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

    A range of alternative noteheads – in addition to the "normal" – can be found in the Note Heads palette of the Advanced workspace and via the Inspector (see Change notehead group, below).

    Note: The design of the notehead may vary depending on the music font selected (Emmentaler, Gonville or Bravura). Those in the palette are displayed as half notes in Bravura font.

    Notehead groups

    MuseScore supports a number of notehead styles:

    • Normal: A standard notehead.
    • Crosshead (Ghost note): Used in percussion notation to represent cymbals. It also indicates muted and/or percussive effects in stringed instruments such as the guitar.
    • Diamond: Used to indicate harmonic notes in instruments such as the guitar, violin etc.
    • Slash: Used to notate rhythmic values.
    • Triangle: Used in percussion notation.
    • Shape notes: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti.
    • Circle cross: Used in percussion notation.
    • Alternative Brevis: Used in early music notation.
    • Brackets (Parentheses): When applied, these go around the existing note (or accidental).

    Change notehead group

    To change the shape of one or more noteheads in the score, use one of the following:

    • Select one or more notes and double click a notehead in a palette
    • Drag a notehead from a palette onto a note in the score.
    • Select one or more notes and change the notehead in the Inspector, using the drop-down list under Note → Head group (not supported for drum staves).

    Change notehead type

    Occasionally you may need to change the apparent duration of a notehead—i.e. notehead type—without altering its actual, underlying duration:

    1. Select one or more notes.
    2. Chose one of the following options from the Inspector under Note → Head type:
      • Auto: Automatic, i.e, apparent duration = actual duration.
      • Whole: Whole notehead, regardless of actual duration.
      • Half: Half notehead, regardless of actual duration.
      • Quarter: Quarter notehead, regardless of actual duration.
      • Breve: Breve notehead, regardless of actual duration.

    Shared noteheads

    When two notes in different voices, but of the same written pitch, fall on the same beat, one of two things may happen:

    • The notes may share the same notehead.
    • The notes may be offset: i.e. arranged side by side.

    MuseScore follows standard music notation practice as follows:

    • Notes with stems in the same direction do not share noteheads.
    • Dotted notes do not share noteheads with undotted notes.
    • Black notes do not share noteheads with white notes.
    • Whole notes never share noteheads.

    Note: If two unison notes occur in the same voice they are always offset.

    Change offset noteheads to shared

    Offset noteheads can be turned into shared noteheads in one of two ways:

    • Make the smaller-value notehead invisible by selecting it and using the keyboard shortcut V (or unchecking the "Visible" option in the Inspector).
    • Alter the notehead type of the shorter-duration note to match the longer one by switching "Head type" in the "Note" section of the Inspector.

    Examples of notehead sharing

    1. In the first example below, the notes of voices 1 and 2 share noteheads by default, because they are all black, undotted notes:

      Shared black undotted noteheads

    2. By contrast, in the next example, white notes cannot share noteheads with black notes, so are offset to the right:

      Non-shared noteheads

      To create a shared notehead, make the black eighth note invisible or change its head type to match that of the white note (as explained above):

      Shared white noteheads

    Remove duplicate fret marks

    In certain cases, a shared notehead, when pasted to a tablature staff, may result in two separate fret marks on adjacent strings. To correct this, make any extraneous tablature notes invisible by selecting them and using the keyboard shortcut V (or by unchecking the "visible" option in the Inspector).

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