Working with instruments

    Overview

    Readers should already know the concept of Musescore instrument, and usage of Add or remove Instrument window explained in Setting up score chapter. This chapter discusses the new Instruments panel feature in MuseScore 4 that manages

    • instrument setup of the score file (a function that Add or remove Instrument window also offer);
    • staff setup of the score file, eg. adding and configuring a new Treble staff;
    • visibility and playback setting of each instrument (all of its staffs) of the the currently opened "Full score" or "Part"; and
    • visibility of each staff of the the currently opened "Full score" or "Part".

    Read more about "Full score" and "Part" in Parts chapter.

    Adding and ordering instruments

    Accessing the Instruments panel

    Open the Instruments panel by clicking on the Instruments tab on the left side of the screen:

    Opening the Instruments panel image

    Adding instruments

    Click Add (or just press i). This will open the Instruments dialog (see Choose instruments for more information).

    Deleting instruments

    To delete an instrument from the score, select the instrument and click the Trash can icon, or press Delete.

    Changing the order of instruments

    Select any instrument and use the or buttons to change its position in the score. Alternatively, you can drag the instrument up/down using the mouse.

    Adding, reordering, and removing instruments using the instruments panel (animated image)

    Instrument settings

    Hiding/showing instruments

    Hiding and showing instruments (animated image)

    To toggle the visibility of one instrument (all of its staves)

    1. Open "Full score" or a "Part", see Parts chapter.
    2. Click the Eye icon next to an instrument label.

    Hiding is not deleting. Hiding an instrument disables all its staffs' playback. This feature is useful in combination with Musescore's Part feature, see Parts chapter. This allows for example the creation of alternative instruments or different printing versions for different performers; or isolation of sections of a larger score for orchestra without deleting anything.

    Renaming instruments

    1. Click the Cogwheel icon
    2. Edit the name, it is the same as editing Long instrument name in Staff/Part properties. Leave blank if required.

    exposing instrument settings image

    Replacing instruments

    To replace an instrument in the Instruments panel:

    1. Click the Cogwheel icon to the right of the instrument name
    2. In the popup that appears, click Replace instrument
    3. Select your desired replacement instrument in the dialog that appears
    4. Click OK

    Adding and configuring staves

    The Instruments panel can also be used to add staves to an existing instrument and configure some of their basic properties.

    To add a staff to an existing instrument

    1. If there are no staves visible under the instrument label, click the small black triangle to the left of the label to reveal them
    2. Click Add staff
    3. Click the Cogwheel icon of the newly-added staff, and adjust "Staff type", if required. More on Staff type, see the Staff type template in Staff/Part properties chapter.

    Added staves share the same instrument but their notation can be edited independently. Amongst other things, they can be used to create staff/tablature for stringed-instrument players (e.g. guitar, banjo, ukulele etc.).

    To add a linked staff to an existing instrument

    Certain notational objects on one staff can be made to automatically appear on other staves if they are linked together. Linked staves can be used to create staff/tablature for stringed-instrument players (guitar, banjo, ukulele etc.).

    To create a linked staff:

    1. If there are no staves visible under the instrument label, click the triangular "show more" icon next to the label
    2. Click the Cogwheel icon next to the staff label (E.g. "Treble clef")
    3. Click Create a linked staff
    4. Click the Cogwheel icon of the newly-added staff, and adjust Staff type, if required. More on Staff type, see the Staff type template in Staff/Part properties chapter.

    create a linked staff (animated image)

    Configuring a staff

    1. Click on the Cogwheel icon next to a staff label (E.g. "Treble clef")
    2. Change as required:
      • Staff type: See Staff type template in Staff/Part properties chapter.
      • Small staff: Reduce the size of the staff. Adjust size setting in Format→Style…→Sizes.
      • Hide any measures that do not contain notation: See Cutaway in Showing staves only where needed chapter.

    add and configure staves in instruments panel (animated image)

    Learn more about staff customization in Staff/part properties.

    Hiding a staff but keeping its playback

    1. (Mandatory) Click on a staff label (E.g. "Treble clef"), but not its instrument.
    2. Click its Eye icon.

    Hiding is not deleting.

    See also "Hiding/showing instruments" section that explains how to hide an instrument, hiding an instrument disables all its staffs' playback.

    Deleting instruments and staves

    Note: On score that uses Musescore's Parts feature, deleting a staff deletes it in "Full score" and all "Part" that features it. See also the alternative "hide" commands in "Hiding/showing instruments" and "Hiding a staff but keeping its playback" sections.

    To delete an instrument and all of its staffs:

    1. Click on the instrument label
    2. Click the Trash can icon at the top of the instruments panel, or press Delete.

    To delete a staff from an instrument:

    1. If there are no staves visible under the instrument label, click the small black triangle to the left of the label to reveal them
    2. Click on the staff label
    3. Click the Trash can icon at the top of the instruments panel, or press Delete.
      Delete a staff from an instrument