Turn off automatic rests?

• Nov 13, 2015 - 20:47

Can anyone tell me if it's possible to turn off automatic rests (the rests that fill in the measure after you start inputting notes)


MuseScore requires all measures to have the correct number of beats. If for some reaosn you need a measure to have fewer beats than the time signature dictates, you can change actual duration of the measure by right clicking the measure and choosing Measure Properties. You can also hide rests if you have a specific notation situation where not showing the correct number of beats is desired. But in the normal course of notation, measure always should have the correct number of beats.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yes, of course the measure should have the right number of beats. I just meant from the standpoint of entering notes. I would prefer it to show empty space in the measure, as opposed to the remaining beats of rest. But I could understand how many would like to have the rests auto fill in as well, just a preference thing I suppose

In reply to by mikec

It's more than preference., it's objectively more efficient the current way. The big advantage is that you can leave note input mode at any time without worrying about whether you have entered all the necessary notes / rests. Which is to say, it saves work when leaving note input mode in cases where you have not entered all necessary beats yet, and there are no situations where it *costs* work.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

When you come back to enter more notes it is far preferable to see the rests because you can then know where you are entering the note. If the measure had one note in it and the rest was blank then your note entry would either have to start immediately after that note (no choice about positioning) or you'd have to click in the measure roughly where you thought the note should go (you may or may not get it right) or you'd have to click on the already-entered note and then right-arrow to the blank space and continue.

If you do not want to see rests you can make them invisible so you do have an option already available.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

It is entirely screwed up that you can't turn it off. If you try to go back and change the value of a note, it starts adding all types of f'ed up rests. For example, I started a transcription entering groups of a dotted eight note and sixteenth note. I then decided to just use eight notes with swing time. It was impossible to go back and change the notes. Not only was the rest of the bar f'ed up each change I made, but it actually takes out notes to make up for the f'ed up rest corrections. I've wasted a LOT of time trying to figure this out. And this is just one example. I can't efficiently figure out how to go back and change anything. It is absolutely stupid.

In reply to by Mr. Russ

I've never found keeping the count of a measure as it is (always have 4 beats in 4/4) 'entirely screwed up'. Its actually keeping the measure correct so that at whatever moment in time I stop/restart writing the score I never have to keep track of all the measures I would've made incomplete. This is even more true if my co-composer continues where I left off.

MuseScore never 'adds' rests. It notates the remainder of the measure in a correct manner at all times.

You problem seems to be that you've written a melody and then decide to change the melody that is written by a new one. As far as anyone or anything except your own mind knows, this melody could be completely different. You know you want to go from dotted eight + sixteenth to two eights with the same pitch as before. No psychic on the planet can guess that, let alone a computer. You might just as well have decided to use entirely different pitches, including uncommon tuplets etc…

In your specific case, the rewrite is quite doable without having an impact. On each dotted eight, use the '.'-key to remove the dot. Of course musescore will now show a normal eight + sixteenth rest + old sixteenth note. Hit the right arrow twice, landing you on the sixteenth. Cut and paste it to the rest just before it. Hit '4' to turn it into an eight note.
Rinse and Repeat.

In reply to by Mr. Russ

To reiterate - don't think of MuseScore as adding rests. Seeing it that means you are not understanding what is actually happening, so you will continue to be surprised by what is happning and not find the most efficient way of working. MuseScore is simply keeping ypur notes where you entered them. If you enter a sixteenth on the last part of a beat, then change something earlier in the piece (whether it is the dotted eighth right before it, a half note earlier kn the measure, or a nite ten measures earlier), MuseScore is simply leaving your sixteenth nite right where you put it. It's not stupid, it's exactly what you want most of the time. You wouldn't want every change you affecting nots later in the score - you normally want them to stay put. Sure, this particular time, you want one particular note to move - and the rst of the piece to stay the same presumably - but as stated, MuseScore can't guess that. If you want to move a note earlier, simply do it yourself. It's easy.

In reply to by paranoyak

Could you explain in more detail what you mean, perhaps by attaching your score and giving precise steps to reproduce the problem you are perceiving? The only rests MuseScore adds automatically are the ones needed according to standard rules of notation, and they are placed in the usual correct locations in most cases. The one exception I know of is in compound meters where we don't correctly follow the standard procedure. Still, even if we didn't add them at all, you'd need to dd them yourself, and you can already do that, so not adding them automatically wouldn't help at all

Yeah, it would make my life so much easier if there was a way to turn off those damn automatic rests. I get how it helps some people, but it doubles the work for me. I switched over to this from Finale when they went to a subscription base. Wish I could afford to go back. Such hand holding.

