How does one change the instrument of an individual voice?

• Jul 18, 2022 - 20:01

I found this topic from 2014 that asks the same thing, and one of the answers mentions that a subsequent update of MuseScore is to be released that will allow it.

Has this subsequent update been released yet? and if so, how does one change the instrument of an individual voice?

Thank you for your help.


Do you mean "voice" as in "part" rather than human voice? If so, select any bar in that part, R-click and from the drop-down list choose "Stave / Part properties". Then under "Part properties" you will see the option to change instrument.

Indeed, your questions isn't very clear - best to attach your score and describe in more detail. If you literally mean a "voice" in the music notation sense, this can be done for scores created from the various choral templates, or that use the "men" or "women" instruments, by first adding the S/A or T/B texts from the palette, which assign the voices to different sub-channels. Then you can use the mixer to select the sounds for those subchannels normally. if you mean something simpler than this, probably the answer is just, use the regular mixer controls to change the sound while keeping the instrument the same (eg, to change from electric to acoustic guitar), or use Staff/Part Properties to change the actual instrument (eg, to change from guitar to flute).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Oops! Forgot to paste the link: Perhaps this will better explain my inquiry.

Sorry for the confusion.

What I would like to end up with is the bass line in a bass clef stave with properly spaced lyrics below and properly spaced chords above. I've figured out how to do this by creating the lyric notes on voice 1 on a bass clef stave and then link the lyrics to them and then making the notes invisible (if I make a second stave for this purpose, musescore will not allow the stave to be invisible without also removing the lyrics, which I want to keep). For the chords, I use voice 2 on the same stave and create appropriately spaced rests to which I link the chords and then make the rests invisible (using a second stave presents the same problem as before). For the bass line, I use voice 3 (usually - in the attached case, I used voice 4 since I have a simpler bass line on voice 3), which remains visible. When I print it out (with a few other small modifications), it comes out exactly the way I want it: the bass line on a bass clef with properly spaced lyrics and chords.

However, when I play the score back in musescore, every voice uses the same instrument. I would like to play back the bass line (voice 3 or 4) with the electric bass instrument, but I want the lyrics notes (voice 1) to play back in a different instrument (piano, for example).

Hopefully, this makes my inquiry more clear. Back in 2014, there was a reply that this option would be in a subsequent update of musescore.

In reply to by barbarossa@peo…

Then it's as I said above: use either the Men or Women "instrument" when setting up your score (or change to it via Staff/Part Properties now), add the S/A or T/B text from the palette to assign the voices to different subchannels, and then use the mixer to control the subchannels (by expanding the channel strip with the arrow icon at the top). You might also have to use Tools / Voices to move your voice 3 notes to voice 2 instead, and that's

Not sure what you saw from 2014, but there weren't any other specific features developed around this.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you very much. I'll try that next time, as this score is pretty much complete. I'll just use voice 3 for the rests with the chords linked to them.

Coincidentally, it was a reply from you in the 2014 post (link above) that mentioned the new ability: "The next release (no date announced) will allow changing of sounds by voice."

It would be a beneficial feature, but I don't know how difficult it would be to code as I know basically nothing about coding.

Thanks, again, for the reply and tip.

In reply to by barbarossa@peo…

FWIW, you shouldn't need a separate voice with rests for the chords, those could more easily be entered directly into voice 1. Having the extra voice introduces extra complication to the process and clutters the score, I don't think there is any benefit unless I'm missing something? Maybe you weren't aware you can add chords easily mid-measure without first entering rests, simply by pressing Space or semicolon while entering chords to move to the next note or beat?

And interesting about that older comment. I guess I was thinking of the ability to mute voices individually, which was indeed being worked on around that time.

In reply to by barbarossa@peo…

You wrote:
...creating the lyric notes on voice 1 on a bass clef stave...For the chords, I use voice 2 on the same stave...For the bass line, I use voice the attached case, I used voice 4.

Here's your score with the instrument of individual voices changed:
Rocket Man2.mscz
Use View > Show Invisible to see hidden elements.

To make subchannels in the mixer, I took your attachment and changed to Electric Bass as the instrument (instead of using Men or Women).
At the beginning of my attached score, it reads "Staff Text". Right click on it and, in Staff Text Properties, you will see the voices assigned to 'normal', 'slap' 'pop' channels. So, instead of hearing bass slaps and pops, the sounds can be changed in the Mixer to whatever you prefer. I changed to Rock organ, Acoustic bass, Fingered bass.

and notice that "These extra channel tracks can be shown or hidden by clicking the arrow button on top of the track control."

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Indeed, you don't have to use "Men" or "Women". The advantage of doing so is just that they are already pre-confugired to work with the existing text elements on the palette (S/A and T/B as mentioned), saving you the trouble of creating your own staff text and messing with the staff text properties dialog.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Re: using "Women" or "Men" instruments -- S/A or T/B staff text.
It seems to me the OP needs more than 2 mixer subchannels (e.g., for "Women" there's only W.-Soprano and W.-Alto available).
In other words, a single staff using 3 voices, each for a different instrument. Plus, as you noted, voice 2 (for whatever reason) was allocated strictly for chord symbols.

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