Shortcut for moving note to the other (piano) staff

• Aug 21, 2014 - 11:12

I was hoping to find a way to define a keyboard shortcut for moving a selected note from one staff of a piano score (e.g. left hand) to the other hand (right hand), but did not see this operation in the list of commands under Preferences / Shortcuts.

Is there any way to define it, or will such a shortcut be available by default in version 2.0?

Thanks!


Comments

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

This doesn't always work for all purposes, as you have to change the voice in order to use it on chords, and when you change it back the chord reverts to its original staff.

For example, if I've got a C major chord and I want to put the low C in the lower staff, I change it to voice 2, press Ctrl Shift down, and then it's in the lower staff. But if I want that note to be in voice one, it jumps back up to the upper staff when I change the voice.

And I can't use copy and paste, because Musescore only supports copying and pasting a range of notes, rather than a list of individual notes.

A separate keybind, or even just a Tool menu option, to change staves/instruments would be very, very useful.

Edit: This is especially a problem when entering large spread voicings on a MIDI keyboard, as a chord will be lumped into a single stave, instead of spread out between the bass and treble.

Attachment Size
musescore problems.png 67.43 KB

In reply to by skylorda52

It's not really clear exactly what you are trying to do here, probably best to start a new thread and attach your actual score, not just a picture.

This thread is about a specific technique called cross staff notation, which does not require multiple voices at all. Seems like maybe you are trying to do something different but I'm not sure what. Maybe delete a note from a chord then simply add to another staff? When you start your new thread, be sure to describe more precisely what the actual goal is, then we can understand and assist better.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Hi,

I did that on a piece I opened from a MIDI file. There has been 1 note on the upper stave and a chord of 3 notes on the lower. Using cross-staff-beaming all notes appear as a chord of 4 on the upper stave. But! If I insert a new note into the lower stave, then the other 3 disappear. That means, that Musescore still thinks those 3 belong to the lower stave, even if they show up in the upeer.

What I need is to make them all belong to the upper and a rest shows up in the lower. Is there a way to achive that?

Thanks in advance.

In reply to by bach_leipzig

When you use cross staff notation, MuseScore DOES think all of the notes are on their original staff. This allow you to enter a series of beamed 1/8th notes for example and have the beam connect all of the notes. If you want several notes moved to the other staff, I would suggest you enter the notes, select them all then move them to the other staff. If you select a note that has been moved by cross staff and look at the status bar at the bottom left of MuseScore, it will still say it is on the original staff.

In reply to by mike320

Thanks for replying. But how do I move the notes to the other staff? If I cut-paste then the pasted note replaces the others, which belong to the same chord. For example I have a C major chord, where E and G are in the upper and C in the lower staff. I want to put that C together with the other two notes in the upper staff plus add a new note in the emptied lower staff. Is it possible?

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

The problem is that I don't write the piece from scratch. It is a transcription from an old Midi file, of which the original has been written in an Atari ST using Notator and does not exist any more (very lucky to have kept at least those Midi files). Since a note has in it's attributes the staff it belongs to, then it can be very easy selecting it and changing it with a click (and of course a batch changing for many notes would be the final purpose). Does Musescore own such a command?

In reply to by bach_leipzig

To change the voice of a note, press ctrl-alt-2 for voice 2 and so forth. From the bass clef, I would put the notes I do note want to move in voice 2, and move the voice 1 notes using ctrl-shift-arrow. If I'm moving notes to the lower staff, I would put the notes to move down into voice 2. This will make the stems point in the correct direction.

As I previously stated, you can select several notes and change their staves at the same time with click the first note, then ctrl-click more notes, then use ctrl-shift-arrow to move all of them at once. As Jojo stated, if the note is part of the chord, the entire chord will move. Changing some of the notes to another voice breaks the chord.

In reply to by bach_leipzig

As mentioned, in order to do more that gues,s we would need you to attach your score and a more precise description of what you are trying to do (which note on which staff you are trying to change in what way).

As it is, I think you are probably misunderstanding the purpose of the command to move notes between staves. The command is intended for a very specific style of notation known as "cross staff", in which a single group of notes (eg, on a single beam) cross from one staff to another. So the note "belongs" to one staff but appears on the other.

As far as I can recall, Notator did not support this style of notation, so your score probably does not contain any examples of places where this (relatively advanced) technique would be appropriate.