In reply to by Christoforo La…

Can you explain how they increase the work? They shouldn't in any way whatsoever. They should neither help or hurt - entering a given passage of music should take exactly the same number of keystrokes/clicks either way. So perhaps attach a sample score and describe what is giving you trouble, and we'll be happy to help you see how to do it most efficiently. As a former Finale user myself, I do remember the difference in working method caught me off-guard at first, but once I got used to the difference, I realized it really does work very well.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I just would rather it function like a sheet of paper lol. Some people, such as myself, don't really compose from start to finish which means we're not always going to be mathematically perfect from the get go but we can fix that later. I really like just jotting down ideas as the inspiration comes to me so the auto-fill can be quite annoying. We all work differently so it would be nice if we had the option to free-write.

Try Finale Notepad, it's free, it lets you enter any notes you want and change them anyway you like. You can copy and paste into Muse once you've written what you want without all that rest insertion and note deletion that drives everyone mad.

In reply to by annie_aaa@hotm…

You can enter any notes you want in MuseScore as well. If you're having trouble understanding how, feel free to start a new thread, attach your score, and describe what is giving you trouble. Once you leanr how MuseScore works, you'll appreciate how amazingly simple and powerful it is, and you'll never want to resort to Notepad again!

In short: it does not seem to be possible at the moment.

This is why such option would be a convenient feature, actually saving time. Say you just composed/arranged/transcribed a melody where a fragment has one 8th note followed by two 16th notes. Then for whatever reason you decide to swap the duration of the first two notes of that fragment, without altering the pitch. Handwriting on a sheet of paper you would just fix the 16th note beaming, done. That's intuitive, but in MuseScore if you select the second note and make it from 16th's into 8th's then MuseScore "eats" the next 16th note to keep the bar correct. That's annoying, you have to go back and edit. Sort of same story happens if you decide to shorten the first note into 8th: a rest is created, you have to "move ahead" the other note then lengthen it into 8th...

It would be way quicker to just select the first note and shorten it into 16th's, select the second note and lengthen it into 8th's, done. You see how that "no-autocorrect" option would temporarily break the bar rhythmic integrity but streamline the workflow. IMO it works well in other apps like Guitar Pro 7, just saying.

In reply to by jubidar

You wrote:
...a fragment has one 8th note followed by two 16th notes.
swap the duration of the first two notes of that fragment, without altering the pitch. Handwriting on a sheet of paper you would just fix the 16th note beaming, done.

MuseScore is much better than "handwriting on a sheet of paper" because it takes care of nuances (like correct spacing) that scribbling a beam over paper notes (what you say is intuitive) overlooks.

Regards, and welcome aboard

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Thank you Jm6stringer for clarifying - I agree. Of course, spacing is important and using notation software that takes care of things like that is a much cleaner solution than handwriting. You are missing my point though, which is actually getting the correct note duration in a fast way (letting the software taking care of spacing and so on).
MuseScore seems to be using the same notation approach of other software products like Sibelius and Finale. It might be a personal preference but it doesn't look I am the only one asking for that kind of capability. Don't get me wrong though, I am writing this because I want to contribute positively and possibly help make MuseScore better.

Turn off auto rests also help multiple voices editing cleaner. When add even a single note on multiple staff score, the new added note(which add a new voice) will try to fill every rests on for that voice.

In reply to by intijk

No, it does not. If there is no rests, you can't input a note.
Like if you have a quarter notes in voice 2, beat 1, no rest in voice 2, beat 2, 3 and4, you can't input a note in voice 2, beat 3 or 4 withput first addoing a rest in voice 2 beat 2.
After that you can delete these rests again though.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

It's good to have all the rests in each voice but can get a bit messy when editing guitar scores in 4 voices. Guitar Pro has an option to automatically hide rests in voices 2, 3 and 4. This keeps the score cleaner whilst editing and doesn't require a delete step in the workflow.

it would be nice to see this feature in MS, perhaps with an extra twist: an option to show only those rests in the voice selected for editing.

