Some bugs of and update suggestions for MuseScore 3.0

• Jan 3, 2019 - 16:09

I am an MD and amateur composer with significant experience in musical scoring software and I want to report some bugs of MuseScore 3.0 I have discovered recently:

1a. The lines of the musical staff aren't numbered from bottom-to-up, BUT from up-to-bottom which isn't correct in music: all the musical pedagogy uses this bottom-up numbering. I have discovered this bug by selecting Staff properties - 2 lines staff option, which generates a musical staff with lines of F and D (in treble clef) instead of lines of E and G (considering C as having its own "0th" ledger line).
1b. A flexible elegant way to solve this bug would be actually to let the user choose from a separate menu what lines he exactly wants to use (F, D, B, G or E, in treble clef OR 1st line=E, 2nd line=G, 3rd line=B, 4th line=D and 5th line=F).
1c. Another argument would be that
1d. If this bug would be solved, than MuseScore would be the ideal software to write scores using a modular periodic bilnear staff (MPBS) which I promote from some time (I was partially constrained to create my own software called LeadMuse for that purpose). See links below:

  1. When I try to paste a chord symbol on a note in a tuplet, it generates the error "cannot interesect with a tuplet", although this shouldn't be a problem, as any composer should be free to choose any note from a tuplet for a chord change.

  2. When I double-click a word in a text box (from a score), that word isn't automatically selected, although this is an almost universal (and very useful and time-sparing!) feature of any text editor.

  3. When I choose the text of a chord symbol and try to BOLD it, the text of that chord disappears. I think it would be a useful feature to let the composer/writer/teacher choose some chord symbols to be emphasized with bold or even underline if necessary for him.

I also want to report some potentially useful updates of future MuseScore versions:

  1. When any object from the score is selected, the specific palette of options (corresponding to that object) to be automatically opened (concomitantly with closing all the other palettes)
  2. To let the user customize what options to appear in each palette of the "Basic workshop" (accordingly to what objects each one uses most often).
  3. To let the user choose manually (by selecting a measure from a score and dragging it closer or more distant from an adjacent staff) the staff spacing between any two chosen adjacent musical staves.


Hello! It looks like you posted the same thing three times and for some reaosn I didn't see any of them until now, but anyhow, thanks for the feedback. Here are my thoughts.

Regarding the bugs:

1) There is nothing universally standard about how staff lines are numbered in music or how one would notate music on less than five lines. By definition, notating pitched music on fewer than five lines is non-standard, so there is no way to consider any particular choice here a bug in itself. MuseScore indeed defaults to making a two-line treble clef staff be F & D. but you can override this by instead using a "Staff type change" element form the Text palette (it's not really text and won't show in your score). Add that, then use the Inspector to set both the number of staff lines and the step offset to control what pitch the top line is. However, you will then run into an actual bug which is that ledger lines don't respect that setting. I would encourage you to submit that formally to the issue tracker using Help / Report a Bug.

2) This is a known issue only affecting paste of multiple chord symbols at once as opposed to single chord symbols. See #279990: Can't paste text into tuplet

3) This is a known feature request, see #10986: Allow double click of text to select a word; and triple click to select a paragraph.

4) That's a bug indeed, we shouldn't be allowing you to mess with the fonts for individual characters within a chord at all since chord symbols are not ordinary text but are rendered specially. We disable the toolbar but apparently forgot to disable the shortcuts as well. Feel free to file this as an issue. If you want some chords to be bold or have a different font, instead use the Inspector. That's actually true for all text - use the Inspector to change the text as a whole, use the toolbar or shortcuts only to change individual characters within the text.

Regarding the other suggestions:

1) I don't understand. There is no palette of options to display. There is a context menu, this appears on right-click, as per usual GUI standards. Is that what you mean?

2) Customized palettes are already quite possible, see the Handbook under "Custom palettes".

3) The ability to manually control staff spacing also exists, see the spacers in the Breaks & Spacers palette.

In reply to by frfancha

How some particular book on how to read music chooses to label staff lines is not the same as there being any actual official numbering according to rules of notation - the concept of numbering staff lines simply is not a part of the definition of the music notation. And in any case, how one chooses to number staff lines has no bearing on which of those staff should actually display if you choose to invent your own notation that uses a number of lines other than five. There simply is nothing in the rules of music notation that even begins to cover that.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Jojo, not sure how your answer is linked to what I said.
And yes I know that a C clef indicates which line is C, thanks, like F or G clef.
I insist, the C clef on the first line is called "Clef d'ut première ligne" in French and nobody would ever think that the "première" line is the top one.
Perhaps it is a French way only to count stave lines from bottom to top, I don't have reference music book in English (other than all wikipedia English pages that all number stave lines from bottom to top as well though).

