Add "Above/Below System" to measure number's "Placement" property

• Aug 8, 2020 - 15:53
Reported version
P1 - High
S5 - Suggestion

In a score with multiple staves:
1) Add measure numbers to score in Style menu.
2) Change Vertical placement to Below.
Expected behavior: Measure numbers appear below the entire score, regardless of how many staves there are.
Actual behavior: Measure numbers appear below the topmost staff only.

Workaround: Set measure numbers to all staves. Make all measure numbers invisible except the bottom staff.

OS: Windows 10 (10.0), Arch.: x86_64, MuseScore version (64-bit):, revision: 43c5553


Severity S5 - Suggestion S3 - Major

I don't think this is by design, Rémi himself said he wished for the measure numbers to be below the entire system too but there were some obstacles. Besides the current behaviour makes no musical sense.

Severity S5 - Suggestion S3 - Major

No it isn't. If you don't wish to distract our attention from an issue that needs to be fixed, don't see it as merely a "suggestion".

Severity S3 - Major S5 - Suggestion

Yes, it is. Nobody keeps you from fixing that issue, whether suggestion or bug, and this is by no means meant to distract attention from an issue.

There is no intention in the code to provide this capability, none that just doesn't work due to some coding error, this just has not been implemented.

This certainly is an important feature and surely will get looked at as part of the engraving improvements that are planned for 4.0 and maybe 3.6

Severity S5 - Suggestion S3 - Major

No, it has been implemented, but wrongly. The current behaviour is simply wrong. Nobody wants to see it if the system has more than one staff. If this entire "placement" property hasn't been implemented, then this is indeed a suggestion. But right now it has become a bug.

Severity S3 - Major S5 - Suggestion

Measure numbers (are currently coded to be) per staff, not per system, so 'below' means below staff.
That's the current design

Severity S5 - Suggestion S4 - Minor

A "suggestion" would imply that even without this change everything is good, it just can be better. This obviously is not good. Nobody wants this, so it isn't intended. I don't think this logic is nonsense. If we keep this issue as a suggestion, hardly anyone will take this seriously.

Let's both take a step back and make it minor.

Severity S4 - Minor S5 - Suggestion
Priority P1 - High

No, that is not at all what "Suggestion" implies

What you mean is "Priority" (which not everyone is allowed to set)

"Suggestion" means that it is not a bug, a new feature not yet existing rather than some code that doesn't work as intended.
The Priority setting defines how important it is to get the issue fixed.

Placement for and staff related item (e.g. lyrics, staff text, chord symbols) places them above/below the __staff_ they belong to.
As said earlier, measure numbers are (currently) staff related (like you can have measure numbers for every staff).
So 'Below' for them means 'Below staff'.

System text BTW has the same issue... as do rehearsal marks and tempo markings

So you're saying this property was not designed for the functionality we want now. Well then maybe there should never have been a placement setting for staff-based measure numbers. The only logical placements I can tell are above system and below system.

No, measure numbers below (every) staff may be wanted at times too. Or maybe be just enough (like if there is only one staff in the system)
I guess what we need is an additional "Below System" setting, for measure numbers, system text, rehearsal marks, tempo markings...

The setting is just so misleading that regardless of what happened internally, we've created an illusion that measure numbers can be placed below systems, so when it doesn't work out like that I (and the OP) think this is a bug. I still think this is a bug, actually, from a user's perspective.

Title Measure numbers with below placement are only below the top staff in a score Add "Above/Below System" to measure number's "Placement" property

As it is for System Text, Rehearsal Marks and Tempo Texts, although maybe at a different extent (not even sure whether less or more of an issue), as none of those have the option to show below all staves.

FWIW, it is currently by design. It's the design that was decided upon as being consistent with what below placement means for other elements, and indeed, it's actually quite important to support the "below staff" property as it has its uses too. There are some use cases for measure numbers below the system, but others for measure numbers below the staff.

