Working with multiple voices

• Jul 17, 2020 - 02:55

When I have a piece in which the note in Voice 1 and Voice 2 fall on the same pitch (up and down stem on what looks like a single note) I can only select Voice 1 by clicking on the note. I cannot select Voice 2 except by exchanging Voice 1 and 2 in the measure. If I want to add a slur (or a tie) from the Voice 2 note to the following note I need to be able to select the Voice 2 note. (Or maybe I want to add an articulation or something.)

What makes this particularly needful is a situation where the following note is a chord and I want to slur or tie Voice 2 (and not Voice 1) to one of the notes in the chord, or slur Voices 1 and 2 separately to different notes in the chord. (This works best if the slurred notes are in the same voice, but sometimes they are not --MuseScore does permit this--and this affects the shape and placement of the slur. That's a separate issue. I'm just asking here to be able to select the Voice 2 note without having to exchange voices.)

It occurs to me that life would be easier if clicking repeatedly on the note would cycle through the voices instead of always selecting only Voice 1.


In reply to by SteveBlower

I tried that. I set the selection filter to only Voice 2 and clicked on a note with both Voice 1 and Voice 2 on the same pitch and I still could only select Voice 1 with an ordinary click. In other words, it doesn't work.

What I found experimentally (before reading jeetee's comment) is that if I control-click to select, it cycles through Voice 1, Voice 2, and Unselected states with repeated clicking, as I was suggesting, and each state is just the one voice (or none), not both as one might suspect control-click might select.

Thus my suggestion is not needed, provided users know to use control-click rather than just click, to get what they want. It may be helpful to document that in the Handbook.

In reply to by Gerald Reynolds

If you shift+click on the notehead while using the selection filter to select a chord you get the range selection blue box and only the voices ticked in the filter get selected. But yes, it is rather inconsistent that just plain clicking (to select a single note) selects the unticked voice 1 by preference. This selection modes are described in the handbook (, but there is no mention of how the different modes interact with multiple voices. Also, I wonder if this has been mentioned before in the issue tracker.

In reply to by SteveBlower

First, thank you for directing me to that page in the handbook. I had not seen it and find some interesting things there, including one I asked about earlier, how to select as a group all notes (or rests) for a single voice.

Now about selecting with shift-click. It does indeed act as you describe, and does so whether you have the selection filter view turned on or off. In the latter case, the selection conforms to what was last set in the filter. In other words, if you turn the filter view on, choose only Voice 2, and turn the view off, only Voice 2 remains the filter setting; it does not return to All. (It defaults to All when MuseScore is first started.) So with the filter set to All a shift-click selects both voices when they are on the same pitch, even though the Voice 2 notehead appears to be the selected note. You can see this in two ways: 1) Look at the stems; both are selected (other selection modes highlight just the notehead; the stem remains unselected). 2) Delete the selection and rests for both voices take its place (you can undelete with Ctrl-Z afterward).

It occurs to me that life would be easier if clicking repeatedly on the note would cycle through the voices instead of always selecting only Voice 1.

It is that simple if you hold Ctrl (Cmd on MacOS) while clicking. MuseScore will then cycle through overlapping elements. The visual feedback of the selection might not be perfect yet here (as I believe the voice 1 black notehead will be drawn on top of the selection color of voice 2), but keep an eye on your status bar to show that the correct element is selected.

Two solutions: (1) Select the previous or subsequent voice 2 notes and navigate to the desired note using the L/R arrows. (2) Click on the voice 1 note and use the Alt + up/down arrows to navigate between voices.

In reply to by geetar

Interesting. I was not aware of these possibilities. Both do work. Solution 1: Even if the nearest Voice 2 note is some distance away, the arrow key moves to the desired note from it directly. Solution 2: Alt-arrow gets one to all kinds of interesting places, not only up and down but left and right. It moves not only to notes but to slurs, ties, barlines, and anything out there. Useful.

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