Notation Question

• Mar 4, 2020 - 19:08

I'm not really sure which forum to post this in or if it is even appropriate, however here goes:

I am having trouble understanding the notation and playback of a score I purchased with the intention of recreating in MuseScore 3 and was hoping someone with more experience could enlighten me so I may better understand how it should be scored so it plays back correctly, whatever “correctly” is. I also hope to find out if the notation is something that is normal for this type of score (a show tune) and something I just need to understand better.

Initially rather than post the actual score, I created a test score (attached) with the same characteristics. The actual song is the full version of "Mountain Greenery" by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart.

A version of the original score can be viewed here:…

The song has two verses, two choruses OR two lines in the same chorus (not sure how to interpret it), and a third section which I assume is something called the “patter”. However, the score I purchased and another original published copy I reviewed only show a single repeat at the first Volta, which essentially gets you back to the next line of the chorus and the second Volta. From there, it goes into the “patter” and ends.

My question is; what about the 2nd verse and what is the purpose of the 3rd Volta, since it never plays (in my mind) as scored and what does "Trio-Patter" mean? Unfortunately, there many recorded versions of this song and none is the same so that is of no help, nor does the online source I purchased the score from offer a playback feature.

Also of note, in the version I purchased there was a “Fine” at the 2nd Volta, although there was no other repeat direction (DS al Fine, DC al Fine) telling you how to get to that Fine. I did NOT include that Fine in the test score.

The original score does not have that "Fine" however it does have fermatas over the double barline between Volta 2 & 3 and over the final barline. I included those fermatas in the test score since they may have a meaning I don't understand.

My assumption is that the 2nd verse should follow the “patter” and the song should end at the 3rd Volta however getting that playback in MuseScore is befuddling to me and I’m not sure that is correct anyway.

I don’t consider this a MuseScore problem but rather a theory question so I apologize for placing it in the forum. If the moderators feel it is inappropriate, feel free to delete it.

Regardless, any insight into understanding this notation is appreciated.

Attachment Size
Test2.mscz 12.19 KB


Not sure where you're struggling and what should be the roadmap of the score. From what I can see of your MuseScore file: in general for each volta you need a corresponding repeat barline.

Attachment Size
Test2.mscz 12.68 KB

Further: if you're looking for something like a midstaff "fine" use "D.C. al fine" and "fine". For some scores for official rules of music notation it's necessary to append measures and use "D.C. al coda", "to coda" and the Coda sign, see: But as mentioned, for further help we need the roadmap how it should work.

In reply to by Ziya Mete Demircan

I saw that too but after the introduction, the piano roll version is an arrangement which begins with the chorus, goes to the first verse and then the "patter" but doesn't cover the 2nd verse or the 3rd Volta so basically it doesn't follow the original published score.

That is what i meant by saying there are LOTS of audio versions out there but they are all different and not much help.

In reply to by HuffNPuff

Seems to me that you are over-thinking this. If you have two printed versions that are different, and several audio versions that are different, that tells me that there is no "one way" to perform this tune. Not at all uncommon for show tunes. Pick an arrangement that pleases yo and go for it.

In reply to by bobjp

I get the arrangement thing, what popular song isn't subject to arrangements or different interpretations?

Usually it is the simple exclusion of the verse for recordings or ensemble playing or a rearrangement of the order but in those situations, if you pass out a published score with those changes at a session, everyone follows along because the roadmap is there.

In this case, it is the ambiguity of the score. Both versions I have essentially identical with the same lack of direction. I don't know if it is permitted, but I attached a PDF copy of an original score. Maybe you can explain what I am missing because I have never run across a poplar music score with multiple verses and additional sections with no clear roadmap of how to get to them or how the composer intended it to be played, not to mention a 3rd Volta with nomenclature I never saw before or any way I can see to get to it.

Maybe it is 1920's musical notation and orchestras from that era would get it, but if I passed this score out at a session today, everyone would end up someplace else. That is why I want to understand the score I have, so I can add the direction it lacks in MuseScore or find out what it is I don't understand about the way it is written so I don't have to spend time explaining something that can be or IS already scored.

I consider it a learning experience and a broadening of my knowledge of music notation, just in case I run across it again. Just leaving up my own interpretation is too easy. ;-)

Attachment Size
Mountain Greenery 2.pdf 2.02 MB

In reply to by bobjp

Well, the way I read it, and the way MuseScore plays it (see the attached example with the same repeats, etc.) I linked in my original post is:

1st verse, Refrain with the 1st ending repeating the second line of the Refrain, final section to the end.

There is no direction to repeat the 2nd verse that I can see, nor anything that points to the 3rd ending other than an assumption.

A fermata over a bar line is essentially a pause, the duration left to the discretion of the conductor or musician. It doesn't do anything to resolve the lack of repeats in this score.

Attachment Size
Test2.mscz 12.18 KB

In reply to by HuffNPuff

I think your score is the piano reduction of the musical version.

Intro => 1st Lyrics
Refrain => 1st and 2nd Lyrics
Da Capo from the end of the 2nd Volta (from double-bar).

Intro 2nd Lyrics
Refrain x1

jump to 3nd volta. (coda)

Trio // (Optional)

When such pieces are performed by other popular artists, the "Refrain" (or Chorus) section, where the main melody is, is often used.
Other intros can be used, as well as the original intro. Or it can only be used by placing a four-measure "Vamp" on its head: like ||: C Am | Dm7 G :||

Trio section is not usually used. Or it can be quoted from a small part as a Coda.

In many Fakebooks, you will only see the "Refrain" (or Chorus) part.

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