Learn MuseScore Basics (Free Music Notation Software) | Jody Hughes | Skillshare

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Learn MuseScore Basics (Free Music Notation Software)

teacher avatar Jody Hughes, Banjo, Improv, and Music Coach

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (24m)
    • 1. Intro To MuseScore and Beginning Note Entry

    • 2. Intro to Palette in Musescore

    • 3. How To Transpose Notes Quickly

    • 4. How To Add Lyrics

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About This Class

In this course I will demonstrate some techniques that will cut down greatly on the time it takes to write a score in Musescore. 

Topics include:

Note Entry



Tempo Changes for Playback

Changing Instruments

Writing Guitar TAB 

Using Custom settings to make your TABS unique

Working with the palette

Meet Your Teacher

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Jody Hughes

Banjo, Improv, and Music Coach





I've taught and played music for over 25 years. During that time I've been fortunate enough to perform on the stages of Carnegie Hall, The Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium. I'm a 3 time Georgia State Banjo and Guitar contest champion.

In addition to teaching online and in-person I play private events around the Southeastern U.S, both solo and as a member of the banjo+Cello duo group Bow N' Banjo.

My background is in acoustic music-bluegrass, jazz, folk, and classical. I studied Improvisation and Jazz under nationally acclaimed pianist Kevin Bales for 5 years. Studying under a pianist as a guitarist allowed me to have quite a unique perspective on all of my instruments.  Other training includes vocal lessons, guitar and ... See full profile

