In the previous "Basics" chapter you learn how to enter notes and interact with the palettes. The "Notation" chapter describes the different types of notation in more detail, including more advanced music notation.
See also "Advanced topics".
Barline symbols are available in the Barlines palette:
To change an existing barline, use one of the following:
To change a non-single to a single barline:
To hide a barline:
To insert a new barline between existing ones, either:
It is possible to create custom barlines by selecting one or more barlines, and adjusting the properties in the "Barlines" section of the Inspector:
See also, Mensurstrich.
Changes to color and horizontal/vertical offset can also be made in the Inspector.
Barlines may extend over multiple staves, as in the grand staff of a piano, or in an orchestral score to join instruments in the same section. To join barlines:
Double-click on a barline to enter Edit mode.
Click on the lower blue handle and drag it down to the staff you wish to connect to. The handle snaps into position so there is no need to position it exactly.
Press Esc to exit edit mode. This will update all other relevant barlines as well.
Note: You can tailor the display of clefs to your specific requirements using a custom palette.
Method 1—add clef to beginning of a measure, whether or not it is the first measure in a system
Method 2—only for changing the clef at the start of a system
To create a mid-measure clef:
Note: If the clef is not the first in the system, it will be drawn smaller.
In this image, the top staff starts with a treble clef and switches immediately to bass clef, then after a note and a rest, changes back to treble clef.
Note: Changing a clef does not change the pitch of any note. Instead, the notes move to preserve pitch. If you want, you can use Transposition in conjunction with a clef change.
When a clef change occurs at the beginning of a system, a courtesy clef will be generated at the end of the previous system.
To show or hide all courtesy clefs:
It is also possible to show/hide courtesy clefs on a case-by-case basis:
Note: This option may be useful to TAB users who do not want the clef to repeat on every subsequent line.
Use any of the following methods:
If you wish to change the key signature of only one staff line, leaving others unchanged:
Use any of the following methods:
If you wish to replace the key signature of only one staff, leaving others unchanged:
Use any of the following methods:
By default, MuseScore only shows cancelling naturals when the key signature changes to that of C Major/A minor (no sharps or flats). In all other cases, it simply shows the new key signature without cancellations:
However, you can opt to display cancelling naturals for all key signature changes:
From the menu, select Style → General... → Accidentals. You'll see the options:
Select one of the three options.
For example, selecting the option "Before key signature if changing to fewer ♯ or ♭" gives:
And the option "After key signature if changing to fewer ♯ or ♭. Before if changing between ♯ and ♭" gives:
Multi-measure rests are interrupted if there is change of key signature:
To turn off the display of a particular courtesy key signature:
To turn off the display of all courtesy key signatures:
Note: Courtesy key signatures are not displayed at section breaks.
To create a custom key signature:
Press Shift+K to display the Key signatures section of the Master palette.
In the Create Key signature panel, drag accidentals from the palette onto the "staff" above to create the desired key signature. Use the Clear button, if required, to remove all accidentals from the "staff."
Note: Playback of custom key signatures is not currently supported.
To move a key signature from the Master palette to a custom palette:
To apply a key signatures to the score directly from the Master palette, use one of the following methods:
To add a time signature, use any of the following methods:
The time signature will appear at the beginning of the measure in question.
To replace a time signature, use any of the following methods:
To delete a time signature in the score, select it and press Del.
If the time signature you require is not available in any of the existing palettes, it can be created as follows:
To move a time signature from the Master Palette to a custom palette:
To display the Time Signature Properties dialog:
To adjust note-beaming for a particular time signature:
To break a note beam in the Note Groups panel, click on the note following it. To reset the beam, click in the same place. Alternatively, you can change beaming by dragging a beam icon onto a note, as follows:
The Reset button cancels any changes made in that session.
Note: As of version 2.1, checking the box for "Also change shorter notes," means that any beam changes at one level are applied automatically to shorter durations as well. In versions before 2.1 you must adjust beams for the different note durations independently.
Additive (or composite) time signatures are sometimes used to clarify the division of beats within a measure. To create an additive time signature:
Note: The Time Signatures section of the Master palette also allows you to create additive time signatures (see above).
In certain cases a score may show staves with different time signatures running at the same time. For example, in Bach's 26. Goldberg Variation:
In the above example, the global time signature is 3/4, but the time signature of the upper staff has been set independently to 18/16.
To set a local time signature for just one staff:
Occasionally you will need to decrease or increase the duration of a measure without changing the time signature—for example, in a pickup measure (anacrusis) or in a cadenza etc. See Measure operations: Measure duration.
The most common types of accidentals are provided in the Accidentals toolbar above the score and in the Accidentals palette in the basic workspace. A more comprehensive range can be found in the Accidentals palette in the advanced workspace.
