Editing Lyrics

• Jan 1, 2015 - 19:00

Specific case is a choral piece where the musical passage is repeated. After doing multiple parts in the first passage, I decided I wanted to eliminate the T-B parts there and have them come in when the musical passage repeats later.

When I cut and pasted the T-B parts, the lyrics came with it. At this point I appear to be stuck with editing the lyrics syllable by syllable or, at the other extreme, selecting everything on the staff.

I can envision a number of instances where I would like to be able to work with selected parts of lyrics. For example, in this same piece there are several passages where the voices sing the same lyrics with the same timing. It would be nice not to have to re-enter the text for each part.

I'm new to this, and any thoughts will be welcome. I'm sure there are work arounds that I just haven't stumbled across yet.



P.S. The link in the handbook for the Youtube video on working with lyrics indicates that the video is no longer available.


The possibilities differ depending on whether you are talking about the current released version (1.3) or the upcoming version in beta (2.0). Both provide ways of selecting and deleting elements other than one at a time, but 2.0 provides some easier ones. For instance, select the passage, then right click one lyric within the range and choose Select / All similar elements in range selection. In both 2.0 and 1.3, there is the "More..." option in that menu to bring up a dialog that lets you specific additional ways of controling the selection.

For copying passages with the same lyrics, I'd recommend copying the passage then replacing the notes. This works in both versions, but is again easier in 2.0 because of the new repitch mode that lets you just type the new pitches. In 1.3, the easiest way is probably using the arrow keys to change the pitches; otherwise you may lose the lyrics.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks, Marc,

I'm using 2.0

A simpler hypothetical example of the kind of function I want to perform is:

I have a song with two verses. I've written the first verse and lyrics. I'd like to copy the music into the next set of measures and enter the lyrics for verse 2. The two most straightforward methods I can envision are: Select and copy only the music and enter the lyrics for the second verse (which I haven't been able to find a way to do) or copy the music and lyrics together (which I can do) and then delete the old lyrics (which I haven't been able to do.)

I may be missing something obvious. You referred to selecting elements within a "range," that sounded like it might be what I was after. However, all the references I found to the term in the Handbook referred to pitch.

On the other hand, one of the places where Musescore really excels is the ease with which lyrics can be entered and are integrated into the instrumental parts. If the answer is that I need to have the musical score substantially before entering the lyrics, that's a small price to pay. What you describe in the second paragraph should work fine.

The reason that seems foreign to me is that all my experience (some 50 years of it at this point) has been as a wannabe singer-songwriter. In the songwriter's circle I hang out with now it's very common to get suggestions to reorder or substitute a different thought and wording anywhere in a piece.

Thanks again for the prompt and clear response. This really is a very impressive piece of software--so much so that I feel like an ingrate asking why it doesn't do something different.


In reply to by Jim Ramsbotham

Selecting a range in MuseScore is done the same as any other program - click the first thing you weant to select, shift+click the last. Or, you can drag-select, although MuseScore is a little different than some programs in that you need hold Shift to do it. This is the same as how you'd select a range to do the copy and paste, isn't it?

So I just mean, select the range of measures you'd like to delete lyrics in, then right click a lyric within the range and use Select / All similar items in range selection to select just the lyrics within that range.

As for copying just the music but not the lyrics, that's easy too with the new selection filter (F6, or see View menu). Just untick Lyrics before doing the copy.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella


A couple of things, which may be peculiar to my system. I'm running Windows8, which has some foibles I attribute to it being intended for touch screen on mobile devices.

Here's what I'm encountering, and the workaround. This is just for info, since your earlier explanation provided me with clear direction toward a workable solution.

The normal click/shift-click to select start and end points doesn't function on my system. Drag-select does work as you describe. I can right-click on an element (note or lyric) and the system picks up on it correctly.

I found that If I simply used the Select/All similar items it picked up everything, either in the whole score, or on the same staff, depending on the option selected.

The "Select>More option includes some actions, one of which (Subtract from selection) gave me the workaround. Subtract from selection leaves the Selected range intact, and deselects the element (lyrics or notes). So, right-clicking on the notes and then doing Select>More>Subtract from selection, leaves just the lyrics selected. They can then be deleted.

This solves my major difficulty.

I was a bit concerned because the stems and bars on the notes remained highlighted. However, they aren't deleted with the lyrics, and the normal color is restored.

I need to play with this a lot more. But my impression is that the remove and add actions in Select>More may make a lot more sense and be useful if the score is exploiting the "voices" function.

Thanks again for the feedback.


In reply to by Jim Ramsbotham

Hmm, there is no reason click / shift-click shouldn't work to select a range. What specifically are you clicking? And what goes wrong when you try? Hmm,. maybe you are trying to click lyrics? It doesn't work that way. Again, it's just like for copy & paste - you are selecting measures, not lyrics. So, click a note, rest, or empty spot within a measure.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Shift-click/shift-click works normally on notes/staffs, and works fine for straight copy-paste-delete functions. One foible is that when I select a range, only the notes are highlighted as selected. But the lyrics are actually selected.

At this point, you've led me to a complete solution to my present challenge.