My guess is that you aren't actually wanting to use cross staff notation. You are probably simply wanting to remove the note completely from one staff and add it to the other instead. This would be done the same way you'd move a note from one instrument to another, or from measure to another - via cut and paste.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks to everyone for this thread.

I'm in exactly the same situation as bach_leipzig. I was given a MIDI file with lots of content, including lots of jazzy syncopated timing which it would be very hard for me to make sense of and reproduce. But many of the notes on the piano staves for the left hand are in the upper staff and vice versa, and I want to fix that by simply moving them to the other staff. But the "cut and paste" isn't working as expected.

Consider the attached screen shot of one of the simpler measures. Everything in Measure 49 should be in the upper staff. The lower staff should get chords resembling what you see in the prior measure, Measure 48. But I can't figure out the timing in this measure, either by looking at it or playing it. The numbers don't add up, which I analyze it by voice or as a whole. But the playback sounds perfect.

I am also attaching the score so you can see what I mean.

I would really love to understand how this works, since it's probably my biggest obstacle to really having a handle on Muse.

In some of these cases, I'm not even convinced multiple voices are even needed; if it would simplify the matter, I'd be happy to collapse it down to fewer voices, though I have run into the known issues with doing so, which prevent me from changing the voices:

https://musescore.org/en/handbook/voices

But this is how I received the MIDI file, and I don't mind so much the multiple voices as long as I can get the notes on the staff they belong on. But I have a feeling the difficulty I'm having is related to the multiple voices, though I may be wrong.

So I apologize for widening the scope of this question to the topic of voices, but my real goal here is to get the notes onto the right staves, and I'm just trying to explain my best understanding of where I stand trying to figure this out.

Thanks in advance!!

Dave

In reply to by reggoboy

Unfortunately. that is one of the very many limitations inherent with the whole idea of trying to use MIDI to import music into a notation program - way too much information simply isn't present and needs to be guessed. You can generally move things around using cut and paste, perhaps with the aid of the Selection Filter, but depending on how intertwined things are, it is often easier to just re-enter the music from scratch, at least for the worst case measures. So frankly, getting comfortable with entering the music yourself is really the most crucial step in getting a handle on MuseScore - or any other notation program, really.

In your case with measure 49, it's not really clear what you want to see happen. You say you want everything on one staff, and compare that to measure 48, but these measures as vastly different. Measure 48 has only two chords - three notes played together on beat 1, four notes played together on the last third of beat 2. In measure 49 there is a confusing mess of notes played at different times. There is no way to make that look like like measure 48 unless you want to literally change the rhythm, and for that, it will be far easier to just re-renter the notes.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for the reply.

Perhaps I wasn't clear. Everything that is CURRENTLY in Measure 49 should be moved to the RIGHT HAND (upper staff). Then, everything that is CURRENTLY in the LEFT HAND of Measure 48 should be duplicated to the left hand of 49. So if you know a way to simply move the notes from the lower staff to the upper staff (same pitch, same point in time), it would be a huge time saver.

The alternative, as you say, is entering the music from scratch. But frankly that means getting some of these very syncopated timings in this song clear to my ear which is very difficult for me and is precisely why I'm glad to have this score to work with. And note that it currently sounds perfect when you hit playback. So how do I decipher what Muse is displaying?

Let me be more specific:

  • if you hit playback on Measure 49, you can hear the A5 play slightly prior to the F#, as it should from the recording. But if you look at the notation, it appears they should both play simultaneously.

Why is that?

There are countless other examples, but this will suffice for discussion. It’s as though the MIDI under the notation has more granularity or detail that is not reflected in the notation. So if/when I’m forced to re-notate this by hand, I’m going to lose that subtlety and have no way to get it back.

Perhaps if you help me in this regard, I can figure out how to get the notes on the right staff without losing information.

Thanks!!

Dave

In reply to by reggoboy

That's a little clearer, thanks.

It is technically possible to represent the rhythm in measure 49 with a single staff, but the results won't be very readable. So in practice, you are better off re-writing it. But to get it all in one staff, first step will be to make sure the vices don't overlap. Right now you have a lot of overlapping notes which require separate voices. Any time one note comes in before another finished, that requires another voice. Realistically, these are grace notes and should be notated as such, but MuseScore has no way of knowing that so it is trying to decipher the mess in the MIDI file using multiple voices, and this is not going to end well no matter how you try moving things around.

Is there any way you can quantize that MIDI file and re-import it? That would help a lot. Also, if you attach the MIDI file, we can show you how to adjust settings in the import panel to improve things.

