How do I delete a rest?

• Aug 27, 2016 - 05:22

Okay, some rests got added by accident, I want to delete one before a note, and then change the one after the note to make the timing right.

How do you do this? Mind you, cut doesn't work, none of the key commands work, nothing seems to have any ability to remove that eight note rest that I want gone. Why you just don't allow delete or cut to work is beyond me.

Windows 7 is the operating system. Everything I've seen written elsewhere doesn't work. Don't want to have to rescore from the beginning, though it does look like I'll just have to delete everything from the offending measure forward. This UI isn't exactly user friendly.


In reply to by John Van Stry

"Is my only option to delete the entire measure and re-write it?"
Absolutely not.
That said, delete a rest in Voice 1 is not possible.
Copy/Cut-paste is the solution. It works fine, when you are a bit accustumed.
Attach please an image (or, better, your score) by describing the expected result. Someone will say how to do exactly.
A simple example:
Start point:
If I want to put the E on the second beat: Press Shift and select the E (notehead):
Then right-click -> Cut -> Past on the quarter rest.

In reply to by cadiz1

I think the short answer is: You don't delete rests in musescore. You place the notes, move them if necessary (aka cut/paste), delete them if you must. The rests will be filled in by the software.

In voices 2 - 4 though you can delete rests though since one voice suffices to "fill" the measure.

This is because the software makes sure a measure is always full, i.e. the total of all notes and rests in a measure is alway equal to the time signature. This is very good for us users because it makes a lot of common mistakes impossible.

I think this basic way of looking at it is a good idea even if you hand write a score.

In reply to by azumbrunn

As the whole thing was deleted and re-wrote, I can't paste it.
What I wanted to do was delete a rest, actually delete two rests, and replace them with a proper rest in the right place.

It was supposed to be: quarter note, dotted eight rest, sixteenth note, quarter note, quarter rest.
Instead I got two eight rests, one after the dotted one, one at the end of the measure. When I tried to do a 'cut' nothing ever 'cut' so as far as I could see, 'cut and paste' was not working at all.

I understand the point of trying to keep the timing right on first voice, however, this wasn't really designed as well as it could have been. Quite simply, you could flag the measure if the timing is wrong, or you could have a mode to edit the measure that you can't leave until the timing is correct, or a number of other things. As a programmer and an engineer, there are a few UI choices that make me cringe, because they're very counter intuitive, but for those of you who are musicians first and foremost, this may very well be the way you've been taught to expect it to work, so I don't want to complain too loudly. But honestly, the cut and paste functions, as well as the method for formatting measures on the page, aren't very intuitive.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz


It's easy to have rests by accident, all you need to do is work on a music score converted from pdf to musicxml. There are all kinds of crazy problems; Ignored triplets (really clumsy to fix in MuseScore), measures with incorrect time signatures (there's an extra rest opportunity). fake voices, extra notes, missing notes, etc etc.

Since we can't remove rests, I replaced the rest with a note (silly me) and tried to delete that. Of course, it became a rest, so now I can't delete silence because some developer with limited intellect can't grasp the concept of - think about this - EDITING. So we actually can't remove notes either - even when the conversion software somehow changes the time signature of a perfect measure to 7/4 from 6/4. The extra beat has to go somewhere. Of course I could re-enter the entire measure, but some measures require considerable work and that just leads to entering the entire score from scratch.

Let's look at this situation a little more closely. I've personally used all kinds of computer software on many computers: text editors, presentation software, publication software, CAD software, printed circuit design software, circuit design software, software development software, configuration management software, accounting software etc. etc.

A common capability of all of these programs is to give the user full control to change any element at any time. Some CAD software will perform design checking if the user desires and alert them to the possibility they are making a mistake with a particular change. That's helpful - but this does not prevent the user from screwing up his drawing if he so chooses.

So since when are the designers of MuseScore smarter than all these other developers? When it takes me half an hour to make simple changes to a measure that my pdf to musicxml program screwed up, and all I want to do is restore the original score envisioned by the composer - that's not right. I couldn't care less about any other consideration, the program just needs to work - with a minimum of mouse clicks or keyboard commands. The fact that MuseScore constantly fights most changes I try to make, so I have to find peculiar ways of getting around the developer's hangups, is the result of poor ergonomic software design.

I can't post the score I'm working on, it's copyrighted (I purchased it so I'm the owner) and I just want to make some fairly straightforward edits - fingering, pagination and a better bass line (jazz). Not very complicated, but given the severe limitations of pdf to musicxml converters, I have not been able to find any program that converts it to anything approaching a clean score - every measure needs considerable work. Never mind doing this with the Debussy Images piano score (perfection that I would like to repaginate); that's a real conversion challenge.

Many of my score errors would never be entered by someone composing a piece. However, if I were a composer, I would find it unacceptable that I was not able to make any change, any time - that's artistic freedom. When I create a presentation, I throw slides into Powerpoint. All I need is a general concept of where I'm going. Once I have a dozen slides in the program, then I can get creative - it all becomes easier and more focused because I can look at something tangible on the screen, and PowerPoint is a good tool for this. MuseScore should function the same way. Do the developers expect composers to write it all out long hand and then copy it to the computer when it's perfect, or have it all perfect in their head first? Most of us can't claim to be like Beethoven or Mozart.

