For MuseScore 3 users, see Voices
Voices allow you to have notes on a single staff which start at the same time, yet have different durations. Voices are sometimes called "layers" in other notation software.
In a polyphonic measure, voice 1 usually takes the up-stem notes and voice 2 takes the down-stem notes.
When to use voices
- If you need stems pointing in opposite directions within a chord, on a single staff.
- If you need notes of different durations within a single staff, played simultaneously.
Start by entering the top voice (the up-stem notes in the image above). When inputting, some notes may have down-stems, but these will flip automatically when the second voice is added.
If you are using a keyboard (computer or MIDI) to enter notes, use the ← key to move your cursor back to the beginning of the staff (or measure). If you are using the mouse to position notes on the staff, this is not necessary.
Click on the "Voice 2" button (at the right in the toolbar).
Enter all the bottom voice notes (all the down-stem notes). When finished, it might look something like this:
Note that you must be in Note input mode to select another voice.
Hidden spacer rests
Only the rests of voices 2, 3, and 4 can be deleted, but those of the main voice (1 - blue) can be hidden.
To hide a rest, select it and press V or uncheck the "Visible" checkbox in the Inspector, which can be enabled from the View menu or with the shortcut F8 (Mac: fn+F8). If you have Show Invisible turned on in the View menu, the rest still shows in gray on your screen. The hidden rest will not appear if you print, or export as PDF, PNG, SVG, etc.
Exchange voices of notes
- Select range of notes
- Edit → Voices
- Exchange any two voices
Note: The selection can encompass content of any voice, but only two will be processed at once.
- How to merge/combine/implode two staves in one with two voices
- How to input multiple notes on a staff with different durations
- How to make notes in unison overlapping