In reply to by intijk

Whether it is correct, or not, people should still have the option to disable the automatic rests should they choice to. They should not have to explain or justify themselves. It's their preference, which some of you may not agree with or even understand, but that shouldn't matter. It is obviously a feature people believe would be beneficial to them and that's all that matters. Note: patronizing people never helps resolve an issue, in fact it typically only amplifies it.

In reply to by bowsher

No patronizing. You're asking for the entire program to be rewritten. There are no 0 beat measures in MuseScore so this isn't going to happen. It is far too easy, especially in version 3, to adjust the number of beats in a measure. Just keep in mind that deleting or adding a beat in one instrument affects all instruments.

In reply to by yonah_ag

It's not too difficult to hide all rests in a voice. Right click any rest, choose select>more... check "in the same voice" and the other appropriate options then make them invisible in the inspector. Pressing v will work if nothing is already invisible so the inspector is a sure way to do this.

In reply to by mike320

But this is a manual process, (which I already use). It would be helpful if there was an option to hide them automatically as notes are being entered.

Yes, pressing V also works but adds to the inputs: for each rest to be hidden, select rest, press v, re-select input position for next note.

In reply to by yonah_ag

You mean have them automatically hidden as they are generated? I would think in most real world use cases that result in more work for the user, needing to unhide the rests that need to be there. A Real world example showing what you mean could help.

Meanwhile, you can always use right-click, Select / More / Same voice to select all rests in a voice (and optionally also limit it to a range selection) and make them invisible at once.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yes, automatically hidden as they are generated. Please :-)

This would be so helpful in the real world of guitar TAB; so helpful in fact that Guitar Pro has such an option. Rests in voice 1 are always shown but in other voices can be automatically hidden. In 4 voice scoring it makes such a difference.

And in this real world of guitar TAB there is rarely a need to unhide them but if needed then in GP you simply change the option to show all rests.

In reply to by frfancha

Some rests need to be hidden, others do not. Currently, you need to hide the wants you want hidden. With such an option (a word that did not appear in the post to which I was responding), you'd need to unhide the ones you don't. Until we see the specific score and the specific use case, we don't know if there would be more rests that need to be unhidden or not. And adding more and more options to confuse users with is something we try to be conservative about. There needs to be a proven need for it. proven by way of common real world use cases showing why it would be truly useful to a large enough group of people to be worth the added complexity.

So, as always, posting a real score and explaining in greater detail what one is looking for is vital in helping demonstrate why such an option should exist and in helping developers understand how to design it in a way that would actually address the specific use case it is intended for.

In reply to by cadiz1

The video moves rather fast, but I think I see what's happening. When you click a voice besides 1, a whole note rest is created or shown in the measure for that voice. When you enter a note, only the note is shown, there is no rest shown.

In reply to by mike320

Not really.
Simply, in input mode, when you switch from one voice to another, it automatically hides all notes (and rests of course) in the other voices. Automatically, that's the key word. And the button to the far right of the squares of voices 1,2,3,4, allows to fully display all the voices again.
Imagine with MuseScore: you type 2 C half note in Voice1 -> Ctrl + left arrow -> Select Voice 2. Result, the two C in Voice 1are "invisible"/hidden automatically (so, only by the action to click Voice 2 square, or shortcut)
Let's say as if the selected voice was becoming a "Solo" voice. Only the selected voice (notes and rests, again) is fully displayed, all others are hidden.

In reply to by cadiz1

So, you're talking specifically about adding notes to a tab staff, and wanting the linked rests on the standard staff to default to invisible? That's because you don't want to see those rests in the finished score? A real example score would help further in understanding.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

A real example score? The gif!
I won't be able to develop much because I don't use much GP.
"And wanting the linked rests on the standard staff to default to invisible?"
No, I don't think so.
" That's because you don't want to see those rests in the finished score?"
No, no more than that.
As I understand it (maybe I'm wrong), it's only a visual aid in input mode (again, as a comparison, think to "Solo" feature in Mixer): isolating the currently selected voice (and thus hiding the others) makes it easier to input, it's potentially less a bunch of notes/rests/frets fully displayed in different voices.

In reply to by cadiz1

The problem with the GIF is it keeps moving. I want to see an actual score I can study and understand how the vocies and rests are working, to understand how such a feature would need to work and what final results it would help in producing.