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1. Intro To MuseScore and Beginning Note Entry: Hey, welcome back to Jodi Hughes music, and in today's lessons, we're going to just get you started using the software Muse score. This is a wonderful program that I use just about every day either to compose in or right guitar and banjo tabs. Eso Here's the opening screen here that you're going to get and you'll see that I have some old projects here. I'm just gonna click on, create new score, and that's gonna bring you to this little template. And here's the Copyright 2018 Composer is myself, and I'm gonna just entitle this. It's August yet again. So then you click on next, all right, and that's gonna bring you to this little template screen. For those of you that play piano, you've already got a grand staff here. If you play cello or bass, you have your basic left guitar players and violin. There's your trouble club. However, if you scroll down, you're going to see coral arrangements. Chamber music. Uh, this one is particularly useful for guitar players because this will get you guitar tab plus notation. So if you wanted that, say you could click on that, uh, they even have a bluegrass band. So everything you could imagine here, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna click on shoes instruments to walk you through this just in case. You know, it's not in the temple. So I'm gonna go ahead and add the keyboard. So what you'll see is I'm gonna click on this and then you're gonna see piano, and then I'm just gonna click add. You could do it that way. Or it turns out another way of doing this is simply just double click on it. And there you see it again. Now, let's say you added two of them. You don't want two of them. You just click on this and then click. Remove. All right. Oh, I'll add another instrument here so you can see this. So let's say you wanted violin. Just go over here, click on violin, and there it is. All right. But then let's say you wanted it going removed. So you have lots of instruments in here. All right, Now, don't click on finish just yet. Click on next. This brings you to your key signature screen. I'm gonna choose the key of C. This is G and so forth next again? Um really important your time signature. So let's say you had a song in 34 You just click on it. 54 you just move it up. So just click on that. Here's your cut times. And very important is pickup measure. Talk about pick up measures leg Iran today We're just gonna assume our song has no pickup notes. It just starts right on the B. Uh, measures it defaults to 32. Here, let's say you needed 64. What? You just type it in. Uh, I'm gonna use 16 for today. Really important. Don't worry about it. This is not set in stone. You can easily add or remove measures after the school has already been created. Is very easy. And you score, so don't worry about that. Now, I'm gonna cook on finish finally, and here's our screen. OK, I'm gonna kind of do this and move it around. Now the great thing about new score is you can left click on your mouse and you can move this guy anywhere you want. Makes it really easy to scroll now. Right now, it's not a big deal, but as our score gets really big. You know, you have a ton of parts, you're gonna be able to do this and just move it. Where? If you want to. Hopefully that didn't make you dizzy here. Now, for those of you that have trouble seeing or you just like me and you just like to see things large, I'm gonna go over here, see where it's just click on 100% and I'm gonna click on 150. That's kind of like one of my things I do right off the bat until the score gets big and I need to be small. So this is the default view, and it's like I said, you can move it around to however you want. But another thing to make you aware of this right here it says Page, you cook on that and you could go to continuous few. And you get this. You'll notice that the title was gone. But now you have a long gated view, which is very nice for composers. As far as I'm concerned, you can kind of see the big picture. So I'm gonna go over here and I'm gonna click on page view. That's old document. Get rid of him. Don't save so moving him to the center of the screen now. So this is the default kind of screen here, and you'll notice that the note values air up here. What you don't want to do is you don't want to take the mouse and click on these guys like this. It's a very slow method of working. So what I'm going to do is that my teacher, the keyboard shortcuts and they're gonna really speed up your workflow. So if we want to go to note entry, it is the letter in. All right, you'll see that the note toggles on and off with the letter in. So let's just enter a C major scale in quarter notes. So you just move this up and down wherever you want it to be, and then you push the quick and there you go. There's your C major scale. Now you're probably wondering Well, those quarter notes what do I do if I want eighth notes? All right, so here's how this works. Here's your keyboard shortcuts. The number five our quarter notes Okay, the number four, our eighth notes. So there's 43 is 16th. Notes. All right, so hopefully knows the trend. As the numbers get smaller, let's say you put in one. Wow, you get these. You know these guys here now, if you put in seven, you get lips. Let's go back. Uh, so basically, the way this works is the longer notes are higher numbers. So let's say put in a seven. That be a whole note, okay. And then six is going to be half. No. So to kind of summarize this up real quick quarter notes are 58 notes are the number four and then 16 or three. And then you could have, you know, 30 seconds that b two and so forth. And then when you want a whole note, that is a seven. Okay, half notes are six. So at first, it's gonna be hard to kind of remember that, But trust me, you do this enough, and you eventually just know. Okay, quarters or five. And then eighth notes are for, and this is gonna speed up your workflow. So you're not having to move your mouse up here Every single time Doesn't seem like much, but if you do this a 1,000,000 times as you're writing, then it's gonna just come completely slow you down. Let's go back to continuous view just so you can kind of see what it looks like now. Yeah, So there you go. It's kind of a nice little view there. So we're moving, you know, forward here. So I just kind of typed in some random notes. But let's let's say that you typed in a note and you made a mistake. Let's say you didn't want this. Don't. Well, one way to undo things is to go all the way up here to edit and click on Do but pay very close attention. Sometimes it gives you the answers. This is your keyboard shortcut. So all I'm going to do on my keyboard is I'm just gonna you know, go over here and I'm gonna click Ault Z, and that's going to undo anything I've done. So you saw it switch back to continuous view, and now it's going to start removing my notes all see, it's gonna, you know, differ whether you're what kind of computer you're on. But always pay close attention to those keyboard shortcuts that's going to speed up your workflow considerably. So hopefully this gives you an idea of how to input some just basic notes into mu score. There's lots of different ways that we're gonna talk about today. I just kind of use the mouse. It turns out that you can use midi on and play it in like I just did there. It turns out that you can just type the letters on your keyboard like Let's say you want an egg, you just push eight. Um, a de you type of d on your keyboard so we'll get into all of that. But this is just a good