In reply to by frfancha

Even if the French have decided to name the clefs after line numbers on a five-line staff and we choose to accept this as a "standard" for numbering staff, this in no way changes the fact that the numbering of lines is irrelevant to the issue at hand. The issue here interpretation of staff lines for non-standard staves - ones with fewer than five lines. A three-line staff currently indicates F, D, and B in treble clef. There is no resource on music notation to say whether that is right or wrong, because three line staves with treble clef simply are not a thing in standard music notation. That's ow MuseScore defaults and it's as valid as any choice. If you are inventing your own music notation and you want a three-line staff using treble clef that goes B, G, E - or for that matter C A F or G E C - then you can use the method I described to set it up that way.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you for your reply!

0a. I have posted this message for 3 times because each time I send it I received an "accessed denied" error when trying to access the newly created thread: I have interpreted it as a site bug and thought that my message was lost (because I didn't get minimal feedback from the site at that time). I have tried to access these two threads each day after the posting day-1 and received the same "access denied error".
In the end, I have interpreted this a serious bug of the site and have sent my message directly to the technical team with the "contact us" form.
0b. You didn't see my message from the first day probably because of the site bug.

1a. There is a "universal" musical pedagogical standard (in the sense of "Western", because the standard 5-lines staff is of Western origin with no claims to be "universal") in which notes are taught and learned from down to up, from middle C to the next notes of the scale (because the treble staff is generally the first to be taught and learned). I am glad that some forum users reported this down-to-up standard, each from his country, from Wikipedia or from various dictionaries. The Romanian school of music also uses this standard bottom-to-up numbering. The universal pedagogical principle of numbering is simple: lines are numbered bottom-to-up as notes are also numbered in the same order (from bottom-to-up): C is the 1st note of the C scale, D is the 2nd note of the same scale and so on. It is unnatural in pedagogy to number the lines in the inverse order than the notes starting from C to up.

1b. I am sure that MuseScore builders inverted the line numbering (from top to bottom) as strongly influenced by the fact that the pixels on a screen/window (controlled by software) have (x,y) coordinates that increase from top to bottom (and not inversely, as it is currently used in Western music, when numbering lines from bottom to up). I am a programmer too: however, I didn't fall into this "trap" when programming my LeadMuse (which uses a periodic modular bilinear staff):

1c. It may be "non-standard" in Western concert music to use staves with less than five lines: however, in Western musical pedagogy, many teachers prefer to initally use only the first 2-3 lines of the staff (numbered from down to up!) to initially teach the 7 notes of the C scale in ascending order. What is "non-standard" in concert music isn't necessarily "non-standard" in pedagogy, on contrary. MuseScore should give the same attention to both types of music approaches: from the teachers' view and from the interpret's view.
The Wikipedia page dedicated to the musical staff has a phrase which expresses the almost "universal" (in the sense of "universal in the Western music") line numbering used in the Western standard musical notation system:
"The lines and spaces are numbered from bottom to top; the bottom line is the first line and the top line is the fifth line."
The first 2 lines of the musical staff (the E-line and the G-line) is also the foundation of many non-standard (including bilinear) musical notation systems which all use the bottom-to-up numbering:
(note that in MANY 2/3-lines non-standard notation systems [presented in the previously linked webpage] the C note has a ledger line and is placed UNDER the 1st line of the staff, which is clearly the E-line and not the D-line as MuseScore 3.0 imposes).

1d. The fact MuseScore imposes the 4th (D-line) and 5th line (F-line) (instead of the 1st E-line and 2nd G-line or any other pair of lines) is a subtle bug, which may be called a "non-wanted ambiguous option/choice": the arbitrary pair of lines imposed by MuseScore is often contrary to what a music teacher wants and that is frustrating for him/her. The elegant approach of this subtle bug (of arbitrary and ambiguity) imposed by MuseScore 3.0 can easily be solved by a small form with 5 checkboxes near a small 5-lines staff (one checkbox for each staff line, numbered from down to up) so that the user/teacher may choose which lines to use in his pedagogical method.

