Musescore Supplement

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Using MuseScore in practical academic studies

These examples supplement the initial exercises designed the MuseScore unit in Music 253/CS 275A at Stanford University, where our interest is in musical data translation. Given the unusual circumstances we face in the 2020-2021 academic year, Christina Kim has assembled these examples to show the program's possibilities in music theory, practice, and undergraduate studies generally.

Vocal Music in MuseScore

Vocal music often requires the use of more features of notation software than instrumental music does. In this series of examples we represent a broad selection of samples involving features that are surpass those described in beginners' lessons.

Early Vocal Music

Example 1. Chant, "Ubi caritas" (anonymous)

SVG Ubi Caritas-1.svg

Tools you need:

  • Method 1: Choose an instrument (here use "voice," which may or may not automatically add the optional vocal tenor clef on the clef) OR
  • Method 2: If not, use “clefs” from the palettes. (click the original clef then double click the treble clef)


User comments:

  • Using ¼ for the time signature produces better spacing.
  • To produce "ummeasured" chant notation, make the time signature, stems, and the bar lines invisible by selecting All -> staff/part properties -> advanced style properties.
Screen Shot 2020-07-08 at 11.23.18 PM.png

Screen Shot 2020-07-08 at 11.23.10 PM.png

Example 2. Two-voice organum: "Kyrie, Cunctipotens genitor"

SVG Cunctipotens genitor-1.svg

New feature

  • Spacing (Press Enter)

Review features:

  • Notes
  • Lyrics
  • Chant (Hint: Staff/Part Properties)

Example 3. Two-voice polyphony: Excerpt from the "Duo Agnus Dei II" of the Missa de Beata Virgine (Josquin des Prez)

SVG Agnus Dei II from Missa De beata virgine (excerpt)-1.svg

Review features:

  • Notes
  • Clef changes
  • Voices/Layers (necessary for writing two parts on one staff)
  • Slurs

Example 4. Secular monophony: "Sumer is Icumen in" (anonymous)

SVG Sumer is icumen in-1-1.svg

New features:

  • Dotted notes & rests
  • Spacing – using “Enter” key

Review features:

  • Notes and Lyrics
  • Rests

Example 5. Renaissance polyphony: "Jesu, Rex admirabilis" (Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina), open-position score

SVG Jesu, Rex Admirabilis-1.svg

New features:

  • Choosing Instruments: Choir – Soprano, Alto, and Baritone
  • Taking advantage of same rhythmic values

Example 6. Renaissance polyphony: "Jesu, Rex admirabilis" (Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina), closed-position score

SVG Jesu, Rex Admirabilis Closed-1.svg

New features:

  • Creating a Closed score

Review topic:

Baroque-era vocal music in MuseScore

Example 7. Figured bass in "Dido’s Lament" (Henry Purcell)

SVG Dido's Lament FB-1.svg

New feature:

  • Figured Bass – Command+G

Example 8. Roman-numeral analysis figures for "Dido’s Lament" (Henry Purcell)

SVG Dido's Lament RNA-1.svg

New feature:

  • Roman-numeral analysis symbols from the menu - Add -> Text -> Roman Numeral Analysis


Example 9. Chord symbols added for "Dido’s Lament" (Henry Purcell)

SVG Dido's Lament CS-1.svg

New feature:

  • Chord symbol: Add -> Text -> Chord Symbol

N.B. The font can be changed so that it recognizes the superscript by changing the appearance from Standard to Jazz in the Style (use Format from the menu).


Instrumental music in MuseScore

Baroque-era instrumental music

Example 10. Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, BWV 1048 (J. S. Bach)

SVG Brandenburg Concerto No. 3-1.svg

SVG Brandenburg Concerto No. 3-2.svg

New feature:

  • Subdivisions of one note (using layers)
  • Shared noteheads

Features reviewed:

  • Notes
  • Octaves
  • Chords
  • Voices/Layers

Other refinements

  • Parentheses (showing accidentals from the palette)
  • Beams (using palette)
Screen Shot 2020-07-31 at 7.43.50 PM.png
  • Size adjustment, using Format -> Page Settings -> Scaling (e.g. from 1.764mm to 2.364mm)
Screen Shot 2020-08-04 at 9.00.14 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-08-04 at 9.00.27 PM.png

Example 11. Minuet in G (Christian Petzold), first phrase

SVG Minuet in G (beginning)-1.svg

New features:

  • Grace Notes, using palette
  • Ornaments: add by searching for “Ornaments” in the palette box

Example 12. Minuet in G (Christian Petzold), last phrase

SVG Minuet in G (end)-1.svg

Features reviewed:

  • Ornaments
  • Chords
  • Voices/layers

Classical/Romantic-era instrumental music

Example 13. Symphony No. 41 in C Major ("Jupiter"), K. 551 (W. A. Mozart), arr. for two pianos]

SVG Symphony No.41 in C major, K.551 Jupiter Symphony -1.svg

SVG Symphony No.41 in C major, K.551 Jupiter Symphony -2.svg

SVG Symphony No.41 in C major, K.551 Jupiter Symphony -3.svg

New features:

  • Add staccato: Shift+S
  • Selecting instruments -> Piano & Piano
  • Choosing tempo: (1) select from the palette, then (2) edit text by double-clicking

Features reviewed:

  • Fingerings
  • System Text: Choose Text from the Palette
  • Triplets = Add -> Tuplets -> Triplet (or command/control + 3)

Example 14. Piano Sonata No. 8, Op.13 (“Pathétique”), second movement (Ludwig van Beethoven)


New features:

  • Temporary clef change: Drag the clef into the measure (Measure 1 in this case)
  • Modify system breaks: Format -> Add/Remove System Breaks

Features reviewed:

  • Fingerings
  • Tempo setting

Example 15. Melody from Symphony No. 9 (Ludwig van Beethoven)

SVG Beethoven 9th Melody-1.svg

New feature:

  • How to create A, B, endings: Use "Repeat & Jumps" from the palette

Example 16. Nocturne, Op. 9 No. 1 (Fryderyk Chopin)

SVG Nocturnes, Op. 9 No. 1-1.svg

New feature:

  • Expanded use of tuplets: For this example adjust the numbers ratio to apply to eighth notes.

20th-Century instrumental music

Example 17. "The Peacock" from 3 Hungarian Folksongs, Csík (Béla Bartók)

SVG 3hungarian-1.svg

New features:

  • New: Crescendo / Decrescendo (Lines from the Palette)
  • New: Time Signature (Palette)
  • New: Look up "arpeggio" from the Palette, add to your Palette
  • New: Tie = select the note(s), press shift and then + key
  • New: Double Dots -> Find the "Basic edited" box on the top left corner, change it to "Advanced"

Features reviewed:

  • Repeats & Jumps
  • Texts (tempo, expression, staff text, tremolo)
  • Tuplets
  • Accidentals, Articulations
  • Beams
  • Dynamics and other modifications available as shown below.
Screen Shot 2020-08-04 at 4.18.27 PM.png

Exporting MuseScore files

MuseScore files can be saved or exported to *.xml (MusicXML), *.pdf (Portable Document Format), *.png (Portable Network Graphics), and *.svg (Scalable Vector Graphics).

Most notation formats in current use reliably preserve pitch and rhythmic information but may shed dynamics, ornamentation marks, and lyrics. When we have tested these export formats for the examples above, we had predictable results: those were sometimes missing.