Measure operations

Updated 1년 ago
This page shows old instructions for MuseScore 3.
For MuseScore 4 users, see Measure operations.

    Note: To ensure that inserted or appended measures display correctly, multimeasure rests should be set to off (toggle M).


    Single measure

    • To select a single measure, click on a space within the measure.

    Range of measures


    Insert an empty measure into the score

    Use one of the following options:

    • Select a measure or a frame, then press Ins (Mac: Shift+I).
    • Select a measure or a frame, then choose from the menu: AddMeasuresInsert Measure.

    Insert multiple measures

    Use one of the following options:

    • Select a measure or a frame, then press Ctrl+Ins (Mac: Shift+Del+I); fill in the "Number of measures to insert" field and press OK.
    • Select a measure or a frame, then choose from the menu: AddMeasuresInsert Measures...; fill in the "Number of measures to insert" field and press OK.


    Append an empty measure to the end of a score

    Use one of the following options:

    • Press Ctrl+B (Mac: Cmd+B).
    • Select from the menu: AddMeasuresAppend One Measure.

    Append multiple measures to the end of a score

    Use one of the following options:

    • Press Alt+Shift+B; fill in the "Number of measures to append" field and press OK.
    • Select from the menu: AddMeasuresAppend Measures...; fill in the "Number of measures to append" field and press OK.


    Remove a single measure

    1. Select the measure
    2. Press Ctrl+Del (Mac: Cmd+Del).

    Remove a range of measures

    1. Select a range of measures;
    2. Press Ctrl+Del (Mac: Cmd+Del).

    Note: In multistaff scores, measure deletion also removes all corresponding measures in the other staves of the system;

    Remove empty trailing measures

    To automatically remove any blank measures from the end of the score:

    • From the menu, select ToolsRemove empty trailing measures.

    Delete measure contents

    To delete only the measure contents (and not the measure itself):

    1. Select one or more measures;
    2. Press Del.


    To edit the properties of a measure, right-click an empty part of the measure and select Measure Properties...:

    Dialog: Measure Properties

    You can use the Previous/Next buttons, at the bottom left of the dialog, to navigate to the previous or next measure.


    • Visible: Check/uncheck to show/hide notes and staff lines for the selected measure.
    • Stemless: Check/Uncheck to show/hide all note stems for the selected measure.

    Measure duration

    This section of the dialog allows you to adjust the duration of a single measure independently of the displayed time signature. Use it to create a pickup measure (also known as anacrusis or upbeat), cadenza, ad lib section etc.

    Measure duration

    • Nominal is the apparent time signature and cannot be edited.
    • Actual can be set to anything you like regardless of the nominal time signature.

    Example: In the image below, the quarter note pickup measure has a nominal time signature of 4/4, but an actual time sig. of 1/4. The measures in the middle are in normal 4/4 time. The complementary measure at the end of the staff, with a dotted half note, has an actual time sig. of 3/4.

    Incomplete measures

    Note: A small - or + sign appears above the measure when its duration is different than indicated by the time signature (see image below). This does not appear in any printed or PDF copy. You can turn off these marks by unchecking "Mark Irregular Measures" in the View menu.
    Pressing Ctrl+Del on a note or pause also reduces the duration of the measure, while via insert mode you can increase the duration of the measure.

    Irregular measures


    Exclude from measure count
    • Exclude from measure count: Tick to exclude the selected measure from measure numbering (e.g. a pickup measure).
    Break multimeasure rests
    • Break multimeasure rests: Tick to prevent a multimeasure rest at the start of the selected measure. This option should be checked before turning on "Create multimeasure rests" in FormatStyle...Score. The default program setting for scores is OFF; for parts is ON.

    Note: Multimeasure rests are broken, by default, at important breaks—such as rehearsal marks, time signature changes, double barlines, irregular measures, etc.

    Measure number mode

    This allows you to control whether and how measure numbers display on the selected measure:

    • Auto: Follows the setting in FormatStyle...Measure Numbers.
    • Always Show: Forces display of number.
    • Always Hide: Hides number.
    Layout stretch
    • Layout stretch: Controls the amount of horizontal space between score elements (notes, rests, etc.).

    This setting allows a more precise degree of control than offered by the Increase/Decrease Stretch ({ and }) commands.

    Add to measure number
    • Add to measure number": Enter a positive or negative number to change the number of the selected measure, and subsequent meaures. A value of "-1" has the same effect as marking a measure to be excluded from measure count.
    Play Count
    • Play count: If a measure precedes an end repeat barline, this value controls the number of times that the entire repeat section plays back: see also, Repeats and jumps.

    Vertical alignment

    See Barlines:Vertical alignment


    By default, MuseScore numbers the first measure of each System (except for the first measure in a section), but other numbering options are available: see FormatStyle...Measure Numbers.

    Split and join

    To make a measure longer or shorter in duration—without changing the time signature—you can adjust its Measure Properties (above). But it is also possible to join or split measures.

    Join measures

    Method A. To join two measures only:

    • Select the barline between the two measures and press Ctrl+Del.

    Method B. To join any number of measures:

    1. Select the measures you want to join;
    2. From the menu bar, select ToolsMeasureJoin Selected Measures.

    Notes: (1) If you select measures on only one staff in a score with multiple staves, the same measures will be joined in each staff of the system. (2) Beaming may be automatically modified. (3) If you have generated parts already, this option is disabled.

    Split a measure

    Choose one of the following methods:

    • Select a note; then hold Ctrl and click a barline in a palette (double-click in versions prior to 3.4).
    • Hold Ctrl and drag a barline (from a palette) to the note that starts the next measure.
    • Select a note; then, from the menu bar, select ToolsMeasureSplit Measure Before Selected Note/Rest.

    Note: If you select only one note from one staff, each staff of the system will be split at the same place.

    See also

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