I would like to encourage the developers to look more closely at their creation from the viewpoint of user friendliness. While there are many good things about MuseScore, the ability to make changes easily to an existing score is not one of them.

As for the triplet problem, Finale reads the same musicxml file and finds all the triplets. Converting three notes to a triplet is also easy in Finale. Unfortunately there are other problems....

In reply to by bluegs

I hope you feel better now. Let's see if I can respond to your frustrations.

First off; MuseScore wasn't designed solely to fix PDF imports created by really experimental technology. As you've so aptly demonstrated, fixing those wrong guesses is often more work than simply transcribing the score yourself in the first place.
As MuseScore was designed with composition/transcription in mind, it has the philosophy to assume that what has been entered is mostly correct and thus any editing action tries to do only the requested action with minimal impact on already existing notation.

Next, this part here seems to be the main grievance your uttering:
Since we can't remove rests, I replaced the rest with a note (silly me) and tried to delete that. Of course, it became a rest, so now I can't delete silence because some developer with limited intellect can't grasp the concept of - think about this - EDITING. So we actually can't remove notes either - even when the conversion software somehow changes the time signature of a perfect measure to 7/4 from 6/4. The extra beat has to go somewhere
I can understand why you think posting it here is relevant, except that it isn't.
If you read through this thread, you'd have noticed that the OP didn't want to remove a beat at all. There is no extra beat in his issue. All that was needed here was indeed cut and paste, to "move" the rest from the middle of the measure to the end, where he wanted it.
The approach by MuseScore here is to move sound, not silence. Silence is what is left behind if there is no sound.

So aside from posting your rant in a not-really related topic; I'll even address it, because your statements are plainly wrong.
You CAN remove rests/notes/beats
All you have to do is select the duration to remove and use the remove command instead of delete. "Delete" erases sound, "remove" erases time. The default shortcut for that is Ctrl-Del (Cmd-Del on MacOS). The function can also be found in the menu as Tools → Remove Selected Range and here in the handbook

The next part of your post rants a bit on on that wrong assumption and how crappy the designers are that this isn't a simple command with minimal keystrokes (heh.. how silly that remark looks now).
I love where you states the program "just has to work" but apparently haven't even looked at the manual and in the same breath compare it to PowerPoint; a program that is notoriously hard to use for anything but the most basic stuff (try editing a PDF that is converted by third party software into a ppt format there!)

What to take away?

1. You can remove time with a single shortcut

2. Move sound, not silence

3. Asking questions is so much easier without ranting

4. User Friendliness

You'll be glad to know that for MuseScore 4, MuseScore has hired a professional designer who has performed usability studies with people that have not used MuseScore before to bring out the pain points in the design.

5. Converting tuplets

That one we can all agree on would need a better way. Both combining non-tuplets into tuplets (which is likely the easier thing to implement) as well as the other way around.
I think part of the problem here is that it can be hard to understand what would work. if a "make into tuplet" command would exist, I'd prefer it being able to handle much more than just triplets. But I don't think anyone came up with a decent proposal on how such a tool should work/behave yet.
Feel free to open up a new topic about this with a proposal on how the tool should work, so the community and developers may try to refine it.

In reply to by jeetee

Jeetee, thanks for your reply and advice. Unfortunately, I had found the ctrl+delete command but it did not work well either. Yes, I was able to remove the extra 1/8 rests from both the treble and bass clef. So I tried to fix the time signature, which had somehow now mutated to 66/4. I changed it to 6/4 and everything looked good, except for a chord in the bass which was missing a dot.

When I added this, all hell broke loose. The program added a second 1/8 chord next to the desired one, and did not add the dot. So I tried every conceivable way of fixing this - deleting a chord, dotting the desired chord, replacing the two with a single chord etc. etc, Nothing worked, but the program started altering the treble clef in very creative but undesired ways. Then it pushed the chord into the next measure - what's with that?

I started over, and somehow, after about 40 mouse clicks, voila! it worked. However, before congratulating myself I realized that if such a simple change was so difficult to accomplish, then, as you point out, MuseScore, is not good at editing scores, just creating them for those who anticipate all mistakes before they make them.

MuseScore would be better at editing if it allowed the user to make any desired change to a measure, without trying to second guess (often incorrectly) what the user's intention might be. Once the measure looks good, then it would be useful if the program gave an opinion on the correctness of the measure, without breaking it.

It's curious that MuseScore and Finale read the same musicxml file and came up with different results. There are many triplets in this score, and MuseScore showed none, Finale showed them all. I'm not saying one program is better than the other, except perhaps in this one respect.

Whether the user is composing or fixing pdf conversion errors, there comes a need for making edits. The quality of the program must be measured in part by how easy and natural it is to do that. The best software has a strong intuitive basis for the design, so the user can figure out how to use it from the context. The best software is that which requires very little interaction with any manual, because the designers have fine tuned the UI so that many things are obvious or discoverable to a computer literate user. Musescore actually does some of this quite well and I'm sure it would be much better for making edits if the developers had considered this as a need.

