes stretch and pressing } increases stretch. Decreasing stretch, pressing {, allows more measures to fit on a system. Make sure you remove the system break as above and select all measure you want on a system before pressing { so all measures will be compressed and you systems will not have a crowded looking measure.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I am trying to move the first measure of a line to become the last measure of the line above it.
I wish that it were as easy as the return key for moving measures to the system below.
I highlight the first measure or two in the second line and hit backspace key which would relocate it/them to the line above. Does that not seem logical?

In reply to by [DELETED] 30037188

It would be if there were a system break at the end of the previous line that could be simply deleted, so that would be a nice enhancement someday! As it is, if there is a system break, you can select and delete it.

I'm guessing, though, there is no system break, and the problem is just math and physical - these measure simply won't fit given your page size, staff size, and spacing settings. No amount of backspacing could change that fact. You'll need to change one or more of those settings. Usually best is a slightly smaller staff size, but occasionally reducing spacing (eg, using the "{" command to reduce "stretch" of the measures you want to squeeze onto a single system) might work and not overcrowd the score. If you attach your score, we can advise better.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you for your timely response. In the attached how would you move the first measure of the second system to become the last measure of the first system? What about moving the first and second measures of the second system to become the last to measure of the first system. While it seem ridiculous to crowd the measures of the first system like that it just happened to be a handy piece just for the example sake. Thank you in advance for your help.

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In reply to by [DELETED] 30037188

This is a good example of what I meant when I said "occasionally reducing spacing ... might work and not overcrowd the score". The stretch command on it own won't do it, because there is physically no way to force that many notes onto a single system and still maintain your minimum note distance. So, you can instead go to Format / Style / Measure, and reduce both Spacing and Minimum note distance to their absolutely minimum (1.0 and 0.0 respectively). It will force the measures to fit, and will look, indeed, ridiculous, as notes will be practically touching each other. So if you ever had a real world example where you wanted that much music opn a single line, certainly much better to reduce the staff size, in Format / Page Settings. For example, leaving all other settings as they were, reducing the staff space to 1.5 (so, total staff size of 6 mm instead of 7 mm) looks infinitely better. Splitting the difference between these options is probably wiser still, depending on the age of the person for whom you are producing the score - very young and very old eyes alike might balk at the 6 mm staff size, but most people 10-60 will be OK with it.

Actually, in this case, you can "cheat" the system by using Format / Style / Score to remove the indentation on the first system. Not a good idea musically, and won't work anywhere but the first system, but anyhow, it's a way of bending the rules here. It will buy you a little more room so you won't have to reduce the minimum note distance quite so drastically. It will still look pretty ridiculous, though.

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