Accidentals are automatically added to a note, as appropriate, when you increase or decrease its pitch:
To add either (i) a double flat or double sharp, (ii) a courtesy (also known as cautionary or reminder) accidental, or (iii) a non-standard accidental, use one of the following options:
If you wish to add parentheses to a cautionary accidental, use one of the following:
If you later change the pitch of a note with cursor keys, manual settings to the accidental are removed.
If required, accidentals can be deleted by clicking on them and pressing Del.
To change the enharmonic spelling of a note, or notes, in both written and concert pitch views:
To change the enharmonic spelling in the written pitch view, without affecting the concert pitch view, or vice versa:
Note: If the pitches of selected notes are not all the same, the effect may be unpredictable.
Arpeggio and Glissando symbols can be found in the "Arpeggios & Glissandi" palette in the advanced workspace. This palette also includes strum arrows, an arpeggio bracket, wind instrument articulations, and slide in/slide out symbols.
To add a symbol to the score, use one of the following methods:
Any symbol can be customized by adjusting its properties in the Inspector. Edit handles are also provided in most cases to allow adjustment of length/curvature in Edit mode. If needed for future use, you can save the result in a custom palette.
When an arpeggio or strum arrow is added to the score, it initially spans only one voice. However, you can easily adjust its height by double-clicking the symbol and dragging the handles up or down (for finer adjustment use the keyboard arrows). Playback of the symbol can be turned on or off in the Inspector.
A Glissando or, more informally, a slide, spans two consecutive notes, normally in the same voice.
Chord glissandi are also possible.
This method also allows you to move handles between notes in different voices or even from one staff to another—for cross-staff glissandi, for example. You can also use the keyboard arrow buttons or Ctrl + arrow to make final adjustments to the positions of the handles.
To customize the glissando to your requirements, select it and adjust the Inspector properties as follows :
Slide in and Slide out lines can also be found in the "Arpeggios & Glissandi" palette. To edit the length and angle of a line, double-click on it and drag the handle (or use keyboard arrows for finer adjustment).
A comprehensive set of symbols can be found in the Articulations and Ornaments palette in the Advanced workspace:
There is also an abbreviated version in the Basic workspace.
Articulations are the symbols added to the score to show how a note or chord is to be played. The principal symbols in this group are:
Specialist articulations are also included for bowed and plucked strings, wind instruments etc.
Note: Appoggiaturas and acciaccaturas can be found in the Grace Notes palette.
Use either of the following methods:
To apply an accidental to an existing ornament, such as a trill:
Keyboard shortcuts can be customized in MuseScore's Preferences.
Immediately after adding an articulation or ornament from a palette, the symbol is automatically selected: It can then be moved up or down from the keyboard as follows:
To enable adjustments in all directions from the keyboard:
You can also change the horizontal and vertical offset values in the Inspector. To position more than one symbol at a time, select the desired symbols and adjust the offset values in the Inspector.
Note: The symbol can also be repositioned by clicking and dragging, but for more precise control, use the methods above.
Most properties of articulations/ornaments can be edited from the Inspector. Other properties (i.e. direction and anchor position) can also be accessed by right-clicking on the symbol and selecting Articulation Properties….
You can also make global adjustments to all existing and subsequently-applied articulations by selecting Style… → General… → Articulations, Ornaments.
To apply one or more bends to the score, use one of the following options:
To edit a bend, use one of the following:
Select a bend symbol in the score and press "Properties" in the "Bend" section of the Inspector.
Preset options are available, if needed, on the left hand side of the Bend properties window. The current bend is represented by a graph consisting of gray lines connected by square, blue nodes (see image above). The slope of the line indicates the type of bend:
The vertical axis of the graph represents the amount by which the pitch is bent up or down: one unit equals a quarter-tone: 2 units a semitone, 4 units a whole-tone, and so on. The horizontal axis of the graph indicates the length of the bend: each gray line segment extends for 1 space (sp) in the score.
A bend is modified by adding or deleting nodes in the graph:
Adding a node lengthens the bend by 1 sp; deleting a node shortens the bend by 1 sp. The Start and End points of the bend can be moved up and down only.
The height of the bend symbol is automatically adjusted so that it appears just above the staff. This height can be reduced, if necessary, with a workaround:
To adjust position use one of the following:
After a bend has been created in the score it can be saved for future use by dragging and dropping the symbol to a palette while holding down Ctrl+Shift (Mac: Cmd+Shift). See Custom Workspace
Note beams are set automatically, based on the time signature. To adjust the default beaming, right-click on a time signature and select "Time Signature Properties." See Change default beaming for details.