In reply to by bluegs

Actually MuseScore is fantastic at editing scores. But like any extraordinarily powerful tool, you do need to learn to use it to best effect. There is quite simply no notation software in the world that can be used perfectly by everyone with no need to consult documentation. Some things some people will guess correctly on, other things other people will guess correctly on, and that's true of any program. So you personally didn't guess correctly in this case, but there's no need to get discouraged. Whatever change you wished to make almost certainly could have been quite easily, and if you'd like to start a new thread and attach an example and explain what you tried, we are happy to help you see where things went wrong and what to do instead.

Similarly, if you have a MusicXML file that you believe MuseScore interpreted incorrectly, feel free to start a new thread and attach it. If there is a bug causing that particular file to import incorrectly, we should be able to fix it.

In reply to by bluegs

MuseScore would be better at editing if it allowed the user to make any desired change to a measure, without trying to second guess (often incorrectly) what the user's intention might be
If there is one golden rule in MuseScore editing, it is that it almost never tries to guess the user intention at all and only performs the requested action.

To take the example of your note where you add a dot. That dot means to lengthen the note by half of its existing value. So the thing MuseScore does is "add the dot". If for some reason that is not possible (for example, your new duration is now too long to fit within the measure), MuseScore uses the next best available method for lengthening that note; tie it to a note with half that duration.

Note that it did exactly what you asked: "lengthen that note".
It did not guess at all that you also wanted to perhaps temporarily lengthen the measure before then moving that note some number of beats back and then restore the measure duration.

Now that command might've not been the one you wanted to use, but there's no way for MuseScore to guess the intention of why you'd use the command. So all it does is execute that command.

In reply to by jeetee

Okay, I am here many years after the OP, and two years after user bluegs, with basically the same frustration as the OP and bluegs.

First, I respectfully suggest that user rants are both understandable and useful. Understandable because the user is damn frustrated because something that should be straightforward isn't. Useful because the rant alerts the developer to "pain points" in the software; developers should take note. Condescension by developers or expert users is never appropriate. After all, if the software were that great users wouldn't ever get frustrated, would they?

Second, let me rephrase the problem. It's not that you can't delete rests, or have to cut and paste sound instead of silence. The problem is that within a given measure it's really cumbersome to move the sound and silence around. Why can't I just drag a pesky rest that's in the wrong place to the other side of a note, or indeed to the other end of the measure? It makes perfect sense that MuseScore enforces the measure's time properties, but within that framework let the user shuffle sound and silence around however they want. I should be able to drag (not cut and paste) a rest or a note anywhere in the measure. That would probably solve a significant amount of user frustration.

In reply to by RBass

Disappointing that this problem still exists, and that some are still in denial.

I'm still looking for a solution that doesn't require excessive effort to correct complex scanned piano scores. Part of the problem is that score scanning software arbitrarily (and incorrectly) assigns voices for many notes in piano scores, resulting in numerous errors. I'm having a dialog with a developer of scanning software who understands the problem and is looking into a mode that limits to one voice per stave for piano scores in the next release. Fingers crossed...

In reply to by RBass

You might like to look at this plugin which implements a different editing paradigm.

But going back to your post, You ask "Why can't I just drag a pesky rest that's in the wrong place to the other side of a note" Why do you consider the rest is in the wrong place? Surely the notes are just as misplaced and an equivalent solution is to move them to where you want them.

In reply to by SteveBlower

I'll check out the plugin. Thanks!

Moving a rest versus moving a note: fair question, and you are correct, it's simply a question of which way you look at things. Ultimately either way would be fine ... if we could just grab a note (or group of notes, or a rest, or group of rests) and slide them around in the measure. As things stand, unless there is some trick I don't know, moving notes involves deleting them and retyping them. That gets tedious, the more so the more complicated the phrase is. It would be fantastic simply to be able to drag the entire phrase elsewhere in a measure and have the rests fill in ahead or behind to maintain defined meter defined for that measure. I'm thinking along these lines in particular because at the same time I am working in Musescore I am working in Audacity, where you can grab a chunk of wave form and slide it anywhere in your track that you want. I'm sure that what is going on under the hood is quite different in the two programs, but that's the concept.

In reply to by RBass

The big difference compared with Audacity is that Audacity is dealing with chunks of sound that don't have to respect beat and barline structures.

Regarding the process for moving notes it goes:

  1. Select the notes (click first note, SHIFT+click last notel
  2. CTRL+X to cut
  3. Select point where you want the first note to go
  4. CTRL+V to paste

No need to re-enter the notes. And dynamics and text etc move with the notes.

In reply to by RBass

As mentioned before, no, you don't have to retype anything. A simply cut and paste - two keystrokes - does the job.

But yes, it would be theoretically possible for someone to design an interface in which drag could also do this. If you have a good proposal for how that might work - perhaps based on some other notation program you know of does this- then I'm sure it could be considered. But I think you'll discover it's a more complicated issue than might first appear, which may be why none of the programs I am familiar with do anything like that either.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks, Marc. Perhaps I am doing something wrong but here is what happens for me. In the simplest example, take a four beat measure with four quarter notes, C D E F. If I want to swap the phrase C D with the phrase E F and I cut the E F and past it at the C I get E F and a half-note rest. If I copy the E F and past it at the C I get E F E F. Because this is a trivial example the obvious solution is just to re-enter the notes in the desired order, but if the two phrases are complicated then you wind up retyping at least half of it. True, half a loaf .... I suppose I could temporarily insert a measure, use it as a scratch pad to hold the first phrase while I moved the second phrase, but that seems like a clunky workaround.