1e. In a checkpoint conclusion, I hope to have demonstrated you that your "extreme" phrase "there is nothing universally standard about how staff lines are numbered in music" should be replaced with "the bottom-to-up numbering of the staff lines is an ALMOST <> standard in Western music", because MuseScore 3,0 doesn't pretend universal musical features in the strict sense, BUT MuseScore is essentially and mainly based on the Western musical notation system (not a universally accepted one on "the whole Earth", which doesn't exist yet): additionally, the great majority of the non-standard musical notation systems use this bottom-to-up line numbering system (as already explained)

1f. The combination of using Staff type change and the inspector tool (which generates a bug and is an artificial one) is much more inelegant that the solution I have proposed: numbered checkboxes from which the user to choose what lines of the staff he really wants to be shown in the score.

  1. In music, composers (I've been composing music for more than 20 years) often use groups of two or more chords to copy and paste (and then modify some chords) from one passage to another: it is a nightmare for me to copy or re-input each chord in a passage instead of pasting the group of chords automatically on that passage, even if that passage contains tuplets. The chord group paste in any group of bars should be equally simple no matter if that group of bars contains tuplets or not.

  2. I am glad that many reported bugs are on the list of feature MuseScore updates/repairs.

  3. I will also report this issue (as adviced by you) from the "Help/Report a bug page".

Regarding the other suggestions:

1) I was referring to the palettes from the left side of the screen (when looked at the screen): when I choose a clef in a bar (from the sheet) for example, the palette (from the left pane) showing all possible clefs offered by MuseScore should open automatically (so that all clefs [that may replace the selected one from the score] should be visible) and all the other palettes (from the same left pane) should close automatically. It is very annoying that each time anyone wants to change an element in the score, he/she needs to select the element to be changed (a clef for example) and then go with the mouse in the left palettes pane, find the corresponding palette with all the similar/alternative musical symbols for the one chosen in the staff, open it and then double click it to change the one selected from the staff. I hope that now I've made myself much more clear in what I wanted to report.

2) I will search the Handbook under "Custom palettes".

3) I meant controlling the space between staves directly from the score, with a drag-and-drop mechanism (select a bar from a staff and drag it up or down and obtain a local respacing between two adjacent staves): it is very time-wasting that for each spacing detail from a score to move the mouse in the extreme left of the screen and choose a spacer from the spacers-palette (instead of directly maneuver the staves with the mouse, by drag-and-drop, like in Sibelius for example).

In reply to by andrushkkutza

I will happily agree there seems to be a consensus about the staff line numbering, but once more, how MuseScore chooses to implement this internally is completely irrelevant. If your concern is which staff lines get included when creating experimental notation involving staves of fewer than five lines, let's just address that without confusing the issues with questions over internally line number algorithms that have no bearing on the issue. I get that you would prefer to have a two-line staff have E & G, and I hgae you one method for creating that particular experimental notation, no doubt there would be other interfaces possible to create this or other experimental notations. Creating experimental notations is not really the main intended use for MuseScore but we are certainly open to things that could make this particular use case easier.

The tuplet issue is, as I said, a known bug, should be fixed in due course. BTW, there are workarounds for this, most obviously, copy the chords before entering the notes. Or use the "exchange with clipboard" feature to get sneak in afterwards.

The suggestion of showing other clefs when right-clicking a clef is a good one indeed, I encourage you to report it formally to the issue tracker.

Regarding staff spacing, it should normally be needed only pretty rarely, so using spacers shouldn't be a hardship, but feel free to explain your use case in more detail - ideally by attaching a score - and perhaps we can show you how to do whatever it is you are trying to do more efficiently.

The OP merely stated that musical "pedagogy" uses bottom-up numbering.

OK... so the above image is unclear... top/down or bottom/up numbering?... ;-)

Here's more:




So... though staff lines (and spaces) are not "officially" numbered in the rules of notation, perhaps someday they will be.
(That is, after all, how our present system of musical notation evolved.)

In reply to by Jm6stringer

No, that is not all the OP said. I quote:

". I have discovered this bug by selecting Staff properties - 2 lines staff option, which generates a musical staff with lines of F and D (in treble clef) instead of lines of E and G (considering C as having its own "0th" ledger line)."

