Transferring notes between LH and RH piano staves

• Jan 23, 2014 - 12:23

Hi everyone

I am learning to play Schumann's "Von fremden Laender und Menschen" using a MIDI file on my keyboard.

I am trying to see if playing the final note of the bass trios is easier to assign to the LH rather than to the RH as it usually the practice.

I would therefore need to have a quick way of changing a note from the RH stave to the LH one. Is there a keyboard shortcut for that? Otherwise, deleting each note and recreating it manually on the other stave takes quite a bit of time.

Thanks in advance!

Attachment Size
Von fremden Laender und Menschen.mid 1.59 KB


Contrary to what people are taught in the early stages of keyboard lessons, there is no rule which says notes on the top staff must be played with the right hand and notes on the bottom stave must be played with the left.

So if you want to play a note with a different hand there is absolutely no need to move it to a different staff - just play it with whichever hand is convenient.

There is however a trick to do this. See

In the case of a single note from a chord you will have to make sure it is in a separate voice from the others.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

The case for moving from the RH to the LH includes fixing import errors when sheet music is generated from a public midi file. The import often places parts of the bass chord with the treble chord. In this case it is incorrect in every way to accept this notation and the steps through creating a new voice are cumbersome and still wrong. As you can see in beats 3 & 4 I selected the bottom note selected voice 2 and CTRL SHIFT down arrow. When I then select the note to include in the bass clef voice 1 and choose voice 1 it puts it back in the treble clef. Can it be done?

Attachment Size
test.mscz 5.98 KB

I'd cross-staff the notes if it avoids lots of ledger lines. Sometimes an indication is given (RH, MD or a diagonal line from the previous phrase etc), sometimes not. In the attached snippet the composer indicates RH at the beginning and then assumes you've got the hang of it by the first full measure. You can also do cross-staff beaming (for shorter notes, obviously) and then you can adjust the beam to make it more aesthetic.

Attachment Size
Hands.mscz 3.48 KB

In reply to by underquark

Sorry, should have made it clearer. I'm using the MIDI on my keyboard in "learning mode", in order to be able to learn the two parts/hands separately, i.e. I am first learning one hand (one stave), then the other. For this purpose, it *is* therefore relevant which notes are on what stave, and I want to try to see if the fingering I described (last note of the trio moved over to the LH) is easier to play.

Cross-staff-beaming doesn't help me in this case, as it simply moves the appearance of the note while leaving it on the same stave - my keyboard would thus consider it to be part of the same channel rather than switching that last note over to the other channel, which is what I want.

Hope that makes sense... Thanks for your help

In reply to by longtalker

If you're trying to manipulate MIDI directly then MuseScore is quite the wrong tool for the job.

MuseScore is score engraving software and as such is not geared up for the editing of MIDI data directly - you cannot even specify a MIDI channel, which will be necessary for exporting files for your keyboard.

What you need is MIDI sequencing software.

You don't say which OS you are using but there are a number of free options listed here:

Loading your MIDI file into a sequencer will enable you to do such operations with a simple copy and paste operation.


In reply to by longtalker

Chiming in here as a fretted string instumentalist whose performance virtuosity on piano lies somewhere between 'Chopsticks' and 'Tiger Rag', I was wondering:

Using your posted midi file, 'Von fremden Laender und Menschen.mid', I took a look at it displayed on my (Yamaha) midi keyboard's display in 'learning mode' and compared it to the MuseScore imported version (using 16th note quantization). My attachment shows the first 9 measures of each version.
In both versions, the treble/bass clefs show the same separation, although the midi keyboard's 'learning mode' display looks tidier - without the complicated timing (e.g. excessive ties) which usually occurs when midi is imported into MuseScore 1.3.

Now my question:
Are you sure you really want to assign notes from the RH stave to the LH one?
I'd be interested in knowing which notes in particular - what do you mean by 'the final note of the bass trios'?
As mentioned, I'm not primarily a keyboard player, but it seems to me that the way the score displays (both in MS and 'learning mode'), the RH solely plays treble clef and the LH strictly plays bass. (I realize, of course, that this is not always the case.)
Midi manipulation for 'learning mode' display would not be necessary, in this case, because moving notes from the RH (treble) to the LH (bass) would actually make the piece more difficult to play, in my humble opinion. Unless of course, your 'learning mode' displays the score differently.


In reply to by Jm6stringer

You know, I didn't look at the midi file but at the original sheet which is more complicated with cross-staff beaming etc.

It's "Ländern", not "Laender", by the way. You can type the ä by holding down the [AltGr] key and pressing [ then letting them both go and typing a.

No quick way that I know of. You could maybe write a Plugin (or modify an existing one) to do it but I suspect that it isn't worth the effort as you'd still need to select the note then activate the Plugin.

In reply to by underquark

Many thanks for all replies.

Jm6stringer: I am referring to the last note of each 3-note triplet in the F clef, the first of which, for instance, is the G4. It seems to me that it'd help me with the phrasing if I could play all these notes in the LH, and to leave just the melody for the RH; it'd be a bit of a stretch, but it's OK I have big hands :) I find it confusing for the RH to play a melody + one remaining note of the 3-note tripled left unfinished by the LH. Probably a simplistic view, but I'm just a beginning pianist.

MIDI sequencers: I've used Anvil Studio a while ago, but having opened my MIDI there, I don't see how the operation I want to do could be done there.

If there's no way to use shortcuts for this, then I'll just do this manually... Although, as a misplaced 'feature suggestion', for the odd user who does use MS as a MIDI sequencer, having a way to quickly move a note from e.g. the F clef to the G clef would be very useful.

In reply to by longtalker

ok so after changing a few of the notes as described, I realised that it's actually easier with the original fingering :) the phrasing is a bit off, as RH is split between the harmony (triplets) and the melody, but the alternative is to have the LH run around the keyboard too much

Thanks anyway as always for all the helpful input!

In reply to by longtalker

I, too, tried changing the bass clef into more of a strict chordal accompaniment by moving notes from the treble clef. It raised the overall difficulty level, as the left hand was made to perform most of the 'work', as compared to the original - where both hands share the load.

Have a look at my attachment.
I agree with you that the original midi 'learning mode' is easier, and though you may regard 'the phrasing a bit off, as RH is split between the harmony (triplets) and the melody' - that's where the magic/skill lies in arranging/practicing/performing. Sometimes a piece 'sounds' easier than it actually is, and vice versa.


PS. @underquark...Thanks. I usually copy/paste long file names, so initially I kept the OP's title.
BTW, where's the [AltGr] key? For the time being, I copy pasted your "Ländern" to make the correction.

Attachment Size
Von fremden Ländern melody.mscz 3.49 KB

In reply to by longtalker

With Anvil you would need to buy the Multi track view plugin to achieve this easily.

In Sonar X3 it is simply a question of opening the file in track view, locating the note involved, splitting the clip at that point in both tracks, then dragging the clip from one track to the other.

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