Shifting whole phrase to left or right

• Sep 7, 2014 - 20:43

I see how to shift individual notes, but is there a way to select a whole phrase, perhaps with associated symbols (slurs, dynamics, etc.) and move it intact to the left or right? I don't see anything about this in the Manual or on the Forum.


(Mac OS 10.9.4, MuseScore 2.0.0b rev. 1efc609)


Depends on what you mean by "move". if you mean, you originally entered it startin on the wrong beat and you want the entire phrase to start on a different beat, then this is done via cut & paste. If you mean you want to create extra visual space before some note and have everything else shift to make room, you can either use a horizontal frame is you wish to insert the space between measures, or the "extra leading space" parameter in Note Properties to create this space within a measure.

If this doesn't answer you question, then please post your score and a detailed description of what you want to do.

I installed musescore on my gentoo laptop today and decided I would try to see if I could replicate a piece of "Cara Mi Addio!" from .

I started by just trying to get the pitches of the notes right, and then I started trying to match the rhythm. It took me a while to figure out what the heck Musescore was doing.

Whereas every other editor you have ever used defaults to Insert and usually has a toggle to Overwrite (the Insert key on your keyboard usually toggles between the two) Musescore ONLY HAS OVERWRITE. It's not entirely that simple, because notes have duration, and when you overwrite the beginning of a long note with a short note the tail remains, and when you overwrite a short note with a long note, it crushes following notes.

There was another post on the board where someone was asking how to delete a note. I think it would be less confusing to say that Musescore can "replace a note with a rest".

As far as I can tell, MuseScore has no "insert mode". In order to insert a single note you must
* select all the notes following the insert point
* cut the selection
* move the cursor to the time point right after the new note will end
* paste the selection
* move to the time point where you want the new note
* replace the rests with the new note

When you compare this workflow with almost every other editing software in existence, it does seem astronomically clunky. Perhaps Musescore has something analagous to the Insert Cells of a spreadsheet that would let you open up a quarter note, but I haven't looked hard enough to find it yet.

To be fair, "normal" music does sound better when it fits into the meter structure (and I still don't know what's going on in some King Crimson songs), but the current workflow does seem rather clumsy when you don't yet have everything perfectly composed in your head and need a little freedom to sort things out.

I think MuseScore would benefit from the addition of an Insert mode, or at least some workflow that would allow users to experience much less confusion when the editor behaves very differently than they are accustomed. I'm sure this would NOT be a trivial code change, so I will not be surprised if takes a back seat to other features for a couple of years.

In reply to by thoth

This comes up from time to time, but you have to realize, music is *fundamentally different* from text, so experience with text editors can't be your only basis for setting expectations. With text, it is of absolutely no consequence to shift the remaining text to the right when you insert characters - it doesn't change the *meaning* of that text one bit. But with music, it has a very specific position in time that has no analogue for text. If you enter a note on beat 3 of a measure, then it will occur at a certain point in time when you play the score, and that's actually significant. You can simply shift the note to the right without completely changing the semantics of that note - it's no longer a note on beat three but a note on some other beat. Again, text isn't like that at all.

So actually, many if not most *music* typesetting programs work just like MsueScore in this respect (or, more to the point, MuseScore works just like many other programs). There *are* exceptions - some do in fact work in "insert mode" by default - but this comes with very serve complications. like, how much music do you shift to the right? Just the next note? All notes in this measure? All notes to the end of the piece? And what do you do with the notes that are pushed partially out of the measure - turn them into split tied notes? Do you also rewrite the rhythms for notes that straddle beat 3 in 4/4 time? And so on. it's a far more complex thing than most people realize, and realistically, the programs that work this way require almost constant user intervention to fix the thing that went wrong as a result.

So basically, you are right that if you re trying to use MuseScore as a "scratch pad" it is going to seem clunky, but it is actually the very natural way of working with music if you have any idea at all of what you are putting down in the first place. That said, some sort of separate "scratch pad" mode is not a bad idea, has been suggested several times before, and I suspect will be implemented at some point in the future.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The original comment was:

"I see how to shift individual notes, but is there a way to select a whole phrase, perhaps with associated symbols (slurs, dynamics, etc.) and move it intact to the left or right? I don't see anything about this in the Manual or on the Forum. Thanks!"

You said:

"This comes up from time to time, but you have to realize, music is *fundamentally different* from text, so experience with text editors can't be your only basis for setting expectations."


really, I don't see where text editing was ever mentioned in the 1st place. I have This same problem NOT being able to MOVE NOTEs (notice I said NOTEs NOT TEXT) to the right or push back for a few more durations.

You said:

"but it is actually the very natural way of working with music if you have any idea at all of what you are putting down in the first place."

This is a great Insult to your users Intelligence. This is a Missing Item that would definitely help to make MuseScore actually useful & usable.

if You had any Idea or ability at all, You would have already done This by now. obviously This has not happened & You are more Than un-willing to even admit That You Lack This ability. Thanks. it is frustrating to use some Thing That simply does NOT WORK as expected.

