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Tutorial and Reference Materials

The following overview and tutorial videos are currently available:

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Quick Start

When we say "quick", we really mean it. Putting music into Noteflight isn't complicated, and there isn't a lot that you need to know to get started. Here's the quick scoop:

Score Basics

Undo and Redo

All changes that you make to the score can be undone and redone, including changes to the set of selected objects or measures. (Undo/redo of selection changes is handy in complex edits since it can take some work to select exactly the things you want). The Edit > Undo and Edit > Redo menu commands perform these important functions. When you pull down the Edit menu, these menu items also show the names of the actions that they will undo or redo if selected: Undouse-37eb337f1e09833ead59d7dcf0cd3f03 Up to 20 prior changes are maintained in the edit history.

The keyboard shortcuts [Ctrl/Command]-Z and [Ctrl/Command]-Y are also available for these commands.

Saving a score

The current score may be saved using the File > Save command, also accessed by the keyboard shortcut [Ctrl/Command]-S. If there are no changes that need to be saved, this command is disabled.

Scores are saved automatically when you stop working for a while, or after a predetermined time limit. If you try to leave a page with unsaved work, Noteflight asks you to confirm first, in order to avoid losing your changes.

Copying a score

You may save your own copy of any score using the File > Save a Copy command. The new copy will have the same name as the old one, preceded by "Copy of...". It will belong to the same folders as the original score.

Noteflight keeps a record of document copies for purposes of tracking intellectual property rights. When you save a copy, the copy has internal tracking data that identifies the original document.

Printing a score

Documents can be printed with File > Print. This displays a print dialog whose contents depend on what operating system you are using, and what printer you are using.

The File > Page Setup command allows you to choose the paper size and orientation used for your score. Note that this does not force the printer to use the same settings -- you will still have to choose the settings that match the document when you print.

On Mac OS X and Linux, printing is also the best way to convert a score into Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), by choosing the Save As PDF... option in the print dialog. On Windows, please use one of the various PDF printing options available.

Adding and Editing Notes

You can add a note in two main ways: by using the mouse, or by using the keyboard. Using the mouse is easier when getting started, but most people find that using the keyboard is far quicker once they learn the ropes.

Adding and Editing Notes with the Mouse

To add a note with the mouse, select the place where you want the note to appear and move the mouse cursor over the area just to the right of the blinking insertion point (the thin vertical line). As you move the mouse up and down, a gray note head appears under the mouse pointer to show where a note will be placed if you click: Mousenoteentry-59d91a360188a21536b3fa9ed5e6d6da Clicking the mouse button then adds the note head to any note or rest at that position. If any single note or rest is already selected when the note was added, the newly added note takes on the time duration of that selected object.

To control the duration of a new note using the mouse, hold the button down after entering it and drag to either side. The cursor will change and its horizontal will start to control the length of the new note. Dragging to the left makes the note shorter; dragging to the right makes it longer: Durationdrag-829ad3cf65257fc068870d628c5156ab

After you add a note, you can also use the Editing Palette to adjust it: Editingpaletteuse-fc7360636e641a6b0455d7c0c946d7f4

Dragging Notes with the Mouse

At any point, you can drag one or more selected notes vertically with the mouse to change its pitch. Dragging moves all notes one staff line or space at a time (diatonic transposition).

You can also drag one or more selected notes from side to side with the mouse to change where they fall rhythmically within the bar. While you are dragging, the cursor will change to a small note and an orange bar or gray outline will travel with the mouse to show where the selected notes will be placed when the mouse button is released: Dragdropexample-8eea640cb3095cca1714dcd229f2ff66

Adding and Editing Notes with the Keyboard

To add a note with the keyboard, select the place where you want the note to appear and type a note name (A through G). The note will be added to the location following the blinking insertion point (a new note will be created if there is no note there already), and the insertion point will move ahead to the next note. Type several note names in sequence to enter the successive notes of a melody. Use the [Shift] key to add more notes to the same location, forming a chord.

The following keys are generally useful for keyboard entry:

Newly entered notes are always added at the pitch nearest the last note entered, with no accidentals. You will often need to adjust a note after it is typed. As you type, or after selecting some set of notes, use the following important keys to adjust the pitch of each selected note:

Also use these important keys to adjust the duration of each selected note:

Adding Notes with a MIDI Controller (Crescendo Only) Crescendoicon-afa0ed4e92191e1e0b8f1781d79366e9

Noteflight Crescendo supports MIDI controller entry of notes, using the separate Noteflight MIDI Adapter program. Click here to go to the Noteflight MIDI Adapter download page.

When the Noteflight MIDI Adapter is running you can enter notes into any Noteflight score using the MIDI controller, any time that you would use the mouse or computer keyboard to put in notes. Click the measure or note where you want the notes to appear, then just start using your controller.

If no location is selected in the Noteflight score, Noteflight will simply play the notes it receives from the MIDI controller. This is useful for trying out ideas before entering them.

One convenient way to enter music into Noteflight with MIDI is to place one hand on the computer keyboard and use the other hand to play notes on the MIDI controller. You can then enter notes with MIDI, and alter the rhythm using Noteflight's keyboard shortcuts. Here are some of the most useful shortcuts:

KeystrokeNoteflight action
( or [Make notes shorter
) or ]Make notes longer
.Add a dot
SpaceAdd a rest
,Tie notes
Zchange the spelling of a note (e.g. from C# to Db)

Noteflight also supplies some convenient MIDI shortcuts that give you the ability to control rhythm using the MIDI controller only:

MIDI actionNoteflight action
Pitch bend downMake notes shorter
Pitch bend upMake notes longer
Mod wheelMove cursor to right (to create a rest)
Soft pedalMake notes shorter
Sostenuto (middle) pedalMake notes longer
Sustain pedalTie notes

Selecting Music

Selecting music is one of the most important operations in Noteflight, because it is the prelude to many other kinds of editing that affect the score. Understanding how selection works is fundamental to using the capabilities of the Score Editor.

Whenever you have a selection, you can use any of a wide variety of commands that affect the selection. Commands that operate on individual notes or objects (like deletion or transposition) will affect every object that is within the selection. Commands that operate on ranges of measures like Change Time Signature works against the measures that encompass the selection. And commands that affect the structure of the score like Cut, Copy and Paste will operate in different ways depending on the kind of selection you are working with (see below).

There are three different ways to select parts of a Noteflight score so that you can apply other operations to them afterwards:

Object Selections

Object selections contain one or more notations like notes, rests, barlines or chord symbols. After making this kind of selection, the next editing action (like transposition or deletion) is applied to each object that is selected.

Very often there is only one selected object, the new note or other symbol that you just created by clicking or typing. In this case, you will not need to select it before editing it, since it already is selected.

You can select objects by simply clicking them with the mouse: Noteselection-b975c21ca38e347a2fdfa5f314f04939 When the mouse is over an object that can be selected in this way, it "glows" a little bit and the mouse cursor changes to a pointing hand.

For selecting several different objects, use the [Ctrl/Command] key while clicking to toggle individual objects' selected state on or off: Multipleselection-262890cc0cea0ca0776e63cd01ce90ee Double clicking a chord selects the entire chord.

After you have selected more than one object, any editing action will apply to all the selected objects. For example, using the Editing Palette's "sharp" function on the above selection will yield this result: Multipleselectionsharped-2fa8b502dcd723d96dfcdad40ee0639a

Note: the Left and Right keys provide a quick way to select the object to the left or right of the current selection.

Score selections

Score selections are defined as a range of one or more measures in the score. Use a score selection for applying actions to an entire section of the score, and also to insert or remove sections of the score itself. Deleting a score selection removes part of the score entirely without leaving a gap, while pasting a score selection splices a new section of score in between two existing measures. A score selection always begins and ends at a bar line.

You can make score selections by clicking the numbered "measure markers" that appear above each measure when one's mouse is over a system: Scoreselection2-5fb8a059b34c5b3b2b6bcb399a46a522 Clicking in a measure marker and then dragging horizontally selects a range of the score, rather than a single measure. Double-clicking any measure marker selects the entire score.

You may also [Shift]-click a measure-marker to extend a score selection in some direction.