If it's just a visual aid while editing, OK, then indeed there is nothing to see I guess. To me it's not an aid at all but confusing, but here again, it's hard to really say from just a GIF - I'd need to play with it in action.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc, a score will not help anything at all since the equivalent is not possible with MuseScore. You won't be able to test it, you won't be able to do it, or, learn to play with Guitar Pro. As I said, in my understanding, it is a visual aid in input mode, and nothing more. This does not affect the final rendering of notes and rests in both standard and TAB staves. I cannot be any clearer than in my previous comment. If I'm wrong, hoping others take over. For my part, I will stop here.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Phew! Thank you cadiz1, mike320 and frfancha.

Marc: Yes, it's just a visual aid in the TAB and yes, it's just an option.

There is no staff linking involved. It is a single guitar tab staff scored in 4 voices.

It doesn't affect playback but can be allowed to affect screen/print rendering. I generally show my final tab with only voice 1 rests visible. (It's not confusing for tab users. Don't forget that TAB's origin was in plain text format and no-one was showing any rests back then. You were lucky if you even got a time signature.)

I don't have any opinion on what should happen in the notation as I don't show notation at all.

I reckon you've just been over-thinking this request because TAB is not your preferred means of scoring. It may be confusing to you but would be common sense to guitar tabbers. It's all those darn, (but necessary), "extra" rests that cause me confusion.

In reply to by bowsher

You don't need to explain why you want to turn this off, but if you do explain what it is exactly that you are trying to do, we can better assist you. As it is, it isn't clear what you are doing or what problem the rests are causing, so we can't really make suggestions as to how to best get the job done.

Going back to my original post on this question. The reason is that when software automatically puts rests in, it's annoying for anyone who knows what they're doing. The old Encore by Passport (still the best in our opinion) did not place automatic anything in measures and it was very easy to use. None of the notation software like Finale, Sibelius, MuseScore, etc come close to ease of use like Encore did, IMO.

In reply to by mikec

If you explain the specific situation where you find the rests to be a problem, that would help us in advising and assisting you. Otherwise, there is little we can do except say, we don't understand the problem, because you haven't sufficiently explained it. For example, if you attach an actual score, tell us, "click this, press do, do this, and then you will see that if only the rests weren't there, this would have happened instead of that and this would have been better because now I have to do this when otherwise I would have only had to to that". That's the kind of detail we'd need in order to understand the perceived problem.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I fought with this last night as a new user. Here's an example user experience:

User selects a measure and enters "freeform" mode. The software now allows the user to enter notes or whatever manually but continually scans the measure and highlights it red if the measure is formed incorrectly - essentially if the system would do any inserts to manage time. The system (optionally) displays in a "floating" measure to the side what it would do to fix.

The user inputs whatever.

If the measure is "green" the user can exit "freeform" mode and continue on.

If the measure is "red", the user can see what is suggested (that "floating" measure) and the software will present the option to accept that change. The user can fix it or accept the option to turn the box green and exit "freeform"

I just watched Tantacrul reviewing MuseScore 3 on YouTube. See this comment.

Hi @Tantacrul and MuseScore team - I love your work!
What do you think of this editing issue? When you make a note longer, MuseScore 3 deletes every note following it for the corresponding extra duration required.
I reckon the approach followed by Guitar Pro in this case is more intuitive: let the user write notes of whatever duration. If the bar ends up being wrong for the given time signature, then flag it with how longer/shorter it should be.
This could save a lot of time because the user wouldn't have to re-enter notes (deleted by a previous longer one) or delete rests (created by shortening a previous note) in order to change the rhythm of what they just notated.

To better show what I mean, here's a quick demo trying to replicate the same scenario.
With MuseScore 3:


With Guitar Pro 7:

In reply to by jubidar

Well that specifc mode "insert mode but stay in same mesure becoming longer/shorter and explicitly shown as longer/shorter" has been implemented and works well in MuseScore 3. You need to select it in the list of possible note entry mode.
The not implemented mode is the general insert mode in full score like Dorico can do.
Feelings about that general Insert mode differ by person.
It is sadly missed for me and other ones.
It is "hopefuly never implemented" for Jojo.
It is "no that must be a temporary unsaved scratch pad" for Marc