"below system" would be a lovely option to support, not just for measure numbers, but also for system elements like repeat or tempo text, etc. So, it's a most excellent suggestion I fully support.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Workaround Yes No

Thank you for the discussion. I have a possibly related question.
I need to place measure numbers / rehearsal letters above each 'group / section' of instruments in the score, eg ww, brass, perc, strings I, voices, strings II. The brass are not a 'system' in the score, but a section within the system.
For example, the top staff / instrument of the 'brass' in any system may change – it could be a horn, a trumpet, or even the tuba. What is the 'name' of this kind of text? It appears to be contextually staff connected. How would I indicate such a text in the Measure Numbers of the Style menu.
Any assistance you could provide will be gratefully received.

Unfortunately we don't currently have a direct way of supporting this. It's related to the original suggestion here, but different. What;s similar is, wanting control over where system-attached text - whether rehearsal marks, measure numbers, tempo text, or whatever - actually displays. Currently it's always somewhere near the top staff, with the specific position relative to that staff controlled by the placement & offset properties, same as other elements. Possible new options might include below entire system, or somehow attached to specific groups of instruments, like above the strings, etc. I think it's probably going to make sense to design and implement both options together somehow, so it's clear where to go for this type of control.

Meanwhile, best workaround is to add these "secondary" rehearsal marks as staff text where desired, give them rehearsal mark style, then mark them invisible in the corresponding parts.

Thank you. This is a 'design feature', but not one based on musical usage or need. The concept of having only two levels of [vertical] score division, staff and system, was still in use into the 1940s, but for large scores, eg Gurre-Lieder, instrumental groups [families] were recognized as a design structure for scores. Gurre-Lieder has tempi and rehearsal letters on the top staff and the top staff of the string section.
More complex scores, eg Gruppen, and even the Carter Third String Quartet need a broader conception of flexibility.
I am aware that this might be a rethinking of some basic design aspects of MuseScore, but there are many interesting possible uses, for example, in the window where instruments are added, the righthand window could have sub-windows [boxes] that pre-divide instruments into their families. An incipit of this design feature is present in how piano, harp, marimba etc handle two staves so as to function like one.

In reply to by kevin.austin@v…

There is definitely a need to be able to position measure numbers, or any other element, above or below the staff to which it is attached. That is the entire purpose of the "placement" property - to control position relative to the staff to which it is attached. it is a crucially important feature applicable to many element types, not just measure numbers. So, the design of this vitally important feature is not the issue - it works exactly as it needs to in order to provide the control it was designed to provide.

The issue here is whether there should be a additional feature to give more control over which staff or staves the measure numbers - or other system text - is attached to. And here is no one arguing against this new proposed feature. We all agree this feature would also be good to add someday. But it cannot come at the expense of breaking the existing placement property to control position relative to the staff to which it is attached.

Implementing this new feature really needn't require any major redesign or implementation of anything. It's really just a matter of deciding what these new controls should look like - properties on the measure numbers themselves, a style setting for the measure numbers, staff properties, bracket properties, some combination of these, etc. But once that is decided on, it shouldn't be at all difficult to implement this within the current design of how measure numbers and system elements actually work.

Workaround Yes No

Thank you Jojo. Thank you Marc. I am not a programer or software designer / developer. I am a composer and educator. I agree that this cannot be implemented at this time because it has not been conceived of at this stage of development of the program. [Other ideas appear below.]

Similarly, I have a compositional method that I had used back in my Finale days. I sometimes need to hide a staff, and have automatic readjustment of the distance between staves [as happens with Hide empty measures], but I need it to applicable to measures that contain entries. I can make invisible the staff lines, notes etc, but I have not read how to make the 'staff' invisible, and have the program adjust the distance to the adjacent staves.
A simple example. I am writing a string quartet. I want to 'hide' m 8-16 of the viola part, which has entries. M 8-16 are staff systems 3 and 4, as I can[not] see because numbering staff systems on the score is a non-printing numbering system [although I can't find it in the manual]. On systems 3 & 4, I want the space between violin 2 and cello to 'close up' automatically, that is, not be a 'cut away' style of notation.
MuseScore does this automatically if the measures are empty, but I can't find the dialog box [Inspector perhaps] that allows me to do this when there are entries.