Staff selections

Staff selections are defined in terms of a time range rather than as a collection of separate objects. A staff selection's starting point lies on some note within a bar, and ends on some later note within that bar or a subsequent one. Additionally, staff selections (as their name suggests) apply to some set of selected staves, for the duration of their time range. Staff selections are good for apply some edit to all notes that lie in a particular time range on some set of staves, or erasing a time range in the score. Copying and pasting a staff selection is the best way to copy music from one staff (or set of staves) to another.

You can make staff selections by clicking in the staff within any measure, away from any notes or other objects: Measureselection-90e5ae5dd2b656e5664760c3577e7d38 Clicking in the staff and then dragging horizontally selects a range of measures on that staff, rather than a single measure.

To select an entire staff throughout the whole score, you can also click the gray "staff marker" that appears to the left of the starting point of each staff: Double clicking in any staff also selects that entire staff .


[Shift]-clicking measures or objects can be used to extend the time range or staff range of an existing selection: Rangeselection-074e5134a0da60f059554478d4ba953d

Note: the [Shift]-Left and [Shift]-Right keys provide a quick way to extend the current selection into a staff selection that is one object longer or one object shorter.

Dragging Selections with the Mouse

At any point, you can drag a score or staff selection with the mouse to another place in the score. This operation can move the selected music forwards and backwards in time (if you drag from side to side) and can also move music from one staff to another (if you drag up and down).

The first step in dragging a selection is, of course, to select something! Once you've done that, place the mouse over the highlighted region, hold down the mouse button and start dragging. What happens next depends on what kind of selection you made.

If you selected a single object, then an orange bar will travel with the mouse to show where the dropped object will go: Dragdropexample-8eea640cb3095cca1714dcd229f2ff66

If you made a staff selection or a multiple object selection, then a rectangular outline will travel with the mouse to show where the dropped music will go. Dragging horizontally will move the music to a new place in the score, but keep the part(s) the same: Dragdropstaffh-bf94a412f592dc62a493b025ffaa8b5d

If you select music within a single staff, you can move selected music from one staff to another by dragging vertically: Dragdropstaffv-d578dc1505bfdd459ed7af71a4a1e9ab

If you make a score selection, you can drag an entire section of the score horizontally to rearrange entire measures or groups of measures. While dragging, an orange bar in the measure-number area above the score shows where the dropped material will go:Dragdropscore-e7908a7aa2006db12717f7746e8d1d62

You can also drag one or more selected notes from side to side with the mouse to change where they fall rhythmically within the bar. While you are dragging, the cursor will change to a small note and an orange bar or gray outline will travel with the mouse to show where the selected notes will be placed when the mouse button is released: Dragdropexample-8eea640cb3095cca1714dcd229f2ff66

Holding down the [Ctrl/Command] key while doing this drags a copy of the selected notes and leaves the original in place. The cursor looks different in this case: Dragdropcopy-80958a8e439cc3d8639050990562f886

Clearing the selection

Of course, sometimes you don't want anything selected at all. You can always clear the selection by clicking in the white space outside of any staves, or typing the [Esc] key.

Filtering the selection

Sometimes you want to apply a specific operation to only a subset of the objects in some range of the score: perhaps only the notes, or only chord symbols. If so, then the Filter Selection command on the Edit menu is your friend. It offers you the ability to narrow the current selection to include only certain kinds of objects:

The Editing Palette

Once selected, a note, chord or rest or other notation can be manipulated with the editing palette. This palette is only shown when there are one or more objects. Its contents depend on what kind of objects are selected. The palette moves around to position itself near the first selected object, but you can move it yourself to any location you like.

The Basic Palette

When one or more notes are selected, the palette has two parts: the Basic Palette and a set of Advanced Palettes. Normally the Advanced palettes are closed, and the Basic palette is shown by itself: Objectpalette-d77acf6ca0d45ee8fa4ae6cc21e73fe7

Editing actions available from the Basic palette include:

Clicking on any of the tabs at the bottom of the Basic palette allows you to choose an Advanced palette to work with. We'll describe these Advanced palettes one at a time.

Advanced Palette: Symbols


Select notes or chords prior to clicking the actions on this palette, which include:

Advanced Palette: Note Styles


Select notes or rests prior to clicking the actions on palette, which include:

Advanced Palette: Lines


Actions available from this palette affect a range of music in a staff, usually more than a single note. Select the range of music you want to affect by dragging, selecting measures, or shift-clicking before choosing from the following:

Once you create a line, you can select it and drag either end back and forth to control its length and position. Some lines like hairpins and slurs can be placed at an angle, while others are always straight.

Advanced Palette: Pitch/Rhythm


Actions available from this palette affect the pitch or rhythm of notes:

Advanced Palette: Guitar Tablature


Actions available from this palette are used on guitar tablature staves:

Advanced Palette: Color and Hiding (Crescendo Only) Crescendoicon-afa0ed4e92191e1e0b8f1781d79366e9


Actions available from this palette are used to apply colors to notational symbols, or to hide them:

Clipboard Operations

The Edit menu contains the all-important triad of commands Cut, Copy and Paste (with keyboard shortcuts [Ctrl/Command]-X, [Ctrl/Command]-C and [Ctrl/Command]-V respectively). These commands allow selected music to be copied or removed from one location and placed or inserted into another.

Cut and Copy

Cut and Copy place the selected music into an invisible "clipboard". Once that has been done, a different selection can be made, at which point the Paste command may be used to insert the contents of that clipboard at the starting point of the selection.

Cut and Copy completely replace the former contents of the clipboard.


Paste inserts the clipboard contents into the score, usually at a different location from where Cut or Copy were previously used. The way in which Paste works depends on the type of selection that was in effect when the clipboard was created.

If the clipboard was created from a Score Selection, then the pasted bars are inserted into the score just prior to the first bar in the selection. Existing bars are moved over to make room for the pasted measures; nothing is erased.

If the clipboard was created from an Object or a Staff Selection, then it can be thought of almost as a "recording" of the selected music. The Paste command overlays this "recording" on top of the selected staves, beginning at the starting point of the selection. First any existing music that would be overlaid by the pasted material is removed, and the score is extended with additional measures as needed. Then the pasted music is placed into this freshly cleared area, without changing any of the existing barlines, key signatures or time signatures. If the new material has a different relationship to the barlines than the original, it is re-beamed and notes may be broken up and tied across barlines to preserve their rhythmic values.

If the clipboard was created from a staff selection, it must be pasted into the same number of staves that it was cut or copied from (although they can be different staves of course!).

Repeating Music

A special case of using Copy and Paste is when a section of music is to be repeated, possibly with some modification. Repeated music is very common, ranging from a single note to a melodic theme to entire sections of the score.

To make this operation easier, there is a special Edit > Repeat command (shortcut key R) which duplicates the selection and immediately pastes a copy of the selection after itself, without affecting the contents of the clipboard.

Transposing Music

To change the key of one or more notes in your score, select some music and use one of the entries on the Edit > Transpose menu, which offers a number of options:

The Edit > Enharmonic Change command will "flip" the accidentals of all selected notes, changing sharps to flats and vice versa, without changing the pitch of the notes. It is very useful when correcting notes imported from MIDI.

Adding Measures

You can add a new measure to the score by selecting a measure and clicking one of the "+" icons that appears to the left or right of its measure marker; this adds a new measure before or after the selected measure respectively: Insertmeasure-d445b25c283ebe79faef9208b9927a3a

Another way to add measures is to make a score selection, use the Cut or Copy command, and then use Paste to insert the score selection after the measure containing the current selection.

Yet another way to add measures is to make a score selection and use the Repeat command to duplicate it. The new copy is placed directly after the original.

Removing or Clearing Measures

To delete one or more measures from the score, create a score selection by clicking a numbered measure marker, then Shift-click elsewhere in the score to extend the selection to more measures if needed. Then press the [Delete] key, or use the Edit > Delete menu item.

To clear out the contents of a measure without removing it from the score, create a staff selection by clicking in the staff area of a measure and using Shift-click in another staff area to extend the selection if desired. Then press the [Delete] key, or use the Edit > Delete menu item.