However, if you want to adjust note beaming manually, on a case-by-case basis, use the beam symbols found in the Beam Properties palette in the "Basic" or "Advanced" workspaces:
The following is a list of beam symbols and their effects:
To change one or more note beams (except feathered beams, below), use either of the following methods:
Drag and drop a beam symbol from a workspace onto a note in the score.
To apply feathered note beams, use either of the following methods:
Drag and drop a feathered-beam symbol from a workspace onto a note beam in the score.
Select one or more note beams in the score, then double click on a feathered-beam symbol in the workspace.
Notes: (1) Feathered beams may use 2 or 3 lines depending on the tempo and the desired rate of the change; (2) To create a 2-line feathered beam, you need to start with a continuous run of beamed sixteenth notes; (3) To create a 3-line feathered beam, you need to start with continuous run of beamed thirty-second notes; (4) Playback of feathered beams is not supported.
Alternatively, you can use the Inspector for all of these operations:
If you want all note beams in the score to be horizontal there is a "Flatten all beams" option in Style→General→Beams.
To adjust feathered beams:
MuseScore (following accepted music engraving practice) spaces notes according to their time values, allowing for accidentals, lyrics etc. In systems where there is more than one staff, this may result in irregular note spacing, as in the following example:
Local relayout is a tickbox option in the Inspector allowing you to specify those passages in the score where you want the note spacing to be independent of other staves in the system. Applying "Local relayout" to the note beams in the top staff of the previous example results in a more even distribution of notes:
To do a local relayout:
To flip a beam from above to below the notes, or vice-versa:
To restore beams to the mode defined in the local time signatures:
To add a bracket or brace to systems, use one of two methods:
When you first apply a bracket it only spans one staff. To extend to other staves:
The default thickness and distance from the system of brackets and braces can be adjusted in Style → General... → System.
To add a breath or pause (the latter also called a caesura, or informally "tram lines" or "railroad tracks") to the score, use one of the following options:
The symbol is placed after the note.
To adjust the position of the breath or pause, use any of the following options:
From version 2.1 onwards, you can adjust the pause length (in seconds) of the added symbol using the "Breath" or "Caesura" category in the Inspector.
A grace note is a type of musical ornament, usually printed smaller than regular notes. The Short grace note, or Acciaccatura, appears as a small note with a stroke through the stem. The Long grace note, or Appoggiatura, has no stroke.
Grace notes can be found in the "Grace notes" palette in the Basic or Advanced workspace.
Add a grace note
Use one of the following methods:
This will add a grace note of the same pitch as the regular note. To add a sequence of grace notes to a regular note, simply repeat the above actions as many times as required. See also, Change pitch (below).
Note: When a grace note is added to the score, a slur is not automatically created with it, so the latter needs to be added separately. See Slurs.
Add a chord of grace notes
Grace note chords are built up just like regular chords:
You can also create a grace note chord by using the add interval shortcut in step 2: Alt+1...9 for intervals from a unison to a ninth above.
The pitch of a grace note can be adjusted just like a regular one:
If you want to change the duration of a previously created grace note, select it and choose a duration from the toolbar or enter with one of the keys 1...9 (see Note input).
The position of a grace note after a note (such as a trill termination) may have to be adjusted by selecting the note, going into edit mode and using the left/right keyboard arrows; or change the chord offset values in the Inspector.
Hairpins are line objects. To create a hairpin:
Alternatively, use one of the following options:
Double-click on the hairpin to enter edit mode. Then click on the end handle that you want to move:
Use one of the following shortcuts:
This method of extending or shortening the hairpin maintains playback integrity and allows it to cross line breaks:
To change the position of an end handle without changing the position of its anchor, use the following shortcuts:
Note: The commands listed in step 3 are only used to tweak the final appearance of the hairpin (e.g. see image below): they do not change its playback extent nor do they allow it to cross line breaks. If you want the latter, use the Shift+→ or Shift+← commands instead (step 2).
Note: The "Reset" command (Ctrl+R (Mac: Cmd+R)) will undo these small adjustments, but will not undo anchor changes.
In addition to hairpins, there are cresc. _ _ _ and dim. _ _ _ lines with the same function in the Lines palette. To change the text (e.g. to cresc. poco a poco, or decresc. instead of dim), right-click on the line and choose Line Properties....
To turn a hairpin into its equivalent text line:
Crescendo and diminuendo lines only affect playback from one note to the next: they have no affect (currently) on the playback of a single note or a series of tied notes.
By default, hairpins will affect playback only if dynamics are used before and after the hairpin. For example, a crescendo spanning notes between p and f dynamics will cause a dynamic change on playback. However, between any two successive dynamics only the first appropriate hairpin will have effect: a diminuendo between p and f will be ignored; of two or more crescendos between p and f, all but the first will be ignored.
