How to move lyric from one verse to another?

• Sep 21, 2017 - 07:22

I have imported the attached MuseScore file from an XML export of a Finale file posted on

The problem is that the lyrics have come across as verses 1, 2 under the first staff, verses 3 & 4 under the 2nd staff, verses 5 & 6 under the 3rd staff, and verses 7 and 8 under the 4th staff. The lyrics should be Verses 1 and 2 under each stave.

This is visible as ever-increasing spacing between the lyrics and the stave to which they belong.
What is the best way to select these higher-numbered lyrics and get them into verses 1 and 2 under each staff?

Attachment Size
Ward, The Pirate A-440.mscz 29.09 KB


In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

That is most clever - thanks, jojo!
What did you use to get to see the text so it could be edited? (I'm not that versed in XML.)
A related question is that the (current version) Finale I used to export XML to MuseScore created a file with extension ".musicxml" which MuseScore could not open. If I changed the extension to .xml it imported OK.
What's the difference?

Next question: How could the lyrics get that messed up in coming over from Finale?
Perhaps it has to do with quite old version of Finale being used, 2005?
Here is the link to the original, if anyone is interested in pursuing this question: (had to use Google shortener because the parentheses in the actual URL aren't accepted in this window as part of the URL, so the link wouldn't work!)

When I'm done cleaning up the MuseScore version, I will post a proper XML back up to, so others may avoid these problems.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

The file I got from was in Finale 2005 format. I opened it in my Finale, which is 25.4.163, then exported it as .musicxml , before I saw Finale had an option to export as just .xml
Not knowing much about the difference, I simply changed the extension .musicxml to .xml and MuseScore was able to import it in the manner you have already seen.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

However, the problem at hand here should have nothing to do with all that (and no new 3.1 features are used in that file), more likely a bug in Finale's XML export to not number stanzas by staff, but by system.
MuseScore is not doing that, see attached

Maybe report that to Finale?
Would they import their own musicxml correctly and how would they import MuseScore xml?

Attachment Size
Ward, The Pirate A-440_0.xml 488.76 KB

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I see your point about Finale and its xml export. In Finale (my version) the lyrics appear in their proper place. It is not until I export as .xml ( or .musicxml) that the lyrics go wrong in the way described. I don't use Finale much at all, but perhaps I can find a forum on their website and report this.

In reply to by tomfeledy

Sure, that's because MusicXML is the name of the file type. ".xml" is the filename extension used to represent that name. Just like "Ogg Vorbis" is the name of another type whereas ".ogg" is the extension, similar for "Wave Audio", "Scalable Vector Graphics", etc. The extensions used are pretty universally agreed upon, and ".xml" has always been the extension used for MusicXML. It's only recently people have begun deciding to use "musicxml".

FYI, the MusicXML file explicitly states part 1 lyrics are on line 1 and 2, part 2 lyrics on lines 3 and 4, etcetera. MuseScore is importing the file correctly in the sense that it shows precisely what is in the file.

It is unclear to me why Finale itself behaves differently.

In reply to by Leon Vinken

@Leon It's arguable... it seems number in MusicXML is not supposed to be a int but just a string id (NMTOKEN) and so there is not a semantic in number being 1 or 2... It could be foo and bar... no idea how to derive the order though. It seems MusicXML doesn't have this notion, except default-y?

So we could consider that 3 and 4 being just label, we could use first and second MuseScore verse.


In reply to by [DELETED] 5

In retrospect, you may be right. The spec is somewhat ambiguous / illogical (an attribute number that may contain a non-numeric name ???). In practice lyrics numbers are typically integers starting at 1.

For the file in this thread, the issue could be solved by assuming that if all number attribute are integers, their value is used to determine the order of the lyric (lowest number goes into the first lyrics line) but not to define an absolute line number.

This should be trivial to implement and backwards compatible. Note that the current lyrics placement algorithm already takes default-y into account for lyrics without number attribute.

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