Vertical Alignment of Notes on First Beat is Off When Notating Multiple Voices on One Staff

• Jan 18, 2020 - 19:41

I'm notating guitar music, which often has multiple parts on one staff, and each part may have different note values. I have trouble getting the notes to line up vertically, especially on the first beat. Some notes, especially the lower voice, will be shifted slightly to the right or left. Currently, I have to manually adjust the horizontal offset for each note and note stem. Is there a setting that makes multiple voices line up vertically on the first beat of a measure? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.


In order to understand and assist better, we would need you to attach your score. It's normally for notes in different voices on the same staff to be offset if they overlap, but aside from that things should align.

In reply to by 6Stringz

I think what you're seeing is very specific to how whole notes work, since they are wider than other notes. They will normally align their centers with other notes in other voices, but if there are other notes with the same stem direction, they will left or right align to avoid possible stem collision issues. Looks like your score was created in a quite old version of MuseScore, so I can't be totally sure what you are seeing, but in current versions, that is how it lines up, by design, as it's considered correct in general. If you prefer to change this, just manually adjust the note positions where the alignment bothers you.

In reply to by 6Stringz


Adjusting the horizontal offset is what I'm doing now, and I hoped to find a more elegant solution. I tried a couple of different workarounds: 1) I made the whole notes into half notes and hid the note stems and half rests. 2) The Inspector has an option named "Small" which fixes the vertical alignment issue, but the whole notes are a little too small. Question: Is there a way to fine tune the size of individual whole notes? It would make the score more aesthetically pleasing. With a handwritten score the whole notes are not an issue.

In reply to by cadiz1

It's not others don't care, it's that the rules are complicated and subjective so it's quite difficult to figure out a single approach that works for everyone, or even how to define an option that would create two different behaviors that would please everyone. It's unfortunate indeed that in the four years since I lasted posted to that issue, no one followed up with suggestions. Maybe now that will happen.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I agree that the reference to guitarists was meant to tease... :)
That being said, this bug has absolutely nothing subjective. And yet, never solved: for the record, just redone with the 3.4 beta - images below.
It's just a ugly display, and for a guitar use case (a bass in whole note and shared noteheads in upper and middle voice) that really has nothing uncommon, it's rather the opposite.



In reply to by cadiz1

Oh, I agree the layout in that specific slaves is objectively bad. The subjective part is deciding exactly what it should be instead, in each of the possible cases regarding which note is in which voice. That is, sure, in the image above, the two eighth note A’s should align. But should they align centered over the whole note, left aligned, or right aligned? And how would we describe the rule to follow in a way that also yields good answers in all the other possible cases regarding which note is in which voice? Those were the unanswered questions I asked back then, and they remain relevant.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

In the example from cadiz1, it's interesting that the G# notes align perfectly, yet the A notes don't align correctly. The problem is usually on the first beat. Whatever programmatic logic is being applied to the G# notes can be applied to the A notes. If that is not possible, it would be nice to be able to select multiple vertical voices and center them on the beat or turn off Collision Avoidance on specific notes.

In reply to by 6Stringz

@6Stringz... Putting aside cadiz' example for now, you wrote:
The problem is usually on the first beat.

Actually, the problem is with whole notes (which in 4/4, usually fall on the first beat).

For alignment with other voices, whole notes possess a "pseudo-stem direction" even they show no "visible stem".
For example, try this...
Open your earlier attachment (which you posted above), "Misaligned-Notes.mscz" -i.e., the snippet from If You Could Read My Mind.
Highlight one (or all) of the misaligned whole notes and, in the 'Chord' section of the Inspector, change the 'Stem direction' from 'Auto' to 'Up'. You will see the whole note(s) re-adjust position - perhaps more to your liking.

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