Request for text option for Free Text box

• Jul 13, 2019 - 18:13

When I go to Add/Text there are many options, but as best I can tell there is no way to add a free block of text at a place of my choosing on the score. My desire was to add Narration to be read at the conclusion of the piece. But there are times it would be nice to be able to add a performance note at the beginning or elsewhere on the page.

I guess the easiest way would be to export as PDF and then open that in a graphics program that would let me add text block(s) as desired, however otheer score programs I have used allow text blocks anywhere.


In reply to by radionut44

You don't reposition it, you simply attach it to the place you want in the first place (eg, before the first measure, or after the last). You can, if you like, reposition the text within the frame to fine tune it's position. If you know you want the text to always follow a particular measure, you can also attach it to something in that measure, or use staff text. Lots of options depending on exactly what you want. But MuseScore needs to understand the purpose of the text in terms of layout to understand how to flow the rest of your score around it.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I'm very late with this, but I just wanted to point out that you can indeed reposition it after you have entered some text. Simply click and drag it to where you want it to go. This works for text frames, staff text, system text, lyrics, dynamics, lines. So, say you want to type a little mini-essay explaining the meaning of the piece in some empty space on the page: 1. attach the frame, text frame, staff text, etc, to the note or measure that's close to where you want the text, 2. Type something, 3. Click what you typed and drag it where you want it. If you need to make line breaks, manually do it by pressing [Return]. Simple as tying your shoes.

Maybe a bit late for that project but it might help someone else..

In MuseScore 2 I find using horizontal and vertical frames to be more flexible than using a text frame as they can be resized and you can add text (or even pictures) into them. You can then reposition the text (or picture) separate from the frame.

horizontal and vertical frames -1.png
Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 10.54.21 am.png

I don't think you get quite the flexibility in MuseScore 3 while the auto format thing is on, but it'll probably work fine with that feature turned off.

In reply to by Joey_Dolezal

Indeed, vertical and horizontal frames are more flexible, text frames are simpler though as you don't need to add text separately, and they size automatically. So, pick the right tool for the job. MuseScore 3 doesn't really change any of this; autoplace doesn't get in your way moving elements in frames at all.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi Marc :)

Autoplace does change the way it behaves a little. I do most of my serious work in MuseScore 2 because it's so stable on my MacBook and I prefer the dark mode colour scheme (its different on Mac), but use MuseScore 3 for quick lead sheets and the like.

I was trying to get a song to fit on one page and some text spilled over on to the second. My workaround in MuseScore 2 is t reduce or even invert the frame until it pops back onto the previous page. When I tried this in MuseScore 3 it crashed and then the next time I tried the formatting went a bit crazy and some disappeared down below the bottom of the page. There's probably another work around for it, in which case maybe it's not less flexible, just different.

In reply to by Joey_Dolezal

MuseScore 3 has dark mode too, although I understand some versions maybe have slightly different colors? Anyhow, I would say that normally autoplace won't get in the way with what you show, and if there are crashes, that's a bug but probably not related to autoplace. If you can reproduce that bug with the current version (3.4.2), please let us know how, so we can fix it for 3.5, coming out soon.

But FWIW, inverting a frame is not something you should be needing to do in any version, so maybe also attach a score that demonstrates why you are resorting to that, and probably we can show you a better way.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hey Marc

It's happening in version 3.4.2

To fit everything more on one page without going through menus and adjusting margin sizes every time something doesn't fit, I find it much easier to just drag the frame size back until it snaps back a page. That way it doesn't change the formatting of other pages if you have a big document and you can see while you edit instead of menu diving and can see how it's going to look.

Softcopy Messiah single page.pdf
Softcopy Messiah single page wrong.pdf
Softcopy Messiah single page.mscz

As I drag the frame smaller it does go back to the previous page but it falls off of the bottom, oh and MuseScore 3 crashed a few times when I was re-setting this up to happen. It crashed four times all up. MuseScore 3 really doesn't seem to like the way I use it but version 2 didn't seem to mind. Thats why I guessed it was due to the auto format..

Re dark mode, I find the Mac version of MuseScore 3s dark mode way too dark. It looks cool but isn't good for long sessions. Most pro software has the lighter grey version of dark mode like the PC version of MuseScore or even Macs pro software Logic Pro and Final Cut isn't as dark. In fact, you were the person who explained to me that it's an implementation of Mac OS dark colour scheme! :) Thank you!