A hairpin may be used without dynamic marks, by adjusting "Velocity change" in the Inspector (values in the range 0 to 127).
The Lines palette of the Advanced workspace includes the following types of lines:
Use any of the following methods:
To adjust the vertical position of one or more lines:
Note: You can also adjust the vertical position in Edit mode.
Ensure you are not in note input mode (press Esc to exit);
Double click the line that you want to change to enter edit mode;
Click on an end handle and use one of the following shortcuts:
To change the position of an end handle without changing the position of its anchor, use the following:
Note: You can also drag the endpoint handles with a mouse.
When you apply a text line to the score from a palette, the line properties (see below) always remain unchanged, but the properties of embedded text may vary depending on circumstances. See Behavior of applied text and lines for details.
Lines may contain features such as embedded text or hooks at the ends (e.g. ottavas and voltas). They can be customized once they have been added to the score, and the results saved to a workspace for future use:
Right-click on a line and select Line Properties…;
Add any text you want to appear in the line;
Click on the ... buttons to adjust the Text properties at each position as required.
If a hook is required, tick the appropriate "Hook" box, and adjust the hook length and angle;
Select an option from "Place": "Above or "Below" positions the text so that it overlaps the line; "Left" places the text to the left of the line;
Note: Additional placement options are available in the "Text properties" dialog (see step 2, above).
Click OK to exit Line Properties;
Make adjustments to Color, Thickness and Line type (solid, dashed etc.) in the "Line" section of the Inspector. Ticking "Diagonal" here allows you to create a diagonal line by dragging the end handles;
If you wish to save the resulting line for future use, see Custom palettes.
Once applied to the score, lines cannot be copied using the usual copy and paste procedures. However, you can duplicate lines within a score: press and hold Ctrl+Shift (Mac: Cmd+Shift), click on the line and drag it to the desired location.
To add an accidental to an extended ornament, such as a trill line, select the line and double-click a symbol from the Accidentals palette.
A whole rest, centred within a measure (shown below), is used to indicate that an entire measure (or a voice within a measure) is silent, regardless of time signature.
Use the following method if all selected measures are "standard"—i.e. with no custom durations:
If one or more of the measures contains a custom duration, use the following method instead:
A Multimeasure rest indicates a period of silence for an instrument: the number of measures is shown by the number above the staff.
To turn multimeasure rests on or off:
Note: It is recommended that you enter all notes in the score first before enabling multi-measure rests.
You may want to have a multi-measure rest divided into two multi-measure rests:
See also: Measure operations: Break multimeasure rest.
Octave (Ottava) lines are used to indicate that a section of music is to be played one or more octaves above or below written pitch: The line may be dotted or solid. Ottavas are available in the Lines palette of the Basic and Advanced workspaces.
8─────┐or 8va─────┐: Play one octave above written pitch
8─────┘or 8vb─────┘: Play one octave below written pitch
8va/8vb lines are particularly common in piano scores, though they are sometimes used in other instrumental music.1 15ma (2 octaves above) and 15mb (2 octaves below) are also occasionally used.
Use one of the following:
See also, Lines: Adjust vertical position.
See Lines: Change length.
Octaves can be customized just like any other line. See Lines: Custom lines and line properties.
A slur is a curved line between two or more notes indicating that they are to be played legato—smoothly and without separation. Not to be confused with Ties, which join two notes of the same pitch.
There are a number of ways to add a slur to a score, and all may be useful depending on the context (adding a slur from the lines palette is also possible but not recommended).
Make sure you are not in note input mode and select the first note that you want the slur to cover:
Press S to add a slur extending to the next note:
(Optional) Hold Shift and press → (right arrow key) to extend the slur to the next note. Repeat as required:
(Optional) Press X to flip the slur direction:
Press Esc to exit edit mode:
If you only want to adjust the position of a slur:
To adjust all the properties of a slur (length, shape and position):
Note: The two outer handles adjust the start and end of the slur, whilst the three handles on the curve adjust the contour. The middle handle on the straight line is used to move the whole slur up/down/left/right.
A slur can span several systems and pages. The start and end of a slur is anchored to a note/chord or rest. If the notes are repositioned due to changes in the layout, stretch or style, the slur also moves and adjusts in size.
This example shows a slur spanning from the bass to the treble clef. Using the mouse, select the first note of the slur, hold down Ctrl (Mac: ⌘) and select the last note for the slur, and press S to add the slur.
X flips the direction of a selected slur.
Dotted slurs are sometimes used in songs where the presence of a slur varies between stanzas. Dotted slurs are also used to indicate an editor's suggestion (as opposed to the composer's original markings). To change an existing slur into a dotted or dashed slur, select it and then in Inspector (F8) change
Line type from
A tie is a curved line between two notes of the same pitch, indicating that they are to be played as one note with a combined duration (see external links below). Ties are normally created between adjacent notes in the same voice, but MuseScore also supports ties between non-adjacent notes and between notes in different voices.
