Paste Special - Changing note duration

You can change the duration of notes pasted using this feature that is not well known.

A couple of years ago the ability to Paste double duration and Paste half duration were added to the Edit menu. This replaced the need for the double and half duration plugins that were very popular in version 2. One of the side effect of this was the ability to change the duration by other factors but this was hidden in the shortcuts in the Preferences dialog. It is called Paste Special and has no shortcut assigned to it by default.

This is a little documented feature and it was hoped by myself and others at the time that paste special would be expanded to allow other capabilities but that hasn't happened as of December 2020. This is still a gem that can be used in the right situation. Here's how it works.

  • Select the range of notes you want to copy.
  • Copy them in the normal manner, either pressing ctrl+c, using the edit menu or right click and choose Copy.
  • Select a note duration as a multiplier as explained below.
  • Click the destination, and press the user defined shortcut you assigned to it.

Any time you paste, MuseScore will add measures to the end of the score to accommodate the paste if necessary so there's no need to count measures to assure a longer group of notes will fit.


The multiplier, as I call it, is a note duration. It is actually the duration that all 1/4 notes will be changed to when you use paste special. All other notes will be lengthened or shortened proportionately. Briefly, if you press 6 a 1/4 note will become a 1/2 note and all durations will be doubled. This is the same as Paste double duration. If you press 4, a 1/4 note will become an 8th note all durations will be halved. This is the same as Paste Half Duration.

You can use dotted notes to multiply by fractions as well. So you can select 4. and the durations will all be multiplied by 1.5 (1 1/2) making all 1/4 notes dotted 1/4 notes, 8th notes dotted 8th notes and so forth.

Note: To set the multiplier, either press the numbers and dots to set the duration or use the note input toolbar.


Tuplets can be included in any notes that you copy and they will have the individual notes multiplied by the appropriate factor and the resulting tuplet will be the proper length to hold those notes.

There is a limitation concerning tuplets that is often requested. You cannot turn 3 notes into a triplet of those notes. This is not currently possible in MuseScore.

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