[Idea] Multiple parts generation with voices

• Apr 7, 2022 - 08:49

In many scores, you're used to find multiple parts on a single staff. It's very common for wind instruments (flutes, clarinets, trumpets etc. 1 & 2 on the same staff).
This can be very welle achieved with voices.

Alas, when generating parts, it's not possible to have separate parts for those voices, apart from exploding voices on multiple staff in the score.

This leads (for me) to creating two scores at the end of my work: The "parts" one with all parts separate and the "conductor" on with parts grouped into voices.
Is it possible to work on this?


In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

In the score put both instruments (let's say flutes 1 and 2) on the same stave in different voices like this.


Go to [File]>[Parts] and click on [Single Part]. Add the flute instrument twice. Click on the black triangle next to the instrument name in the right hand panel and it will open up to show tick boxes for the possible 4 voices. Tick the ones you want in the the Part and it should look like this.


Click OK and the part is generated and will look like this


Actually both staves would be named "Flute" and so you will need to right click to change the long and short instrument names to Flute 1 and Flute 2 or whatever you would like.

The example is attached VoicesToParts.mscz

In reply to by SteveBlower

Okay, this is nice! I never noticed the voices columns in that dialog, thank you for that!

It'll still be very nice if you could automatize this from a score (when you have 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 4 horns and 4 percussion parts, it's a bit a hassle).
So, I'd like very much if MS4 could make this automatically (and add automatically the voice number too).
In the following, it'll be nice not to be limited to 4 voices: could we have an arbitrary number of voices and not forcefully voice 1 obliged? I think of casses when there are 6 trombones splitted in 1.2.3. and 4.5.6. for example...

In reply to by bersyl91

Once you've set up a score the way you like, you can simply save to your Templates folder.

I can't really imagine anyone trying to notate six trombone parts on a single staff - are you aware of published examples of this? I've never encountered a case where more than two or three voices per staff should be needed for this purpose.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Sorry, I disagree.
I work extensively on score and parts for orchestra and the very need is as follows:
- for the conductor, have parts grouped into one staff (Fl 1&2, Ob 1&2, Cl 1&2, etc.)
- for the wind instruments, have parts grouped in system of staves (Fl1 on one, Fl2 on the other, etc.) to be able to know if the other has to play when you don't have to for example.
- for the strings, have one staff by part, except when there are divisi sections where it can be comfortable to have a system of staves.

Currently, it's IMHO impossible to have this into one single MS file.

In reply to by bersyl91

Nothing about what you seems like it would be impossible at all - should be doable both in MU3 and MU4. Again, best to attach an example of what you mean so we can understand and assist better. But unless you want more than four parts on a single staff, it’s all perfectly doable with only four voices.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi Marc,
Please find enclosed the example of the problem. It's an excerpt of Beethoven's 6th with very few instruments but enough for my concern.

If you look at the clarinettes staff, you find them both on a single staff on the full score, which is what is expected (ideally on two distinct voices, but it's a detail and I know perfectly how to achieve that).
In the clarinettes separate part, you find them exactly the same way: both on a single staff.

Now look at the Horns part: there is a staff for each horn, which is the best for players because they can read comfortably their part, knowing simultaneously what does the other one have to play and when.

But to achieve that, I've found no other way than creating two horn voices. On the score, I've also two staves for the horn, which seems pretty logical. The problem is that this way, I'll end up with a 32-line score for the whole orchestra and the lisibility is far from optimal because I have to zoom out too much.

What I'm serching for is to have parts like the horns ones and simultaneously the score like the clarinets.
One way to do that is to create hidden parts and duplicate, but it's very complicated and dangerous: If you make a correction on a part, it'll not be repercuted on the score...

I wonder if I'm clear enough: english is not my native language, sorry for that and thank you for all

Attachment Size
MS_Multiparts_example.mscz 70.9 KB

In reply to by bersyl91

Yes, and again, MuseScore already supports generating parts from multiple voices on a single staff. None of the staves here have more than four voices, so no additional voices are necessary. What specifically are you still thinking you need more than four voices on a single staff for? And what do you mean about 32 lines? There are only 7 staves here.

It seems you are misunderstanding something about how parts work, it just isn't quite clear yet what. Can you show a picture of what you are trying to achieve? Then we can help show you how to get there, without needing more than four voices per staff.

Note that published scores virtually never would combine multiple instruments into a single part. While you might think it would be useful to know what some other instrument is doing, that just isn't done. Well, except for percussion, especially if the multiple instruments are meant to be played by a single person.

In reply to by bersyl91

I don't know what you mean by "combined parts". Two instruments on a single part? Yes, very simple in both MuseScore 3 and MuseScore 4. In 3, go to File / Parts, click "Single Part", and add the two instruments in using the controls below. In 4, click Parts, then "Create new part", then view the resulting (empty) part in the main score window and add the instruments using the instruments panel.

