Staff Text and System Text

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This page shows old instructions for MuseScore 3.
For MuseScore 4 users, see Staff Text and System Text.


    Different types of text-based objects are not interchangeable, see Text types. Staff Text object and System Text object are used for purposes not covered by other text types only. Including:

    • Capo playback for guitarists (Staff Text only).
    • Applying swing and straight time (Staff Text and System Text).
    • Applying score and movement titles.
    • Musical expressions and performance indications not supported Musescore yet (even then, you should try to add and customize an Text type that is similar functionally instead of a Staff Text object and a System Text object),
    • Other general purpose.

    "Expression" is a Staff Text object using "Style for text inside Expression text". See "Style" section below.

    Similarity and difference in behavior and function

    Both of them attaches to a note or rest in a Musescore Instrument.
    Both of them can be set-up to have effect on audio created by Musescore's Synthesizer, a Staff Text affects only the playback of that Musescore Instrument is affected, a System Text affects all Musescore Instrument on a score.
    Staff Texts are hidden along with "Hide empty staves within systems" option (and the sub-option "Don't hide empty staves in first system") under "Style" window : "Score" , see Layout and formatting.
    A Staff Text only appears in the Musescore Part(s) that features the Musescore Instrument. A System Text appears on all Musescore Parts.
    New System Text is positioned above the top staff of each system (layout concept).

    Adding to a score

    To add one onto a score:

    1. Do either one of:
      • Select a note or rest; then for Staff Text, press Ctrl+T; or for System Text, press Shift+Ctrl+T, or
      • Select a note or rest; then select the desired option from AddText, or
      • Select a note or rest, then click the desired text from Palettes (double-click in versions prior to 3.4), or
      • Drag the desired text from a palette onto a note or rest.
    2. Start entering text.
    3. Press Esc or click on an empty space outside of the box to exit.

    Repeating System Text on other staves

    New System Text is positioned above the top staff of each system (layout concept). If you need a similar indication on a lower staff, add it to that staff using Staff Text.


    Fomatting of a Staff Text object or System Text object on a score is edited in the Inspector, covered in Text basics chapter.

    The playback settings are edited in "Staff Text properties" and "System Text properties" window

    Staff Text contains settings that affect playback. Only the section after the attached note or rest is affect. When a Staff Text is duplicated, or reused through customized palette, the playback settings are reused.

    "Staff Text properties" window

    The playback settings can be accessed in two ways:

    • Select the Staff Text, and click on "Properties" in the "Staff Text" section of the Inspector.
    • Right-click on the text and choose "Staff Text Properties," then click on the relevant tab.

    The four tabs on top are:

    • Change Channel : Change the channel used by each Musescore Voices independently, understand channel by reading Mixer chapter first. This only works with Musescore Instrument that has more than one channel.
    • Swing Settings: Use "straight" or "swing" rhythm. To change rthythm of this instrument everywhere in the score or all instruments, see Swing: global chapter for more info.
    • Capo Settings: For stringed instruments you can apply a "capo", transposing the playback up by a number of frets/halftone steps. See Capo playback chapter for more info.
    • MIDI Action: For advanced users only, send a MIDI Continuous Controller / Control Change (MIDI CC) Message. You must setup a custom instrument using a instruments.xml and declare MIDI Actions for of its channel first. You cannot edit instruments.xml inside Musescore. More info see….

    "System Text properties" window

    Works like "Staff Text properties", but only has "Capo Settings" and "MIDI Action" tabs.


    See Layout and formatting.

    "Style for text inside Staff Text" is special, see Text styles and properties.

    Values of the "Style for Staff Text" can be edited in Format→Style→Staff Text.
    Values of the "Style for text inside Staff Text" can be edited in Format→Style→Text styles→Staff
    Values of the "Style for text inside Expression" can be edited in Format→Style→Text styles→Expression
    Values of the "Style for text inside System Text" can be edited in Format→Style→Text styles→System

    See also

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