In reply to by frfancha

FWIW, I'm not sure what you mean by "temporary" or 'unsaved", but it's true that I believe the majority of the time one would not want other notes changing their position just because you lengthen or shorten some other note. For the times you do - basically, the cases like the one shown here where you write one rhythm then for some reason change your mind and decide you want a different rhythm - switching to a special mode for that makes perfect sense, that way more ordinary edits aren't adversely affected.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"you write one rhythm then for some reason change your mind and decide you want a different rhythm - switching to a special mode for that makes perfect sense"
Well then, it's time to take the plunge, and at least start implementing something, even minimal - and if possible (?), in a few lines of code... as you know how to do, you've already demonstrated it perfectly in other circumstances! :)
Or someone else, of course. Otherwise it's a perpetual status quo that satisfies nobody.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

This has been possible with the Half Duration/Double Duration feature ( ex- Half time/Double time plugins) when this kind of request had been recurring for years, and nobody seemed to know how to handle it. And Marc had a brilliant idea, realized in a few lines of code. Why not another brilliant idea?!
For now (?), it wouldn't be a complete feature, but just within one or two measures (?), or an extensible measure? Of course, how do you do when it goes beyond the measure(s) and other cases with triplets.
For example, currently, you can exchange notes and rests with Shift + right/left arrow keys. But only if they have the same duration. I have no idea whether this could be developed with different values within a given measures space.

In reply to by cadiz1

I'm glad you have such confidence in me! :-) I fear @Jojo-Schmitz is probably right that there is no good "quick fix" for this, as really to do it right requires the design of a UI for it. But, you got me thinking, so I'll start a new thread with an idea that might not be bad.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

See https://musescore.org/en/node/302287. I don't know, in practice my idea might turn out to be not that useful because of what happens on other staves, but feel free to discuss there. And maybe try out the "sneaky" suggestion of faking it by Ctrl+Deleting a note (in normal mode) and then using the insert command/mode to add a replacement with the desired duration - see if you like what happens on other staves (I'm guessing you won't).

Well I'd like to know how turn it back on. I've lost it somehow and what it's showing me doesn't make sense. I have a bar with only two quavers and I'm in 4/4 time. Also it puts two quaver rests in when the obvious choice would be a crochet. The system is putting rests in so it can't be turned off but what it's putting certainly doesn't add up to four beats. In my defence I've only just started using it.

In reply to by lucyd46@hotmail.com

In order to do more than guess at what is happening, we'd need you to attach your score (the MSCZ file). But I have a few possible guesses. Either this is a pickup bar you created that really does have only one beat for that reason, or you deleted beats from a normal measure later (eg, using Ctrl+Delete, or Tools / Measure / Split), or your score has become corrupt. Attaching your score would help us sort that out and advise further.

Wow, It's incredible. Instead of investigating the core problem, many users have with auto rests, developers try to convince users, that it's not a software problem, It's users' problem and the software is great as it is.
Great product development, guys.

In reply to by 2xq87ffdit

Actually we understand the core problems very well, and that is why we have implemented so many solutions to them and tried our best to explain them to users. If you have a particular question about one of the particular features we have implemented, just attach your score, explain the specific problem you are having and how you have tried to solve it, and we are happy to help!

In reply to by 2xq87ffdit

Totally agree. I have come from using Guitar Pro to Musescore and its a frustrating mess. Guitar Pro doesn't give a monkeys about bars always having correct timings. It will let you put in what you like and where you like into a bar and only when you leave that bar does Guitar Pro evaluate it. If the timings wrong it will highlight that bar in red. Easy and simple. I then see the kind of answers here from Musescore and somehow its the users fault.

Its such a shame to see this kind of attitude in an Open Source product. Meanwhile I will continue to look for Score program thats easy to use.

In reply to by rayleask

I thought you mentioned that Guitar Pro is "easy and simple".
As you wrote:
It will let you put in what you like and where you like into a bar and only when you leave that bar does Guitar Pro evaluate it. If the timings wrong it will highlight that bar in red.

Why not stay with that then? Or is that not a "suitable alternative"?

In reply to by rayleask

OpenSource is not democracy...

It is the good side of Free and Open Source that the developers can do as they please and do not have to do as their customers and employer want.

Fork it and implement it yourself in exactly the way you want it. Or take what you get for free and adjust to its capabilities. Or go any pay for a program that does exactly what you want, if you find one.