Adding New Staves and Instruments

To add a new part to the score above or below any existing staff, move your mouse to the left of any staff and click one of the "+" icons that appears: Insertpart-ac47463c26e819c3c64769ebff1c9a85 A popup is then displayed allowing you to choose a new instrument sound: Addinstrument-37621aa09f774df34282e551955cd90c

You may select any instrument and click the Play button to hear what it sounds like. Clicking OK inserts the selected instrument as a new part at the requested position. (Note that in the free version of Noteflight, choices are limited to the Basic tab of instruments.)

Some instruments such as the piano will add two staves to the score, both of which belong to the same instrument. This is known as a grand staff, denoted with braces.

The same popup displays controls that affect the key of a transposing instrument. There are three such controls:

Other controls available on this dialog include:

Basic and Crescendo Instruments

There are two collections of instruments available: Basic and Crescendo. The Basic collection contains a small number of instruments drawn from public domain samples, while the Crescendo collection contains licensed samples of over 50 professionally recorded sounds covering a wide range of instrument families. Users of the free edition may only create and edit scores with the Basic collection, while users with a Crescendo subscription can create and edit scores with the expanded Crescendo collection.

A score is always played back using the instruments it was created with. For example, if you create a score using Crescendo and share it with other users, they will hear the music with the Crescendo instruments, even if those users are not Crescendo subscribers.

However, if you share a Crescendo score for editing purposes, users with non-Crescendo accounts who edit the score can only use the Basic instrument set to make changes. Likewise, when a non-Crescendo user saves a copy of a Crescendo score, the score is converted to use Basic instruments.

In score listing pages, Crescendo scores are distinguished by the yellow Noteflight Crescendo icon: Crescendoicon-afa0ed4e92191e1e0b8f1781d79366e9

Working with Parts and Instruments

To change the instrument for a set of staves, select the staves to be affected and select Staff > Change Instrument... from the menu. If you select multiple adjacent staves and change their instrument, you'll get a grand staff-type brace to show that these all belong to the same instrument.

To remove a part from the score, select an entire staff by clicking the "staff marker" to its left or double-clicking one of its measures, then press the Delete key or select Delete from the Edit menu. Note that you cannot remove all parts from a score; at least one part must remain.

Part Names

Part names are supported in both long and short form. The long form is only used on the first system in the score. You can edit any part name by clicking in it and typing. The display of part names is optional and can be toggled using the View > Show Part Names menu item.

The name of a part has nothing to do with its sound. You can name a part completely differently from its sound; likewise, changing a part name won't make it sound different; use the Change Instrument command for that!

Parts for Transposing Instruments

Some parts are for transposing instruments, whose parts are written with notes at some fixed interval from concert pitch. Noteflight can optionally show these parts at their transposed pitch, so that they can be read directly off the chart by performers without having to transpose from concert pitch. Noteflight scores can even be edited in this mode, using transposed note names and accidentals. In the following transposed view, the clarinet part is transposed to the instrument's key of A, yielding a different key signature from the other parts:


To view all such parts at their transposed pitch instead of concert pitch, toggle the View > Use Concert Pitch menu item off, or click the Concert pitch checkbox on the toolbar at the bottom of the screen: Transposebutton-d302d3b923ef09f74e3ef058a87a37e9 This setting is saved along with your score, although anyone viewing the score is free to change it (much as with the zoom scale)

Percussion Instruments

The "Drum Kit" instrument uses a 5-line percussion staff with a fixed set of assignments from staff lines to drum sounds. With this staff, stems are forced up or down to correspond to parts of the kit that are played with the hands and feet respectively; also, note head styles are defaulted appropriately for cymbals.

Single-line and two- or three-line staves for orchestral percussion are not yet supported but are planned features.

Working With Individual Parts (Crescendo Only) Crescendoicon-afa0ed4e92191e1e0b8f1781d79366e9

Noteflight Crescendo allows you to work with individual parts, allowing you to print or edit one part at a time even when your score contains multiple parts. You can also work with any other combination of parts from within a score. This feature is sometimes called "part extraction".

A popup is displayed when you click the Individualpartsbutton-e8b9502c305aba10eb95c0f4e1a34cb5 icon on the bottom toolbar. This popup allows you to pick which parts you want to show and hide: Individualparts-56b422d6539327177d9c804c7abc53bd

The checkboxes next to each part determine whether that part is displayed in the score, or in a printed copy. Clicking the Individual button for a part causes that part alone to be displayed, hiding all the others. The Print Individual Parts... button is a special convenient shortcut that prints each part in the score, transposed for its instrument, on a separate set of pages (a command with the same function is also available on the File menu). The Show All button resets the display to show all parts in the score again.

Parts are shown on the screen in concert or in transposed pitch depending on whether or not the Concert Pitch button is checked. If you want to view or edit parts in the keys of transposing instruments, be sure to uncheck this option.

This feature is useful in a number of situations:

Whenever individual parts are selected for viewing, a special group of Document Layout settings is used: the Parts tab. This is useful because individual parts are generally shown with a larger staff size than ensemble scores; also, the system breaks from the ensemble score generally are not useful in an individual part. See the description of the Document Layout command for more information.

The feature works for any score, whether or not it has was created with Noteflight Crescendo. Note that the set of parts that have been selected for display is not saved with a score. To prevent confusion, whenever you open a score, all the parts will be displayed.

Guitar and Bass Tablature

Creating a New Tablature Part

Crescendo includes a number of guitar and bass instruments that can be used in both standard and tablature notation. For these instruments, tablature notation can be selected in the instruments dialog by picking the instrument with the word "(Tab)" after it: Tabinstrumentchoice-cd5174e65fe7d08552832807d22a14df

Currently only the standard tuning of these instruments is available. Future versions of Crescendo will support alternate tunings.

How Tablature Is Displayed

Noteflight can show tablature in two ways. By default, Noteflight shows rhythmic information like stems, flags, rests, ties, beams and dots:


This makes editing simple because notes in a tab staff work a lot like notes in a regular staff. Noteflight can also leave this information out, which results in a more traditional style of tab that is easier to read but which does not communicate the rhythm of the music:


You can switch between these modes by using the View > Show Guitar Tab Rhythm menu command. Our suggestion is that you create and edit your tab music with the rhythm displayed, since it gives the most complete information about your music and makes editing simpler and clearer. You can turn it off later when you are finished editing, if you prefer not to show the rhythmic information to people viewing the score.

Putting Music into a Tablature Staff

There are two ways to create music in a tab staff: you can enter it directly into the tab staff using the mouse and keyboard, or you can copy and paste music from a regular staff into a tab staff (drag/drop works too).

Direct note entry. Entering the music directly requires that you specify the string and fret number for each note. The first step is to create an open string note ("fret 0") on the string of your choice, at the place in the measure where you want it. You can do this with the mouse by hovering over the string where you want the note to appear, and then clicking: Tabmouseentry-9870dcd447be5e820d77b2c5fdf0132e

The keys F1 through F6 and A through F also work in the same way, causing a new open-string note to appear on the corresponding string number.

Dragging the note up and down will increase or decrease the fret number. You can also simply type the fret position using the number keys on the keyboard: Tabfretentry-83efcd29bdd551750472154dbff4f377

You can create chords by repeatedly clicking with the mouse in the same place and entering the notes in the chord, or by using the [Shift]-F1 through [Shift]-F6 keys ([Shift]-A through [Shift]-F also work): Tabchordentry-4bce60ab3d41ddb4bd660b0dac3bc0d3

Copying between regular and tab staves. This method is a good way to enter a tab part if you already have the music in regular notation, or if you are more comfortable editing on a regular staff. You can simply use the Copy/Cut/Paste functions to move the music, or you can select and drag music from a regular staff to a tab staff: Tabcopyingstaves-5d59be62c51703d1219d99e83fe48ac8

When you copy music from a regular staff, Noteflight will automatically pick strings and frets for the copied notes, using a simple automatic method. While this method is predictable, it does not always produce a correct result: the music will usually require some manual adjustment to strings and fret positions. See below for more information on editing notes, strings and frets in tab notation.

You can also copy music in the other direction: from tablature to regular staff. In some cases you will find that notes are not "spelled" correctly after such an operation because when you enter a note on a tab staff, Noteflight can't tell what regular staff line the note belongs to.