In note-input mode, if you specify a tie immediately after entering a note or chord, the program automatically generates the correct destination notes to go with the ties. Or, you can simply create ties "after the fact," between existing notes.
Note: Ties, which join notes of the same pitch, should not be confused with slurs, which join notes of different pitches and indicate legato articulation.
Press Esc to make sure you are not in note input mode.
Click on a note, or use Ctrl (Mac: Cmd) + click to select more than one note.
Press + or the tie button, .
Ties will be created between the selected note(s) and the following note(s) of the same pitch.
To tie all the notes in a chord at once, either:
Then press + or the tie button . Ties will be created between all the notes in the selected chord and the following notes of the same pitches.
To create a single note tie during note input:
Note: This shortcut works, as described above, only if there is no chord following the selected note. If there is, then the duration is ignored and the tied note is added instead to the following chord.
Note: This shortcut works, as described above, only if there is no chord following the selected note. If there is, then the duration is ignored and the tied notes are added instead to the following chord.
If the chords to be tied contain unison notes the best way to ensure correct notation is:
X flips the direction of a selected tie, from above the note to below the note, or vice-versa.
Tremolo is the rapid repetition of one note, or a rapid alternation between two notes or chords. It is indicated by strokes through the stems of the notes or chords. If the tremolo is between two, the bars are drawn between them. Tremolo symbols are also used to notate drum rolls.
To add tremolo to a single note, select the note head and double-click the desired symbol in the tremolo palette.
In a two note tremolo, every note has the value of the whole tremolo duration. To enter a tremolo with the duration of a half note (minim), enter two normal quarter notes (crotchets), and after applying a tremolo symbol to the first note, the note values automatically double to half notes.
Tuplets are used to write rhythms beyond the beat divisions usually permitted by the time signature. For example, a sixteenth note triplet divides an eighth note beat into three sixteenth notes instead of two:
In 6/8 time, an eighth note duplet divides a dotted quarter note into two eighth notes instead of three:
Select a note or rest that specifies the full duration of the desired triplet group. In the case of an eighth note triplet, you will need to select a quarter note or rest—as in the example below:
From the main menu, choose Notes→Tuplets→Triplet, or press Ctrl+3 (Mac: ⌘+3). This will give the following result:
The program automatically changes to note-input mode and selects the most appropriate duration—in this example an eighth note. Now enter the desired series of notes/rests. For example:
To create other tuplets (Duplet (2) to Nonuplet (9)), substitute one of the following commands at the relevant step above:
For more complex cases, see below.
To create other tuplets than the default options (e.g. 13 sixteenth notes in the space of one quarter note):
Select the desired number ratio (e.g. 13/4 for thirteen sixteenth notes in the space of a quarter note) under "Relation" in the "Type" section. Specify "Number" and "Bracket" using the radio buttons in the "Format" section;
Click OK to close the dialog:
Enter the desired series of notes/rests.
To delete any tuplet, select the number/bracket and press Del.
To change the display properties of tuplets in the score, select the tuplet numbers/brackets, and adjust the desired properties in the "Tuplet" section of the Inspector:
If neither the number nor the bracket of the tuplet is shown in the score, select a note from the tuplet, then use the Tuplet button in the Inspector to display the "Tuplet" section:
"Nothing" turns off number display.
To make fine adjustments to the way that all tuplets in the score are displayed, from the menu, select Style → General... and select Tuplets.
Two adjustments are possible: Vertical and Horizontal
You can create a simple repeat by placing a start and an end repeat barline at the beginning and end of a passage. These barlines are applied from the Barlines palette, and, as of version 2.1, also from the Repeats & Jumps palette.
Note: If the start of a repeat coincides with the beginning of a piece or section, the start repeat barline can be omitted if desired. Similarly, an end repeat barline can be omitted at the end of a score or section.
First create a simple repeat (as shown above), then apply the first and second time endings—see Voltas.
To hear repeats during playback, make sure the "Play Repeats" button on the toolbar is selected. Likewise, you can turn off repeats during playback by deselecting the button.
To set the number of times that a repeat section plays back:
Text and symbols related to repeats are located in the "Repeats & Jumps" palette (in the Basic and Advanced workspaces). This palette contains:
To add a repeat symbol to the score use either of the following:
Jumps are symbols in the score which tell the musician, and playback, to skip to a named marker (see below). Jumps include the various kinds of D.C. (Da Capo) and D.S. (Dal Segno) text.
If you click on a jump, some text boxes and a checkbox are displayed in the Jump section of the Inspector. These have the following effects on playback:
Note: The tags start and end, referring to the beginning and end of a score or section, are implicit and don't need to be added by the user.