In reply to by Joey_Dolezal

I suspect you've been relying on tricks with frame sizes to accomplish things better done other ways, but it still isn't quite clear to me what. I've loaded your score in 3.4.2, but I'm not quite understanding how you are proposing altering things to fit more on the page., Do you want less space between a frame and the next staff? Simply reduce the gap setting. Want a frame smaller? Reduce it's size precisely using the Inspector. Do you want the systems closer together? Reducing min system distance to do it scorewide, or use a fixed spacer to do it one certain systems only. Want to allow the frame or music contents to reach lower on the page? Reduce the music bottom margin to do it score wide, or a fixed spacer to do it on one page only. And so forth. One shouldn't have to rely on undocumented quirks/bugs of older versions to get the layout you want - better to use the supported methods, in any version.

Since the score you attached was saved in 3,4.2, I can't open it in 2.3.2 to compare results, but I find that the techniques I mention work reliably and predictably to allow me to fit the music on one page as I see fit.

I do, however, see one slight glitch where if I try dragging instead of using the Inspector to reduce the size of the bottom frame, it gets confused. That's a bug to be sure, and worth reporting official via the Issue tracker so it gets fixed. But it is easily worked around using the Inspector instead of dragging - more precise anyhow. And no "menu diving" required. Although, FWIW, unlike MuseScore 2, the Style dialog is "live" in MuseScore 3, so you can make changes to settings and see their effect in real time.

Regarding color scheme, MuseScore 3 gives you controls over this specific color, in Edit / Preferences / Advanced. Without knowing the specific color you are finding problematic, I can't say if it's among those you can customize, but quite a lot of colors are on that list.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks Mark!

I'm super excited that I can return to the original MuseScore Dark mode colour scheme :D Thank you!

"I'm not quite understanding how you are proposing altering things to fit more on the page." - I simple wanted the the final block of text to not spill over onto the next page.

I can do that now with your work around, using the inspector to reduce the frame size :D Thanks again!

I think this is much quicker than the other ways that you propose because, if I'm not mistaken, fixed spacers only increase the space and reducing min system distance scorewide would result in me having to then add fixed spacers to all the systems I didn't want reduced. Since I only want the bottom space reduced, using a vertical frame with text added then reducing the size of the frame means I don't have to then go back and reformat the rest of the piece. Unless I'm missing something?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

@Marc Sabatella: you've well-described the different options to use frames/text - I agree the techiques work OK once you're used to them in MuseScore 3, but that did take a bit of getting used to (e.g. the problem of why can't I add a particular text part to a horizontal frame?) . Once you're used to MuseScore 3's "foibles", I've found you can put text/pictures in wherever you want, but it does requires a bit of trial and error before you get used to the app's design and lastly, the documentation is not that clear on the intricacies of this process. It tends to assume you have one huge text frame at the top of the score to contain all the text elements you need (Title/Subtitle/Composer etc.) I have found however that a search of the forums usually guides you to what you need to do via people's tips, and it's helpful to remember that MuseScore's design generally assigns text items to notes or rests alone - and you have to work within this.

In reply to by Lofo

It's certyainly true that like any program, you needed to learn the ins and outs of MuseScore, and since it's not a text program first and foremost, stuff that you learned from word processors etc won't necessarily apply directly. But to be clear, my point here is that nothing actually changed between MuseScore 2 and 3 about any of the things being discussed here. Autoplace does improve layout of a lot of things, but it is not used at all in the layout of the contents of frames. Anything you could do with the content of a frame in MuseScore 2, you can do in 3. Not that there aren't bugs - in both versions - of course, but the point is, autoplace doesn't change the story.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

...but it's not true that, in some scenarios, my work around is more efficient than the official documented "better" ways that you listed?

I hope the tone of this message isn't too strong. I want to get to the bottom of this though. It seems there is a cognitive dissonance at play, or I'm just really confused :(

Am I not explaining the scenario clearly? Have I misunderstood what you are telling? Are you perhaps simply refusing to accept my workaround tip? I think it could help others and should be accepted as normal MuseScore behaviour making MuseScore a little more flexible for more people.