As you can see from the above example, the result is two staves with the same music; one in tablature and one in conventional music notation. This is often a helpful choice when preparing parts for performers with different kinds of music-reading skills.

Changing Frets, Strings and Octaves

There are two important ways of editing tablature music in Noteflight. One way is to make notes higher or lower in pitch by changing their fret number. The other way is to move notes to a higher or lower string on the instruments, while keeping each note's pitch the same.

Changing frets. The Up and Down arrow keys will move all selected notes up or down by a single fret. Dragging selected notes vertically does the same. If only a single note is selected, you can also simply type the fret number that you want. Transposing a note too low to play it on the given string will cause a regular round notehead to be displayed instead of a fret number.

Changing strings. The [Shift]-Up and [Shift]-Down arrow keys will move all selected notes up or down by one string, adjusting the fret of each note to keep its pitch the same. This is a very valuable tool for adjusting the fingering and hand position used to play a given set of notes on a fretboard instrument. For example, here are two passages containing the same notes. The second passage has exactly the same pitches as the first, but played on lower strings and in a higher position on the neck: Tabstringchange-cc7043ff9caa852a57c5c15b17cf2bf3

As with fret changes, if you move a note to a string that is too high in pitch to play it, a round notehead will be displayed instead of a fret number.

Changing octaves. The [Ctrl/Command]-Up and [Ctrl/Command]-Down keys will move all selected notes up or down by an octave. Together with changing frets and strings, this operation can be very useful in arranging parts for guitar and bass.

Working with Bends, Releases and Slides

One of the most important aspects of guitar and bass tabs is the ability to notate bends, releases and slides that apply to one or more notes played in succession on a single string. Noteflight makes it easy to work with these notations, by treating them just like ties.

To notate a bend, release, or slide involves several steps. You can perform them in any order you like:

  1. Create a sequence of notes on a single string representing all the "rhythmic points" in a bend, release or slide: all the places where the bending or sliding will start, stop or change direction. You don't have to worry about pitch at this point.
  2. Select each note that is the starting point of a bend, release or slide. Use the appropriate tool on the Guitar Tablature Palette to choose the way that this note connects to the next note.
  3. Adjust the pitch of each note to the pitch that you want to bend, release or slide to at that point in the music.

Let's see how this works in more detail with a couple of examples.

Creating a sequence of notes in a bend/release. Here we see a sequence of notes on a string that will make up a bend from an initial note to a higher pitch, then release back again. The notes are initially all the same, but this is just a starting point for defining the bend.


Next, select the initial note, which will be bent to the second note. Use the Bend-c363f7ffb9305d58c240fff935ca452c button on the Guitar Tab Palette to apply the bend. A dotted line will appear connecting the first note to the second note. It's not a bend yet, but that's coming shortly:


Now, click and select the note that is being bent to -- in this case, the middle note of our sequence -- and adjust its pitch upwards. The [Up Arrow] key will work nicely for this purpose:


To add a release (if that's what you want), apply another bend/release Bend-c363f7ffb9305d58c240fff935ca452c to the middle note of the sequence, so that it will release to the last note which is lower. (The same tool works for bend and release -- the only difference is the direction in which the pitch changes.)


Doing exactly the same thing with the slide action Slide-04d2077a1321ec438706dde857a7361e results in a slide between the notes, rather than a bend:


Other Tablature Editing Features

Muted notes may be indicated by using the cross ("x") notehead from the Note Heads Palette.

Please see the description of the Guitar Tablature Palette for more information on symbols applying to guitar tablature such as lines, palm muting/let ring lines, taps and pick/strum direction.

Working with Barlines, Repeats and Breaks

A number of important functions are available on the Editing Palette when you select a Barline: Selectedbarline-57c53e30090cad27228bc6f1a0e7c99c

Setting barline styles

Barlinestyles-8318d7efa87fe1f53b77cd17ed58a4a8To change the barline style, click one of the style icons on the editing palette with the barline selected. The dashed line specifies an invisible barline. (An invisible barline can be hard to select again, but it is possible -- you'll know it when you see the barline palette reappear!)

Specifying form repeats

Repeats-95b86872398bf385ad63b5cabf93c8e5To cause a repeat to start or end at the given barline, click either of the two repeat icons on the editing palette. Each icon independently toggles the corresponding type of repeat (start or end); a barline may simultaneously start and end a repeat. The type of barline is forced to the appropriate appearance by whatever combination of repeats applies, ignoring any specific style that you may have set earlier.

(To start a repeat on the first bar of a score, you currently have to add an extra bar at the beginning, place the start of a repeat on what is now the barline before bar 2, and then delete the temporary bar 1.)

You can affect the number of times a repeated section is played by including a direction like Play 3 Times, Repeat 2 Times or 3x as text within the repeat.

Numbered Repeat endings

To create a repeat ending in a measure, use the Repeat Ending button Repeatendingicon-c513e4594475f7114cafbbfb5034cad7 on the Symbols Palette, then double-click to edit the number. It will automatically be formatted to look like this:


You can format this number in different ways, including combining multiple ending numbers with commas (for lists) and hyphens (for ranges). Here are some examples:

Musical Form Directions

The segno and coda symbols Segno-5a09e5ed7a940326c9bf243066e22c6b Coda-46821799125c400045d8e7681587a42e can be added from the Symbols Palette. Placing these symbols into the document will affect playback, in conjunction with Performance or System Text containing directions such as "D.C. Al Coda" or "D.S. Al Fine", and so on.

Performance or System Text can also refer to elements of the musical form, and Noteflight will understand these correctly and play them back properly. Supported elements include:

To use a coda or segno symbol in Performance or System Text, you may include the special sequences {coda} or {segno}.

To use an accidental in Performance or System Text, you may include the special sequences {sharp}, {natural}, {flat}, {double sharp} or {double flat}. Also, key names like Ab (A flat), G# (G sharp) or F= (F natural) will be automatically formatted to use the corresponding accidentals, just like with chord symbols.

To use a note value in Performance or System Text, include the sequences {sixteenth}, {eighth}, {quarter}, {half} or {whole}. The word "dotted" can be included before the note value, for example {dotted quarter}.

Specifying system and page breaks

Barlinebreaks-c06ab278c492ef62349f002f9a18ab85To cause a line or page break, click either of these two icons on the editing palette. Clicking an icon when the break already is in place removes it.

Adding line and page breaks is frequent enough that there are some keyboard shortcuts available. To force the next measure to start on a new system, select anything in the preceding measure (including the barline at its end) and hit the [Enter] key. To force the next measure to start on a fresh page, use [Shift]-[Enter] instead.

Disablecautionaries-2ea46ecb0063283211afd3605a8eec67Sometimes when creating sequences of musical examples a system or page break separates sections of music that do not belong to the same piece. In this case it is desirable to hide the "cautionary" changes in time signature, key signature or clef that are usually shown at the end of a system. Clicking this icon on the editing palette, or using the Score > Hide/Show Cautionaries menu command, will hide or show such cautionary changes. The [Ctrl]-[Enter] keyboard shortcut also works.

Specifying barline breaks

Barline breaks cause a particular part's barlines to stop at the bottom staff line without crossing the gap to the next part below it. This is desirable for vocal parts and also to create visual groupings of parts for brass, strings, etc.

To add a barline break, select measures in any number of parts that should receive a barline break use the Staff > Add/Remove Barline Breaks menu command.

Adjusting a measure's overall width

In some cases you may wish to change the visual width taken up by a particular measure in the score for reasons of clarity or aesthetics. Noteflight determines the width of any given measure using a complex set of calculations, but you can "inflate" or "deflate" the result of these calculations by manually adjusting this width.

To do so, simply drag a measure's ending barline from side to side. This adjusts the measure's width and causes the measure to take up proportionally more or less room in the score layout.

In the special case of dragging the last barline in the score, this causes the last line of the score to become shorter or longer. This is useful when the last line contains only one or two measures.

Once you have made such changes to a measure, they will persist. You may remove a custom width setting for some measure by selecting the measure and using the View > Reset Measure Layout command.

