Entering lyrics for empty measures, anybody?

• Jan 26, 2016 - 07:25

How does one enter lyrics for a measure with one whole rest (pause) for entire measure? There is no note to select before CTRL+L can work. I want to enter lyrics for several measures where there is no one playing. Thank you!


In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Thanks, using staff text is best compromise but it does not follow rules/shortcuts for lyrics. Using different voice is not going to work for me because if I de-select (remove) some staves (voice for instance) for printing only for given instrument, if text is tied to the removed stave, it also disappears from prints. I wish a rest can be selected to input lyrics just like a note can be selected.

In reply to by VT

You wrote: "Using different voice is not going to work ...because if I de-select (remove) some staves ...if text is tied to the removed stave, it also disappears from prints."

There may be some confusion here about the word 'voice' -- by using a differnt voice, all the lyrics are still attached to the same stave.
For example:
Say you have a stave - let's call it 'vocals' (to distinguish it from 'voices').
In the 'vocals' staff you have entered the melody notes and have attached lyrics to the notes. Somewhere in that staff you have a whole rest where there are no melody notes and you want to insert lyrics - something like non-pitched elocution.
You can enter a 'fake' note (or several notes) on the vocals staff; but enter the fake note(s) using a different voice. See:https://musescore.org/en/handbook/voices-0

Lyrics can be attached to the 'fake' note(s).
For printing, the fake note(s) can be made invisible.
For play back, the fake note(s) can be made silent.
The whole rest in voice #1 remains visible along with the lyrics.


In reply to by VT

As mentioned, invisible notes in another voice *is* the way to do this.

However, it is worth mentioning why you can't add lyrics to rests directly. It's because everything about the layout and spacing of lyrics is based on the idea idea of one syllable for note. The convenient shortcuts you mention depend on this; it's what allows them to work. Hitting Space moves to the next note. If there are no notes, there is nowhere to move to. Even if we extended lyrics to allow them under rests, the shortcuts would still assume one syllable per rest, so you'd get only syllable per empty measure, which presumably is not what you want.

So, if these truly are lyrics, they need to be associated with notes in order for any of the normal rules of music notation regarding spacing etc to apply. Since you say there are no notes, I guess maybe you intend these to be spoken? Anyhow, either invisible notes in another voice or using staff text (you can assign them the lyrics text style using the Inspector) is indeed the way to go.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks Marc, it all makes perfect sense. I will read up about hidden notes as the means to get around the fact that lyrics cannot be added to anything other than notes. I need to mention why do I need it, may be you have better suggestion for me. I created scores for a song for family band (5 instruments and one singer). I want to print scores for individual players with only their instrument AND singer scores everyone gets because inexperienced players (2 kids) can track where they are by reading lyrics the singer sings, so they know where to play. We got trumpet, alto sax, piano, guitar, base guitar and drums. So trumpet player gets singer's stave + trumpet stave below only. Alto player gets singer stave and alto stave below, etc. That's on paper only. But guitar player does not want singer's stave, he get confused, so he wants only guitar's stave. But he still wants to see lyrics (words). So I cannot remove singer's stave because lyrics attached to it also disappear. So how do I print his scores so there are only notes for him AND only lyrics' words in about right places, but nothing else on his printouts? Any suggestions welcome. Thanks in advance, Victor

In reply to by VT

@VT, by applying the suggestions above:
I added an instrument (Wood blocks);
I copied and pasted in it the Voice part;
I made invisible notes. rests, barlines etc .;
I made silent notes (also via Mixer)
From Stave properties I ticked the box "Invisible stave lines".
The result is in the attached image, you can move the lyrics down, if necessary.

Attachment Size
invisibile.png 39.41 KB

In reply to by VT

As explained several other places, invisible notes in another voice on this same staff really is the right way to go. You could use copy & paste and voice exchange (Edit / Voices / Exchange Voices 1-2) to do this pretty automatically. That is, take the singer staff, do the voice exchange, then copy and paste it to the guitar staff - so the guitar staff now has *both* parts in separate voices. Then go back to the singer staff, exchange the voices back. Then you can make the voice 2 notes & rests on the guitar staff invisible (eg, right click one such note, Select / More / Same voice & Same staff, then uncheck Visible in the Inspector).

Hi Marc,

I actually ran into an issue with your suggestion adding extra voice with hidden notes just to be able to enter lyrics. The issue is, there is a pause in the instrument I tie the lyrics to (since I don't have/need specific stave just for voice, i use another instrument to tie the lyrics to, but this instrument doesn't pay everywhere where the voice is present). So I don't need any sounds produced by this hidden voice, however I cannot disable it - hidden notes are not silent ones. The only way I found to do it is to mute it in mixer, but then "Real" instrument is muted as well - unfortunately muting is not per voice, but for whole staff with all the voices on it simultaneously.

So any other suggestions (short of creating extra staff just for voice I can tie lyrics to)?

If someone can produce little test file for me that would be great!


An alternate method is to treat is as an issue separate from MuseScore. If it can't do what you want, try something else.

If you know the spacing of those words, make empty measures. Now save as a PDF file and use a graphic or layout program and type the lyrics where you need them. Photoshop Elements is my go-to for such tasks. Freeware PDF editors are out there, too.

In Encore, I use option-space to enter multiple syllables under a note. This can be used to extend words under an empty measure and I do it often. For a large number of measures, I would use the Text Tool.

My only point is that, if you focus on the final result, you can find a solution. Trying to make any tool do something it cannot is frustrating.

The great promise of computers is that, if you can imagine a result, it can be accomplished but not always the way you think at first.

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