If that's not what you mean, please show an example - prefererably from published music, to establish how professional editors would be setting it out. Then we can advise better.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Well, I mean the exact opposite: From a single part with two (three or four) voices, create a part with the two (three, or four) voices each on a distinct staff.
For example, in MS4, Create new part then add separately the voices of the instruments in distinct parts. I've not found this.

In reply to by bersyl91

Indeed, this seems not possible in MS4.
In a score with a single instrument you can easily duplicate the instrument for individual parts and hide the other voices - but that only leads to single staves per part for the individual voices:
MU4_PartsDuplicate.png MU4_Voices.png

Whereas this was easily possible in MS3 by duplicating the instrument within the part:

Whether this is used by professional editors or not should not matter that much - it could make the individual (non-professional) musician's life a lot easier....

Attachment Size
MU3_parts.png 10.5 KB
MU4_Voices.png 20.26 KB
MU4_PartsDuplicate.png 30.17 KB

In reply to by the_mnbvcx

Regarding the statement "Whether this is used by professional editors or not should not matter that much", that is simply not realistic. MuseScore is a program designed to produce standard music notation, and is highly optimized to do so. Non-standard notation may be possible but will often require workarounds - the program can't realistically support every new experimental notation invented by every user. So ascertaining the extent to which a given notation is actually used in published music is an important consideration in deciding what features to support directly, which should be supported with relatively simple workarounds, and which might be better by using a graphics editor or other program that is designed to supported arbitrary shapes without musical meaning.

Not that it seemed that what was being proposed was so crazily far outside the mainstream that it should require resorting to graphics editors, of course. But the point is, yes, whether something is a standard part of music notation really is an important consideration. And a second point is, it simply wasn't clear until just today what actually was being requested, since the initial request contained the statement "I work extensively on score and parts for orchestra and the very need is ..." which kind of implied this was something actually required according to standard notation, but it just wasn't obvious what it was. Hence, the desire to get to the bottom of the request - both to understand what was being requested, and understand the extent to which it is something the program should in fact support directly.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"So ascertaining the extent to which a given notation is actually used in published music is an important consideration in deciding what features to support directly"

The feature I'm working on is actually used in printed music. I've tried to remember some and I've found an example with Ravel's Ma mère l'Oye. Please find it attached.
Okay, I admit that in "traditionnal" orchestral music, you don't find it very often, but this is precisely why I try to have it done because it's really very comfortable.
I suppose that editors doesn't promote those formats because they lead to more paper/ink consumption and higher freight expenses. But in 2023, anyone can play on a tablet and those considerations shouldn't be still to consider.

Attachment Size
Ravel_-_Horns.jpg 11.01 KB

In reply to by bersyl91

Indeed, also, I think most experiences players prefer not to have to ignore half of the music on the page, but to just see their own parts., More music on the page also means more page turns, which even with tablets and foot pedals can be a pain. So I suspect it will continue to be uncommon.

Anyhow, as noted, it is possible already. If someday this form of part coyping becomes more common, then I'm sure a new feature to make this simpler could be considered.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Precisely: concerning the tablets and foot pedals, I've got another idea for an improvement. I don't know if you're using those, so I'll talk about my own experience.
I've found a PDF reader with a musician mode: Librera reader pro.
In this musician mode, you can have the page smoothly scroll from the bottom up, which is, if correctly set, very comfortable.
There is a drawback though: at each page change, you've got to move manually because of the top and bottom margins to pass befor having the first staff of the next page.
So I created a "tablet" style for parts, featuring:
- no margins at all (in fact, 1mm because 0 is visually less comfortable)
- page height 2000 mm.

This functions very well on the tablet, but for very long pieces, 2 meters is still too few.
On the opposite, it's strange to have a 2 meters long virtual page if you have only some lines to show.
Another drawback is that parts cannot be printed that way, it's necessary to create 2 sets of parts if you want both.
I wonder if it could be possible to have more than one "view" of a part (or a score), for example by attaching named stylesheets to them (I use stylesheets extensively also in books editing and it's the best way to have a consistent presentation of different works).
Furthermore, it would be very nice to be able to have a "non-fixed" dimension of a page, in order not to have a big space after the music.
I've currently not been able to have the same result on scores, because I need to present them horizontally without page breaks: The reader doesn't scroll horizontally so I have to generate the PDF in landscape mode, but I've not been able to do this currently.

In reply to by bersyl91

you might want to have a look at MobileSheets Pro, IMHO it is well worth the money....
(It even supports customs jumps within a document for repeats and the like)

Sorry for you Apple folks, this app is only available for Android and Windows - but I am sure there are similar ones available for iOS

In reply to by the_mnbvcx

Hi the_mnbvcx,
I've taken a look at it, I think you're right concerning it's intrinsic value.
The problem is -- like often with this sort of software -- that it imposes it's own way of organizing things and repository.
I've got currently around 1500 scores, for which I've got a database organization already.
It seems complicated to integrate everything into it, notably because they are subject to changes (in content, name, appearance or organization, depending of new information I get on them or improvement I make on my stylesheets).
Currently, in the various tablets I use, I regularly wipe everything to have a fresh and clean copy of the PDF generated.
Therefore, a more simple software like Librera Pro is more suited to my needs, because it only presents PDFs with an auto-scrolling mode, which is often enough.
I've not been able to find if MobileSheets Pro would be able to scroll horizontally (I said scroll and not turn pages ;-)). This is the very feature I need currently.
Thanks to you!