I have more Than 60,000 hours hands on a computer keyboard working professionally. I guess I will have to find a real piece of music software to continue to work with, if I want to get some Thing done. make a note of It.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Over time as we have more music from OCR/OMR (or automatic transcription) that has various messups in its inferred notation, it'll be more important to support this spreadsheet-style command: "delete or insert cell in row". Delete this beat here, or insert a couple beats here, and shift everything that is to the right.

It certainly comes up plenty. Consider adding a command do insert/delete the current note value. Look at some OMR results to see the kinds of editing that people are going to need.

In reply to by gforman44

The problem is defining how much to shift. It's almost never going to literally be everything to the end of the score. More likely, everything until the end of the specific passage that OMR software messed up. But there is no way MyseScore can determine this - it is sonething only the user will know. Plus, specifying the amount of time by which the phrase should be moved will often tale several keystrokes. Which is why the current method were you simply select, cut, and paste the region is really not much if anybless optimal. In most cases, it would be the same number of keystrokes. Occasionally one or two more, also occasionally one or two less.

In reply to by Randy Sanders

Randy Sanders .. all of these people that are writing in this forum what they are not saying , is that they are simple users with nothing else to do with their time , they are no developers in here , only opinionated with nothing better to do . Did you try to copy paste a tuplet between measures, no can do that is another problem. I think the best thing MuseScore has to do is to get some developers in here, and do away with the riff raff, good luck .

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Randy, you are mixing up the order of the posts here. Marc's original reply to the OP told him how to do what he wanted. And would probably answer your needs passably. The reply you are objecting to is a reply to a later post by someone else, and was a thoughtful reply to a rather subtle issue. I learnt from it at the time. Appalling tone in your post, by the way.

maybe There is a way to add several "measures" with a "hard stop" or note-wall, so That any & every note beyond does NOT get pushed any further. a "sound-wall" like as in a "fire-wall".


my methodology is pretty messed up. I start by drawing bubbles on a random, folded sheet of paper without even score lines, but in relative positions to indicate pitch. Then I go back & fill in quarter notes, half notes, dotted 3/4 or Leave the bubble as a full note. Then back again to Listen more carefully & I try to add, 1/8 notes, 3/32, triplets, slurs, rests (Length of rests, This is a big problem) & etc. accents. This is sad, but True. This is how i capture about 1/10 out what i come up with, every Thing just goes out The window, some where else, away.

when I can, I Then sit down at my 3-octave/$5 mini-keyboard (it is NOT-midi capable) & pick out the actual melody. & Then I write This all out & down on paper by hand, several Times, & Then & ONLY Then do I try to use the musical software. but upon playback I realize that the melody is off rhythmically. The melody works, it is what I want, but when I start to add other Instrumentation I have to edit for rests/break & etc. to make the other Instruments fit in, or Line up as I actually hear This.

This is so Time consuming. but it is The best I can do with I have to work with. This is where the (EDIT)-ing & being able to move the notes around would be so helpful.


I have hours of symphonic Instrumental music in my head, I hear everything completely completed, all Instrumentation. I have more Than 120 songs. I have played an Instrument since i was 12 (63 - 12 = 49 years). I have about 60,000 hours hands-on-a-computer keyboard, half of which, 30,000 hours, was professional work in an architectural office. AutoCad, 3d Studio Max & Photoshop. I know how to use a keyboard, mouse (even b4 mice existed or were available).

my company name is: az-nts design. which covers both my architectural drafting & my musical composition ability.

Not To Scale.


but for the Life of me, any & all musical softwares included That I have previously tried (several), I cant seem to write down my musical Ideas, the 1st time PERFECTLy. I am NOT no Mozart. just human. me.

which is why I need to (EDIT) my compositions almost constantly. I have Transcribed 3 compositions, consisting merely of a single melody Line only in the Last 32 years. It is not the software only that is having difficulty in getting any Thing Lined up. I will admit This.

a LOT of what i hear is slow, long notes & some rests or breaks over Time. being able to write short(-er) phrases & Then to EDIT carefully as Time goes by (Literally) would be extremely helpful. I have Too many additional injuries or etc. mental issues to contribute to my Lack of ability, but That is yet another tangential story.

it is not only MuseScore that gives me good grief in trying to get the notes in the right measure or place where They belong. There is no need to point out my obvious mental deficiencies, This is all well documented. I would just Love to be able to fix up what I hear so That others could hear The same. I hear voices, mostly Gregorian Chants, & etc = my other Instrumental symphonic works.


so the basic Idea is to break the musical score, at a certain point, for ALL OF THE INSTRUMENTS or VOICEs selected, Then add some blank measures that the To-be-Moved Notes can slide into, but NOT effect The rest of The composition beyond the end-user "established" break point. & THEN you can get rid off any un-used notes, or measures, and if necessary create "a pick-up" measure to contain the "slack", which may or may NOT be a FULL measure.

Then, Next. just go on with The composition.
just an Idea. so, is This possible, To move over "selected" notes??

now That I am writing This, I will Try to add "additional measures" where I want the notes to be & write a "note" To ignore The blank spaces. (??)


Thank You for your excellent software.

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