Staff / Part properties
- Right-click onto either an empty area in a staff, or the instrument name, and select Staff/Part Properties....
Clicking on Navigation arrows ↑ and ↓ buttons at the bottom left will cancel any unsaved changes and switch to edit the previous or next staff.
There are four different types of staff:
1a. Standard staff I. A pitched staff used for most instruments except fretted, plucked-string ones.
1b. Standard staff II. A pitched staff containing a fretted, plucked-string instrument, with options to set the number of instrument strings and tuning.
2. Tablature staff. A staff containing a fretted, plucked-string instrument, which displays music as a series of fret-marks on strings. Also contains options to set the number of instrument strings and tuning.
3. Percussion staff. A pitched staff for percussion instruments.
Four instruments shown above are examples of the four staff types respectively. Download this testing score file.
For each type, there are pre-defined Template to choose from in the Advanced Style Properties (Edit Staff Type) window
Replacing an instrument also changes staff types but may create unreasonable result and wrong playback. For example, replacing Piano (a standard staff, type 1a) with Drumset (percussion staff, type 3).
Staff / Part Properties: common to all four staff types
Inside "Staff properties" box on upper part:
- Style group
Display the staff Types. Type 1a and type 1b as Standard , type 2 as Tablature , type 3 as Percussion.
The number of lines making up the staff. For tablature, this number usually matches the number of strings in the Change string tuning dialog (exceptions being the Baroque Lute, Theorbo etc. which have more strings than lines).
- Line Distance
The distance between two staff lines of current staff. Changes rarely needed. See how to change the scaling of all staffs in Layout and formatting chapter.
- Extra distance above staff
Increases or decreases the distance between the selected staff and the one above in all systems. Note: This setting does not apply to the top staff of a system, which is controlled by the minimum/maximum system distance (see Layout and formatting: Format → Style … → Page). Notes: To alter the spacing above just one staff line in a particular system, see Breaks and Spacers.
Changes the size of of current staff and all associated elements. Using a value greater than 100% may results in unwanted layout. Changes rarely needed. See how to change the scaling of all staffs in Layout and formatting chapter.
shown above last chord in the 130% scaled Tenor staff is misaligned
- Hide when empty dropdown list
Staff level setting for empty staff hiding along one system, see musescore 4 handbook Showing staves only where needed chapter.
- Show clef
Whether the staff's clef will be shown.
- Show time signature
Whether the staff's time signature(s) will be shown or not.
- Show barlines
Whether the staff's barlines will be shown.
- Hide system barline
Show/hide barline at left-hand edge of the staff.
- Merge matching rests (as of version 3.5)
Collapse rests of the same duration, at the same position but different voices, into just one.
- Do not hide if system is empty
Designate as the staff to show when all staffs in a system are empty, see musescore 4 handbook Showing staves only where needed chapter.
- Small staff
Create a reduced-size staff. You can set the default from the menu in Format → Style ... → Sizes.
- Invisible staff lines
Make staff lines invisible.
- Staff line color
Use a color picker to change the color of the staff lines.
Setting for hiding empty measures, see musescore 4 handbook Showing staves only where needed : Hiding empty measure chapter.
Inside "Part properties" box on lower part:
The instrument the current staff belongs to. Replace it by pressing the Change Instrument ... button. Manage score instrument setup by pressing keyboard shortcut (I). Note: The properties below (i.e. Part Name, Long Instrument Name etc.) are set to the default values defined in the MuseScore instruments.xml file.
- Part name
The name displayed in Parts window, the Mixer and the Instruments dialog (I). Note: The Part name is defined by the value of the trackName element in the instruments.xml file. If trackName has not been defined, the value of longName (i.e. "Long instrument name"—see below) is used instead.
- Long instrument name and Short instrument name
Long instrument name is displayed to the left of the staff in the first system of the score. The long instrument name may also be edited directly as a text object (see Text editing).
Short instrument name is displayed to the left of the staff in subsequent systems of the score. The short instrument name may also be edited directly as a text object (see Text editing). Editing affects all occurrences in the score.
- Usable pitch range
- Amateur: Notes outside this range will be colored olive green/dark yellow in the score.
- Professional: Notes outside this range will be colored red in the score.
To disable out-of-range coloration of notes: From the menu, select Edit→Preferences... (Mac: MuseScore→Preferences...), click on the "Note Input" tab, and uncheck "Color notes outside of usable pitch range."
See also, Coloring of notes outside an instrument's range.
- Transposing instrument options
This option ensures that the staves of transposing instruments display music at the correct written pitch. Set the transpose in term of a musical interval (plus octave if required) up or down.
For transposing instruments an additional option is shown: "Prefer sharps or flats for transposed key signatures". There are three options:
- Default: Let Musescore decide
- Flats: Prefer flats
- Sharps: Prefer sharps
- Use single note dynamics checkbox (Musescore 3.1 or later)
Untick to use MIDI Velocity for playback, see Dynamics: Loudness of a note.
Tick to switch to the alternative playback mechanism that utilize the MIDI Continuous Controller / Control Change (MIDI CC) Messages (wikipedia), see Synthesizer: Dynamics.
For either option, you must use a compatible sound, sound is defined by SoundFont creator and cannot be edited within MuseScore, see Soundfont, MIDI velocity and instruments.xml.
Override staff settings by using the per score master control at Synthesizer: Dynamics.
A bug exists in staffs with "single note dynamics" ticked: Dynamics and Hairpins symbols, when assigned Dynamic range properties > Staff option, do not create correct playback, see forum discussion.