beginning on how to input your first notes into Mu score. Take care. 2. Intro to Palette in Musescore: Hey, welcome back. And today we're gonna talk about mu score a little bit more and talk about using what is called the palate, which is super important. All right, so I'm a big fan of keyboard shortcuts. All you're gonna do is press F nine, and that's going to bring up the condensed palette here. All right. And in this palette, you're gonna have things like Grace notes your collapse, for instance. Let's say you had a project and you decided, Hey, I don't want the bass clef. I want the alto clef. Everybody likes the alto clef, right? There's your alto clef. You just click on him and you drag him. If you want to undo it, let's say I don't know. We want another bass clef appear. Then you just click in, drag him right into the project like that. Okay, so you can do that. All right, So those are your collapse key signature. Once again, click on it. And dragon. Sometimes you might have a song where changes keys in the middle of the song. So you might have something like that. Looks pretty bad there, but that's what it does. So that's the function of that, you're gonna have other things, like bar lines, which are really important for, like, a repeat. You know, if you had a repeat in the middle of your song and just drag that over to that right or if , you know, you wanted to double bar line at the end of something, like a section, you would have that. Okay, so that's how your bar lines work. You have your lines. I'm not gonna get into this. I'm gonna show you some other ways to do this, which I feel like a little bit better. So I'll skip over that articulations and ornaments you can also use, You know, like accents on things. Uh, accidental. You know, you might want to, um, you know, at an accidental I will once again kind of show you a better method rather than just dragging these things over That can take a while. If if you're at the mercy of doing that, um, here's the dynamics. These work. Great. You know, if you wanted to put it in on a on a note there, probably what you would do is you would click on the note first that you want the dynamic on, and then you click on it rather than drag it there. And there's an keyboard shortcuts for that as well. But dynamics are super important. So there is that guy. You have repeats and jumps and code us that you can add that's all in here and tempo. So you know you always want your tempo. So what I might do is click on a note and then just click that and you just click in two side of it and then you might change it to Let's just do any three alright. And what's cool about this is this is how you change temples within the context of the music. So you could go over here to this this note and say, Hey, I want it to be I wanted to speed up. So then you know it's going to speed up, so those are some ways to put your tempos in, and you can do it in a variety of ah kind of beats there. But here is a good one staff text. If you wanted to add, just you know some notes for yourself. I'll show you some shortcut methods, but you know you can say, like, uh, g major scale, like on some of my videos. I have, like, a scale and so underneath that all right, that even though that's not a major scale there, and so that's what that's used for, we'll talk about that. You can customize that breaks and spacers air there that will allow you to move the page around. We'll get into that mawr that's come or advanced here and then beams. You know, if you're making things go across the staff and so forth so but these air just kind of some basic things in the general palette, which is done once again by just pressing F nine see their F nine. It turns out that there is a more advanced master palette, the master palette that involves even Mawr. Things will get into that later on, but for now just kind of play around with a palette and explore and see what you confined. But that's where it's at. That way you don't have to go, you know, up here and then click on you know the palate. You can just click F nine and be there immediately, and you're definitely gonna be using that quite a bit. Okay, so there's your palate. Take care 3. How To Transpose Notes Quickly: Hey, welcome back to Jodi Hughes music. And in today's lessons, we're gonna talk about some or things with new score that have helped speed up your workflow. And today I'm gonna talk about transposing steps that will make this faster. And to start with, I'm going to show you the fast way of the slow way around, and then we'll get to the faster method. Okay, so one slower method of transposing is What I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna click on the measure, and this kind of just assumes that you want to harmonize with strings. And please don't try to play these noses is just the same thing over and over. So it's not meant to be a musical assistant example. But you could see that everything is in unison, and we certainly would never want that here. So we want to bring the cello down. It's too high. And so what I'm gonna do, you can scroll up to where it says notes and then transpose and right here it says by interval and then click down and then go over here and then scroll all the way down. The word says perfect, active and that brings you to there. Okay. Otherwise you'd be sitting here all day trying to play drag with the mouse, you see, like this. And, you know, hours have passed. No, I'm just kidding. But lots of times has passed right there, so that's a kind of a slower method. And so now, for the faster method, there's two of them. You can click on this and then go over to your keyboard and go to the down arrow and just move it to where? If you want it. In our case, we want to move it to a knocked. If so, there you go. It took a couple of presses. There is also a keyboard shortcut. Uh, that is even faster than that. So once again is selected with the left mouse button and then on my keyboard, it's the button right next to the space bar. I haven't Ault and then down. And then it's just going to boom, move it down an octave. I could go back and forth really fast. Okay, so those are, you know, a couple ways to transpose. All right, but let's look at some other things. So I'm gonna move this down an octave. And let's say I want to move this down an octave. I'm gonna do that too. Okay, so they're clicked on the viola and moved it down and Octopus. Now these are a knocked up apart from this and these air you Nissen's alright. One of one way to harmonize between strings are in thirds are sixes. So what we could do to this top line is we could say we want this 1/6 higher, and what we would do is we go over to the transpose, and this time you could click by Interval. But you would probably run into some problems because it's going to change the notes and not necessarily change them to fit the key. So what we want actually is transposed diatonic Lee diatonic, meaning three key. So I'm gonna say click on that transposed diatonic lee up. And then is that a second? I'm going to click on sixth. And there you go, these air now 1/6 apart. So they are harmonised. I'm gonna undo this and let's say I want to do 1/3 apart, cause that's another common transposition that you'll need to make so once again transposed I tonic Lee and up and just go over here to third. And that you have it is in thirds now, so that's a nice one. Um, so those are just a couple of principles there that you might encounter. But let's say you want to get a little bit mawr out there and you don't want to, you know, harmonize in thirds or six. This you want to harmonizing