I tried to explain the scenario really simply because I realise it's sometimes confusing reading others explanations of things.

The problem:
Some text (or image) at the bottom of a score spilled over to the next page. I wanted to squeeze the text on the bottom of the page instead of it appearing the top of the next.

The "official" solution:
Format / Page Settings - increase odd and even page margins - then apply (repeat adjustments as needed until the text moves back a page). This will change spacing though out the whole score so fixed spacers can then be used to adjust any other elements that may have moved to a places you don't want them.

My solution:
Instead of using a text frame use a vertical frame and reduced the size of the frame until the text moves back to the bottom of the previous page. I don't think this could be done a more efficient way, unless I'm missing something?

I often am overlooking something, could you let me know if I am please Marc?

In reply to by Joey_Dolezal

I think you are misunderstanding me. What you list as the "official" solution is only one possible solution. I listed quite a few others. The correct solution depends on the actual desired result.

In your particular case, I am guessing you tried adjusting the height of the frame by double-clicking the frame and dragging the handle, "eyeballing" it until it seems to fit. What I am saying is that while it is true there seems to be a bug involving dragging the handle of a frame at the bottom of the page, you can do the exact same thing much more precisely and at least as efficiently simply by reducing the height of the frame using there Inspector rather than dragging.

There are yet other possible solutions to this particular problem as well, such as adding the text as staff text then disabling autoplace for it, thus allowing it to be dragged (or moved more precisely using cursor keys and/or Inspector) into the margin. Or, as I said, reducing system distance rather than allowing the text to extend into the margin. But also, it really is worth asking, why have the margin set if you plan on overriding it? Why not sweet it as you actually want, then use the max system distance or spacerts or other devices to keep other pages from actually reaching the margin if that produces a better layout.

Again, the point is, there are many ways of solving the problem, but the Inspector method yields the exact same result as the dragging method, more precisely and at least as efficiently.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc! Using staff text is a terrible idea! The text is then tethered to something that might have to be edited - deleted or moved!

Reducing the system distance sometimes can work depending on the hight of the text box but is inconsistent so not a good solution.

The best solution is still to reduce the hight of a vertical spacer.

I think it is a good question to ask why one might like to place things in the margin spaces :D

It's like headroom in an audio signal! You don't want to fill things out to the outer margins at all times but it's good to be able to use them sometimes.

I like my score to me tight and tidy and the default MuseScore settings are great for that. Occasionally it's worth braking this nice clean look to fit more information onto a page.

Mainly because when writing music that's to be played you have to think about where you put the page turns. You can't have your musicians tuning while playing!

Re setting the margins wide and adding page breaks, that would be another solution but you loose the consistency of the set boundaries. What I mean is, when I make a variation to the margin, it's in relation to a consistent norm.

Players often comment that my scores are easy to read and I always say it's partly thanks to the flexibility of MuseScore :D

In reply to by Joey_Dolezal

Well, as I said, different solution could be recommended depending on the situation - there is no one best answer for all situations. Sometimes staff text isn't a good idea, other times it is. Depends on the purpose and function of the text and its relationship to the music. Similarly for system distance - sometimes it's a good idea, other times it isn't. In order to say the best way for any given piece, were need to consider the unique situation representation by that piece.

In your examples, I personally would have changed the marign - if I think it's OK for the text to go that low, I don't want to have to fight that every time, I want to set it once and be done. If I don't want music extending that low, then I counteract a page marign change with a "music bottom margin" change, so only text can go that low, not music. That sort of thing. I'd also consider just reducing staff size ever so slightly here and there, which would produce a more consistent look.

But, once more, to be clear, since somehow it seems this point is being missed:

If you have decided that shrinking the frame is the way to go, fine, do that, MuseScore 3 lets you do this simply and precisely using the Inspector, no need to eyeball things or given yourself carpal tunnel messing with drag operations.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

haha! You are hell bent on having a better solution than mine!

But the problem with your latest alternative to how I normally work is that I would have to use that method on smaller scores but not on longer ones. I've very happy with my method because it's consistent across longer or shorter scores and a lot less steps than changing the margin size anyway! Just click and drag or in MuseScore 3, click, tab and adjust to avoid the bug and apparently carpal tunnel haha!

