Layout - newbie

• Jul 6, 2021 - 01:22

I'm sorry this isn't a true musescore question... I'm hoping someone can help me...
Why is music laid out so weird, with verses spread over multiple measures, and why is the first measure usually half empty? I've included a short example and I think my layout (the 2nd one) is easier to read. But I know nothing about music. Can I lay out the music like I want or will real singers be confused and laugh at me? :) PS. Musescore is great so far, albeit I just installed it last week.

Attachment Size
m.png 32 KB


I'm not sure what you're asking here regarding verses being spread out over multiple measures. Do you mean the fact that this particular piece has what appears to be two different verses on two different pages rather than showing them on the same page? If you look carefully, you'll see the melody is quite different, so there's no clear way to convey that without writing it out twice. But it also seems this might be an error in the edition you are showing here - is this from published music? The first page shows a pickup measure, which makes perfect musical sense (look up that term to understand what it is, and that will answer your question about why it is "half empty". The second page is incorrect,t none of the notes that should fall on beat one actually - everything is off by a beat. It's important that beat one actually be beat one in every measure.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks. I was asked to re-print some old music, and I created the 2nd page myself (based on the 1st page) thinking it would be easier to sing if each line of the song was on its own system (staff). I didn't know about a pickup measure or beat. Sorry, in my first post, I meant that the last word of line 1 and the first word of line 2 are in the same measure. Is it also incorrect to split measures over 2 systems so that each line of a song end up on their own system? Thanks again!

In reply to by Vitus1964

I don't see multiple verses there - only one verse that I can see. Maybe you multiple lines of lyrics within the verse? If so, then indeed, it is fairly common in hymns to split a measure so the first portion is at the end of one system and the second at the start of the next, so each line of lyrics within the verse starts at the beginning of a system. To do that, click the note you want to start the system, then Tools / Measure / Split Measure Before Selected Note/Rest. You can then click the barline and hit Enter to add a system break there. You may also want to make the barline dotted or invisible, depending on it is done in other music the same ensemble is familiar with.

But definitely, music like this (most music, really) relies on being able to count with a steady beat and a clear sense of which note is on which beat. Taking a note that is meant to be on beat one and placing it somewhere else will not be readable at all.

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