something else you could Let's just say you want to harmonize in major seconds. Okay, So what I'm gonna do is I'm going to undo all of this real quick, okay? Go back to our original, and then we're gonna go up to notes and then transpose again and then by interval and see where it says transposed key signature. Select that off. Otherwise it will change your key signature, and you don't want that. And then just go. The major slips, major seconds their ego and then click on that. And there you go. Now, I noticed that something happened here. Now, all of a sudden, we have a Neff shock. So what? This is done as it's put everything in perfect major thirds. But the problem with that is that this should be a minor third in the key of C major because you don't have enough sharp in the key of C major. So you have a couple options to make sure that this doesn't happen. You could simply click on it and then fix it. And then you're back to kind of what we talked about earlier, which is things that slow you down. Or you could go up here to transpose and you can transpose diatonic Lee a second. And then it's going to fix it where you don't have to fix the alterations. Okay, so those are some things that will help you out in harmonizing and sixties and thirds and changing octaves, which I certainly do all the time. There's, ah, lot of times that I'll run into something where let's say I'm kind of writing or composing something, and I find that if I get something like this that I can't hear two distinct lines and I'm like, Oh, I really need to kind of move that up on Dr Full, then boom, There you go. It's very quick. Before I learned these keyboard shortcuts, you know, I was over here dragging this thing and, you know, five minutes goes by and then there we are. You know, it's less time to write, so we want to speed up your ability to use the program. All right? Until next time, take care. 4. How To Add Lyrics: All right, let's go ahead and get into some more muse score here today we're gonna talk about lyrics and basically, let's just suppose you already have a melody written down and you just want to add the words to your muse. Score music here. So the old way of doing this is you just click on the note, then you go up here toe add pretty easy, and then the word text, and then what's gonna happen? Gonna scroll down to the world, the lyrics. And when you do this, you're going to see the cursor move here. And you could just type in your words on the keyboard. All right. And what's really nice about this is as you type them in, you're going to see that the music moves and kind of a just and size to this, But we're about doing things quick. So let's talk about how to do this. Fastest of what I do is I click on the note, um, left click on it, and then if you have an apple, what you're gonna do is we're gonna click the command key and then elf, and that's gonna bring that up if you have a PC, then you're gonna collect control. Or in some cases, it could be the Windows icon. But it's gonna be whatever one of those keys it is. And then the letter, It'll at the same time. And I'm just gonna make up some kind of nonsense here just to show you. So hey, this and she go back just a little bit after you type in the lyric that you want a below the note, all you're gonna do. All I'm doing is I'm typing in and then I'm hitting space bar. And when you hit space bar, that kicks you to the next note so you don't even have to, like, pick up the mouse or anything. So, hey, this space bar is now here. What I do here, I wanna show you this because this is super important. Sometimes you have more than you don't have a complete warred on each note. You might. The syllables might be broken, so I'm gonna use today to and then watch what I do. I'm gonna put a little hyphen there, and then that hyphens gonna kick me to the next um beat, and I'm gonna use the word today's and then I'm gonna hit the right arrow, and that right arrow is gonna take me from, say, you know where this case, the left era it's going Take me from word to work And I don't even have to pick up the mouse to get to each one. But I'm gonna use that hyphen once again hyphen right there. And that's gonna kick me there. That way I can break up the syllables two days and then watch again, Le. And then that's more than one syllable. So I'm gonna put the hyphen there less. Yes. Okay. And then if I click the space bar, you'll see that it got rid of my hyphen. So that's why you didn't see me click the space farther. What I did is I did the hyphen lessons, and then I hit the right arrow key to go there. So all of that, without even having to lift the mouse, it saves a lot of time. And let's see. Hey, this is today's lessons. I hope this helps you. All right. And let's make this like, I don't know, Let's make this, um, the end s Oh, there you go. And make it complete now, A couple other things. I see you're over here. It got rid of my hyphen, so I didn't catch that. Let's go back and do that real quick. Today's that's sometimes you know you will see it, and sometimes it kind of gets rid of it. I just have to kind of play with it there. But one thing is going to show you is that how do you can customize these sorts of things? So all I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go up here to view the view menu and click on the Inspector and what that's going to you're going to see it on the right side of the the screen. And it is quick on something. Let's click on. I'm gonna left click on the, uh, the word here and over here you're gonna see the words horizontal offset and vertical offsets. So what you can do just to demonstrate, you can click on the word and then click on vertical offset and go up and down with the arrows like this, and you can see it's moving things around. But in my case, what I like to do is I like to do a vertical offsets sometimes and move these lyrics up and down like this. So, you know, let's say I needed more space. I can click on this and bring this down to say one and then there by I would like to have all of them on one. So you know that gives you a little bit more space there at the same time. You don't have to do that. Um, it's just something to kind of give yourself some custom looking kind of designs. Eso that is the inspector man. There's a lot of things you could do with the Inspector, but this is just kind of basics. Have adding the lyrics. I've got one of my own pieces of music kind of pulled up. I want to show you This is a piece I'm working on based off of a point, but just going to show you real quick how this looks. So here underneath I have, say, the piano part, it's a work in progress. But then here you're going to see that I have the lyrics and you can see the hyphens are broken up. These were kind space, kind of weird, and I concertante kind of customize that when I get done with the peace, I'll probably space that out a little bit more. But I just want you to see what kind of a finished product is going to be closer to looking like you. Can you get this nice kind of lyrics on top and piano underneath? So yeah, not you can do. But what's really cool about Mu scores like, Let's just say you're typing stuff in, you know, Are you have groups? Our Lissy, Are you traffic of a one? Are you? Let's just use the word going. But I'm gonna make this into a on eighth notes and then let's fix this. So I want to leave that and then go on. Command whips Command. Oh, go gain and notice how Mu score is already spreading it out. So it's fixing the spacing, so that's pretty cool. But these air this is basically the fastest way to input lyrics. Hope this helps you out