In reply to by RBass

Steve and Marc - What about being able to multi-select two parts within a measure and then being able to swap them? Would this be a technologically feasible solution? In the example I gave a few minutes ago, select the C D and then for the second selection select the E F, and then click my hypothetical "swap" button, with the result being E F C D. By definition, time in the measure remains the same, even if the two selections are not of identical duration (e.g., select D, select A B C, swap, get D A B C). (Potentially this could also be accomplished across multiple measures, certainly if the two selections were of equal duration.) From there it would seem like just (yeah, I know!) an interface issue to accomplish the same thing by making a single selection and then dragging it to a different place in the same measure -- musescore would automatically define everything after the drop point as the second selection.

In reply to by jeetee

Huh! I've been using Windows for a long time and I never even knew about Ctl-Shift-X. Thanks for that pointer. Needless to say, I hastened to try it out.

With my A B C D example it works exactly as expected. Cut the C D, musescore fills in a half-note rest, swap the C D for the A B, then paste the A B on the rest. All good.

With a more complicated measure, it doesn't produce the expected, or at least not the desired, results. My measure reads as follows: 8th note, 16th rest, 16th note, 8th rest, 8th note, 8th rest, 8th note, 8th rest, two 16th notes. Even with the swap technique I can't move the last two 16th notes to the start of beat 2 and then paste the former beats 2 & 3 & 4 after it. It is entirely possible that user error is involved, but after several tries at this (and other swaps in this bar as well) I've not succeeded, so this is a pain point for me.

In reply to by RBass

It will probably make it easier to get into specifics if you start a new thread and include an example score (.mscz file) together with a description of what you are trying to do. This thread is a bit of a ramble {95 posts and counting, most of which are of limited relevance to to your recent discussions).

In reply to by RobR

As mentioned elsewhere, MuseScore 3 allows you to delete rests or remove notes with Ctrl+Delete. But it doesn't really save any time or effort in this case. It's just as easy if not easier to either enter the correct notes directly on top of the rest, or - if the correct notes were already entered - to cut and paste them.

In reply to by stevennababan

The what do you want instead of that rest (silence) to happen in the bass instead? If music, then simply overwrite the rest with the notes that should be there. If silence, then why remove the rest?

Without knowing your specific use case, helping out can be harder. But if for some reason you don't want that rest to show (but still be there), then turn it invisible...

In reply to by stevennababan

To be clear: ctrl+delete is for removing the beat(s) represented by the rest. It makes no sense to delete a beat from one staff but not another - having four beats in the treble, only three in the bass? So indeed, it really isn't clear what you mean hear, we'd need you to attach your score (or a relevant excerpt) to understand. Maybe you are using cross staff notation and no longer need to see the "native" rest in the other staff? Or are using multiple voices in one of the special ways that doesn't require showing all rests? In that case just making it invisible by pressing 'V".

In reply to by John Van Stry

Think about what you are asking: deleting a rest and making no other changes would leave too few beats in the measure. That's not what you want to do at all - you don't want incorrect notation (although there are ways to force too few beats in a meadsure if that *had* been what you wanted). That rest occupies a specific point in time - say, beat 1 of a 4/4 measure. It sounds like what you actually want to do is move the note that is current on beat 2 earlier, so that *it* starts on beat 1 instead of the rest. So don't try to trick MuseScore into moving that note earlier by deleting a rest - just ask it to move the note earlier direcftly, using cut and paste. Select the note on beat 2, cut, click the rest on beat 1, paste. Try it - it really does work. And the best part is, if you actually want to move several notes, or even several measure, earlier, you can do that just as easily. You are in complete control of how much of the subsequent music you want moved earlier in time. MKuseScore cannot guess this; only you know how many notes/rests need to be moved.

If you are still having trouble with the concet, feel free to attach a specific example and we can describe more precisely exactly how to do it, but hoepfully the idea is clearer now. Deleting a rest makes no musical sense - a rest is silence. What you are really doing when you speak of deleting rests is moving some number of subsequent notes earlier in time, so that's what you need to do, directly.

In reply to by John Van Stry

So, to do that, *simply overwrite the eighths with the quarter*. No need to delete anything, no need to even use cut and paste. Simply click navigate back to that eighth rest (eg, use cursor if in note input mode, or click then enter note input mode if not) then enter the quarter. It replaces the original eighth rest directly.

Again, if you need further assdistance, it is easier to help if you attach the score you are having problems with.

In reply to by John Van Stry

To illustrate:

1) If you want to simply replace two eighth rests with a quarter, nagivate to the first eighth:


Then enter with a quarter - it will automatically replace the eighth rests, no delete operation required:


2) If on the other hand you want to "delete" the rest in the sense of moving the subsequent note(s) earlier to take its place, use cut and paste. First select the note(s):


Then cut:


Then click the initial rest and paste. The cut note(s) takes the place of the original rests, and an equivalent rest is automatically created to fill the remaining space:


If you are talking abut something else, again, please attach an example so we can see what you mean. But I guess from your description it is one of these two cases, both of which are accomplished very simply.

