How to Copy Lyrics from All Stanzas at Once?

• Jul 25, 2015 - 14:57

This is my first time using MuseScore. I have version 2.02, & need to copy all the lyrics in a score at once. A user to our Web site submitted a MuseScore file with 14 stanzas of lyrics (I know, that's a ridiculous amount), & I want to copy & paste all 14 lines of lyrics into a text editor in preparation for insertion into a Web page.

I am also considering converting to MuseScore from NoteWorthy Composer, and I need to copy entire sets of lyrics daily. So this is must-have, not just nice-to-have, feature, if I am going to convert.

I looked at the MuseScore handbook for copying lyrics, & watched some out-of-date YouTube tutorials, but am befuddled. (Full disclosure: I've have been notating music for almost 20 years, & am a computer professional.)

How can I do this? Is it even possible? Though copying all the lyrics in one fell swoop is my goal, I can't even tell how to copy one stanza at a time.

Dick Adams


Sorry, while you can copy lyrics from one place in a score to another, even from one score to another, there is no facility to copy to an external program - the clipboard is in MuseScore's internal format.

Most likely a plugin could be written to copy lyrics in a plain text format. Also I think there has been some discussion of providing something along these lines in the future. Feel free to describe your actual use case in more detail so we can understand better how such would be used if implemented.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

You're right - We just need plain text, copied to the clipboard (without any embedded hyphens or underscores).

Our specific use case is in preparing daily additions for the Cyber Hymnal™ web site. We create most of our scores from public domain material in published hymnals & song books: We currently have over 10,700 entries in over 100 languages. After creating the score file, we copy the lyrics into a Web page, such as the one at

We've been using NoteWorthy Composer for almost 20 years, but are now considering converting to MuseScore, since it is open source and our visitors wouldn't have to buy commercial software to edit our scores for their own needs.

Nicolas Froment contacted us a couple of years ago about the possibility of migrating to MuseScore, but we weren't in a position to consider migration at that time. Now we are, and today is our first step in seriously investigating whether MuseScore can meet our needs. The inability to copy lyrics is the first roadblock we've run into. If you need any more details, please let me know.

In reply to by Shoichi

Thanks, Soichi. We'd been thinking about the reverse process as well.

There are two main reasons we need to be able to copy an entire set of lyrics from the score:

1. The first, and obvious reason, is to avoid repetitive re-typing.

2. Second, copy & paste eliminates the possibility of human error, so we can be sure our Web page has exactly the same lyrics as the score.

In reply to by Nicolas

Agree. Export doesn't even have to be to a text file; it could be simply to the clipboard, where the OS allows it.

And yes, we're aware of the single note copy. But we need need the entire set of lyrics, not just a single note. This would save us enormous amounts of type, and eliminate the possibility of human error if we had to retype all the lyrics.

I am asking that this functionality be added to the next version. I think it would greatly expand the application's appeal to a wider community. For us, at least, this capability is in the must-have category.

In reply to by Nicolas

I was hesitant to bring up other issues, since we aren't finished going through MuseScore (big learning curve!). Some of these features may already be in MuseScore & we haven't found them. But here goes:


  1. Export all lyrics to clipboard (as plain text) at one time
  2. Audit accidentals
  3. Ability to enter lyrics & text in non-Latin fonts
  4. Spell check on lyrics & text
  5. Tool persistence options. Hard to describe, but the way NoteWorthy Composer does it now: Lets you choose which tools stay "on" after a note is entered. Sort of like sticky caps lock. Let me know if this is unclear.



  1. Ability to automatically to keep lyrics words/syllables from extending beyond measure's ending bar line. Prevents right margin overflow when printed.
  2. Ability to put part or all of composer/lyricist field in italics. Lets us distinguish names of books/publication etc. from other sources.
  3. Global option to suppress printing of rests in rest chords. Overridable for an individual chord.
  4. Consider changing "Poet" label to "Lyricist". I think you'll agree, a great many lyricists, especially modern ones, are far from poets.

In reply to by Dick Adams

2. I don't understand "audit accidentals". Do you mean you want to hear the pitch as you enter them? This has always been the case - presisng up or down always plays the new pitch.

3. Not sure which non-Latin fonts you mean, but in general, MuseScore supports this. There are some limitations with certain input methods for certain types of fonts on certain oeprating systems - see for example #64046: Korean input method on windows doesn't work currently with Shift.

4 Spell check - it occurs to me you could simply enter your text into an external editor and then copy/paste it into MuseScore. But yeah, I think if we were to ever add a general purpose lyrics editing facility - a dialog where you could type text directly, move verses around, etc - that would be a palce for some sort of spell check, or at least a place to copy/paste.

5. Not clear to me, explanation would definitely help.

Wish list:

1. Hasn't this always been the default? In fact, its pretty hard to get any other behavior

2. This too has always been ther,e just use the text toolbar.

3. Not clear what a "rest chord" is or what it would to suppress printing rests in them?

4. "Poet" was always just a name in a dialog box; that term never showed up in your actual score did it? Anyhow, that was already changed to lyricist for 2.0

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

To clarify some items:

Audit Accidentals
1. Removes unnecessary/redundant accidentals on notes. If a note in the active staff (or, perhaps optionally, all staves?) has an accidental that matches the key signature, it removes the accidental.

