Tip - Lyrics causing page overflow

• Jan 16, 2019 - 22:32

My score is a simple lead sheet with lyrics. I have two instruments (voice and alto saxophone) that are identical - the alto part is just a transposition of the voice part.

When I generated the parts, the alto part fit on one page, but the last system of the voice part went on to a second page. Both were formatted with "Break systems every 4 measures". Other than that change, no other formatting differences exist between the parts.

I tried adjusting the margins and page sizes (staff distance, min/max system distance) but nothing worked. The min/max system settings visibly affected the distance between systems, but no setting forced the final system back on to the first page.

Then I noticed that the voice part was considerably lower than the alto part, with the lowest note a G below the staff. The same note shows as a (higher) E on the alto part. That pushed the lyrics lower on the voice part, which forced the page overflow.

Although it seems that setting the system distances should work, they didn't. The only setting that worked was Style->Lyrics->Min. top margin (set to 0.5sp vs. the default of 1sp).

Just a tip in case anyone else runs into this issue.


What you are seeing is the result of two things. First, if there are no lyrics on the Sax part, each staff will take up less space vertically than a voice staff. That would help explain why the voice staff spills over to the second page.

The other thing is that a Sax is a transposing instrument. The E-natural on the bottom of the treble clef for an Eb Alto Sax is the G below the staff for the voice (which is in concert pitch). The extra ledger lines on the voice are expected if they are in unison with the sax playing such a low note.

Your fix is one of several ways to make the staves fit on a page. Yours may or may not be the best way for anyone.

In reply to by mike320

Thanks for the reply. The sax part does contain the lyrics (it's a lead sheet, so the sax player needs the melody and the chord changes, and it helps if they also have the lyrics).

It really is the low G that's forcing the extra space. For me, the more intuitive fix would be reducing the distance between systems, but that didn't work. Can you suggest another way?

In reply to by guitarboy

It seems the problem has to do with the notes below the staff as you said previously. If I were formatting the score, I would not use a system break every 4 notes, but rather put reasonable system breaks in the voice, then use the same breaks in the sax if it were important for me to have the same layout in both parts. In my opinion the default puts too many measures on some systems, like the first.


I started by putting what I think are reasonable system breaks in the voice part. To line up the system breaks, I put MuseScore into stacked view, put the voice in one window and sax in the other window so I could see both at the same time.

In reply to by mike320

Force of habit, I guess, to format with 4 bars/staff, but keeping to a single page is definitely worth the trade off of breaking that rule. BTW, I use "Voice" because it's a convenient instrument for scoring concert parts for a lead sheet, not because a singer is involved. The lyrics are there as a mnemonic/phrasing aid for players.

Thanks for the great support. I've been using Notion and Sibelius, but going forward MuseScore 3 is shaping up as the best option for me. Very stable and feature rich without being difficult to learn and use. Congratulations!

In reply to by guitarboy

I didn't worry about the details of how you named the parts. I was more concerned with showing you what I would do, so you can decided if you like it, glad you did, and you can do it yourself in the future. Don't hesitate to ask further questions. Someone is usually around to give an answer in a decent amount of time.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.