In reply to by John Van Stry

If I understand (hope): "It was supposed to be: quarter note, dotted eight rest, sixteenth note, quarter note, quarter rest. Instead I got two eight rests, one after the dotted one, one at the end of the measure."
you want to receive this:
And you are here:
Exact, or not?

If yes, do:

- Select the two notes (highlighted)
- Right-click -> Cut -> Select the eight rest and Paste on it
- Select the next eight rest (or navigate with right arrow)
- Type 5 (or select the quarter note value in the toolbar)
Result (second measure showed, as the first one)
final result.jpg

In reply to by John Van Stry

Sorry, I somehow missed that response.

"It was supposed to be: quarter note, dotted eight rest, sixteenth note, quarter note, quarter rest.
Instead I got two eight rests, one after the dotted one, one at the end of the measure"

It still isn't clear what you mean "instead I got..." - you mean, you accidentally entered the second thing when you meant to enter the first, and now you want to turn it into the first? If so, then indeed, what cadiuz1 posts above is what you wnat, and is exactly as we have been saying: you have two notes (a sixteenth and a quarter) that were accidentally entered on the wrong beat, so you want to move them earlier in time. You might *think* of this as "deleting a rest" but it is course more than that - it is also moving some unspecified number of subsequent notes earlier. In this, exactly two notes need to be moved earlier; in another case, only one might need to be mvoed earlier, and an in another, seventeen notes might need to be moved earlier. Only you, not MsueScore, can possibly know how many notes were accidentally entered onto the wrong beats. So it is up to you to select the notes you want moved earlier and move them earlier, using cut and paste.

As for being "intuitive", that is subjective. Different people find different things intuitive. You apparently think "graphically" - music as a linear series of symbols. Others think "aurally* - music as a set of sounds that occur at specific points in time. MuseScore "thinks" more the latter way. Notes are entered at specific points in time (eg, on beat 3), and if you want to move them to a different point in time, simply do so directly, via cut and pase. It's perfectly intuitive if you think aurally.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Okay, let me see if I understand this, because it may explain some of my issue. You are saying that you can cut and paste notes, but that you can not cut and paste rests. That the system is primarily based on notes, and rests are more or less just kinda 'there'. You can stick them in, but you can't manipulate them like you can notes (i.e. cut and paste). Is that correct?

When dealing with music, I think linearly, and I assign the same priorities to rests as I do to notes. This may be because my background is from the rhythm section (I started in percussion), but rests are just as important as notes, i.e. what you don't play counts just as much as what you do, and the silent spots weight just as heavily as the ones that are played (just ask any jazz musician).

In reply to by John Van Stry

In MuseScore, as in virtually all score-writing programs, the number of beats in a measure controls what the user can put in that measure. Both notes and rests occupy defined duration in any measure; there is no 'temporal' difference between them. You can copy-and-paste either notes or rests into any measure (and the program will spill any excess duration over into succeeding measures, or insert rests to fill as needed), but you canNOT delete a rest, because doing so would mean that the measure in which you are working no longer contains enough beats. When you delete a note, it is automatically replaced by a rest, but the program cannot replace a deleted rest with a note because it does not know what PITCH note to replace it with. So when you try to delete a rest, the program ignores your command because you are asking it to do something it is not structured to do.

Every measure contains a certain number of beats by definintion, according to the time signature you have selected. The ACTUAL number of beats in any specific measure can be modified in the 'Measure Properties' dialogue. IOW, if you are working in 4/4 and you want one specific measure to contain only 3 beats (quarter notes), you right-click on that measure, select Measure Properties, and change the Measure Duration>ACTUAL parameter from 4 to 3. That measure will now contain three quarter notes instead of four.

In reply to by John Van Stry

No, it's not really accurate to say you can't cut and paste rests. You can, actually - try cutting a section of rests and pasting it on top of some notes, and you'll see it works just fine. The rests you pasted overwirte the notes. So it's exactly the same. Rests *are* as important as notes, and that indeed is the key to understanding this. Cutting something never moves anything else - it replaces the cut passage with silence. It does not matter if the cut passage is rests, notes, or some combination of both - it all gets replaced by silence. That is the behavior of the cut operation - it replaces *whatever* was there with silence. You are expecting cut to also have another side effect - to make some random guess as to how many subsequent notes or rests should be moved earlier in time and then do that automatically. This does not happen. Similarly, paste takes the contents of the clipboard and overwrites the content at the current selection position. Again, it does not matter if the clipbaord is notes or rests or some combination, and it does not matter if the content at the current selection is notes, rests, or some combiantion. Paste overwrites the current content with the clipboard, period.

So it's all perfectly consistent - you just have to realzie that cut means "replace with silence", it does not mean "magically shift some unspecified number of subsequent notes or rests earlier in time".

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yes, I agree that deleting a rest makes no MUSICAL sense. However, during the creation or editing process, rests often end up in a measure by accident. There needs to be a way to tell MuseScore, "Yes, I know removing this rest makes no musical sense. It didn't make any sense when I added it, either. Please let me take it out and put something else into this measure. I'll tell you when I'm done, and you can tell me if the measure has the right number of beats at that time."