In reply to by bersyl91

So, in the score you want two separate parts on a single staff, but in the part, you want those same separate parts displayed as separate staves?

First question is, why? Is there some publisher of experimental music you are working for that requires this non-standard format?

Second question is, how would having more than four voices on a single staff help with this? That's what confused me from the beginning, your statement about wanting up to 6 voices (in the post where you asked stated "In the following, it'll be nice not to be limited to 4 voices").

Anyhow, to accomplish this unorthodox type of part in MuseScore 4, add a linked staff to your score for each staff you want to show in the part and hide them all in the score. Then in the part, set each to show only the voice you want.

So for example, here is the score:

Screenshot 2023-01-24 12.17.41 PM.png

and here is the part:

Screenshot 2023-01-24 12.18.55 PM.png

Agan, as long as you aren't literally trying to put more than four parts onto a single staff in the score (which I can't imagine anyone trying to do!) this should work.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I wasn't dead serious with the "should not matter that much" ;)
But at least for myself I can answer the "why" question: I simply find it easier to read a "duet" when playing (compared to the "condensed" double voicing). And I tend to get confused by the other voice when I see only my part. But admittedly I am only a slightly lazy hobby musician....

Thanks for pointing towards the linked staff, that looks like a feasible workaround (at least to me).

In reply to by the_mnbvcx

In a duet arrangement, the two parts would not have been combined onto one staff in the score in the first place - they'd be separate staves in the score as well. it's only in large ensemble scores where one sees multiple parts combined in this way. Well, that and choral scores, but in that case, the norm is for everyone to simply read off the score.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi Marc & the_mnbvcx,
Thank you for all this information: I'm about to be done ;-)
I've tried the solution of the linked staff and this seems to be pretty efficient.
Alas, I've done it the wrong way: I've created it before assembling parts and this leads to some problems:
- the dynamics are not present on the linked part. I've added them manually on the beginning, but see for example horns at bar 57 (dynamics are present on the 1st staff and on the Horn 2 sdtaff, but not on the linked one).
- the prolongations (slurs or ties? I never remember... Ties, I think) appears strangely on the 2nd voice of the linked part: they don't reach completely the next note.
- more problemmatic: When I open the score, it appears to have been "corrupted" and MS4 crashes whenever I try to add a note.
- when I've assembled, it seems that another staff has been added to the second horn without my notice... Very strange, but I can't be more affirmative on this.
- Last but not least: I've found no way to delete the linked part (nor another one, in fact), so I couldn't try to do it the opposite order (ie: 1st assemble both parts, 2nd add a linked part).

...And a last detail (but not very important regarding the huge improvement of this technique): It's not possible to name the linked part other than the main one, so I can't, for example, have Hn.1 & Hn.2 on the part and Hn. on the score, even with two linked staves).

Thank you again for all, it'll be very useful for all my colleagues in the orchestras!

Attachment Size
MS_Multiparts_example2.mscz 111.83 KB

In reply to by bersyl91

In theory it shouldn't matter what order you add the staves in, and dynamics should appear on all linked staves I think. So if you have a case where it isn't working as you expect, please give the prices steps to reproduce the problem (starting from an as-yet-uncorrupted copy of the score), and if others can reproduce the problem(s), then the next step would be to open an issue on GitHub.

A way to delete parts is being looked at for a coming update.

As for the naming, I'm not clear on what you mean here. Do you mean you wish to see the two staves labeled individually in the part? You could use staff text for that if need be. Seems like it would be superfluous to me though.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi Marc,
I've made another try and found what happens: It's when grouping staves into voices in a single staff that the dynamics are lost.
- Select two consecutive staves in a score
- select Tools-group (? in French, this is Outils-Rassembler -- I don't have the english version)
- The dynamics of the second staff are lost instead of being assigned to the second voice of the grouped staff.

In reply to by bersyl91

I think maybe you're referring to the Implode command? This indeed does not add a second copy of the dynamics, because for most of the purposes it was intended for, that would not be appropriate. but you can easily copy/paste the old dynamics to the new staff (right-click one dynamic on the old staff, select / similar in this staff, then copy, then select the destination and paste).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

For the naming, it's confusing if you use the same naming in the score and in the parts.
For example: in the score, you have a grouped part, named "Horns", wether in the parts, you want to have "Horn 1" and "Horn 2".
Okay, I can put a text label, but it'll appear also on the score, which is not whishable.
It'll be correct if each instrument (even on linked staves) could have it's own naming.
I think there is a hiatus between staff naming and instrument naming and another between score naming and parts naming.
Sorry, it's difficult for me to be perfectly clear in english...

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