Updated 4 years ago
This page shows old instructions for MuseScore 2.
For MuseScore 4 users, see Lyrics.

    Enter a lyrics line

    First line

    1. Enter the notes of the melody line;
    2. Select the note where you want to start entering lyrics;
    3. To enter lyrics mode, type Ctrl+L (Mac: +L); or from the main menu, select AddTextLyrics;
    4. Type a syllable;
    5. Use the following options to continue entering lyrics:
      • Go to the next syllable: Press Space (or Ctrl+) at the end of a syllable.
      • Hyphen (to connect syllables): Press - at the end of a syllable.
      • Go to the previous syllable: Press Shift+Space (or Ctrl+).
      • Move left: Press (left arrow). If the cursor is at the beginning of a syllable, it will jump to the previous one.
      • Move right: Press (right arrow). If the cursor is at the end of a syllable, it will jump to the next one.
      • Move to the syllable below: Press (down arrow).
      • Move to the syllable above: Press (up arrow).
      • Start new lyrics line: Press (Return) at the end of an existing lyrics syllable (Note: Don't use the Enter key from the numeric keypad!).
    6. To exit lyrics mode, press Esc.

    Subsequent lines

    If you want to add another lyrics line to an existing one (e.g. a 2nd or 3rd verse etc.):

    1. Chose one of the following options:
      • Select the note where you want to start the new lyrics line. Enter lyrics mode as shown in step 3 (above). The cursor moves to a new (blank) line.
      • Enter text edit mode on an existing syllable, go to the end of the syllable and press (Return). The cursor moves to the next line.
    2. Continue entering lyrics from step 4 (above).


    Sample lyrics: A-des-te fi-del-es

    Special characters

    In most cases, lyrics can be edited just like normal text. However, special keyboard shortcuts are required to enter the following characters:

    • Character space: Ctrl+Space (Mac: +Space).

    • - (hyphen): Ctrl+- (Mac: +-) or AltGr+-.

    • Line feed: Ctrl+ (Mac: +Return) or Enter (from the numeric keypad).


    A melisma is a syllable or word that extends over two or more notes. It is indicated by an underline extending from the base of a syllable to the last note of the melisma. The underline is created by positioning the cursor at the end of a syllable and pressing Shift+_: once for each note in the melisma. See the image below:

    Syllable extension line, Melisma

    The above lyric was created in the following manner:

    1. Type the letters, soul,.
    2. At the end of the word, press Shift+___.
    3. Type the letters To, then press Esc.

    For non-last syllables to extend, just use additional dashes -, usually only one of them will show (more when the distance between the syllables is large enough), and the syllable will right-align to the first note, similar to last syllables that got notated with a melisma, see above.

    Elision (Lyric) slur / Synalepha

    Two syllables under a note can be joined with an elision slur, also known as a "lyric slur" or "synalepha". For example:

    Sample lyric slur under a note

    To create the example lyric text, starting with the syllable text "te":

    1. Type te;
    2. Click on the keyboard icon Keyboard Icon , or press F2 to open the Special Characters palette;
    3. Use one of the following options:

      • Double-click one of the three elision slurs in the "Common Symbols" tab: "Narrow elision", "Elision", or "Wide elision" (these can be found between the "C Clef" and the "p" dynamic—see image below):
        Elision in the Special Symbols palette
      • Double-click the elision slur found after the 7/8 fraction in the "Common Symbols" tab (next to last character in the image above). Depending on the font, add one or more spaces before/after the slur using Ctrl+Space (Mac: +Space).
        Note: Not all fonts include the "undertie" character (U+203F ‿ "undertie", present in "Special Characters" mainly for compatibility with MuseScore 1.x scores). To find out which fonts on your computer support it, see "fontlist" (look for any font that shows a tie between "te" and "A" instead of a blank rectangle).
    4. Type A.

    Edit Lyrics

    1. Enter text edit mode on an existing syllable;
    2. Use standard text editing commands to make changes;
    3. Continue entering lyrics (see above); or exit lyrics mode by pressing Esc.

    Adjust position of lyrics

    The top and bottom margins and the line height of all lyric lines can be set globally:

    1. From the menu, select StyleGeneral...Page;
    2. Adjust the properties marked "Lyrics top margin," "Lyrics bottom margin" and "Lyrics line height" (see General: Page: Lyrics Margins).

    To adjust the position of a particular lyrics line:

    1. Select the lyrics line: i.e. right click on a word in the line, and (from the menu) chose SelectMore...; then check the relevant options, which should include "Same system";
    2. Adjust the Horizontal and Vertical offsets in the Inspector.

    Copy lyrics to clipboard

    To copy all lyrics to the clipboard (as of version 2.0.3):

    • From the menu bar, select EditToolsCopy Lyrics to Clipboard.

    Paste lyrics from clipboard

    To copy and paste lyrics from a text file (say) into a score:

    1. Enter the notes in the score to which the lyrics will be attached.
    2. Set up your lyrics in a text file, with appropriate spaces, hyphens, line-breaks etc.
    3. Copy the lyrics from the text-file into the clipboard.
    4. Select the start note in MuseScore, and press Ctrl+L (Mac: Cmd+L) (step 3 under Enter lyrics in a score).
    5. Repeatedly applying paste will enter successive words of the lyrics. You may need to enter melismas and make other corrections as you go along.

    See also

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