In reply to by rayleask

FWIW, once you wrap your brain around the idea that it's a good thing to have the correct number of beats in measures and learn how to work with it, you will find MuseScore is quite easy to use, and actually makes most common operations easier than if you constantly had to fix measure lengths yourself. It just might take a few days to get used to if you're accustomed to programs that make it easier to write incorrectly. I encourage you to stick with it. You are unlikely to find anything else even remotely comparable - certainly not for free, certainly not in the open source world.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"Whilst on, does anybody know of a suitable alternative that doesn't suffer from this problem?"

The main problem is getting used to a certain behaviour with a program, to the point of becoming dependent on it in its workflow, and not understanding that another program does not offer strictly the same thing. What I know (I also frequent guitar forums in France) is that many former Guitar Pro fans have adopted MuseScore. There must be a number of reasons :)

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

That's one reason, surely, but one of them. From memory, other arguments are that MuseScore is much more flexible, and can be customized as you wish, especially in its layout, and for the general rendering of the score when you print it. And Guitar Pro is really specialized in, let's say, "current musics" (we say "musiques actuelles" in France, rock, variety and so on) MuseScore is really more generalist and complete in its various features (I think so!) Probably others reasons that I don't have in my memory anymore.

In reply to by cadiz1

GP is obviously somewhat guitar focused but by no means "current musics" and, unless you're on a tight budget then it's fairly low priced for what it offers. For me, GP excels in ease of input, (little things like automatic rests do make a difference), and quality of sound output, (the range and quality of the soundfonts is impressive, especially guitars), whilst MS excels in control of layout for printing.

For example, GP gives you stave text, lyrics text, chord text and finger text which you can style with any font, size, style - all in black and defined globally only. MS gives you a huge set of text styles which can be customised at the global level or per instance - and you can use colour - and you can define your own styles. GP has a fixed automatic element placement algorithm; MS has an AI based algorithm that the user can override. Nearly every element in MS can be styled and customised. MS has frames where you can add performance notes for the player, and also supports inserting images. You can't do either of these things in GP.

Finally GP has an excellent tablet based player with good TAB rendering. MS has a tablet version where TAB rendering is spectacularly awful.

So I prep my scores and play them in GP but use MS for print layout. MS can open GP files directly and does a good job with them. This, for me, provides a best-of-both worlds solution.

Regarding this thread: why not implement the option that I suggested earlier, i.e. an option to automatically hide rests in selected voices? This should just be a matter of setting the visibility based on the user's choice and would ensure that the correct rests are included in the score in each voice used.

In reply to by yonah_ag

I have no idea what you mean by "current musics". In France, it has a precise meaning (well, more or less), elsewhere, and in other languages, I don't know at all, and probably translation is another major problem. Anyway, let's forget about...
To summarize my thought, let's try something else: GP is surely better in the restitution of an AC/DC score. And MuseScore will be, better, in a Mahler's symphony. For example...!

In reply to by yonah_ag

That's not my term... I have absolutely no copyright on it! It is a term that appeared a few years ago in France, untranslatable, and as I said earlier, I have absolutely no idea how you understood it. This point of the discussion leads absolutely nowhere, so let us not waste any more time on that.
Secondly, I totally disagree that GP would be faster for note entry (or if you think Tablature, maybe for some facilities) and that it would be suitable for orchestral music e.g.

In reply to by cadiz1

Confusion! I thought you were querying the term, as if I had said it first!

I guess we'd each be fastest in whichever software we use most. GP has over 1000 presets in its soundbanks and caters for orchestral instruments as well as guitars. This seems a lot of cost and trouble to go to if they cannot be used in any real situation.


In reply to by yonah_ag

Automatic rests do make a difference indeed - they save a lot of time in the vast majority of cases, once you learn not to fight it but to take advantage of how it works.

An option to automatically hide rests by voice is possible, but I'm not convinced it would have much value. In real music, it's simply never the case that all rests in a given voice should be hidden, except for the style of tablature in which no rests at all are displayed, and that's already possible. But in all other styles of notation, display of rests depends entirely on context.

A plugin that could go through a score an optimize the display of rests could be interesting.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

In real guitar TAB it's normal that rests in voices 2, 3 and 4 are hidden. Guitar Pro recognises this and gives the user the option. Perhaps this is the luxury afforded to a program aimed at a specific instrument.

It would be nice if MS supported automatic rest hiding as well as automatic generation but, as you say, maybe there's not much call for it.

Anyway, I get the best outputs in the shortest time by using GP and MS in symbiosis!