"I suspect you've been relying on tricks with frame sizes to accomplish things better done other ways" My method is just as valid as any of the ways you mentioned and I wouldn't bother arguing about it but it could be helpful to someone else.

In reply to by Joey_Dolezal

I’m not sure why you’re choosing to see this as a competition. I don’t have one solution I am championing. I’m simply trying to help you - and anyone else reading this thread - get things done the most effective way possible. And that means understanding how things work and choosing the right solution for the particular situation.

Occasionally that might indeed happen to be setting small frame sizes, and in those cases, MuseScore 3 will allow you to get the job done quickly and easily as I have described, so I felt it important to set the record straight on that for the benefit of anyone who might have otherwise been scared off.

But I know the software extremely well - arguably better than just about any else (!) - and I do think it is worth considering the possibility that some of my alternate suggestions have merit.

For instance, obviously, if we’re talking about just one score, direct manipulation of frame sizes seems easier than changing margin settings. But that misses the point entirely. Margin settings, unlike specific frame sizes, can be set as a style setting and reused, or better yet, you can save a template with that setting. So you may we’ll only need to set the margins o NBC e and then you can produced hundreds upon hundreds of scores using those settings without having to tweak them all one by one. That’s the benefit that makes it worth spending a little more time up front trying to find settings that work well across as many scores - and here I meant not just margins but also staff sizes, fonts, gaps, and other settings (some of which are new with MuseScore 3, so you might not be familiar with them).

I’m not sure why you think the methods I describe won’t work for longer scores. The techniques I describe work quite well across a wide variety of scores.

So anyhow, if you’re happy fixing scores one at at a time in this way, by all means, you are welcome to continue to do so, and feel free to decline my help. But, again, my goal is simply to help people get things done more effectively, and I am always here to help as I can.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hey Marc you have helped me in the past and I really appreciated it. Also for your work on MuseScore! I'm genuinely impressed!

But I was not asking for help, I was replying to radionut44s enquiry.

radionut44 • Jul 14, 2019 - 03:13
" ... but as best I can tell there is no way to add a free block of text at a place of my choosing on the score."

radionut44 • Jul 14, 2019 - 04:53
"... I don't want to attach my text to a note or staff. How can I add a text frame that I can position/resize at will? I have not seen a way to do it."

I felt that radionut44 seemed to be asking for a simpler click and drag intuitive text option.

I remember feeling frustrated with Sibalius and then MuseScore not being as intuitive as say inDesign. Great if your just doing a straight score but if you want to experiment with score layout it can feel a bit limiting. Then I discovered vertical and horizontal frames and I found them easy and intuitive to use and great at augmenting scores. One of the things I really love about them is their independence from the stave. I was simple trying to share this with anyone that might think or like to work in this way.

I feel you were quite dismissive of my contribution and I would have just ignored this but you seemed to hint that you had a better way to achieve the example I used of when using vertical spacer is a good alternative to using a text box.
"One shouldn't have to rely on undocumented quirks/bugs of older versions to get the layout you want - better to use the supported methods, in any version."
"I suspect you've been relying on tricks with frame sizes to accomplish things better done other ways"

I know there are multiple ways of doing things in MuseScore, this is one of the multiple ways, and one that I felt matched the request of the original post the closest. Oh, and I still do, even though you have since listed every other conceivable way of placing text haha!

Re competition, you definitely go the bigger MuseScore man!

In reply to by Joey_Dolezal

Sorry you felt I was dismissive. Your suggestion was good, I only chimed to correct the misstatement that MuseScore 3 wouldn’t allow you to the same things without disabling autoplace. It’s important that people don’t get the incorrect impression that MuseScore 3 won’t serve their needs.

When you responded further, i saw an opportunity to help you be more efficient, and sometimes I can’t resist trying to help even when not explicitly asked! It’s OK if you’re not interested, though. Hopefully someone else reading this will be inspired to try my suggestions and benefit from them. So I’m still happy to have provided that service.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I found vertical and horizontal frames provided the best balance of features to get text or anything else where you want it on the score. Once you've made one, you can easily move it, even it involves copying the contents, deleting the frame and pasting it to a new one in a different position. I also found learning as much about the frame features as possible was a worthwhile investment compared to the other methods. But that's just my experience.

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