Hiding Staves and Measures (Crescendo Only) Crescendoicon-afa0ed4e92191e1e0b8f1781d79366e9

Sometimes it's desirable to hide entire staves from systems, most often for silent passages when an instrument or part doesn't play anything for some length of time. To do this in Noteflight, select a range of measures and use the Staff > Hide/Show Measures command. When all of a staff's measures are hidden in this way and there are other staves on a system, the "hideable" staff will disappear entirely. Staves that contain a mixture of hidden and non-hidden measures will display normally, although in an editing view the hidden measures will be shown as gray as a reminder that they are eligible for hiding.

Key Signatures, Time Signatures and Clefs

Changing Key Signatures

To change an existing key signature, click it. To apply a key signature to the entire score, use the Staff > Change Key Signature... command. (If you only want to affect a range of measures, select those measures first.) A dialog allows you to specify the new key signature in terms of sharps or flats to apply to the selected range, and to also say what scale you are using: Changekeysignature-db929cff26768c4a4a3bf7401dac9552

The labels under each choice give the name of the key for the scale that is selected, which by default is Major. Change the scale to another choice such as Minor or Lydian and the labels will change accordingly.

There is one special button labeled ?, which means a key signature with no accidentals and no specified key. This key signature is considered atonal, and will have no accidentals even in a transposed score.

To change a key signature and all the bars following it up to the next key change, or the end of the score, simply click the key signature to edit it.

Changing Time Signatures

To change an existing time signature, click it. To apply a time signature to the entire score, use the Staff > Change Time Signature... menu command. (If you only want to affect a range of measures, select those measures first).

A dialog then appears which allows you to specify the new meter to apply to the selected range: Changetimesignature-75da6188d1176abb3983ad7bd7bfd8ef

Clicking the common time Commontime-53c424c50deba1ce59589eb1fad8bf84 or cut time Cuttime-1c5d60e5db35dfcc81212db168cac6c7 symbol buttons on the right allows you to specify these symbols to be used for the time signature instead of the normal number fraction form. When selected, these automatically force time signatures of 4/4 and 2/2 respectively.

There are three modes for time signature changes:

When you change the time signature of a range of measures using the Normal or Hidden modes, no music is lost. The existing notes in the selected range of the score are rebarred to fit the new time signature's bar lines. As a result, you may wind up with a larger or smaller number of bars than you had before you made the change.

Pickup Bars (anacruses) and Irregular Measures

There are a number of situations in which measures do not have as many beats as the current time signature implies. The most common case is a pickup bar or anacrusis in which the music starts in the middle of a bar.

To create such a feature in Noteflight, use the Staff > Change Time Signature... command to change the time signature of the bar to the actual number of beats that you want to appear in the bar, and select the button labeled Pickup. This causes the measure to contain the desired number of beats, but leaves the notated time signature as it was before.

Let's look at these steps in a little more detail. First, select the measure that you want to turn into a pickup measure: Pickupbefore-ed8723503d554590fea713ae1f819ae0

Next, change the time signature using Pickup mode. Here, we select a time signature of 1/4 because we want a pickup measure consisting of a single quarter note: Pickupdialog-c07517a12a2afa6cf8e3d9f9967e19e9

The result is a pickup measure with a single beat of music, but which preserves the overall 3/4 time signature of the piece: Pickupafter-95fd3ca72f466966260604d6e8af239b

Changing Clefs

To apply a clef to a range of measures, a portion of some staff, or even a single note, make the appropriate selection and use the Staff > Change Clef... command. A dialog is offered allowing selection of the clef to be applied to the range: Changeclef-708d64a1e5a6e90b99e64d9332c04e18

To change the clef for an entire staff within the score, click that staff's clef at the start of any system.

To change the clef for a specific sequence of music beginning with an existing clef change and continuing up to the next clef change, click the clef change notation at the start of that sequence.

Clef changes may be cut, copied, pasted and deleted. To cut, copy or delete a clef change, first select the surrounding material (a clef by itself cannot be selected). When pasting, the Score Editor makes the appropriate changes, inserting clef changes as needed to preserve the correspondence of the music and the notation.

Rhythm and Tempo


Tuplet grouping such as triplets, quintuplets, and so on can be added by entering or selecting the note that will become the first note of the tuplet and then using one of the actions on the Score > Create Tuplet menu to create the tuplet. You can also type the number of the tuplet on the keyboard (3, 4, 5, 6, 7) as a shortcut.

The type of tuplet that gets created in this way depends on the length of the note that is selected when you create it. If you want an eighth-note triplet, first make an eighth note or rest and then create a tuplet from that note. If you want a quarter note triplet, first make a quarter note/rest and then create a tuplet from it.

Here's what the situation looks like both before create an 8th note triplet:

Tupletbeforecreate-cf4650fc7e624b04c0d5120b3590afd5 And what it looks like afterwards: Tupletaftercreate-07496746de5d62ce1ecddb352c91e300

The following common tuplet groupings are available with these menu and keyboard actions:

Custom tuplet ratios will be available in a future release.

A tuplet acts like a "mini-measure" in that it contains a certain span of musical time. Just as with a measure, Noteflight will limit the number of notes you can put inside the tuplet to the correct time span, and will also fill the tuplet out with rests as needed to maintain its proper length. So working with the notes inside, say, a quarter-note triplet is just like working with the notes in a bar with a 3/4 time signature.

There are several ways that tuplets can be removed. The most straightforward way is to delete the rest at the beginning of the tuplet. (If there's already a note there, first remove the note to make a rest.) You can also delete the contents of the measure containing the tuplet, but that may remove a lot of other material as well. Finally, Noteflight automatically removes a tuplet if you make its initial note or rest last the entire length of the tuplet, since it is not meaningful to use a tuplet grouping on a single note.

Grace Notes and Appoggiaturas

Grace notes are special notes that are played as ornaments before a regular "main note" that they are attached to. They look like regular notes, but are smaller and their stems generally point up. There can be any number of grace notes preceding a main note.

The most common type of grace note looks like an eighth note with a slash through it, and is played very fast just before the beat of the main note that it is attached to. If there is more than one grace note, the whole group is written as a beamed group of sixteenth notes with a slash through the beam. Grace note groups, like single grace notes, are played very fast just before the beat.

The other type of grace note is called an appoggiatura and is played at its regular length, delaying the start of the main note that it's attached to. Appoggiaturas are not common in modern music but are quite frequently seen in classical music.

To create a grace note, first create a regular note: Gracebeforecreate-4415a7905fc9a79a4e5f6b89eb936ebd and then click one of the grace note icons on the Advanced Pitch/Rhythm Palette Graceicons-225ba3f59d1204d6c7b30e1b8ea2118b. You'll see a result like this: Graceaftercreate-63fc533d83434535a01973621a25d2ef If you create another grace note, it will form a group with the first one: Gracenotegroup-8fcf614776b68ecb8b78b13391304363 Finally, adding a main note looks like this: Gracenotegroupcomplete-ecc89d27e84093b45ed641ca59cdb147

Grace notes are frequently slurred to the following notes. If you create a slur starting on a grace note, it will automatically slur the grace note (or group) to the main note. If you create a slur starting on a note that is preceded by a grace note or group, the slur will automatically include any grace notes under it.

The keyboard shortcut to make a grace note is [Ctrl/Command]-G.

Changing the Tempo

Toolbartempo-1273dcbd8d5efd6b61e88e79e0cf9d30 The toolbar contains a numeric metronome marking that controls the playback tempo for different parts of the piece. You can change both the rhythmic unit of the beat (eighth, quarter, half, etc.) and the number of beats per minute.

This control can be used in several different ways:

Adjusting the rhythmic beat unit used by the tempo is done by clicking the note in the tempo control, which displays a small popup menu:


The tempo may only be changed if the score can be edited by you. If the score is not editable, then the tempo appears as a fixed number that cannot be altered. However, anyone can adjust the playback speed regardless of the saved tempo: see adjusting playback.

Swing Eighth Notes

You may specify that a piece should be performed with the second eighth note of each quarter note delayed by a variable amount, to achieve a jazz swing feel. Use the Play > Swing Eighths... command to display a dialog that allows the amount of swing to be specified. The degree of swing may only be changed if the score can be edited by you.


