In addition to the default step-time note entry method, there are several other methods by which notation can be entered in MuseScore.
To enter these alternative note input methods:
Keyboard users can get to the Note input button by pressing Shift+Tab or Shift+F6 a few times from the score. Screen readers will say something like "Note input toolbar: Default (step-time)". Press Space on this button to open a menu that contains all the available note input methods.
Each note input mode can also be activated directly using an assigned keyboard shortcut (See Keyboard shortcuts to learn how to assign these).
Note that the selected note input method remains in effect even when you leave note input mode and will be enabled the next time you enter note input mode. So if you change to the Re-pitch method for a single passage, be sure to change back to the Step time method when you are done.
The Rhythm note input method allows you to enter durations with a single keypress. This is especially useful for unpitched percussion instruments that use a single sound. In addition, you can combine Rhythm and Re-pitch methods for an efficient workflow in certain circumstances.
By default, notes are entered onto the middle staff line. You can use the cursor keys to change the pitch of the note just entered, and subsequent notes will also be entered using that pitch. You can also use Re-pitch mode to quickly enter pitches for a passage after entering the rhythm.
The Re-pitch note input method allows you to change the pitches of a sequence of notes while leaving their durations unaltered.
The Re-pitch method can be an extremely efficient way of entering notes in music with repeated rhythmic patterns. Simply copy and paste an existing passage that uses the same rhythm as your new passage, then use re-pitch mode to alter the pitches. The same technique can be used to enter multiple instrumental or vocal parts that share the same rhythm but different pitches.
The real-time note input methods basically allow you to perform the piece on a MIDI keyboard (or MuseScore's virtual piano keyboard) and have the notation added for you. However, you should be aware of the following limitations which currently apply:
These restrictions mean that MuseScore has very little guessing to do when working out how your input should be notated, which helps to keep these methods accurate.
With the Real-time (metronome) note input method, you play at a fixed tempo indicated by a metronome click. You can adjust the tempo by changing the delay between clicks from the menu: Edit→Preferences...→Note Input (Mac: MuseScore→Preferences...→Note Input).
The score stops advancing as soon as you release the key. If you want the score to continue advancing—necessary to enter rests—then you can use the Real-time Advance shortcut to start the metronome. The same action will stop the metronome again.
With the Real-time (foot pedal) note input method, you indicate your input tempo by tapping on a key or pedal. You can play at any speed you like, and it doesn't have to be constant. The default key for setting the tempo (called "Real-time Advance") is Enter on the numeric keypad (Mac: Fn+Return), but it is highly recommended that you change this to a MIDI key or MIDI pedal (see below).
The "Real-time Advance" shortcut is used to start the metronome with the Real-time (metronome) method or to tap beats with the Real-time (foot pedal) method. It is called "Real-time Advance" because it causes the input position to move forward, or "advance", through the score.
The default key for Real-time Advance is Enter on the numeric keypad (Mac: Fn+Return), but it is highly recommended that you assign this to a MIDI key or MIDI pedal via MuseScore's MIDI remote control. The MIDI remote control is available from the menu: Edit→Preferences...→MIDI mappings (Mac: MuseScore→Preferences...→MIDI mappings).
Alternatively, if you have a USB footswitch or computer pedal which can simulate keyboard keys, you could set it to simulate Enter on the numeric keypad.
Insert note input method allows you to insert and delete notes and rests within measures, automatically shifting subsequent music forward and backward within the measure. The measure duration is automatically updated as you go.
To insert a note:
When the notes are entered they will be placed just before the selected starting element, which will be highlighted with a square blue marker. The start element and any subsequent notes or rests within the same measure will be shifted forward. You can move the insertion point forward and backward using the arrow keys → or ←, and the new insertion point will then be highlighted.
Alternatively, if you have only one or two notes to insert, you can do this directly with the default Step time note input method. Press Ctrl+Shift (Mac: Cmd+Shift) while adding the note by mouse or keyboard shortcut (A-G).
To insert a rest, first insert a note of the desired duration, then press Delete.
To delete a note or rest, use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+Delete. The measure duration is decreased to compensate. The shortcut works with both the Step time and Insert note input methods.
Because inserting and notes may cause the measure duration to increase or decrease beyond what is specified by the time signature, a small "+" or "-" sign will be shown above the measure when this happens.