I would also like to be able to mute the viola [that is, turn off the playback] in m8-16. This is probably a MIDI-playback control. This would be done in a DAW [eg Logic] by changing the 'amplitude automation' line in the middle of the track. In Finale this was done by adding an invisible staff symbol which set MIDI volume to zero. A second hidden symbol resets the MIDI volume value to 'nnn'.

Which leads to another related design / input change. I would like to be able to automate the addition of dynamics by having a 'dynamics' window on top of the staff wherein I could draw the dynamic shape, and [regional] dynamics would be applied by the program, eg a dynamic [mp] followed by a crescendo, a diminuendo, and a final [pp]. This 'regional dynamic window' could be put in a library, and applied [and adjusted / scaled] wherever I need it. Through a dialog box, it could be applied to any staff in an arbitrary manner.

Thank you all for your time and interest in these matters, as seen 'in the trenches'.

Measure numbers are a special case. The user does not add a measure number to a particular staff; instead, the program automatically adds measure numbers based on rules chosen by the user. I do not understand why any user would want to have measure numbers attached to the top visible staff but positioned beneath it. It would make more sense to me that if a user chooses to have measure numbers displayed beneath the staff (but not beneath every staff), then the measure number should be attached to the bottom staff.

This is all to say that I support the original suggestion rather than the new proposed feature. We are not talking about redefining what staff placement means in general, but only as applied to measure numbers. I understand that certain other element types have been mentioned as well, but given how measure numbers are implemented, I think it makes sense to address those separately.

Here is a potential solution:….

This approach uses the style setting, rather than each measure number's placement property, to determine the staff to which measure numbers are attached. As a result, changing the vertical placement of a particular measure number keeps it attached to the same staff. That is, unless you press the "set as style" button, at which point that measure number and all other measure numbers will be relocated. Assuming there are multiple visible staves, of course.

Thanks. What needs to be changed to allow the addition of this information to, for example, the top staff of the brass section, the percussion section and the strings? Or this this a 'major' modification?

The solution above is very particular to measure numbers and to having a simple style setting that controls whether it is attached to the first or last staff. A change to allow the user to control which interior staves get measure numbers - and, presumably, other system-level elements like tempo - would be more involved. Still not terribly difficult to implement, though, once it is decided what those controls should look like.

To me, that's the direction we should be pursuing. But it's not a trivial task to decide on that design. I do kind of like the idea of somehow attaching this information to the brackets, s we already have smarts in the bracket code to deal with issues like, what is the top staff of a brackets group is hidden because it is empty, so now it needs to display on the next staff. But I suppose someone somewhere in the world might want info to appear on a staff that is not part of any bracketed group.

As far as I can see here, 'bracket' is not a well-defined [ie delimited] musical concept. From my reading, a 'bracket' provides 'limited' musical information. Brackets occur at 2 [or more?] levels, eg, [1] group of a type of instrument, brackets for the 3 flutes; the 2 oboes and cor anglais; 2 clarinets and bass clarinet [variably]; piano, and harp; and [2] orchestral sections, woodwinds; brass; strings etc.
The word 'brace' is used regionally to mean the same thing, and also to specifically mean the 'curly bracket' used for piano or harp. Again, practice varies among composers. Neither term appears in the glossary of the 3.0 Handbook. Perhaps this is a problem that is limited to english usage?

A lot of the problem with the definition of a bracket in the context you are talking about is a variety of usages by different publishers. For whatever it might mean, most of the publishers of classical music are not in English speaking countries so the English words rely on a translation of the original publisher if they call it anything. Furthermore, unlike terms like fermata and volta that have musical meaning, the Italian words are not common for these either.