Staff / Part Properties: settings for plucked strings only (Type 1b and type 2)
- Number of strings
Displays the number of instrument strings.
- Edit String Data…
This button opens a dialog box which allows you to set the number and tuning of strings. See Change string tuning.
Advanced Style Properties
Clicking the Advanced Style Properties... button opens the Edit Staff Type window, the properties available vary depending on staff type.
Advanced Style Properties: common to all four staff types
First row: Lines, Line Distance: duplicated UI for the exact same property as above
Second row: Show clef, Show time signature, Show barlines: duplicated UI for the exact same property as above
At the bottom of the window:
- Template dropbox
Assigning a template changes the number of lines (type 3 percussion staff) or switch staff types altogether (type 1a, type 1b and type 2). To apply a template:
- Make a selection from the drop-down list labelled "Template";
- Press < Reset to Template;
- Press OK to accept the changes and exit the dialog (or Cancel to cancel the operation).
Advanced Style Properties: settings for standard and percussion staff (Type 1a, type 1b and type 3)
- Show key signature, Show ledger lines
Option to turn the display of these elements ON or OFF.
If checked, staff notes will have no stem, hook or beam.
Advanced Style Properties: settings for standard staff (Type 1a, type 1b)
- Notehead scheme
See Notehead scheme.
Advanced Style Properties for tablature staff (Type 2)
- Upside down
If not checked, the top tablature line will refer to the highest string, and the bottom tablature line to the lowest string (this is the most common option). If checked, the top tablature line refers to the lowest string, and the bottom tablature line to the highest line (e.g. Italian-style lute tablatures). For example:
'Upside down' tablature.
- Fret marks are the numbers or letters used to indicate the location of notes on the fingerboard. The following group of properties define the appearance of fret marks:
The font used to draw fret marks. 8 fonts are provided supporting all the necessary symbols in 8 different styles (modern Serif, modern Sans, Renaissance, Phalèse, Bonneuil-de Visée, Bonneuil-Gaultier, Dowland, Lute Didactic).
Font size of fret marks in typographic points. Built-in fonts usually look good at a size of 9-10pt.
- Vertical offset
MuseScore tries to place symbols in a sensible way and you do not usually need to alter this value (set to 0) for built-in fonts. If the font has symbols not aligned on the base line (or in some other way MuseScore does not expect), this property allows you to move fret-marks up (negative offsets) or down (positive offsets) for better vertical positioning. Values are in sp.
- Marks are
Choice of Numbers (‘1’, ‘2’...) or Letters (‘a’, ‘b’...) as fret marks. When letters are used, ‘j’ is skipped and ‘k’ is used for the 9th fret.
- Marks are drawn
Choice of placing fretmarks On lines or Above lines. For example:
Fretmark letters placed above line.
- Lines are
Choice of Continuous (lines pass through fret marks) or Broken (a small space appears in the line where the fretmark is displayed). For example:
Tablature with lines broken.
- Show back-tied fret marks
If unticked, only the first note in a series of tied notes is displayed. If ticked, all notes in the tied series are displayed.
- Show fingering in tablature
Tick to allow the display of fingering symbols applied from a palette.
The font used to draw the value symbols. Currently 5 fonts are provided supporting all the necessary symbols in 5 different styles (modern, Italian tablature, French tablature, French baroque (headless), French baroque). Used only with the Note symbols option.
Font size, in typographic points. Built-in fonts usually look good at a size of 15pt. Used only with the Note symbols option.
- Vertical offset
Applies only when Note symbols is selected (see below). Use negative offset values to raise the note value symbols, positive values to lower them.
- Shown as:
- None: No note value will be drawn (as in the examples above)
- Note symbols: Symbols in the shape of notes will be drawn above the staff. When this option is selected, symbols are drawn only when the note value changes, without being repeated (by default) for a sequence of notes all of the same value. E.g.
- Stems and beams: Note stems and beams (or hooks) will be drawn. Values are indicated for each note, using the same typographic mechanics as for a regular staff; all commands of the standard Beam Palette can be applied to these beams too. E.g.
- Repeat: (only available if "Shown as: Note symbols" is selected)
If several notes in sequence have the same duration, you can specify if and where to repeat the same note symbol: available options are Never, At new system, At new measure, Always
- Stem style: (only available when "Shown as: Stems and Beams" is selected)
- Beside staff: Stems are drawn as fixed height lines above/below the staff.
- Through staff: Stems run through the staff to reach the fret marks.
- Stem position: (only available when "Shown as: Stems and Beams" and "Stem style: Beside staff" is selected)
- Above: Stems and beams are drawn above the staff.
- Below: Stems and beams are drawn below the staff.
- Half notes: (only available when "Shown as: Stems and Beams and "Stem style: Beside staff" is selected)
Available options are None, As short stems, As slashed stems
- Show rests
Whether note symbols should be used to indicate also the rests; when used for rests, note symbols are drawn at a slightly lower position. Used only with the Note symbols option.
Not to be confused with Mid-staff instrument change.
This replaces the instrument that this staff belongs to, and change all of its staffs everywhere on a score. It changes playback, staff name, and staff transposition etc. The Staff Type change may be unreasonable and create wrong playback.
- Right-click on an empty part of any measure OR on the instrument name and choose Staff Properties...;
- Click on Change Instrument... (under "Part Properties");
- Choose your new instrument and click OK to return to the Staff Properties dialog;
- Click OK again to return to the score.