Markers are the places referred to by the jumps. A list of markers (in addition to the implicit "start" and "end") follows:
If you click on a marker, the following properties appears in the Marker section of the Inspector:
Note: The properties (i.e. the tag names) of jumps and markers can be set via the Inspector. You need to modify them if using multiple jumps and markers.
Volta brackets, or first and second ending brackets, are used to mark different endings for a repeat.
Use one of the following methods:
Note: Only the Shift commands will alter the playback start and end points of the volta. To make fine adjustments to the visual start or end points you can use other keyboard arrow commands, or drag the handles with a mouse, but these do not affect the playback properties.
When you select a start or end handle, a dashed line appears connecting it to an anchor point on the staff. This anchor shows the position of the playback start or end point of the Volta.
You can change the text and many other properties of a volta bracket using the line properties dialog. Right-click on a volta bracket and choose Line Properties.... The figure below shows the volta text as "1.-5."
You can also right-click on the volta and bring up the volta properties dialog. From here, you can change both the displayed Volta text (the same from the line properties above) and the repeat list. If you want one volta to be played only on certain repeats and another volta on other repeats, enter the repeat times in a comma separated list. In the example below, this volta will be played during repeat 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7. Another volta will have the other ending, like 3, 6 and possibly other higher numbers like 8, 9, etc.
Sometimes a repeat plays more than two times. In the figure above, the volta text indicates that it should play five times before it continues. If you want to change the number of times MuseScore plays a repeat, go to the measure containing the end repeat barline and change its
Play count (
Repeat Count prior to version 2.1). See Measure operations: Other properties for details.
Note: In versions prior to 2.1, F2 (Mac: fn+F2) transposes the whole score and key signature UP one semitone. Shift+F2 (Mac: Shift+fn +F2) transposes the score and key signature DOWN one semitone.
MuseScore's Transpose dialog gives you more options for transposing notes.
Note: By default this dialog opens from the Notes menu, but you can also chose to open it using a keyboard shortcut (see Preferences).
To transpose notes up or down to the nearest key:
To transpose selected notes up or down in semitone increments:
To transpose selected notes up or down by a diatonic interval:
Transposing instruments, such as the B-flat trumpet or E-flat alto sax, sound lower, or higher than their written pitch. MuseScore has a number of features to facilitate the scoring of these instruments.
MuseScore's default viewing mode shows the musical notation in written pitch, but you can chose to display the score in concert pitch instead. In the latter mode, the musical notation of all instruments matches the actual pitches that you hear on playback.
To switch to concert pitch, use one of the following options:
You should ensure that the Concert pitch button is OFF before printing the main score or any parts.
Instrument transpositions are already set up in MuseScore. However, if you want a rare instrument or transposition that is not available in MuseScore, you may need to edit the instrument transposition manually.
You can also use the Change Instrument… button in the Staff Properties window to automatically change the transposition to that of a different standard instrument.
Entering percussion notation is somewhat different to entering notation for pitched instruments (such as the piano or violin). However, it is recommended that you first read the chapter on Note input for pitched instruments before proceeding.
When you create a percussion staff using the New Score Wizard or the Instruments dialog, MuseScore automatically choses the most appropriate staff type (1-, 3-, or 5-line) for the instrument: this can be changed, if required, using the "Staff type" column on the Chose instruments / Instruments page. Any additional changes (e.g. to a 2-line staff) can be made from the score itself (see Advanced Style Properties).
On a 5-line percussion staff, each instrument is assigned a vertical staff position (line or space) and a notehead shape. For a drumset, one or two voices can be used. If the latter, voice 1 (the upper voice) usually contains (up-stem) notes played by the hands while voice 2 (the lower voice) usually contains (down-stem) notes played by the feet (see image below).
You can add notes to a percussion staff from any of the following:
These methods can be used in any desired combination:
To add notes to a percussion staff from a MIDI keyboard:
Ensure that the MIDI keyboard is connected and functioning correctly.
Note: If you click on the percussion staff without entering note input mode, you can demo the percussion instruments from the MIDI keyboard.
Click on the note or rest where you want to start.
Note: Refer to a GM2 drum map for details about which MIDI keyboard key corresponds to which percussion instrument. Some keyboards (e.g., Casio) display percussion symbols next to the keys as an aid to the user.
To add notes to a percussion staff from the virtual Piano Keyboard:
Ensure that the Piano keyboard is displayed. Press P (or select it from the menu, View → Piano Keyboard).
Note: If you click on the percussion staff without entering note input mode, you can demo the percussion instruments from the Piano keyboard.
Click on the note or rest where you want to start.
Note: Refer to a GM2 drum map for details about which piano key corresponds to which percussion instrument.