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

It seems to me that CTRL+DELETE just removes the entire measure...
I have a piece written and all of the "voice 1" rests are still in place in the bass clef. My actual voice 1 is in the treble clef, so writing over those rests as my voice 1 wasn't an option. I'm trying to remove the rests, as my entire piece is filled in around it (specifically voices 3 and 4 as the rests are in the bass clef), but Ctrl+Delete just removes the entire measure.

In reply to by Zev Narrowe

Ctrl+delete deletes whatever you have selected - one measure, ten measures, a single rest, two beats worth of notes and rest combined, etc.

But as noted above, you are supposed to use voice 1 on each staff, then voice 2, etc. Voices 3 & 4 are need only if a staff needs more than two voices. So, on the assumption you made the mistake of entering notes into voice 3 & 4 of a staff rather than 1 & 2, fix this by using Tools / Voices to move voice 3 to 1, 4 to 2. Then you can delete the unneeded voice 3 & 4 rests - not with Ctrl+delete, but with ordinary Delete. Then in the future, don;t use voices 3 & 4 and you won't have to deal with that.

In reply to by John Van Stry

I also have spent several days attempting to delete rests. Neither 'delete', 'cut', or any other synonym would work. So I found your problem and have carefully read every response. My situation was slightly different. I was not trying to delete a rest so that the rest of the measure would jump back to that point. It was all my measures, dozens and dozens of them, line after line. They were completely balanced by notes. 4/4 time and, for a simple example, two half notes in every voice... voice 1, voice 2, voice 3, voice 4. Both Treble Clef and Bass Clef measures filled to perfection. And yet there were one to three of these superfluous rests (usually half rests but quarter rests occasionally) in every measure. All I could do was use Inspector and uncheck 'visible' and check 'small'. But they never would go away.
I write this, not because I think it necessarily applies to your specific issue but it may assist someone researching everything they can find because of same misconception I had. Those kind people trying to help cannot necessarily get inside the head of those asking the question and realize what a person is really wrongfully thinking, such as myself, and not knowing how to express the problem. In my case I have been using another (poorer) software that also showed 4 voices that could be populated. What I didn't realize is that I was assuming Musescore operated the same way, 4 voices per score. It dawned on me after many hours that these rests were all in the bass clef. I had been using Musescore the same way I had for years been forced to use the other software; voice 1 and voice 2 in the treble clef and voice 3 and voice 4 in the bass clef.
I finally realized Musescore is designed for 4 voices per staff, NOT per score. So, not even using the voice 1 in the bass clef, the automatic fill feature active always in voice 1 was not filled with even a single note. And so the rests rightfully and legitimately persisted. Now I understand that each of those 4 voices operate independently in each staff, that is, voice 1 in the Treble Clef functions independently of voice 1 in the bass clef.
As soon as I began to use voice 1 in the bass clef also, the superfluous rests disappeared.
I hope that someone who is searching the forum for answers to the same issue will stumble across this post.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

But the silence that is on the page is in the wrong place. I want the entire remainder of the song to shift left into the silence that should not be there. The Delete key should remove the rest and shift everything to the left into its place. Then I should be able to add silence into the place where I really wanted it, not where it is now. For example, when I play the song I realize that there is a rest in the middle of a measure, but it should be at the end, or the beginning of the measure, or maybe in the next measure, so I want everything to shift so I can put my silence where I want it, but no longer be where the software originally put it. I should be able to add and remove my silence in the same fashion as I add and remove notes.

I read through this entire post and started writing a reply. When I was done, and after refreshing this page, I noticed other similar comments were posted.
Anyway... here's my version.

You wrote:
When dealing with music, I think linearly, and I assign the same priorities to rests as I do to notes.

OK... Because MuseScore has playback capabilities, it regards both rests and notes as temporal events, not mere graphical symbols/glyphs. MuseScore must play the notated pitch (or rest) at the assigned time.
With that in mind, please click on any note/rest in a score and look at the bottom left of the MuseScore window. You will see the 'Status Bar' - (if not, go to menu item: View, and place a check mark next to it). The 'Status Bar' shows the exact beat (or fraction thereof) at which that note/rest is played. So, if a rest occurs on beat 2 (or 2.33, 2.5, or 2.75, etc.) and you actually want a note there, you must enter the note at that time slot - via keyboard entry, or cut/copy/pasting into that position. This is as linear as it gets since all beats (and fractions thereof) are counted and played from left to right in ascending order. For example, in 4/4, a measure of all quarter notes/rests would be counted (linearly) as: 1,2,3,4 .

...what you don't play counts just as much as what you do, and the silent spots weight just as heavily as the ones that are played

Precisely! The silent spots can only be replaced with sounds (or different rest durations) - which is how MuseScore operates.
That's why a quarter note, on beat 2 for instance, can be deleted and turned into a quarter rest and why a 16th note can be deleted and turn into a rest. This is possible because all rests 'sound' the same. Try to play back a measure of all quarter rests followed by a measure of all 16th rests, (or any combination of rests) - it all 'sounds' the same.
Conversely, to delete a rest, would require it to be replaced by something - that is, either a rest of a different duration, or an actual note. MuseScore does not guess what pitch(es), or different rest duration, should fill the void. That's up to the composer.

