Alignment problem with numbered verses

• Oct 12, 2023 - 19:13

I often transcribe hymns. The verses, or "stanzas", of hymns are usually numbered. MuseScore has a very neat bit of programming such that, if you put down a number and then insert a space, the subsequent text (lyric) will align with the one above it. In the attached example, you can see that verses 1, 2, and 3 are all very nicely aligned. The problem arises in verse 4, which begins with a quotation mark [ “ ]. The quotation mark is set to the left of the text's margin. This is a device that looks great in normal text, such as a paragraph in a book. Unfortunately, in this case, it causes the number–period-space sequence that proceeds the text to move about 1-1/2 spaces to the left and spoils the alignment of the numbers.


I am not a programmer and don't know whether this is fixable; but, if it is, I would love it to be fixed.


As I recall from when we implemented this, there was considerable debate about the best way to handle leading punctuation. A particular case people were concerned about were cases of parenthesized text before the lyric, like how you might the character's name in an opera or musical, or the word "(spoken)". So the trick would be in improving this case without making other cases worse. I'd recommend opening an issue on GitHub and letting the engraving experts sort it out.

I had occasionally similar issues with single/double quotes after verse numbers too. This has been reported a while ago (e.g.

Also, I wanted the verse numbers to be repeated on each system, and as there is no such option to repeat the numbers automatically, this can be only done once all lyrics are entered and the system breaks are set.

If the numbers are embedded into lyrics for voice 1 (in blue), it can be inconvenient when re-flowing the system breaks for whatever reason, e.g. when changing the spatium or font size, because the numbers could then suddenly appear in the middle of the verse (see

This would require re-editing the lyrics, spending additional time on removing the numbers in one spot and placing them in a different spot with a potential risk of missing some or removing to many characters from the syllable.

That's why I have started applying the following work-around for hymns, especially in closed SATB notation. The lyrics starting with single/double quotes, brackets etc. would be handled as any other lyrics and the verse numbers will still align correctly too.

For hymns in closed SATB notation:

  • the actual lyrics are attached to voice 1 (blue)
  • the verse numbers (green) are attached to the 1st note of voice 2 for each system (right adjusted, and with negative X offset set via the Inspector/Properties)

That way I can very quickly copy the verse numbers entered for the 1st system and paste them into the first note for voice 2 of the 2nd, 3rd system etc. If I need to re-flow the system breaks, I don't need to touch the actual lyrics (blue). I can safely and quickly delete all verse numbers (green) except for the 1st system, and then quickly copy and paste them for the re-flowed systems.

The additional bonus of verse numbers in voice 2 is that they can be moved far left to the bracket and the actual lyrics are still aligned with the notes.


For hymns with one single voice, there is an additional work-around required -- a fake voice 2 note at the start of each system, which will allow applying the work-around as described above for closed SATB. This can be setup with just a few clicks:

  • add any interval to the first (blue) note (e.g. octave Alt-8)
  • change the new note to voice 2 (Ctrl-Alt-2)
  • via Inspector/Properties -- make the new note in voice 2 invisible, stemless, non-playable, optionally display head as cross (untick Visible, tick Stemless, untick Play, select cross under Head group)


In reply to by .m.i.r.o.

That's quite clever. I have usually solved the problem of reflowing by just skipping the stanza numbers except on subsequent systems. This is a great solution. Thanks!

I'd be interested to learn how you put in that neat little space between the third and fourth stanzas. Did you just leave the fourth line blank and put the fourth stanza on the fifth line, or is there something else going on?

In reply to by Jake Sterling

I have just adjusted the Y offset via Inspector/Properties after selecting verses 4-6, adding some more distance for them (2sp in this case).

The selection can be made by:

  • (ctrl-) right clicking any lyrics in verse 4 / select / more / same subtype / add to selection, and repeat for verses 5 and 6; or
  • drawing a rectangle around lyrics with left click pressed while holding the Shift key

In reply to by .m.i.r.o.

"I had occasionally similar issues with single/double quotes after verse numbers too. "

Maybe there is a simpler workaround? If there are only occasional verses which involve quotation marks, one can apply horizontal offset to the syllable in the Properties panel:

In reply to by DanielR

You are perfectly right, Daniel. For occasional issues with quotes, your solution is the quickest and the most obvious. I should have mentioned it in the first place.

However, the OP mentioned the numbering in the context of hymns, so I thought I would share my workaround for hymns overcoming the lack of automatic verse numbering, which also incidentally covers the quote issue.

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