I had started to write out the specific steps. I'm finding that there are some subtle differences in how the program renders and handles elements in subsequent steps depending on which method-- shift-click/shift-click or Click-and Drag-- is used to make the initial selection.

Those aren't troublesome, now that I've gotten a bit of experience. But I'd want to sort those out to avoid confusion before I tried to suggest a solution for others. At the end of the day, I concluded that Musescore probably provides a straightforward way to do just about anything I might want to do and then some.

Amadeus is number 2 on my list of top ten movies, in large part because of the one line where Solieri explains to Mozart why the emperor is having trouble with his work. . . "It has too many notes." I found that happening when I started to summarize the solution. Time and energy allowing I'll try to take another shot at it later.

Thanks again.

In reply to by Jim Ramsbotham

Actually, I think you will find that when selecting a range, lyrics *are* highlighted unless you have turned them off in the selection filter. And if you *have* turned off lyrics in the filter, then not only are they not highlighted, but they truly are not selected. You can verify this by, for example, pressing "V" to make the selection invisible. You;ll see the notes become invisible (greyed out for display) but the lyrics remain normal. It is true that *deleting* the selection at that point will delete the lyrics, but that's only because they now have nothing to attach to.

Most likely the selection filter will turn out to be responsible for whatever difference you are seeing that appears to be a difference betwene different methiods of selection. If a blue rectangle appears, it is a range selection, and the behavior should be the same regardless of how you created it. BTW, there are other standard methods of creating range selection that work fine in MuseScore too - eg, click a note, shift+left/right cursor to extend selection a note at a time, or with ctrl to extend a measure at a time, or using home/end, etc.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

On the following from Marc:

If a blue rectangle appears, it is a range selection, and the behavior should be the same regardless of how you created it.

Am in violent agreement that it should be, but on my system I get different behavior.

Before sending this off, I searched the Handbook and the forum for the term "Selection Filter." I also looked at all the menus and right-click actions I could find in the program. I did not find the term "Selection Filter" in either the Handbook or in any of the menus the menus. I found a lot of discussion in the Forum using the term as though it were a discrete program function. There was also discussion that implied that it refers to what I get to by right-clicking on an element and picking the Select option from the pop-up menu. What follows is based on the presumption that the latter is the case.

I try to focus here on how the two specific selection methods we've been discussing operate for one specific task I was trying to do: Given an existing passage of notes and lyrics, to reproduce the notes in a new passage without lyrics--and to do this without affecting any of the other lyrics in the score or without having to delete the old lyrics syllable-by-syllable.

NB: The copy and paste step in Method 1 is included to illustrate the behavior I'm seeing. The key difference between the two methods is in the later steps shown. .

Method 1: Using shift-click on the first and last notes in a passage.

This is what displays when I select the measures by using shift-click on the first and last notes in a passage: Note that the lyrics are not highlighted as being selected.
When I copy and paste, the lyrics are included with the measures as shown next: The lyrics are apparently selected even though they aren't highlighted.
Delete removes only the notes, as shown next:
Right-clicking on the "do" in the lyrics in the second image, deselects the measures and just highlights the "do" as shown next. (The Create>Select menu appears, but it disappears when I activate the MS image capture function.)

The bottom line is that using this method, I wasn't able to find a way to get to the end point I wanted--notes with no lyrics--without having to delete the lyrics one syllable at a time.

Method 2: Using click and drag to select a range.

Clicking and dragging an area that includes the lyrics produces the following results. NOTE: All of the elements inside the original "blue box" created by clicking and dragging are highlighted, even though they are outside the blue box displayed after selection.
In this caseRight-clicking on the "do" brings up the Create>Selection Option but, unlike what happens with the first method leaves the selection intact.
At this point, right-clicking on the first note, and doing Create>Select>More>Action Subtract from selection produces the following:
Image7.JPG .

The lyrics are still highlighted as selected. (Note: so are the stems, rests and accidentals in the notation. This appears to be an artifact of the rendering.) Delete results in the following:

This is what I was after initially--replicate a passage and without lyrics without having to do delete them syllable by syllable. There may be better ways to do it, but Method 2 is as good as I've been able to get.

For info: Image 7, attached as a reference if anyone's interested, but not included in the discussion is a screen shot of the Select>More>Action setting referred to in the text.

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Image1.JPG 13.85 KB
image2.JPG 18.27 KB
Image3.JPG 18.37 KB
Image4.JPG 11.8 KB
Image5.JPG 13.22 KB
Image7.JPG 12.48 KB
Image8.JPG 10.24 KB

In reply to by Jim Ramsbotham

The Selection Filter is new for 2.0, so not in the regular Handbook, but you'll find a breif description in the still-in-progress 2.0 version of the Handbook. Short version - it's in the View menu, shortcut F6, lets you deslect items you want excluded from a selection.

Your pictures appear to show you are now back to using 1.3 (earlier you said you were using 2.0), so none of what I wrote will apply.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I had down-loaded 2.0 and thought I was working with it. However, I've just confirmed that the shortcut I've been using accesses 1.3. Let me go back and regroup, and if appropriate start this again under a new thread.

Apologies for the time and energy you've expended. From my perspective the information was extremely helpful. It provided very clear feel for the underlying philosophy of how the program is structured without which I'd have been completely lost. Greatly, greatly appreciated.

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