You can stick them (rests) in, but you can't manipulate them like you can notes (i.e. cut and paste). Is that correct?
You don't cut/paste a single rest on top of a single note. Simply delete the note and the rest appears.
However, cutting a selected passage and pasting it to a different spot does 'move' rests, along with the notes.

If MuseScore were a 'one trick pony' graphics program - without playback - then, for sure, you'd be able to drag stuff around and delete any glyph, rests included. There's been some talk on the forum about implementing some form of 'scratch pad' feature:
The attached .mscz files in the link above are worth a look - to see how MuseScore behaves.

Also, here's a related post about 'moving' a rest:

Regards, welcome aboard, and consult these forums regularly. Lots of knowledge can be gained simply by leisurely browsing here.

“Anywhere in the ongoing continuum of time, where there is not a note, there is by definition a rest.”

MuseScore inserts rests where there is not a note.   It may represent this period of silence by a single rest-marker, or several.   (In that respect, they behave just like notes.)   You can click on the first two of (say ...) two consecutive eighth-rests and convert it to one quarter-rest:   it’s the same duration of silence, just another way to say it.   You can also split that quarter-rest into smaller pieces.

It’s nice to do that sort of thing, sometimes, if (say ...) one instrument’s doing a part involving eighth-notes and another player is playing his part tightly against him.   By using eighth-rests, you make it visually obvious on the page how the two parts are to work together.   One instrument’s part now “visually looks more like” its companion part.

I know this is an old post but I can't delete anything except for notes. And if I delete a note it keeps adding symbols. Why is it adding symbols automatically as it wants.

In reply to by onurcan1977

As said above:
You can't delete what exactly? Rests, esp. those from voice 1?
Rests are silence, you can't delete silence, except by replacing them with noise (AKA music ;-))

What symbols is it adding when you delete what? Does it add rests when you delete notes? If so, no it does not, it replaces notes with rests

If you want to move a bunch of notes forward of backward in the score, use cut and paste

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

As an engineer, I can understand where John Van Stry is coming from. One of the options that he mentioned has been totally ignored by all the subsequent commentators, namely to have a mode in which you can play around with the measure to your heart's content, deleting, adding and replacing notes or rests, and then pressing a button to confirm your changes. If, at that point, the measure does not conform to the number of beats/measure, MuseScore will not accept it, otherwise it will be inserted into the score.
I understand that it is currently possible to make any changes one wants to a measure, but it is clumsy and counter-intuitive.

In reply to by onurcan1977

You wrote:
Why is it adding symbols automatically as it wants.

What kind of symbols? Codas? Crescendos? ;-)
Most likely, you are referring to rests.
If so, please review all the above comments/links - especially those concerning copy/paste to shift notes.
Also see:
for more perspective.

If you still have questions, please attach a sample score detailing your dilemma. In it, explain what you want to happen, the steps you perform, and what happens instead.


Here's my situation (somehow there are no rests, that's fine)

And if I add a note:

A symbol shows up. Sometimes it adds too many rests. Am I missing a point?

Say I accidently inserted wrong note (that was what I did actually). If I delete or replace then insert correct one, the score becomes:

In reply to by onurcan1977

And still the measure is complete, still 4 beats.
This is the way MuseScore works, and most probably will be in the future, as changing away from that would really annoy a lot of users that are used to the current behaviour, and that includes people coming from Finale or Sibelius, AFAIK.
There may come an additional mode that allows for what you expect, but that won't happen unless someone feels like coding it.

In reply to by onurcan1977

You wrote:
Say I accidently inserted wrong note (that was what I did actually). If I delete or replace then insert correct one, the score becomes...

So, the wrong note was the quarter note A?
You select it, type 4 (or click on the eighth note duration in the note entry toolbar) so the quarter note changes to an eighth note.
What did you expect to see at this point?

To continue from there, just keep entering notes over the rests (or press 0 to enter an actual rest).


In reply to by onurcan1977

As is MuseScore, as is just about every other notation program. You just need to learn how each of them work. museScore assumes that if you enter a note, you want that note to stay there - same pitch, same duration, same beat position within the measure - until you explicitly tell MuseScore to change one of those things. When you speak of deleting a rest or note, what you are really wanting is for the subsequent notes to also move earlier in time. MuseScore doesn't do that without your explicitly asking it. if you want a note or group of notes moved earlier in time, simply do so directly - cut and paste the note or notes from its current position to its new position. If you try deleting a note earlier, as you see, MuseScore does what is needed to avoid moving unrelated notes earlier. If you want those notes moved, simply tell MuseScore to do so and it will happily oblige.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

When I highlight a rest and hit delete I am specifically asking MuseScore to move all subsequent notes earlier in time. Then I will need to place rests or notes in the proper locations to align the subsequent notes into the measures properly. That is what I expect it to do because no one on the planet can type it in perfectly the first time. In this text screen, that is what I expect if I delete a letter, all following letters move to the left. If I move the cursor to a place and add I space, I get the silence I am looking for. This is what people who use computers expect to be able to do.

In reply to by myoknis

Welcome aboard...

