Setting up your score

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    Overview

    This chapter focuses on Instruments setup and basic score information setup. You should already be familiar with the basic workflow of Musescore covered in the quickstart tutorial Create your first score.

    Instruments

    An instrument in Musescore is an abstraction that contains the tablature(s) or staff(s) (the most useful aspect, see Page layout concepts: staff), notation styles (clefs, noteheads etc), the musical behaviors (transposition, playable range) and settings related to playback audio created by the Musescore synthesizer.

    An Musescore instrument contains staff(s) that can represent a single or multiple real world instrument(s), for example in Beethoven's Symphony No.3, Op.55 First edition published by Cianchettini & Sperati, n.d.[1809] London, the third staff Corni 1 & 2 in Eb represents two French horn players:
    corni1.png
    To transcribe this, you should add one Musescore instrument "Horn in Eb", and rename it, playback is not affected by naming.
    corni2.png

    Real world instrument, instrument section, vocals, and choir, are supported in Musescore in several ways:

    • A Musescore Instrument that has the same name such as "Piano", "Violin", "Violins (section)", "Strings", "Soprano", "Voice", "Women" and some percussions such as "Timpani", "Concert Bass Drum", "Cymbal" (concert). Similar items might have different playback.
    • "Drumset" Musescore instrument, a single item containing "Snare", "Kick Drum", "Bass Drum", "High Tom", "Ride Cymbal" etc. There is no seperate MuseScore Instrument for these. See Drumset customization
    • A short SoundFonts brush snare sound is shipped with Musescore, see Mixer.

    Use pre-configured template to create a new score, you can also setup instruments in any score (any of its Parts).

    MuseScore contains over 500 instruments, see https://musescore.org/en/instruments. To suggest adding a missing instrument, see https://musescore.org/en/contribute.

    Choose instruments

    When creating a new score, in the New Score dialog, click to open Choose instruments tab. Some methods mentioned in "Changing instruments after score creation" also open this window.

    Choose instruments (animated image)

    Instruments are filtered by the type/genre shown in the dropdown menu under Family heading on the left. "Common" is selected by default, which displays some of the most common instruments or voices you are likely to need. NOTE: To show all available instruments, you must select "All instruments".

    Instruments are grouped into the instrument family they belong to. If you know the instrument/voice you are looking for, you can simply type its name, or part name, in the search bar under Instruments heading . Press the clear button (X) to clear the selection.

    Adding instruments

    To add an instrument to your score:

    1. Double click an instrument under Instruments

    or

    1. Select an instrument under Instruments
    2. Click the button to add the instrument to your score (Pro tip: double-clicking an instrument name does the same thing).

    Add instruments (animated image)

    Staffs on score are arranged according to the order shown under the Your Score heading on the right. The Order … dropdown shows the current staff ordering preset.

    Changing order of instruments by making them soloist

    Soloist ordering position is a practice on orchestral scores. For example, in the 'Orchestral' ordering practice, soloists are above the strings. Soloist does not mean "only one on score".

    Select the style in the Order … dropdown list under the Your Score heading.

    To rearrange an instrument (all of its staffs) to soloist position:

    1. Select an instrument under Your Score
    2. Click the "Make soloist" button.

    Changing order of instruments manually

    To manually change the order of instruments:

    1. Select an instrument under Your Score
    2. Click on or to change its position

    Change order of instruments (animated image)

    Removing instruments

    To delete an instrument from your score:

    1. Double click an instrument under Your Score

    or

    1. Select an instrument under Your Score
    2. Click the trash icon

    Deleting instruments (animated image)

    You can also delete multiple instruments at once by first holding down Shift and selecting multiple instruments, then clicking the trash icon.

    Create from template

    Scores can also be created from pre-configured templates. A template is a complete instrument setup for a particular type of score, ordered and styled according to conventional practice. Templates are organized into categories based on musical style or ensemble configuration.

    To create a score from a template:

    1. Click Create from template
    2. Select a group of templates from the Category panel
    3. Choose your desired template from the center panel
    4. Click Done

    Create score from template (animated image)

    You can also search across all available templates in the search bar.

    Visit Templates and styles to learn more templates, including how to create your own for future use.

    Additional score information

    Click Next in the New score dialog to specify additional information in the Additional score information screen, such as key signature, time signature, tempo, pickup measure (anacrusis or upbeat measure), and the number of measures.

    Specify additional score information (animated image)

    Note that this is one convenient way to add info while creating a new score, but not the only way. There are other methods you can use anytime later on, covered in their respective chapters, such as Keyboard shortcuts, Using the palettes, project properties etc.

    Key signature

    By default, new scores are created with a key signature containing no sharps or flats (C major). Specify a different key signature by clicking the button under Key signature. Major keys are shown first; minor keys can be displayed by selecting the Minor tab.

    Time signature

    New scores will be created in 4/4 by default. Change this by clicking the button under Time signature. Change the number of beats per bar using the arrows in the spin box, and change the beat quality from the dropdown menu. You can also select common and cut-common (alla-breve) time signatures in this popup.

    Tempo

    By default, new scores will play at a tempo of crotchet (quarter note) = 120 beats per minute (bpm). Metronome markings are not automatically included in new scores.

    To customize the starting playback tempo, and to show a metronome marking above the uppermost stave:

    1. Click the button under Tempo
    2. Tick Show tempo marking on my score
    3. Select the desired beat value
    4. Enter the desired number of beats per minute (20-400) in the text field or use the up and down arrows to scroll through the tempo range.

    Learn more about tempo text indications, metronome markings, and playback speed in tempo markings.

    Measures

    New scores are created with 32 measures and no pickup (anacrusis). To change the starting number of measures in your new score:

    1. Click the button under Measures
    2. Enter the desired number of measures in the Initial number of measures field

    Learn more about Adding and removing measures at any time after score creation.

    To start your score with a pickup:

    1. Click the button under Measures
    2. Tick Create pickup measure
    3. Enter the desired number of beats for the pickup in the text field
    4. Select the metrical value of the pickup measure from the drop-down menu

    You can always create a pickup later. Learn how to do this in Pickup and non-metered measures.

    Title and other text

    Enter text in the fields at the bottom of the New score dialog, and MuseScore will automatically place it in an appropriate format in your new score. You can enter text labels for the score's:

    • Title
    • Composer
    • Subtitle
    • Lyricist
    • Copyright

    This information also becomes data in the score's project properties (menu File), which you can change at any time.

    Once you've finished specifying additional score information, click Done to confirm your selections and create your score.

    Changing instruments after score creation

    There are three ways to change existing score instruments:

    • Use the keyboard shortcut I while in the Score tab
    • Click Add from the Instruments panel (If this panel is not yet visible, press F7, or select ViewInstruments)
    • Click Replace instrument in the Staff/Part properties dialog