In other words, the real issue isn't how we internally number staff lines - that is completely irrelevant. His issue is what happens when creating a staff of less than five lines. And again, this has absolutely nothing to do with internal details of how we number staff lines. It's simply a matter of what line we chose to be the top by default when creating custom staves. It would be completely possible to say, "ok, so you have a 2-line staff of F & D, and D is line 1 if it pleases you to call it that." It is clear it the issue isn't "which is line 1" but "what are the pitches chosen for a two-line staff with treble clef" - two completely separate questions.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Dear Mr. Sabatella,

  1. I compose music for almost 25 years. Besides that, I also do programming for more than 25 years (being both an amateur composer and an amateur programmer) and that may be an advantage when analyzing MuseScore, don’t you think? Additionally, my profession is that of a MD pediatrician specialist so that I’m quite skilled in diagnosis (applied not only in medicine, but also in music and programming). Additionally, many users have agreed with me on some issues (mainly on the line-numbering issue) but they didn’t seem to have convinced you in a profound way. Let me give you some more profound arguments.

  2. There are many pedagogical methods which start with notes c-d-e-f-g and dedicate whole volumes only to the huge number of combinations that can be constructed with these 5 notes. It will be an advantage (and gain of typographical space and pigment) if using just 2 lines when teaching these basic notes don’t you think? That doesn’t impair the teaching of the other notes but the eyes of beginner (frequently the children) won’t be distracted by the other 3 lines which are used yet. Didn’t you realize (from my referenced article links) that my proposal is strongly related to the eye efforts of the beginner reader and to ease those efforts so that children may be truly focused on music not on notation? Because many musically-skilled children lose “the battle” with standard notation system just because it is unnecessarily tiring especially for the beginners and children (but not only!). I’m a pediatrician very interested in new notation systems, pedagogical methods and to keep children close to music as possible: I hope that this makes sense to you now. In the world of computers it may be one click a way to convert any score (written in any notation system) to any other notation system. NOT the notation system is truly important but the speed to which that notation system helps in memorizing/internalizing music and then emitting that music to the audience. The audience may not be interested at all in which notation system you’ve learnt a specific musical piece as long as your interpretation is exact, expressive and skilful. Thus iit s about valuable time (lost in memorizing a huge number of visual recognition pattern [the position of notes on the 5-line staff and N ledger lines) which may be invested in focusing on the audio music (in controlling the expression and the message) NOT on its written form which may hugely vary from one time and historical place to another. As I’ve written in the first post of mine from 30.01.2019 (reiterated below with all the other publications written in the meantime):

“If this bug would be solved, than MuseScore would be the ideal software to write scores using a modular periodic bilinear staff (MPBS) which I promote from some time (I was partially constrained to create my own software called LeadMuse for that purpose). See links below:

The concept of a periodic musical staff (PMS)
My music catalog
The G-clef instrument project
The G-clef piano (GCP) project
GCP music catalog (GCP)

In a checkpoint conclusion, the pedagogical potential of MuseScore is huge and it is a noble approach to perfect this pedagogical potential and refine the programming behind it. I always think to a musical software also in respect to children and to ease their effort in “conquering” music.

An elegant way to solve the bug of erroneous line numbering in MuseScore would be actually to let the user choose from a separate menu what lines he exactly wants to use (F, D, B, G or E, in treble clef OR 1st line=E, 2nd line=G, 3rd line=B, 4th line=D and 5th line=F). I hope that the programmers will also agree with me.

It was EASIER to build my LeadMuse demo software than convincing some programmers and other member of the technical team on this issue. My LeadMuse was built to write lead sheets very quickly (by using a simple notation system based on numbers): it won’t be a bad idea at all for MuseScore to allow writing music from a text box that translates into notes (in real time) what you write in numbers. Maybe the MuseScore programmers would be open to such a collaboration (so to implement the facilities of LeadMuse into MuseScore). I dealt with some rigidity in the views of some.

Best regards and health possible!
Dr. Andrei-Lucian Dragoi

In reply to by andrushkkutza

Hello, and thanks for your comments! It isn’t clear to me which bug you mean, but if you are volunteering to fix something or to help implement a new feature for experimental notation in MuseScore, it is open source, so feel free to jump in! And yes, we always welcome contributions from anyone who has good ideas and the skills to implement them! Just see the Development info in the Contribute menu above for info on how to get started.

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