Add Acciaccatura (grace note):
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:
Press up/down arrow keys for fine positioning (0.1 sp at a time);
) for larger vertical adjustments (1 sp at a time).
To flip a symbol to the other side of the note (where applicable), select it and press
To enable adjustments in all directions from the keyboard:
1. Double click on the symbol to enter Edit mode
, or click on it and press
) , or
right-click on the symbol and select "Edit element";
2. Press arrow keys for fine positioning (0.1 sp at a time); or press
larger adjustments (1 sp at a time).
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.
To access articulation properties, click on the symbol and make the desired adjustments to values in
the Inspector. The exact properties displayed depend on the type of articulation. Other properties (i.e.
direction and anchor position) can be accessed by right-clicking on the symbol and selecting
You can also make global adjustments to all existing and subsequently-applied articulations by
Style… → General… → Articulations, Ornaments
A variety of simple and complex (i.e. multi-stage) bends can be created in both music and tablature
staves with the Bend Tool
, located in the "Articulations & Ornaments" palette
of the Advanced
Apply a bend
To apply a bend symbol, use one of the following options:
Select a note and double-click the bend tool in the palette.
Drag the bend tool from the palette on to a note.
By default, the tool applies a whole note up-bend. To edit the bend, right click on it and select "Bend
properties." Five preset options are available, if needed, to the left of the graph.
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A bend is modified or created by adding or deleting points in the graph. To add a point to the graph,
click on an empty intersection. To delete, simply click on an existing point, or on the same vertical line
as the point. The Start and End points of the bend can be moved up and down only.
Each unit in the vertical axis of the graph represents a quarter-tone: 2 units is a semitone, 4 units a
whole-tone and so on. The direction of the slope indicates the type of bend:
Up-slope = Up-bend
Down-slope = Down-bend
Horizontal line = Hold
The horizontal axis indicates the extent of the bend: each (light grey) segment is 1 sp in length (sp =
space, the distance between two staff lines), and each user-added point therefore lengthens the bend
by 1 sp.
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:
1. Create another note on the top line (or space) of the staff, vertically above the note at which you
want the bend to start.
2. Apply the bend to the higher note first: this will give you a bend symbol with the lowest height.
3. To increase the height of the bend move this note downward.
4. Drag the bend symbol downwards to the correct position.
5. Mark the top note invisible and silent (using the Inspector
To adjust position use one of the following:
Drag the bend symbol with a mouse.
Click on the symbol and adjust the horizontal and vertical offsets in the Inspector
Double click on the symbol; or click on it and press
); or right-click on the
symbol and select "Edit element." Then use the arrow keys for fine positioning (0.1 sp at a time);
) for larger adjustments (1 sp at a time).
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
). See Custom palette
Barline symbols are available in the Barlines palette:
Change barline type
To change an existing barline, use one of the following:
Select a barline, then double click on a symbol in the Barlines palette.
Drag a symbol from the Barlines palette onto a barline in the score.
Drag a symbol from the Barlines palette onto a measure.
Select a measure, then double-click on a symbol in the Barlines palette.
To insert a new barline between existing ones, either:
Drag a symbol from the Barlines palette onto a note or rest.
Select a note or rest, then double-click a symbol in the Barlines palette.
Barlines can also be changed in the Inspector
. Other options available here include:
Dashed or dotted barlines
End, double, repeat and adjustable partial barlines,
To hide a barline entirely, select the line and press
, or uncheck
in the Inspector.
To extend barlines over multiple staves, like in a grand staff, e.g. for piano, double-click on a barline
Click and drag the blue handle down to the next staff.
All the rest of the barlines will update when you leave
Add articulation/ornament to barline
Beams are set automatically based on the time signature (see Time signatures: Change default
), but they can be altered manually on a case-by-case basis. Drag a beam symbol from the
"Beam Properties" palette to a note in order to change its behavior.
Alternatively, you can first select a note (or rest), and then double-click the appropriate symbol in the
Start a beam at this note.
Do not end a beam at this note (or rest).
Do not beam this note.
Start a second level beam at this note.
Start a third level beam at this note.
(back to) Automatic mode: the mode MuseScore chooses on note input, dependent on
current time signature.
Start feathered beam (slower) at this note.
Start feathered beam (faster) at this note.
To change the beam angle, or the distance of the beam to the notes (i.e. the length of the stems),
double-click on the beam to put it into
, with the right end handle being selected. Up/down
arrow will now change the angle. Selecting the left end handle and using the up/down arrow keys will
lengthen/shorten the stems. Hit
to get out of edit mode, once done with the changes.
To move a beam from above to below the notes, or vice-versa, flip the direction of the stems by using
the button along the second top row (before the voice indicators) that shows a note with stems
attached above and below or use the
Cross staff beaming
How to add a beam over a rest
How to place a beam between notes
MuseScore provides standard brackets and a curly brace within the Brackets palette
To add a bracket or brace to a system, use one of two methods:
Drag a bracket symbol from a palette on to an empty space in the first measure of the staff
where you want the bracket to start.
Select the first measure of the staff where you want the bracket to start and double-click a
bracket symbol in a palette.
Select the bracket and press
Drag a bracket symbol from a palette onto an existing bracket in the score.
When you first apply a bracket it only spans one staff. To extend the bracket to other staves, double-
click on it (or click on it and press
Ctrl + E
) to enter edit
mode, then drag the handle downwards to
span the required staves. The handle snaps into position, so exact placement is not required.