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

This is quite normal for guitar TAB and these screenshots of published works are typical. Hiding the notation will show any rests in voice 1 in the TAB but for the other voices this is optional, and usually just makes for clutter. Yes, the rests are of course in the data but they can be automatically hidden from screen/print.

In reply to by jeetee

These show that rests can be omitted from TABs but I do need to find some better examples since these have no voice 2 rests. Something for tomorrow. :-)

If hiding rests wasn't useful to guitar tabbers then why would programs like Guitar Pro, (and TablEdit), offer this functionality?

In reply to by yonah_ag

Indeed, these examples seem to show my point - it's common for tab to show no rests, which we already support, but I'm guessing you'll be hard put to find examples where consistently there are rests in voice 1 but none in other voices. Rests are normally omitted on a more context-dependent basis.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

It is hard to find an example because publishers rarely show only the TAB staff. However, my first example does include such an example, I just hadn't noticed.

Here is with the notation and tab:


and here with tab only:


Bars 1 and 5 both lose a rest.

This is also a very simple piece in only 2 voices. Things become more muddled if all rests are shown in a more complex piece in 3 or 4 voices.

I have also done some more testing in GP and noted that when choosing a single-voice edit mode all rests in that voice are visible. The hiding is actually automatic, (not an option), and takes place when editing in multi-voice mode.

In reply to by jeetee

I'll see what I can find but it's unusual to see TAB only scores in publications. When TAB and notation are shown together then the TAB omits all rests; a feature already available in MS.

TablEdit takes a similar relaxed approach to rests as GP although you can set them to automatic. In manual mode they are simply not present unless the user enters them manually. In TablEdit the horizontal "axis" of the TAB stave represents time in a linear fashion, so you can enter notes anywhere in the measure simply by position. Rests are therefore optional. A ruler next to the TAB shows where you are in each bar.

I don't know what options Power Tab offers since I've never used it.

MusicNotes Player can't switch off notation.

In reply to by yonah_ag

Yes, actual published examples would
be more useful than examples that merely demonstrate that GP has the feature and that people (ab)use it.

Also, I would note that the one relevant example you showed includes only trailing rests, which are one of the special situations I mentioned where omitted them is common. The question is whether any actual publisher adopts the rule of hiding all voice 2 rest. Even in cases where, for example, voice 1 is just a whole note, and voice 2 contains some rhythm that involves rests that would be needed I order to understand what beats the notes actually come in on.

Again, I get that some published tablature makes the decision to not show rhythm at all. But it seems nonsensical to adopt a rule that says, it’s necessary to show rhythms in voice 1 but not in voice 2.

My guess is that Guitar Pro is not smart enough to make these distinctions, with the result that you get poor results if you elect to use this feature, as it throws away the necessary rests along with the trailing rests. And just because Guitar Pro makes it easy to produce bad notation doesn’t mean we should make the same mistake.

In any case, this very special situation - the decision of whether to show rests in tablature - really has nothing to do with the subject of this thread, which is about the way MuseScore fills measures with rests to keep the correct beat count. better to start a new thread for this new request, once you find some good published examples.

As mentioned, actually implementing an option to hide rests by voice is simple enough, I just still question the wisdom of it. So let’s separate these discussions into a new thread where they belong.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I will start a new thread as I've have done some further testing and it's not as simple as blanket hiding of rests in a voice. However, I want to correct two statements that you make here as they are are unfairly detrimental to GP.

1) GP does NOT "throw away the necessary rests". They are hidden.

2) This doesn't lead to "bad notation" since it only applies to the tablature. Notation is unaffected.

In reply to by yonah_ag

Good, I'm definitely interested in the topic. And yes, the word phrase "throw away" was inaccurate indeed, although the meaning should still have been clear. But FWIW, the word "notation" includes tablature (as well as other forms of notation such as Jianpu, Braille, ABC, etc). And that is the sense I meant it. When it's relevant to make a distinction, we use the phrase "standard notation" to differentiate from the others.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I've been doing more testing and I have found a solution which is already available in MS.

I only show tablature on my scores as leaving out standard notation halves the page count, (approximately), and thereby makes for less page turns. However, I need to preserve some information which is generally, (i.e. publishing convention), only shown in the standard notation, e.g. stems, beams, rests, some articulations etc.