The percentage of swing refers to the displacement of the second 8th note in each quarter-note group from exact time. At 0%, there is no deviation and the playback will be in "straight 8ths": Straighteights-2081abbcb2e85632d493571894696490 At 33%, the deviation is one 3rd of an 8th note, meaning that the same passage will be performed like this: Tripleteights-a11a10002e78e4d2a70f10abab42cb01 At 50%, the deviation is half an 8th note -- that is, the passage will be performed as: Dottedeights-0eea978c242b704ce70b57ee38a979b0

Audio Playback

Controlling Playback

Noteflight can play a score in several ways, using either its built-in instrument library, a YouTube video, or a MP3 file on the web:

Toolbarplaybutton-38281bfed1a27fd20f06bdb59a9381b0 To play a score from the beginning, you can select the Play > From Start menu item, or click the Play button on the toolbar, or press the P key on the keyboard. Expect a short delay before playback as Noteflight begins to convert your score into audio data.

A very useful option for listening to scores is to start playback from a specific measure. Move the mouse over the numbered "measure marker" above that measure, and a small play button appears in the marker. Click the button, and playback starts from that measure: Measureplaybutton-2249b0426d78a560d22b727874fcd7b7

Playing a score from the first measure containing selected notes is also a useful feature. To do this, select the Play > From Selection menu item, or press the [Shift]-P key on the keyboard.

While playback is active, a triangular pointer moves continuously along the top of the score to show the current playback position within the music, and the toolbar changes to display a Stop button. You may stop playback at any time by clicking the Stop button, by clicking anywhere in the Score Editor, by using the Play > Stop menu command, or by pressing P again.

When playing a score from the beginning, repeats, endings and other aspects of musical form are played back in the correct sequence dictated by the form. Repeats without endings are taken twice. If you start playback from a measure inside a repeating section, playback will begin at the first occurrence of that measure within the form.

Listening to a Selected Staff

It's often very useful to be able to hear a single instrument or staff for playback. To do this, select exactly the staff you want to hear by double-clicking in a measure, or clicking/[Shift]-clicking the "staff markers" to the left of each system. When an entire staff is selected in this way, playback is restricted to only the selected instrument.

Adjusting the Playback Speed

Playbackspeedadjust-333a467df6ef2e379ee845e44dfebd1bIn the toolbar at the bottom, next to the tempo indicator, there is a slider that adjusts the playback speed to go slower or faster than the marked tempo. You can slow the piece down to half the normal tempo, and speed it up to twice the normal tempo. Unlike the actual tempo, this adjustment is never saved in the score. It's a little like the Zoom function in that it is only a temporary adjustment to what the user is hearing.

You cannot adjust the speed while the music is playing; playback stops as soon as the speed is changed.

Adjusting the Playback Volume

Volumebutton-e7e34fad8c21aeb5da6ef6f484f77399This toolbar button adjusts the overall volume of playback for your score. It pops up a small slider that lets you move the control up to make the score louder, down to make the score smaller.

Changing the Playback Mix (Crescendo Only) Crescendoicon-afa0ed4e92191e1e0b8f1781d79366e9

Noteflight Crescendo allows you to make adjustments to the how the instruments in a score are played back as audio. You can adjust the volume of each instrument individually, change its stereo position, and temporarily mute or solo parts to control which instruments are included in playback.

A popup is displayed when you click the Mixerbutton-8fc46dc3af5de0c6ee9b31a8d3d3fc04 icon on the bottom toolbar. This popup allows you to change the playback settings for each part in your score: Mixparts-a521e00d85936bc4ed43dfb6b764d11d

In the picture above, all parts are shown in their normal, default settings. Changes to any setting will be saved as part of a score, and will be heard by anyone who plays the score back, whether they are a Crescendo user or not.

Let's examine each control one by one:

Partvolume-3da1c9016b6d2ad8edb031dcc87ad5a4 The volume slider changes how loud a part is played. Moving the slider to the right makes it louder, moving it to the left makes it softer.

Partpan-953211b95eb14911f602c7c2ef279a3d The pan slider changes where a part is located in the stereo mix. Moving the slider left or right will move the instrument left or right in the mix.

Partmute-39e614d243f47e2f47abd9129382ab71 Clicking the mute checkbox turns off the selected instrument in the audio mix.

Partsolo-fa773ba506993d33bdc85161cd7fa487 Clicking the solo button mutes all instruments except the selected instrument.

The Master Gain slider controls the volume of all the instruments together.

Synchronizing Web Video or Audio

Noteflight allows you to play back any YouTube video or MP3 audio file on the web, to create a multimedia presentation and also as a way to allow any musical performance to accompany a score for playback. In order to do so, Noteflight provides measure mapping, a procedure in which you play the video or audio all the way through and manually tap a key or the mouse button to indicate where each measure of the score starts. Once you have done so, playback from the score works the same as with built-in instruments, but using the external media instead. You can also start playback from any point within the video or audio, and the score will follow along correctly.

The following types of external media are supported by Noteflight:

Both of them work exactly the same way, by following these steps:

  1. Open the Noteflight score that you wish to synchronize.
  2. Click the Sync with Audio/Video icon Syncaudiovideo-262b7beeccdcda1f2a1f655162b0a8cc in the toolbar.
  3. Find the video or audio you want to use, and copy its web address (URL) into your clipboard.
  4. Paste the web address into the Synchronized Audio/Video panel and click the Load button.
  5. Perform measure mapping by playing the audio or video back, tapping the Mark Next Measure button at the start of each measure.

Let's go through these steps in more detail. You can also view a demonstration video of the process.

Open Click the Sync with Audio/Video icon Syncaudiovideo-262b7beeccdcda1f2a1f655162b0a8cc in the toolbar, and paste the web address of your YouTube video or web MP3 into the blank entry field provided:


Now click the Load button. After a brief pause, the panel will enlarge. If you are specifying and show the video, along with a position slider and several other controls:


At this point, you are ready to begin showing Noteflight where the measures are in the video or audio. To do this, click the Play button in the Synchronized Audio/Video panel and click the Mark Next Measure button every time you come to the beginning of a measure (including the first measure!). This can be a bit tricky sometimes, and to make it easier to get to exactly the right spot, Noteflight provides a field where you can type an the exact time within the video or audio for the next measure before marking it. Note that the video/audio does not actually have to be playing in order for you to mark its current position as the start of a measure. Also, as a convenience, once you have clicked the Mark Next Measure button, you may simply tap the space bar to mark subsequent measures.

As each measure is marked, a tick mark will appear on the slider to show where the mark occurs within the video or audio. There can be quite a few ticks:


You can go back over parts of the score and redo your marks. Whenever you click Mark Next Measure, all marks after the new mark are removed so you have a clean score to work with. This can also be done manually with the Clear Following Marks button.

In the case of a score with repeats or a complex musical form, you can jump around within the score as the video plays. In this case, first check the box labeled Enable Measure Clicking. This allows you to mark any measure by clicking it, giving you the freedom to mark measures in any order. By default this is turned off, to avoid accidental marking when you are clicking the score in order to edit it.

Note the checkbox titled Use track for score playback. This checkbox is normally selected, which means that your audio or video will be used for all score playback. However, sometimes you might want to still use Noteflight's built-in playback for your score, for example if you are transcribing audio into a score, or if you want to compare the notated music with the audio/video track. In this case, clear the checkbox. The score's playback functions will then use Noteflight playback to synthesize the music in the score. The play controls in the sync panel will still use the recorded track, however.

Viewing and Formatting Scores

Layout Modes

Two different display modes are available via menu commands: View > Page Layout which displays a fully justified page layout whose systems flow from page to page, and View > Strip Layout which displays a horizontally scrolled continuous strip with a single system. These modes may be selected from the View menu.

In Page Layout mode, you edit the score using the exact format in which it is printed: Pagelayout-05403c4e1c53ea0b1e266b127f3e7b74 Editing in this mode is the best way to remain aware of the printed look of your score, and to see at all times how measures flow from system to system and page to page. As you edit, however, music may jump from system to system as Noteflight determines where system and page breaks occur.

In Strip Layout mode, the score is presented as a continuous horizontal strip: Striplayout-2777336a5060bf2599e22d4d0a85168a This mode sacrifices faithfulness to printed output, but in return delivers a visually smoother experience and somewhat faster editing response.