If you need to adjust the vertical/horizontal position of the whole bracket, click on it and change the
offsets in the Inspector
Breaths and pauses
Breath and pause markings are available in the Breaths & Pauses palette
in the advanced
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:
Select a note or rest and double-click a breath or pause symbol in a palette
Drag a breath or pause symbol from a palette onto a note or rest in the score.
Breath symbol in score (Emmentaler font)
The symbol is placed after the note. You may subsequently wish to adjust its position by entering edit
mode and using the arrow cursor keys, by dragging, or by changing the offsets in the Inspector
Clefs are located in the Clefs palette
in both the Basic and Advanced workspaces.
Note: The Clefs palette in the Basic workspace
only displays treble, bass, alto and tenor clefs. To
access more, switch to the Advanced workspace (see image below) using the menu below the
palettes. You can also create a custom palette
containing exactly the clefs you want.
Add a clef
Add clef to beginning of measure
Method 1—add clef to beginning of a measure, whether or not it is the first measure in a system
Select a measure and double-click a clef symbol in the palette, OR
Drag a clef from the palette into an empty part of a measure.
Method 2—only for changing the clef at the start of a system
Select the existing clef at the beginning of the system and double-click a new clef from the
Drag a new clef from the palette directly onto the existing clef.
Add mid-measure clef
To create a mid-measure clef:
Drag a clef from the palette directly onto a note (make sure that the cursor is over the note,
which should turn blue, before dropping the symbol), OR
Click on a note and then double-click a clef in the palette.
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 courtesy clefs, go to
Style → General... → Page
check/uncheck the "Create courtesy clef" option.
Remove a clef
Select a clef and press
Display clef only in the first measure (for all staves)
Style → General... → Page
and uncheck "Create clef for all systems."
Display clef only in the first measure (for a particular staff)
1. Right click on the staff, select
and uncheck "Show clef."
2. Open the Master Palette
and select the "Symbols" section.
3. Drag and drop a clef from the master palette onto the first measure of the staff, OR select the
first note and double-click a clef in the master palette
Note: This option may be useful to TAB users who do not want the clef to repeat on every subsequent
Hide all clefs in a particular staff
Right click on the staff, select
and uncheck "Show clef."
Note input for unpitched percussion works differently than for other (pitched) instruments, but you may
wish to familiarize yourself with Note input
before trying percussion notation.
Notation for drumsets often includes simultaneous upstem and downstem notes. If you are unfamiliar
with editing multiple voices in a single staff, see Voices
for an overview.
The easiest way to add drum notation to your score is via MIDI keyboard. Some MIDI keyboards have
percussion markings above each key. If you press the key for high hat, then MuseScore will add the
correct notation to the score. MuseScore automatically takes care of the stem direction and type of
To enter notes on a percussion staff
using your computer keyboard, first click on the staff and press
note input mode
. By default, seven drum sounds are mapped to a keyboard shortcut (A-G),
just as in regular note input
. You can remap those seven shortcuts to other drum instruments via the
button of the drum input palette (see →below
If you wish to enter a new drum note at the same position as an existing note—for example, if you
want the bass and snare drums to sound simultaneously—first, look at the drum input palette to see if
they are the same color, or if one is blue and one is green:
If the two drums are different colors in the palette, then they are in differentv oices
, and all you need to
do is position the cursor at the same place as the first drum and type the shortcut for the second
If they are the same color in the palette, then they are in the same voice. Hold
the new note so as not to overwrite the existing note. This is the same method as used when entering
chords for tuned instruments under MuseScore (see Note input
1. Select a note or rest in the percussion staff
to to enter
note input mode
Please note that the drum input palette will only appear at the bottom of the screen when you
have completed this step:
3. Select a note duration from the note input toolbar at the top of the screen as in regularn ote input
4. Select a type of note (such as bass drum, or snare) on the drum input palette
5. Click on the percussion staff to add the note to the score
Double-clicking on a note type in the drum input palette will immediately add that note at the
current cursor location. Note that all existing notes at that location will be replaced.
On a percussion staff, the sounds produced by different pitches depend on the SoundFont installed
and the sound
selected for the staff in the Mixer.
Groups of pitches that produce related sounds (eg: for a jazz or rock drum kit) can be brought together
in a drumset. In a drumset definition, each of the related pitches can be assigned a name, an
appearance and location on the staff, a default voice, and optionally a keyboard shortcut that can be
used in note input mode. To edit the details of a drumset, while in note input mode on a percussion
staff click the
button at the left of the drum input palette. The drumset can also be edited
by right-clicking on the staff and selecting Edit Drumset....
Customized drumsets can be saved as .drm files to be loaded into other scores via the Edit Drumset
To create a drum roll, use Tremolo
How to create jazz drum notation
Video tutorial: MuseScore in Minutes: Lesson 7 - Tablature and Drum Notation
Editing the Drum Palette in MuseScore 1.1
Saving Drumset Changes in MuseScore 1.1
Guide to Drum and Percussion Notation
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. They can occur singly or in groups.
Create grace notes
Grace notes can be found in the "Grace notes" palette
in the Basic or Advanced workspace.
Add a grace note
Select a regular note and double click a grace note in a palette
Drag a grace note symbol from a palette onto a regular note, OR
Select a note and press
to create an acciaccatura only.
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