MS can already show these elements in tablature but showing rests can cause "busy" measures when there are multiple voices, hence my suggestion for auto-hiding them in specific voices. GP does intelligent hiding but not blanket hiding for a voice, (my mistake). MS can hide ALL rests from tab but there are occasions when a visible rest is helpful.

Solution: Use the no rests option but when a visual rest is helpful insert one as a symbol from the master palette.

In reply to by jeetee

That's what I had been doing but it's an "after the event" process, i.e. the measures have already got busy. It makes editing much easier if the rests are not shown, and it's a simple process to insert a symbol for those few rests which are helpful in clarifying the rhythm.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I am still interested in the basic, day-to-day stuff repeated countless times. Streamlining common processes compounds quickly, yielding huge time savings and helping software adoption as a result.

So, here's a question for you all: how many mouse clicks or keyboard strokes does it take you to get from this
to this?
Just a rhythm change, keeping the same note pitches. Use whatever program you want.

I don't know if it can be that simple in MuseScore 3 but in GuitarPro 7, it only takes a total of exactly 4 mouse clicks:
- click to select first quarter note
- click to change duration to half note
- click and drag to select both second and third quarter notes
- click to change duration to eighth notes. DONE.


Over to you.

In reply to by jubidar

This particular contrived example would take a couple of extra clicks in MuseScore indeed. But many other common real world cases would be faster. It's two different ways of working to be sure. My experience is that overall, the MuseScore way ends up being more efficient on average, but it's mostly a wash.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

As an example of the non-contrived, extraordinarily common type of operation that the MuseScore type of approach (which is shared by other popular notation programs) makes faster, consider a measure with two half notes on beats 1 & 3, you decide you want to shorten the first to a quarter while leaving the second on beat three. Or vice versa.

In reply to by jubidar

That's not exactly four mouse clicks, because a drag is not a click.

Anyway, here's how I would do it in MuseScore:

  1. Click to select the A (or navigate to it using the keyboard, if I'm already close by).
  2. Press Shift+Right to extend the selection to include the C.
  3. Press Ctrl+X to cut the selection.
  4. Press Left to select the B♭.
  5. Press W to double the length of the B♭ (or 6 to explicitly convert it to a half note).
  6. Press Right to select the quarter rest.
  7. Go to Edit | Paste Half Duration (or press a keyboard shortcut to do it; I have this bound to Ctrl+Shift+Q).

These are all (or almost all) keyboard actions, so it's much easier and faster than it probably looks from seeing the steps listed in such excruciating detail.

In reply to by jubidar

When it comes to editing notes that have already been entered, yours is a good example of what happens in MuseScore when a note's duration is lengthened - i.e., any additional time needed for the longer duration is expropriated from what follows.

That's a fundamental feature of the program, and is what I used to advantage here.

(BTW: Understanding this, along with the converse of what happens when a duration is shortened, greatly helps in using MuseScore with ease and efficiency.)

I understand the logic of musescore. However can someone tell me step by step how I should write a measure which ends in 2 eights. I mean that that there is a half and quoter rest before eights. I think explaining this would help many beginners.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz


Just as a clarification, Jojo's proposal above does not add a half note rest and a quarter note rest. It adds a dotted half note rest, which of course represents the same thing.

It is also a bit unclear what the dashes between the A and the G means. As it stands, it looks like you add four eighth notes, but you only need to add one. Here is a more detailed explanation of Jojo's proposal:

  • N - start note entering mode
  • 6 - select the note length to be "half note" (but no note/rest is being entered yet)
  • . - add a dot to the selected note length, resulting in a "dotted half note" (but no note/rest is being entered yet)
  • 0 - enter a rest with the selected length (dotted half note)
  • 4 - select the note length to be "eight note"
  • A - enter (for example) an A with the selected length (eighth note)
  • G - enter (for example) a G with the selected length (eighth note)
  • Esc - exit note entering mode

It would be great to know how do do the nice looking gre "buttons" that Jojo is using. There used to be a description of these tricks where you added issues, but this has now been removed and replaced with github.

In reply to by pauli333

The basic idea is, whether it's a note or rest doesn't really matter, you write them left to right just as you read them left to right. So, first enter the half rest, then the quarter rest, then the two eighths. You can do this using the keyboard shortcuts (0 to enter a rest) or the mouse (right-click to enter the rest).

For more info on the basics of note input, see the page on that topic in the Basics chapter of the Handbook. Also this tutorial video I created, which covers a bit of everything:


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