How to get lyrics melisma on S+A when T+B has the slur

• Nov 7, 2023 - 04:58

I'm working on a closed score of S+A and T+B in voices 1 and 2 on each staff, with lyrics entered into the top staff but not the bottom (a fairly common occurrence for choirs). When the higher parts have a slur and need a melisma line to extend across them all, I can work it out by entering the lyrics into the right voice with underscores to extend a line, but when the slurs are in the lower voices and the upper voices have a single held note, I can't enter a line. If I cheat and make the top parts match the bottom in rhythm then enter a line, the lyrics look correct, but then when I change the value of the first note in the upper parts the line extends into the next notes instead of staying put. Is there a way to get the melisma line to cover the lower parts?


Short answer: no.
Slightly more elaborated: you can use a single _, that'd result in the syllable to right-align and might show a very short melisma.

I discovered a workaround that leads to some fragile staff spacing...

Enter the lyrics into the part with melisma in the lower staff, then use X to flip them above the staff. With a bit of judicious offset adjusting and use of staff spacers, one can get them looking like they're in the same lines as the lyrics attached to the top staff.

If you are happy with a cheat, here is another one.

The first blue note is actually a crotchet/quarter note, with its head displayed as minim/half note (Inspector/Properties: Head type = Half). This note is tied with the another invisible crotchet, thus preserving the original value and playback.

That way the soprano rhythm (blue) matches the bass rhythm (green) and the lyrics can have a melisma for the blue "now_" syllable attached to soprano line, so no vertical adjustment is needed when staff distance changes unexpectedly for whatever reason.

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