BTW, assuming you mean D# and not F# in the bottom staff, this is not on the same beat as the A in the top staff. Look at the status bar - the A is on beat 2, but the D# is an eighth of a beat later. You just can't tell that because the leading rests are missing (did you delete them?) Exchange voice 1 & 2 then back and you will see the missing rests.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for these comments.

I wanted to follow up for everyone's benefit.

First of all, I’m aware that importing MIDI data is a challenge for the software to parse and interpret. I’ve done it before, and with other software, and it’s always problematic, even when I’m the one playing the song, and when the song isn’t nearly as complicated as the one I’m asking about here.

Secondly, I’m not sure that quantizing the file will help. Quantizing removes timing information by shifting notes to their nearest beat, stripping jazzier pieces like this of the vital timing subtleties that make them so rich. However, I’ll try to remember to attach the file if you want to have a go at it. Maybe I’m wrong.

Third, yes I meant D# rather than F#. It’s that darn grand staff confusion :-)

Thanks for the tip about the status bar showing the exact beat! That was vital to helping me with the meticulous process of identifying the exact timing, even if it meant recreating by hand on the other staff.

Yes, I had deleted some of the rests from voices I was trying to consolidate.

Thanks also for the tip about exchanging voices and how it restores rests. That was useful, if tedious, as much of this had 4 voices and a mash-pit of crazy rests scattered everywhere.

I know everyone says to just retype the notes, but it’s a massive undertaking. And presumably the MIDI input feature exists to save us from this hassle. If MIDI input is only useful when the song is simple, that’s not very helpful because that’s also when it’s simple to enter the notes by hand. MIDI input has its greatest potential value when the song is complex.

I’ve been writing software for 30 years, and been a musician for almost 50, and I understand why the app has difficulty figuring out how to score the MIDI data. But if the software could make it easier to do simple things like move notes to another staff and not make me fight with the fact that they’re partitioned into 4 voices that I can’t “merge”, at least temporarily, to get the job done, then cleaning up the mess from a complex MIDI input might be a manageable job. As it is, it has been unbearably cumbersome.

I’ll attach the MIDI score, and thanks again for the help!

Attachment Size
Van_Morrison_-_Moondance.mid 45.07 KB

In reply to by reggoboy

Quantizing definitely helps with notation. Sure, if for some reason you also want to listen to the MIDI playback and hear the original interpretation, best to keep the original unquantized MIDI around as well. But any notation program will do better with MIDI input if the rhythms are quantized in a way that makes sense for notation.

Yes, it would be great if arbitrarily complex MIDI files could magically be turned into readable sheet music. But it's really a quite complex AI task for which the technology just isn't there yet.

As noted, you can already move things around - whether from one staff to another or from one beat to another, moving is moving, and it's all done with cut and paste. But cut and paste can't read minds any more than MIDI import can. You still need to set things up where you are clearly communicating which notes you want moved and to which beat of which voice on which staff you want them moved. With unquantized input, this can be tough because some notes that logically all belong in one voice can't be placed in on voice because they overlap. Correcting that first would help a ton. But failing that, at least describing to us as precisely as possible how you want to change the notes - what you want the new rhythm to be, which notes you want in which voices in which staff - and we can try to give you the steps necessary to achieve it. Right now, as mentioned, the rhythms are just too different for me to fully understand how you want that measure to look after the change.

Seeing MIDI file helps a little, it confirms that quantizing would help a lot :-) But anyhow, if you want a "dumb" merge, you could try setting the max voices to 2 on the piano track in the MIDi import panel when first importing, and now you can easily move the bottom staff to voices 3 & 4 and copy to the top (using the selection filter to exclude voices 1 & 2). Now you'll have all notes in the top staff. You'll still need to use your own human intelligence to figure out which notes you want moved earlier or later in order to make it sound more like the previous measure, and then moved them manually. Once you do that, though, assuming you can get the rhythm to look exactly like the previous measure, you can then merge them all into the same voice.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks again for the replies!

“Quantizing definitely helps with notation. Sure, if for some reason you also want to listen to the MIDI playback and hear the original interpretation, best to keep the original unquantized MIDI around as well. But any notation program will do better with MIDI input if the rhythms are quantized in a way that makes sense for notation.”