You wrote:
"In this text screen, that is what I expect if I delete a letter, all following letters move to the left. If I move the cursor to a place and add I space, I get the silence I am looking for."

OK... so the inference is that when you move the cursor to a place and you add a word, you get something other than silence? (For example, you hear the word?
I don't think so, because this text screen has no playback capability. (In this text screen, I get silence all the time - whether I add a space, a letter, a word...)

Please open this attachment in MuseScore: Musical_vs_Graphical.mscz


In reply to by myoknis

It's important to keep in mind that the use case described - where you literally want everything moved earlier - is not necessarily the most common in general. It's at least as common you'd only want a few things moved earlier, and also common you wouldn't want anythingovwdat all. This is very different from text, where it almost always makes sense to move everything, because there is almost never a reason to leave empty space in text.

You mention not being able to do things perfectly the first time and that's understandable. Best to look up at the screen often enough to catch errors quickly.

I feel like the current development standpoint is limiting to users. There's a difference between "standing your vision" and "standing your ground". I understand that the developers have a vision with how rests are handled but it boxes in the user. I think that you are holding your users too small by making the decision for them they don't know how to properly manage the proper beat and alignment with the silence. I think that spending some effort in developing an "Advanced" user mode will help you keep users that get frustrated that they can't make a simple change like deleting a rest. I have used similar applications and immediately was turned off that I can't control this.

First impressions are key to software like this. I guarantee that you will gain & keep more customers if you offer more variety in how they interact with the software. There are many applications out there that give full control and work great. Yes, there may be a bit more user error because they missed a rest but they learn more because they need to go through and do their own troubleshooting instead of having a program simply not let them control something in the first place.

In reply to by Ziya Mete Demircan

And what about notes that are tied across a barline and after the delete are within the measure, should they get combined into one? What about ties that are just there to emphasize the rhythm, should they change and if so how?
But esp. that tuplet example would cause corruptions all over the place.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

You can insert notes including when the text which follows has triplets without problem. The triplets will move correctly over the barline, using tied shorter notes values when necessary. You can also enter notes first and change rhythm afterwards, even add bar structure only afterwards (beginning with a score without any bar structure).
And when a long note is split into two shorter tied notes because it crosses a barline, it becomes a long note again if it is pushed completely in a new bar.

In reply to by frfancha

And what happens to notes that were tied within a bar in the first place and they moved to cross a barline, then you move it back? Does it go back to being a tie or does it get converted to a single note? If it was a single note with a customized stem direction or beaming, what happens to that when it gets split? Or if it is tied now with different customizations to stem direction or beaming, how is that handled when combined into one note? And what happens if a subsequent change splits it again - does it somehow remember the previous customizations? If not, that's a sure way to lose a lot of hard work.

Not saying it isn't possible to invent ways of handling these case, but to imply it's a simple thing with an obvious solution that can be handled "without problem" is to not have really looked at the complexity of it. Simple things can be done simply, more complicated things can be be handled with difficulty, cases more cplex still will involve compromises.

Anyhow, sure, as a separate command for that subset of the time when this happens to be what you want, sure, no reason we couldn't also do something like this as well as the command we already have to handle the more common case.

In reply to by mattymikado

You are not boxed in at all. Again, deleting a rest doesn't make musical sense itself, but if you art thinking of this as a sort of backdoor way to trick MuseScore into also taking some unspecified number of subsequent notes and moving them earlier in time, there is no need to resort to such indirect approaches. if you want some group of notes - only you can possibly know how many - moved in earlier in time, simply do so directly via a simple cut and paste operation.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I just had to weigh in here. I find the current way rests work to be completely off-putting. I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say perform this operation like Finale does, which has a great implementation of this feature. If the user is working in the current measure, don't apply the rests and let them select and delete rests at will. As soon as the measure loses focus, then you can auto-fill whatever is left to fill the measure. This way you're not constantly fighting the software to get the measure how you want it and you don't have to cut and paste. If I want to add a rest at the beginning of the measure right now, it's just completely clumsy. Also, adding a toolbar with the rests like you have notes currently would be a definite plus.

That being said I really do love Musescore. Would love to see this feature altered for better use, in my opinion.
Keep up the great work!

Sometimes, when writing music using several voices, some rests don't disappear and you can't delete them at all. What you can do is: click on the rest, and then press the letter "V", then click on something else and you'll see that the rest becomes light grey, which means it has become invisible. If you print the sheet of music that rest won't appear at all. Anything that becomes light grey color is as if it wasn't there at all.

Nearly a quarter-decade later Mr. Stry has doubtless solved the problem or moved on, but MuseScore 3 does have a simple solution for deleting rests (the apparent absence of which would be enough to drive any composer around the bend). SELECT THE REST (or measure, or whatever needs to be omitted as one would omit a word or phrase in word processing) > TOOLS > REMOVE SELECTED RANGE will do it.

If anyone knows Orff-Shulwerk style body percussion notation the ability to erase the rest (or better yet - make it invisible) would be life saving! All parts are working together therefore if another part is playing on that beat the appropriate way to notate it is with no rests. Trying to read the notation with rests makes it much harder to read. Therefore I recommend a feature that makes them invisible! Please!

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