navigating between chord selection and note selection with keyboard

• May 16, 2022 - 19:18

Keyboard is often a really nice and fast way to navigate and edit, especially on a laptop. But one thing that gets me stuck and forces me to use the trackpad, is if I have a chord selected, or a note selected, and I'd like to switch from one to the other. Also, a way to edit a selected chord name would be useful. Is there a way to do these things?

Other general keyboard shortcuts might be really useful also, if theres a good resource for that.


Alt+left/right will include chord symbols in the element navigation.

There is no shortcut to open edit mode for a Chord Symbol (it'd be nice if the default Ctrl/Cmd+E worked for that), but you can Delete it (after which a related note is selected automatically) and then Ctrl/Cmd+K back into entering a new symbol.

As for an overview of the keyboard shortcuts; see your Preferences window ;-) And the basic listing in the handbook at
And/or the cheat sheet from Marc's online course at

In reply to by jeetee

Awesome, thank you! That's gonna work well enough for me, but I think I would prefer if ALT+left/right behaved that way, but just regular left/right behaved as cycling either chords, or notes, depending on which is selected. This ways works well, but, if I just want to select the next chord, it's not as convenient. It's actually more convenient to cycle to and from chords with alt, and navigate notes with arrows to get where you want to be, and then go to chords with alt again.

In reply to by a-muse-sing

I'm not sure I understand. If you're in chord edit mode, just use space, semicolon, tab, and the other chord symbol navigation commands.

if you continue to have trouble, best to attach your score and describe what you are trying to do in more detail. Then we can understand and assist better.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I mean like if you click one chord name, not in such a way that you can edit it, just so it is highlighted, and it would be cool if arrow keys let go back and forth to next or previous chord, just highlighted, and then you can use the edit command to edit it.

semicolon and tab are good shortcuts too though. I was using the ctrl+# but I kind of like that, because it drills the numbers for note length value into your head, and you can have more flexibility, going down to 1/8ths and even 1/16ths

In reply to by a-muse-sing

Why would you click one chord symbol, and then, without editing it, immediately move on to the next? I’m not understanding the real world use case here. It’s normally way more common to select a chord with the intent of actually editing it, and that’s why the shortcuts are designed to facilitate that.

Sounds like you might eyeing be trying to do something very unusual, or else perhaps you are missing the simpler way to do whatever it is you are trying to do. As always, if you attach your score and describe what you are trying to do in more detail, we can understand and assist better.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Because, let's say I've edited one chord, and then I'd like to edit the next one, which is on a dotted 1/4, or, I just want to navigate quickly with the keyboard to a previous chord. I may not intentionally select a chord, it just happens to be selected at the time. It's just really fast to navigate sometimes. Also to get playback. I can just move back real quick a few chords, and hit spacebar, stuff like that. Navigating this way through selected notes is really helpful, but I find myself wishing I could do that with chords quite often, as well.

I'm not trying to do a specific thing. It's just using keyboard to quickly navigate can be helpful for me in general. Playback is a big one. Musescore pauses playback, rather than remembers a start position, which is not ideal for me, so I often have to navigate back. If chords are selected, I have to switch to notes, which is not the end of the world, but chords are also generally larger steps, so it goes faster, and chords are always a good sort of marker to start from. It would just make navigating for me a little easier and faster in general.

In reply to by a-muse-sing

So, what I'm saying is, after editing the first chord, simply press Space or whatever to move the next - don't hit Esc first. That's the part I'm not understanding.

If you wish to have MuseScore always start from a given position, easiest is to set the loop mode. Also note when navigating by notes, Ctrl+arrow moves by measure, and Ctrl+F jumps to a specific measure. Lots of ways to do the sorts of things I think you are describing.

As always, it's much easier for us to understand your unique situation if you attach your score. Maybe it has some unusual quality that makes the normal methods most of us use not work so well for you, but it's impossible for us to guess at without seeing the score. We really want to help, but it's so much harder when we can't see what you are talking about.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Sometimes I hit enter to hear the chord, or just for some random reason the chord happens to be selected.

I don't always want it to start from a given position. It's just say I'm doing a chorus, I might play back, do a few chords, and then want to hear it through. Reaper's default, is you click a spot, and it will always play back from there, until you click another spot. This sort of behaviour would be ideal for me. Setting up loops is a little bit complicated. Much faster to just hit arrow key a few times usually. It's fast for me not to use a mouse especially on laptop. ctrl+arrow just moves the chord by larger increments. ctrl+F might be useful. Could try that. But there is still some like having to look at bar numbers, and stuff. Would be generally more convenient to just hit arrow a couple times and I'm where I want to be, especially if it's close by. But That might be pretty useful actually. It selects the note as well, so I can playback from there right away. Thanks.

There's not a specific score I'm referring to. These navigation things apply to every score I have ever worked on, or downloaded and wished to edit.

In reply to by a-muse-sing

In which case, it should be easy to select one and post so we can get more specific with our advice :-).

After attaching a score, tell about a specific measure where you are having trouble. Tell us what you are trying to accomplish, tell us step by step how you are attempting to do it, and we can then advise you on whether there are more efficient ways. And if not, we can discuss how a new feature could possibly be designed that made that particular operation simpler. Again, it's almost impossible to have discussions at this level of detail with specific real world examples to refer to.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I'll try and take note of specific situations. I only know what bothers me a lot and what I wish I can do, and when I wish I could do something a bunch of times, I remember that I wish I could that.

So, I'll have to keep in mind of specific situations. But I can tell you for sure, that if I had control of the key bindings, I would make left and right skip to the next chord/note depending on what's selected, alt+arrow works well how it is, but up and down to move from chords to notes would be my preference, and I would make all movements of elements require modifier keys, because I almost never want to move elements, but it accidentally happens to me sometimes.

It's too bad it's not possible to customize key bindings and make macros and stuff the way reaper lets you do.

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