Changing the View Magnification

A score can be displayed at a range of magnifications, to see multiple pages at a glance or to zoom in on tiny details. To control the view magnification, use the Zoom slider on the toolbar at the bottom of the screen: Zoomslider-d8361b70785b3417bbc102db02b2a98a

It's important to understand that changing the magnification does not change the printed size of the music: it only magnifies it on the screen.

Document Layout Settings

A group of settings controls the appearance of the document, which can be modified using the View > Document Layout... command, which displays this popup:


There are three tabs: Size/Spacing, Formatting and Parts.

Document Layout: Size/Spacing

Here's what's on the Size/Spacing tab:

Document Layout: Formatting

This tab controls the formatting of various elements in a score, including chord symbols, measures and measure numbers, part names, and guitar tab rhythm.


Document Layout: Parts

This tab controls the display of parts that are selected for viewing or printing using the Noteflight Crescendo features for individual parts.


The note size slider is exactly like the same slider on the Score tab, only it controls the display of selected parts instead.

The checkbox labeled Use system breaks from score determines whether system breaks defined in the score will affect the display of selected or individual parts. By default this box is not checked, meaning that they have no effect. Typically one would not want to respect system breaks in an individual part because they would have been defined for the way that the entire score looks, not a single part.

Working with Multiple Voices in a Staff

Noteflight supports up to two melodic voices in a staff, although by default there is usually only one voice. The number of voices can vary from measure to measure in the same staff. Any single measure contains either one voice or two voices, from start to finish.

To directly add a second voice to some measure, select something in that measure and use the Staff > Use Upper Voice (shortcut U) or Staff > Use Lower Voice (shortcut L) commands to add the new voice. The stems of any existing notes are adjusted into two-voice format, and a selected whole-measure rest appears in the new voice that you just added. The blinking cursor for adding new notes will also shift up or down to show you which voice you are working with: Twovoices-dd9a6921f3b89d709c8c076e641c2c24

You can now start to enter notes in your new voice with the mouse or keyboard. In general, once you have two voices in a measure, new notes or rests will always go into the voice you currently have selected. If you continue entering notes into the next measure using a second voice, that voice is automatically added to the new measure as well.

Editing Voices

Changes you make to a voice are almost completely independent of the other voice, except for the visual layout of the measure, and for the effect of voice-independent symbols such as clef changes. You might as well be working with two different measures that are superimposed on top of each other.

To move between voices without losing your place, you can use the very same Staff > Use Upper Voice (U) or Staff > Use Lower Voice (L) commands. If the specified voice already exists, these commands simply select a note or rest in that voice in the same rhythmic location as the currently selection.

Rests in a multi-voice measure are displaced to reflect which voice they belong to. If you want to move them for greater clarity, recall that rests can be dragged up and down or moved with the arrow keys.

Sometimes there are silent passages within a two-voice measure in which only rests for a single voice need be notated. To achieve this effect, you can move the rests for both voices exactly on top of each other.

Removing Voices

To remove a voice from a measure, select any note or rest in that voice and make use of the Staff > Remove Voice command, or use the keyboard shortcut M. The entire voice is removed from that measure.

Working With Text

A number of kinds of text can be added to Noteflight scores: general text, lyrics, dynamics/expression text and chord symbols.

General Text

General text can be placed in or near any bar, and has many different uses. Performance instructions like ritardandos, as well as formal elements such as D.S. al coda are entered as general text in Noteflight. General text can also be used as a way of adding comments throughout the score.

General text may be added at any position by selecting any object at that position, and then clicking the performance text icon Directions-f69d96863d4742b65d145f8c3c7013be on the Object Editing Palette, or using the Score > Text > Performance Text menu command, or typing the T (text) keyboard shortcut. Here is an example: Generaltext-92e9c6db7f09aedb43a92425a5f5489e

When editing general text, a blinking cursor appears in the place where the text goes, and you can type the text there. Double-clicking an existing piece of text allows you to edit that text.

General text can contain multiple lines. Pressing the [Enter] key while typing general text will advance the cursor to the next line: Multilinetext-41adc540bf83867b5754cba48ef69c9c

If you want to change the position of general text, drag it in any direction with the mouse, or select it and use the [Command/Ctrl]-Left, [Command/Ctrl]-Right, [Command/Ctrl]-Up, [Command/Ctrl]-Down arrow keys.

Playing Techniques and General Text

General text is also used to communicate instructions on instrument playing techniques. In particular, Noteflight Crescendo supports special meanings for the terms pizzicato, spiccato and arco. When used in general text for a stringed instrument, either in full or in their commonly abbreviated forms, these will cause the appropriate string technique to be heard on playback. This example illustrates the use of both abbreviated and fully written forms:


System Text

System text is just like general text, except that it is not associated with a particular staff, but with a point in the score. System text is always shown above the top staff, no matter which staves are currently displayed.

You can add System text at any position by selecting an object there, and clicking the system text icon Systemtext-ea0e0e73961d3ec645f738e11036fad3 on the Symbols Palette, or by typing the [Shift]-T keyboard shortcut.


Lyrics can be added to any note in a score by selecting it, and then clicking the lyrics icon Lyrics-bad10bddde330bff38210c41ed5837b5 on the Object Editing Palette, or using the Score > Text > Lyrics menu command, or typing the [Ctrl/Command]-L keyboard shortcut.

When editing lyrics, a blinking cursor appears in the place where the lyric syllable should go, and you can type the lyric there: Lyricsentry-0c318c15bdd8ae281a80f39f8fd5efaa When you are finished typing the syllable, type one of these characters:

Double-clicking an existing lyric syllable allows you to edit that syllable.

Here is an example showing lyrics with both hyphens and extensions: Lyricsexample-2a330f105c4ce3c1473a8ed6ad400ef9

A special case arises when two syllables are pronounced together rapidly on a single note. This occurs frequently in some languages such as Italian, and is called an elision. It's typically represented by a space or a small tie-like symbols between the syllables. Because Noteflight uses the space character to let you move to the next lyric, you can use the plus sign (+) as a special character to put in the space for an elision.

Dynamics and Expression Text

Dynamics and expression text are instructions to the performer on how the music in a particular staff or part is to be played. In Noteflight, a single kind of notation is used for both, and its interpretation depends on what is typed. If you type a dynamic then a dynamic is understood, but you may also type any other text that you like.

Dynamics and expression text may be added to any notation in a score by selecting it, and then clicking the dynamics icon Dynamics-44707e5e7ab87c56344045cc059d86ba on the Object Editing Palette, or using the Score > Text > Dynamics/Expression menu command, or typing the [Ctrl/Command]-E keyboard shortcut.

When editing dynamics/expression text, a blinking cursor appears in the place where the text will go, and you can type the text there. If you type a recognized dynamic abbreviation such as p, mf, and so on, the correct dynamic symbol is shown as soon as you are finished entering the text and the playback of the score will make use of the correct dynamic. So, while you're entering a dynamic it may look like this: Dynamicsentry-02c80920cca39fc24129e22a190ad3dd but after you are finished, it will automatically change to look like this: Dynamicsentry2-dbb011465394367071255b351b475895

Double-clicking an existing dynamic or expression text allows you to edit that text.

For grand-staff instruments such as piano, dynamics on the upper staff also affects the playback of the lower staff. Dynamics on the lower staff apply to that staff alone. To make a dynamic marking apply to just the upper staff, drag it from below the upper staff to above the upper staff. Note also that dynamics that apply to multiple staves will be respected during playback only when all staves are being played. When an individual staff is being played, it will only respect dynamics that are actually present on that staff.

Chord Symbols

Chord symbols can be added to the score by selecting a note, then clicking the chord symbol icon Chordsymbol-0fe71b297546807bdd6cf3b3a36be727 on the Object Editing Palette, selecting the Score > Text > Chord Symbol menu command, or typing the K key on the keyboard. Also, Double-clicking an existing chord symbol allows you to edit that symbol.

Automatic formatting. Chord entry in Noteflight is incredibly easy and simple: just type the chord name in a normal way, using the typical convention of substituting a lowercase "b" for flat, and the "#" character for sharp. When you're done, Noteflight will automatically format the chord so that it looks correct.

