Curious how the "Explode" function works.

• Oct 27, 2020 - 21:06

I found something that seems like an inconsistency. If a staff has more than one voice in it, you can explode the voices into different staves with the explode function, which is a great function. However, I found you can't COPY/PASTE a voice (other than voice 1) onto a different staff. Wonder why that is? Isn't exploding the voices the same as copy/paste?
Here are my steps:
1. Use the select function to select just voice 2 on a staff and has multiple voices.
2. Hit ctrl-C to copy the selected notes.
3. Hit ctrl-V to paste onto a different blank staff. Doesn't work.
Is there some "trick" to getting this to work? I posted a comment about exploding voices a couple weeks ago and Mike said you CAN copy/paste a voice onto a different staff. But I can't get it to work.

I include a snippet of a famous piece to give an example. Try to put the voice 2 ( a lot of half-notes) on the blank staff using copy/paste. Doesn't work, but you can use explode and it works great.

Attachment Size
Explode example.mscz 13.72 KB


Copy/paste works fine if you can select a destination to paste to. my guess is you are forgetting to turn voice 1 back on the selection filter after the copy. With voice 1 disabled, you can't select the empty measures to initiate the paste.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hmm, not sure what you mean by "turn voice 1 back on the selection filter". After selecting the notes I want, I hit OK and the selection filter box disappears. There is no "turning voice 1 back on". After doing the ctrl-C, I select the first measure on the blank staff (bass staff). I hit ctrl-V, but nothing happens.

In reply to by odelphi231

I'm not sure what "OK" you mean, the Selection Filter has no such button. I'm talking about the long list of checkboxes the filter lets you enable and disable. So I assume you turned voice 1 off, that was how you managed to select voice 2 only. Once you have done that, then you hit Ctrl+C to copy, but then you need to turn voice 1 back on the same you you turned it off - by toggling the checkbox. There is no OK button anywhere in any of this. if you closed the Selection Filter, it must have been with the "X" on the title bar of the window, but next time, just don't do thatyet - leave it open until after the Ctrl+C so you can then immediately re-enable voice 1. Then you can close the filter, and finish the operation.

As it is, with voice 1 disabled, it's not just paste that won't work, you won't be able to do much of anything.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

So Marc, you are not aware that you can click on an element (note, rest, articulation, etc) , right click your mouse and it brings up a selection filter box? It allows you to filter your selection in about 20 different ways. I thought that is what you were talking about. And Yes, it does have an OK button.
I am not sure what other way your are referring to to select some notes (not all) on a staff/measure.

In reply to by odelphi231

I am aware of the right-click menu - it's for creating various types of "list" selections of individual elements by selecting similar elements. That's totally different from the Selection Filter, which is for modifying range selections by removing particular types of elements. So, now I understand what the real problem is - you haven't made a range selection at all, only a list selection. List selections of notes can't be copied - only range selections can be.

So skip the right-click menu, it won't help here. Instead:

1) select the full range of measures you want selected (eg, click the first, Shift+click the last, or however you normally like to make range selections - the kind with a blue recetangle around them)
2) View / Selection Filter
3) disable Voice 1 - this leaves you with a range selection that contains only voices 2-4
4) Ctrl+C to copy
5) enable Voice 1 again
6) select the destination measure
7) Ctrl+V to paste

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

List selections, range selections. Is that something WE suppose to know. Who the F cares. I wanna select the second voice and copy/paste into another. Why would one type of selection allow copy/paste and another won't. Makes absolutely no sense. Both ways select a filtered selection of elements. Doing it the way I describe, takes two steps, your way takes 7!!!! WTF
And BTW: "list" selections of notes can be copy/pasted. I have been doing it for months. They just can't be copy/pasted the way I described. which is another inconsistency.

In reply to by odelphi231

That's why we have an online Handbook, so you can learn :-) See the section on selections; it explains all this.