2. Where necessary, adds explicit accidentals that are not in the key signature. If a note has accidental that is not in the key signature, and the same note appears in the same measure, one octave above or below, it adds the same accidental if not already present. Though technically this is not required, I find it a great help to be reminded of what note will actually be played.

Persistent/Sticky Tools/Properties

The user can specify which note properties should persist while entering notes. When enabled, selected parameters will stay selected until the user explicitly turns them off. When not enabled, the options are reset after the user places a new note in the staff. "Tools" means things like an accidental, slur, tie, dot, double dot. For example, if the user made a slur "persistent," every note entered from then on would have a slur until the user entered a note without slur. Any properties thus set automatically can be manually changed after note entry.

Great time saver when entering a series of note with a common property. Avoids having to set the property each note individually. For me, I like to leave dots, slurs & ties enabled.

Analogous to the CapsLock key when using a word processor: The CapsLock state stays on/off until you change it, and letters you type reflect the current state.

Non-Latin Fonts

Keying in non-Latin text is not much of an issue (at least for us), as we almost paste in text submitted by users. Mostly we're thinking of fonts like Malayalam & other Indian languages. Can MuseScore handle right-to-left fonts like Hebrew & Arabic? (haven't ever tried this, but am wondering what such a score would look like)

Lyrics Kept Inside Measure Bar Lines

Don't know if this the default or not (we'll still learning about MuseScore). I know it is not the default in some other notation programs, so thought we'd mention it.


Saw this somewhere. Might have been in an out-of-date YouTube tutorial.

Thanks for your patience! Gotta run to work. Let us know if any other clarification is needed.

In reply to by Dick Adams

That helps some. I'm still confused by a few things:

- Audit accidentals: why would you add an accidental to a note then want MuseScore to automatically remove it? I must be missing something. As for having MuseScore automatically add accidentals, I guess you are referring to courtesy accidentals. There is a plugin for this that works extremely well (and I believe it can also remove them, which I think handles the first part of the request as well, unless you mean something else by that). It would be nice to make this plugin part of the core, so I'll add that to the list of things to consider.

- Slurs are already persistent. Simply press "S" after entering the note, and you are in "slur mdoe", and the slur continues as you enter more notes, until you press "S" sgain. Dots are always persistent in the same way. For articulations, while there is no mode exactly like that, you can add artixulations to an entire range of notes by double clicking the palette icon. So it's actually no more work, just slightly different order of operations.

- Fonts - I geuss I'd need a specific series of steps to follow and then I could tell you what happens when I try it, but I assume you can do the same :-)

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Audit Accidentals - Many of scores we create originate in printed sources. These sources sometimes have redundant accidentals which we don't notice when we enter them. Having the software automatically remove redundant ones is just one more step to a professional looking product.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Courtesy Accidentals

No, we're not referring to courtesy accidentals in the next measure (as Wikipedia defines them here). We're referring to an additional accidental in the same measure. Let's say you have a note E with an accidental flat. Then, a later note in the same measure is also a E, but an octave higher. "Auditing" would add the flat accidental to the second E.

In reply to by Dick Adams

OK, but surely you wouldn't want that all the time? A measure full of sixteenth note F#, with sharp signs in front of each? Actually, there are some experimental notations that do this, and someday we might support that, but I assume that's not what you mean. Only the human editor would be capable of deciding which notes within the measure deserve such accidentals, and MuseScore already allow you to add them. Although of course, a plugin could also be devised to handle the special case of different octaves at least.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Oh, no, that certainly isn't what we want to achieve. What I'm trying to say (not very clearly) is that the "automatic" accidental would appear only once in the measure, and then only on the next note that was an octave or below first note that that accidental.

Does that make it any clearer? I could create a PDF online to help visualize the effect if it would help.

In reply to by Dick Adams

If you are specifically referring to the next note *in another octave*, that's easy enough to automate. But there are any number of cases where it might occasionally make sense to add an accidental even in the same octave - a measure full of sixteenths, an F# on the second note, then another the very last note with lots of other crazy stuff in between. That's the sort of thing you'd ened to exercise editorial judgement on and do manually.

In reply to by Dick Adams

Thought of another must-have (again, it may be that MuseScore already does this; please be patient with my ignorance):

o Need the ability to increase/decrease a staff's top or margin one or more times, to handle varying numbers of staves, lyric lines, etc. (such as in a refrain).

In reply to by Dick Adams

It isn't totally clear exactly what you mean - "one of more times"? - but in general, yes, MuseScore gives you control over the space above/below staves, both globally and for specific systems. But spacing flr varying numbert of staves and for lyrics is handled automatically there is normally no need to mess with spacing manually just for those purposes.

In reply to by Dick Adams

An additional thought - copying to the clipboard (rather than a file) is our preferred solution. Avoids the hassle of having to open a file in a text editor, then copying the contents. Putting the lyrics in the clipboard makes it a simple one step paste operation.

Until such a feature exists, here's a thought. OMR (Optical Music Recognition) has severe limitations but OCR (Optical Character Recognition) has much higher success rate. If you reduced the music content of the score to the bare minimum (by making all the notes invisible and also the stave lines etc. but just leaving mainly the lyrics visible) and then ran the PDF/image/whatever format through an OCR program what kind of a result do you get?

Just a note to anybody following along that this feature has been added in MuseScore 2.0.3: Edit > Tools > Copy Lyrics to Clipboard.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.