Staff and system text

Updated 5 months ago

    Staff Text or System Text is the general purpose text, it is also the foundation element on which a few other types of text are built on.
    Different types of text-based objects are not interchangeable: They have distinct property fields that serves different purpose besides engraving or visual display. To decide which type of text you want, see Text types.

    To add a Staff Text or System Text to the score, use one of the following methods:

    • Select a note or rest; then for Staff text, press Ctrl+T; or for System text, press Shift+Ctrl+T.
    • Select a note or rest; then select the desired option from AddText.
    • Select a note or rest, then click the desired text from a palette (double-click in versions prior to 3.4).
    • Drag the desired text from a palette onto a note or rest.

    This will create an empty bounding box for text entry. Press Esc or click on an empty space outside the box to exit.

    Apart from their indicative use, staff and system text also have optional playback properties: see below.

    Summary of differences:

    Text style Applies to? Playback (if applicable) Appears in Instrument parts?
    Staff text Staff only Staff only Staff instrument only
    System Text All system staves All system staves All instruments

    Staff text

    Staff Text is applied to one staff (or Grand staff) in the score, and is indicative only for that staff; any playback effect associated with the text is limited in the same way. The text will appear in the corresponding instrument part.

    If you choose to hide empty staves, any staff text belonging to an empty staff will also be hidden.

    Staff text properties

    The regular properties of the text, such as font, size, italics etc, can be viewed and updated directly in the inspector, but staff text can also have properties related to playback.

    Staff text can, for example, be used to apply indications such as Solo or Pizzicato to one staff in a score. Depending on what the instruction of the staff text is, playback of that staff at the text location can sometimes be altered to match the instruction. The playback properties of a staff text can be accessed in two ways:

    • Select the staff text, and click on "Properties" in the "Staff Text" section of the Inspector.
    • Right-click on the text and choose "Staff Text Properties," then click on the relevant tab.

    The dialog window that opens contains tabs for the following playback properties:

    Change Channel
    This property can be used to change the sound of an instrument, such as switching between open and muted sound for a trumpet, or between arco and pizzicato for a violin. This only works for instruments which are defined to have more than one channel. You can check this by selecting the "Change Channel" tab and click on one of the option fields in the "Channel:" column. If there is only one option "normal", this instrument only has one channel. See Mid-staff Sound Change for more info.
    Swing Settings
    To switch between playing with "straight" and "swing" feeling for just this staff/instrument. Note that you can also apply swing to all staffs in the score or to the the complete score from start to finish. See Swing for more info.
    Capo Settings
    For stringed instruments you can apply a "capo", transposing the playback up by a number of frets/halftone steps. See Capo playback for more info.
    MIDI Action
    For advanced users only, send a MIDI Continuous Controller / Control Change (MIDI CC) Message. You must setup a custom instrument using a instruments.xml and declare MIDI Actions for of its channel first. You cannot edit instruments.xml inside Musescore. More info see this github project.

    When staff text is copied and pasted elsewhere in the score, or if it is added to a custom palette, the playback properties are also copied.

    System text

    System text is applied to one staff in the score, but is indicative for every staff in the system. Any associated playback properties are applied to the whole system. The text will appear in all instrument parts.

    System text is never hidden by the hide empty staves feature.

    System text properties

    To add or edit Swing:

    • Right-click on the text and choose System Text properties, then click on the Swing Settings tab.

    See also

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