By default, the piano keyboard is docked at the bottom of the screen—to the left of the Drum input palette. However you can undock it by dragging, then dock the panel in several ways:
To enter notes on a percussion staff using your computer keyboard:
Note: Voice allocation is determined by the color of the note in the drum input palette: blue for voice 1, green for voice 2.
To add a note to a percussion staff
Use the following method to add a new note or to replace an existing chord.
To add a note to an existing chord in the percussion staff
Note: Voice allocation is determined by the color of the note in the drum input palette: blue for voice 1, green for voice 2.
When a percussion staff is selected and note input mode is ON, a window opens at the bottom of the screen called the Drum input palette. This window is essential for mouse input, and displays shortcuts for computer keyboard input, but can be ignored if using a MIDI keyboard or the virtual Piano Keyboard.
Each note in the palette represents a percussion instrument: hovering the mouse pointer over the note displays the instrument name.
The letters A–G (shown above certain notes in the palette) are designated as shortcuts for entering particular instruments (bass drum, snare, closed hi-hat etc.), rather than referring to note pitches. They can be changed or reallocated as desired in the Edit Drumset window.
When the Drum input palette is open, double-clicking a note in the palette or entering a shortcut letter will add that instrument note to the percussion staff. The color of the note in the palette shows the voice allocated for that note—blue for voice 1, green for voice 2. This can be changed in the Edit Drumset dialog if required.
This voice allocation applies only to keyboard and mouse entry of notes: entry via a MIDI keyboard or the virtual Piano keyboard allows any voice to be used.
To open the Edit Drumset window, use one of the following options:
The Edit Drumset dialog displays the percussion instruments available and the MIDI notes/numbers to which they are allocated. It also determines how each instrument is displayed on the staff— its name, position, notehead type and note-stem direction. Any changes made here are automatically saved in the parent MuseScore file.
Clicking on a row in the left-hand column allows you to edit the display properties for that note as follows:
Name: The name you want displayed in the Drum input palette when you mouse over the note.
Notehead: Chose a notehead for that instrument from a drop-down list of options (if set to "Invalid," the instrument will not display in the Drum input palette).
Staff line: This number indicates the staff line/space on which the note is displayed. "0" means that the note is displayed on the top line of the 5-line staff. Negative numbers move the note upwards step by step, while positive numbers move it downwards in the same way.
Stem Direction: Auto, Up or down.
Default voice: Assign to one of four voices. This does not affect input from a MIDI keyboard or the virtual Piano keyboard.
Shortcut: Assign a keyboard shortcut to enter that note.
The customized drumset can be saved as a .drm file by pressing Save. You can also import a customized drumset using the Load button.
Note: In MuseScore 2.1, some of the pitches in the Tenor Drums instrument do not play back; there is a DRM file designed to fix this, which you can download here, via right-click→ Save target as.
To create a drum roll, use Tremolo.
Music for fretted, stringed instruments is commonly notated using tablature, also known as tab, which provides a visual representation of the strings and fret numbers:
Tablature can also be combined with traditional staff notation:
If you wish to create tablature as part of a new score, use the New Score Wizard. If you want to add tablature to an existing score, use the Instruments dialog. Or, alternatively, you can convert an existing standard staff. See below for details.
To create tablature in a new score (for combined staff/tablature systems see → below):
On the Instruments page, select one (or more) tablature options under "Plucked strings" in the left-hand column (see image below). Then click Add.
Note: You can use the dropdown list above the Instrument list to change the category displayed. Alternately you can search for the instrument using the "Search" field below the Instrument list.
Complete the rest of the New Score Wizard.
If the desired tablature is not available in the Choose Instrument list:
This allows you to create tablature for any chromatically-fretted instrument.
To add a single tablature staff to an existing score (for combined staff/tab system see → below):
To convert an existing standard staff to tablature, or tablature to a standard staff:
Note: If you subsequently need to make further adjustments to the staff (e.g. tuning, number of lines/strings etc.), right click on the staff and select Staff Properties….
Alternative method (using just the "Staff Properties" dialog):
Note: Other adjustments to the staff (e.g. tuning, number of lines/strings etc.), can also be made in the Staff Properties… dialog.
Note: If you only want to view (rather than change) the instrument tuning, follow steps 1 and 2 only.
Right-click on the staff and select Staff Properties….
Press the Edit String Data… button at the bottom of the dialog box. The String Data dialog opens:
Click on a string pitch and select Edit String…. Or, alternatively, just double-click the string pitch.
Notes: (1) If tuning is changed when the tablature for that instrument already contains some notes, fret marks will be adjusted automatically (if possible); (2) Any change of tuning to a particular instrument applies only to the score at hand, and does not change any program default settings.