But FWIW, you are counting steps incorrectly. The actual selection takes no more clicks the way I am describing than what you have been doing. You say two steps "your" way, but that's glossing over the sort of detail I gave. The list selection way is actually:

1) right-click a note
2) Select / More
3) click Same Voice
4) OK

Then you still need to Ctrl+C to copy, you still need to select the destination, you still need to Ctrl+V to paste. So, literally same number of steps. Also, keep in mind that unlikely the Select / More dialog, the selection filter can simply be left open at all times if you do this sort of thing a lot, making the overall process more efficient.

Anyhow, no, list selections of notes cannot be copied and pasted. Try again, it is not possible, for very good reasons. After all, what result would you expect if your list selection consisted of one note from measure 3, another note from measure 7, and another note from a different staff? How would you expect that to paste? List selections of notes don't paste, period.

In reply to by odelphi231

List selections and range selections are explained in the manual at The explanation is rather detailed but can be summed up like this:

Range selections have a selection box around them, list selections have individual items selected. A few things (like chord symbols and lyrics) can be copied and pasted as list selections, most things require a range selection. Notes are in the category of things that can only be copied as range selections.

To copy all of the notes and associated items in a single voice or less than all voices, you must use the selection filter (press F6 to see it). Keep the voices you want to copy checked in the selection filter before or after you select the range, copy the range, then at any time after the copy you can check all so future range selections will copy everything else and does not affect what is on the clipboard. Select you destination and paste and only the copied voices will be pasted.

When you paste the selection, most things that are on the clipboard will replace what is in the destination in the same voice. There are a few exceptions and I can't remember them all.

So here are step by step instructions for copying only voice 2:

  • Open the selection filter
  • Remove filter selection checks from voice 1 (always) and voices 3 & 4 if there is anything in those voices.
  • Select the range
  • Copy
  • Check "All" in Selection filter (now you won't forget later)
  • Select destination
  • Paste

Only voice 2 in this example will be copied and pasted. I'm not sure exactly what I said in the other thread but I'm sure it didn't contradict this though it probably wasn't as thorough and systematic.

So you know, you can copy only voice 1 by keeping that checked and unchecking voices 2, 3 & 4 or copy voices 2 & 3 by unchecking 1 & 4 and so forth. Keep in mind if you don't want a voice overwritten in the destination, don't copy it from the source, even if it's empty. An empty voice that has been copied will be pasted into the destination (which means its contents will be deleted) even though this often doesn't matter for voices 3 & 4.

In reply to by mike320

OK, I accept that I can't do it with a right click selection (if you say so). Maybe that is what I am remembering, that I have copied lyrics and non-note elements that way and I assumed that was the way to select and copy anything. This goes back to the old argument that I have made in these forums before that MS should work like MS-Word that allows you to do most things with a right-click menu - that is what I am used to. Sooooo, when I saw that right-click selection menu I thought, "Wow, I can select any element and copy/paste it somewhere". I also use this menu to delete filtered items. I knew there was a menu-based selection function but I thought it was the same as the right-click menu function. (Again, back to how MS-Word works).
Mike, you were very short in what you said before. You basically just said that you can select a voice and copy/paste it into a staff. You didn't give detailed directions on how to do it, or that there is a such thing as range selection vs list selection.
Thank you for the clarification.

In reply to by odelphi231

I'm also a fan of right click access to most actions but it seems the people now designing the interface don't. Somehow they think right click isn't "discoverable" probably because they use a one button mouse on their Mac.

I do find it hard to see how to incorporate the selection filter into right click. What doesn't make sense is that when you use right click to select similar items, you have often already made a range selection. The filter selector acts on this range selection. Word doesn't let you select a sentence or paragraph using right click and there is no need to select only the dots on all of the i's in a text document. I do realize multiple clicks select these ranges in Word. MuseScore uses double click to allow you to edit items. The two programs have different purposes so I expect certain actions to do different things. Word has no equivalent action to right clicking an articulation and selecting all of the rests at once. There are some major differences between a text document and a musical score.

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