Chosing an octave for the next note

• Jan 22, 2024 - 06:41

Hello everyone,

apologies if my problem is solved elsewhere (I am new to this software), but according to the documentation I saw so far it is a "by design" behavior: a note that gets added to a chord is ... an octave above/below everything.

To me, it is a nightmare. I very quickly got a habit of pressing a note letter (abcdefg) and immediately an Alt/Down Arrow.

In a simple example (I am attaching a screen session),
a) I select a rest in the 2nd voice and press G: it goes to an (obviously) wrong octave (one down);
b) I select a chord note and press Shift-E: it goes to a wrong octave (one above).

There is another possible behavior (and it makes a lot of sense I think) : a new note should appear at a closest distance to where we currently are.
I think it could be at least a preference, if not a default.

Thank you!

PS: could not add a video file (???). Putting it on Youtube and adding a link, hope this will work.


I understand your frustration with not being able to attach a screen recording directly. The platform you're using might have limitations or restrictions on certain file types to ensure security and prevent potential abuse.
To effectively convey your report or question without attaching a screen recording, you can provide a detailed written description of the issue. Be explicit about the steps leading to the problem, any error messages encountered, and the expected versus actual behavior. If applicable, you can also share relevant snippets of your code or specific sections of the interface where the issue arises.
Additionally, you can upload images or screenshots if they are relevant to your inquiry. If you have specific error messages or outputs, copying and pasting the text into your message could be a good alternative.
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Feel free to describe the issue in as much detail as possible, and I'll do my best to assist you based on the information provided.

When entering a chord, you should first write the note with the lowest pitch and then enter the other notes from bottom to top using Shift+note name.
If you want to set a note with a lower pitch later, use the mouse and place the note in the desired position.
If you want to change a note by an octave, use Ctrl+Arrow up or down.

In reply to by HildeK

Thank you. I know you "bottom-up" recipe, but a) when I write on paper I write it top–down, it's intuitive, easier and tends to be less messy; why must I change my habits? b) It is logical to think that if I am entering a chord it is not by default spread across three octaves ; c) I am asking about an option for me to choose in Preferences whether the next note is 1) the closest or 2) is located whereether MuseScore "thinks" it should be.

Ctrl-Arrow is what I've been using (as a already wrote, and am tired of doing it).

HildeK's advice is your best friend here: enter the notes from bottom to top and/or use CTRL+UP/DOWN to quickly move a note up or down an entire octave instead of pressing UP/DOWN multiple times.

Another thing that might be useful, if you are a fan of intervals, is to assign your own shortcuts to the "Second/Third/etc. Below" commands under menu Add -> Intervals (this is done in Edit -> Preferences -> Shortcuts) and use those shortcut keys to add notes to a chord below the current note.

a.) It isn't obviously wrong. The algorithm in MS3/4 uses the "bottom-most note" of the previous chord (C4) and then calculates if the currently entered pitch [in your video: the about to be entered G] is within a [fourth interval] for (above), so C-F at your entry point there would be upward, and the [fifth+ interval] for (below) so G-B will be below:

"Where we currently are" is up to algorithmic interpretation. E.G. I have a personal build with a toggle switch that changes the previously mentioned "bottom-most" to be instead the "top-most", and I find it useful

In the mean time, you might consider using a MIDI keyboard or a mouse device if you want to build chords not in a uniform direction or find frustration with the way Musescore currently does this shtuff.

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