So, while you're entering a chord it may look like this: Chordentry-c6ccfa196b3b3e52e93d8eb059a7fb94 but after you are finished, it will automatically change to look like this: Chordentry2-87b759f99fa44d0993ce98ff42d7dcb4

Pop/Jazz Chord Symbols. If you can type a chord, Noteflight will usually figure out how to format it correctly. Here is a sample illustrating some of the main ways that chords can be typed, and showing how Noteflight formats them. You can include any combination of scale degrees, flats, sharps, "+", "-" and triad abbreviations. Note that to vertically "stack" scale degrees, you may separate them with spaces. Here are some examples that show some of the many possible chords you can create by simply typing them:


Classical Analysis with Roman Numerals. You can also create chord symbols using Roman numerals, in a similar way. Note that preceding such a symbol with a key name and a colon (":") will align the chord correctly, shifting the key name to the left. Accidentals may come before the Roman numeral, using the characters b (flat), # (sharp) or = (natural).


Scale Degrees.To enter a scale degree number with a caret (^) above it, use a chord symbol that includes a caret before the number as in ^7. Accidentals just like those used in Roman numerals may precede the caret, as in b^3 or =^7.


Figured Bass or Fingering Notations. Noteflight also supports figured bass and fingering notations. These are typed in the obvious way, placing the different elements of the symbol on separate lines:


Placeholders for Analysis Exercises. If you are creating an exercise or assignment in which the user is to supply an analysis of some elements in a score, you can create a "placeholder" chord symbol that shows a horizontal line indicating where the analysis should go. This is just a chord symbol that consists of one or more underscore characters (_). The result looks like this:


As soon as the user double-clicks such a placeholder line to enter their response, the line disappears to make room for the user's response to be entered. The response is formatted as a normal chord or analysis symbol, and is not underlined.

Double Accidentals.To explicitly enter a double accidental in a chord symbol, use the text "bb" or "##". Note that chord symbols when transposed may yield root tones with double accidentals, even if these were not originally used in the chord.

Repeat Endings. To create a repeat ending in a measure, add a chord symbol on the first beat of the measure that has a number followed by a period, like "1.", "2.", and so on.

Special formatting. If you want to take full control of the formatting of text and chords, surround it with double curly braces {{...}} and make use of the following special characters and character sequences:

If you want to change the position of a chord symbol, drag it in any direction with the mouse, or use the [Command/Ctrl]-Left, [Command/Ctrl]-Right, [Command/Ctrl]-Up, [Command/Ctrl]-Down arrow keys.

Measure Numbers

Measure numbers can be displayed at the start of each system. They are only shown in Page Layout mode, or in printed scores. The display of measure numbers is optional and can be toggled using the View > Show Measure Numbers menu item.


An important feature for musical collaboration is annotation, in which objects and notations in a score can be marked up with comments. Each comment bears the name of its author and the time it was created or last changed.

To add an annotation to a note or rest in the score, select the notation and use the Score > Text > Annotation menu command. A icon that looks like a sheet of paper will appear above the selected object; clicking this icon opens the annotation and allows comments to be attached to it.

Slurs, Hairpins, Trills and Lines

Slurs and hairpin dynamic symbols are similar in that they can span any number of measures in a Noteflight score. In Noteflight, these kinds of symbols are referred to as "lines". Other types of lines are also supported by Noteflight including trills, 8va/8vb, and more.

What all lines have in common is that they have a starting point and an ending point, which can be placed independently. The general way to make a line notation is to select the starting point by clicking with the mouse, select the ending point by [Shift]-clicking, and then asking Noteflight to create the slur, hairpin, or other line notation based on the selection.

It is also possible to create a line-type notation by selecting just one note. This usually makes a line between that note and the note that follows it.

Selecting a line-type notation also causes it to display small draggable "handles" that can be repositioned with the mouse, Typically there is one handle for the starting point, one for the ending point. There may also be other handles depending on the symbol in question.


Slurs-597a0bd77f20d3cc5ec52cf983822237 The Lines palette displays a button that creates a new slur based on the current object or staff selection. The shortcut key S also creates a slur.

As mentioned above, one method is to select the note on which the slur starts, and then create the slur. This produces a two-note slur. (If the note is a grace note, then the slur will extend to the main note.) This figure shows how things look before and after the slur is created:


The two small squares are draggable handles that can be used to move the slur's endpoints around, making it longer or shorter.

Another way to go is to select the range that the slur will occupy, then create the slur:


Note that there are more "handles" on this slur. A slur that is longer gives you additional ways of controlling its shape. This is important because it's much easier for a human user to position slurs in a good way than for a computer program to guess what's right. Here are some examples of different slur shapes, some of which were adjusted by hand:


Hand adjustments like this must be made after you are finished entering notes into the score, since adjustments to the notes will automatically reset the appearance of the slurs. The following figure illustrates how the different handles affect a slur's shape (although playing with a slur is probably a faster way to learn!):


Grace notes are automatically included in slurs that start on a given main note.

"Hairpin" or "Wedge" Dynamics

Hairpins-4420db35ae9c14fee6879a829d79f463 The Lines Palette displays two buttons that creates hairpins or wedges based on the current object or staff selection. The shortcut keys < and > also create these symbols.

Hairpins work a lot like slurs, although they are not as complicated because their shape does not vary as much. Also, because hairpins usually span more than two notes, staff selections are a good way to create hairpins, as in these two figures showing the selection and then the newly created crescendo:


Use the draggable square "handles" to adjust hairpins by hand to work around adjacent notes and symbols:


NOTE: Hairpin dynamics are currently not played back by Noteflight; they are visual notations only.

Other Lines

Other kinds of lines behave the same as hairpins, with the difference that most lines can only be vertically repositioned and cannot be placed at an angle.

Consult the documentation on the Lines Palette for more information.


Trills cause a note to be performed in rapid alternation with the note just above it in the current musical scale. A trill behaves a lot like any other line, but it can also take an accidental that applies to this upper note. To apply this accidental, select just the trill and use the flat, sharp, natural or other accidentals on the object palette to affect the pitch of the upper note of the trill. The trill itself will display this accidental. Here's an example of a trill between D and the Eb above it:


Multiple Measure Rests (Crescendo Only) Crescendoicon-afa0ed4e92191e1e0b8f1781d79366e9

Multiresticon-5df390a2bedda3aa404988318930c1d3 The Lines palette allows you to create a multi-measure rest (or multirest for short) that spans a set of selected blank measures, in a single part, and shows the number of blank measures above it. When a single part is shown, any multirests in that part will "collapse" to replace all these blank measures with the multirest symbol, so that a reader can simply keep count of the bars of rest without having to read individual measures on the page. When multiple parts are shown, the multirests will "expand" to show all the bars inside.

Say that you have a violin part with a section that is silent for 4 bars. Before inserting the multirest, it might look like this (with the silent bars selected):


After you insert the multirest by clicking the Multiresticon-5df390a2bedda3aa404988318930c1d3 button on the Lines palette, the bars will collapse to look like this:


If you were to have another part alongside the violin part, the multirest would be shown in expanded form: in light gray, on top of the regular measures with their normal single-measure rests. This allows you to see the whole score, including the parts which are not silent during the multirest.


When you use the Print Individual Parts feature, or when you select a part for individual display using the Parts panel, all multirests in that part are automatically collapsed.

Sharing and Publishing Scores

The Sharing Panel allows you to share your score with other Noteflight users, to decide how the score is shared, and to embed scores in your own web pages. Click the Sharing tab at the upper right of the screen to see the panel. No changes will be made until you click the OK button, so it's safe to explore the different settings.

Private and Shared Scores

All newly created scores are private, meaning that no other users can see the score even if they know its web address. Private scores are never displayed in pages seen by other users who are browsing or searching in Noteflight. A private score is yours alone.

You can make the choice to share your score. If you do share your score, then other people can view your document, and may also have other capabilities that you give them. How much access others have is up to you.

You can also decide whether you are sharing only with people that you give the score's web address to, or whether you are publishing your score. Publishing makes the existence of your score known to any Noteflight user who uses the Browse or Search features on the site.

Sharing Options

When you first open the Sharing panel on a new score, it shows the following choices:


When any of the non-private options are selected, the panel expands to show other options for sharing: two checkboxes appear that let you control how sharing works: Sharingpanel

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