Note: After adding a tablature string you will need to adjust the number of lines in the Staff properties dialog.
Note: After deleting a tablature string you will need to adjust the number of lines in the Staff properties dialog.
This feature is used to mark a (bass) course as unstopped (i.e. outside of the fingerboard and always sounding open): as on a Baroque lute or Theorbo etc. This means that only "0" (zero) or "a" is accepted as a fret mark: any other fret mark will be converted to 0/a.
This property defines the maximum fret number which can be entered on a tablature staff.
You can customize both the appearance of a tablature staff and the way that it displays the fret marks. To access these options:
Plucked-string instruments—such as the guitar—are commonly notated using both a music staff and tablature (TAB) together. MuseScore gives you the option of having the two staves either unlinked or linked:
Unlinked Staves: You can enter, delete or edit notation in one staff without affecting the other. To transfer music notation from one staff to the other, select the desired range and copy and paste it into the other staff.
Linked Staves: Any changes you make in one staff are automatically applied to the other staff as well ("mutual translation").
A note on fret mark conflicts: When the same note is entered in two different voices, MuseScore tries to ensure that the fret marks do not overlap on the same string. Any overlaps which do occur are marked with red squares: these appear only in the document window and not on any printed copy. In almost all cases (e.g. frets 0 to 4 on the 6th string), overlapping is the desired result and no further adjustment is required. As of version 2.2, you can hide the red marks by selecting "View" and unticking "Show Unprintable."
Note: To create unlinked staves with separate mixer channels, instead of step "5" (above), select a Tablature staff in the left-hand column and click Add. Then continue with steps 6 and 7.
Note: To create unlinked staves with separate mixer channels, instead of step "3" (above), select a Tablature staff in the left-hand column and click Add. Then continue with steps 4–6.
To add tablature to a plucked-string staff in the score (or vice versa):
Notes: To create unlinked staves with separate mixer channels, instead of step "3" (above), select an appropriate staff in the left-hand column and click Add. Then continue with steps 4–6.
Press 0 to 9 to enter a fret mark from 0 to 9 on the current string; to enter numbers with several digits press each digit in sequence. Keys A to K (skipping I) can also be used: convenient when working in French tablature. For L , M, N, use the alphanumeric keyboard and type respectively 10, 11, 12...
Note: You cannot enter a number higher than the "Number of frets" value set in the Edit String Data dialog.
Press ; (semicolon) to enter a rest of the selected duration.
See also, Edit notes (below).
As of version 2.1, period notation for bass strings (lutes and sim.) is supported:
French tablature: letters with prefixed slash-like strokes right under the tab body: i.e. 7th string: "a", 8th string: "/a", 9th string: "//a" and so on, all in the first position below the tab body.
Italian tablature: numbers with 'ledger line'- like segment of string above the tab body: i.e. 7th string: "0" one position above the tab body with one 'ledger line'; 8th string: "0" two positions above the tab body with two 'ledger lines' and so on.
Input of is via computer keyboard only: by moving the note entry cursor below (French) or above (Italian) the tab body, 'shadow' slashes or ledger lines will indicate the target string to which the fret mark will be applied; pressing one of the fret keys, will enter (and lay out) the note on that string.
To enter notes into tablature with a mouse:
See also, Edit notes (below).
In note input mode, you can use any of the following methods to set note duration in tablature:
To edit an existing fret mark in note-input mode:
To edit an existing fret mark outside note-input mode:
Note: The fret mark cannot be higher than the "Number of frets" value set in the Edit String Data dialog.
To change a fret mark to a crosshead note:
|↑||Select above string as current.|
|↓||Select below string as current.|
|Shift+1 to Shift+9||Select a duration (128th note to a longa)|
|NumPad 1 to NumPad 9||Select a duration (128th note to a longa)|
|Q||Decrease current input duration.|
|W||Increase current input duration.|
|0 to 9||Enter a fret digit / letter.|
|A to K||Enter a fret digit / letter (I excluded).|
|Alt+Shift+↑||Increase current fret mark.|
|Alt+Shift+↓||Decrease current fret mark.|
|; (semicolon)||Enter a rest|
|0 to 9||Change duration of selected note or rest (128th note to longa)|
|Alt+Shift+↑||Increase the pitch of the selected note (MuseScore chooses the string).|
|↑||Increase the pitch without changing string.|
|Alt+Shift+↓||Decrease the pitch of the selected note (MuseScore chooses the string).|
|↓||Decrease the pitch without changing string.|
|Ctrl+↑ (Mac: Cmd+↑)||Move note to above string, keeping the pitch.|
|Ctrl+↓ (Mac: Cmd+↓)||Move note to below string, keeping the pitch.|
|Shift+X||Toggle the ghost notehead on/off.|