Yes, of course. And yet if the resulting quantized notation destroys the timing significantly, it’s useless :-) Hence this conversation which is about how to preserve the original timing and allow the manual “cleanup” effort to be as painless as possible. (I conceded that the MIDI import would never give me the results I wanted; I just want to fix it with as little burden as possible).

“As noted, you can already move things around - whether from one staff to another or from one beat to another, moving is moving, and it's all done with cut and paste. ”

If only it were as easy as cut and paste. Picture this (or perhaps you will see it yourself if you import that file): you have a bass clef with a single, whole rest in it. Your treble clef has 4 voices packed with all sorts of timings, including 64ths and all the rests you can imagine accompanying 4 voices of such content. Now you want to move a single note to the bass clef. I’d like to just click the note and say “move to other staff”, possibly indicate a destination voice, and bam, it would be done.

“But cut and paste can't read minds any more than MIDI import can.”

It doesn’t have to read minds. If the note is G3 on the treble clef and you’ve told it to move to the bass clef, there’s no thinking involved. It just has to move the note to a G3 on the bass clef at the exact same time and duration. But it should “pack” rests before and after the note on the bass clef so that it “sits” properly in the measure and reads correctly. Very simple.

But that’s not how it works. First of all, if it’s a 64th or 128th note, I have to first carve up that whole rest into tiny pieces so that I can get to that very precise beat in the bass clef to which I can paste this note so that it’s struck at the same time as it currently appears in the treble clef.

But the real burden has to do with voices and how they tie our hands. The above example’s tedium was nonetheless on a staff and measure with no existing content or voices. So now imagine moving this specific note to the bass clef where the bass clef is already packed with its own bizarre complexity of 4 voices and 64th notes and ties and rests and so on. Where, exactly, do I put this note? Where do I find a “home” for it? The software forces me to pick an existing voice, but they’re all in use. So the process of simply telling a note to switch clefs has turned into a “renovation project” on moving things around in the other clef to try to carve out room for it. Combine this with all the “rest carving and padding” from my simpler example above, and you can easily burn your life away trying to accomplish this task of switching notes between clefs.

“…if you want a "dumb" merge, you could try setting the max voices to 2 on the piano track in the MIDi import panel when first importing, and now you can easily move the bottom staff to voices 3 & 4 and copy to the top (using the selection filter to exclude voices 1 & 2). Now you'll have all notes in the top staff.”

Now this is a very interesting idea that I didn’t know about! Basically, force it to keep voices 3 and 4 free during import so they can be used later when moving things around. My question here, then, is didn’t Muse put the imported notes into 4 different voices because they HAD to be in separate voices to satisfy your previously stated rule about needing separate voices for notes that don’t start/end at the same time? If that’s the case, then is Muse going to modify the music to deal with only having access to 2 voices to import to? Maybe I’ll try it when I have nothing better to do. Just curious.

“You'll still need to use your own human intelligence to figure out which notes you want moved earlier or later in order to make it sound more like the previous measure, and then moved them manually. Once you do that, though, assuming you can get the rhythm to look exactly like the previous measure, you can then merge them all into the same voice.”

This comment I don’t understand. After I import the MIDI, why do I have to move things around in the timing? Is your point that using only two voices is going to cause the timing to get messed up? If so, that’s even worse than my original situation, since I will have lost the original timing, which is the part that it's hardest for me to recreate.

DK

In reply to by reggoboy

There are a number of things about the way standard notation works that I think were poorly designed, and the way multiple voices are so often needed is but one of them. Still, you can't get around the fact that this is the notation system we have, and when writing music, you have to learn to how to deal with it. Again, quantizing in your MIDI software can greatly simplify the job. You are welcome to do individual adjustments to duration and time position in MuseScore as well, but it's not optimized for that purpose - better to use a tool that is.

Once you have figured out the voice assignment you want, cut and paste does work. but you need need to make the important decisions yourself. Sometimes techniques like the one I described are needed if the situation is particularly messy, often though they are not.

To answer your questions:

Yes, 4 voices were needed because of the overlaps. That is why it is so important to quantize first, so there are no unintended overlaps. Then MuseScore won't need so many voices. You can tell MuseScore to use fewer voices and this does a sort of similar thing to quantizing, but not really. There really is no substitute for good quantizing, using a program that specializes in that sort of thing - a program that deals with MIDI directly.

The reason you need to move things around is that you want notes to appear together that quite simply were not played together. Some notes need to be moved earlier, others later. Quantizing would give you that. But if you don't quantize, you'll need to move things earlier or later yourself.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.