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7.9 Working with Contrapuntal Voices

Each staff line has the potential of containing up to four contrapuntal voices. Contrapuntal voices are organized into “threads” (voicelines). See "Voices and Playback", Section 4.5 for more about how voices affect playback.

To view contrapuntal voices as separate colors,

image • Push the Voice Visibility button in the Toolbar.

7.9.1 Voice color

Contrapuntal voices display as one of four possible colors (Voice 1= black, Voice 2 = red, Voice 3 = green and Voice 4 = blue). Normally, you will see black (Voice 1) and red (Voice 2).

7.9.2 Overriding voice color assignments

Voice color/number assignments can be changed manually.


To override default voice color of a note or rest (change voice number),

a. Select desired voice number (and color) from Voice Tool combo button in the Toolbar.

b. Locate the note or rest for which you want to change voice color.

c. Click on a note or rest to change it to the selected color and voice.

Voice color is automatically determined based on several factors (number of voices, stem direction, number of beats, vertical alignment, etc.) You can override voice colors manu- ally. Changing voice color may change voice colors of other notes in a given measure.

NOTE: Do not override voice colors until a measure is entirely edited. Unusual color combinations usually correct themselves automatically after a measure is cor- rected.

To vertically align offset voices,


a. Use the Select tool (“O”) to highlight offset notes and/or rests.

b. Press the “Y” key to group the selected, offset notes into a single vertical event.

Selected voices will move slightly.

Offset voices not “glued” following Recognition

Using Select tool to highlight offset voices


“Y” key “glues” offset voices to a single event.

FIGURE 7 - 5: Correcting offset voices not “glued” after recognition.

Similarly, if you see notes bunched together each displaying different colors (usually black and red and sometimes green), but which actually belong to only one voice, they are probably “glued” to the same vertical event. Joined notes can be “unglued” as follows:

To “Unglue” offset notes not intended to play simultaneously,

a. With the Select tool (“O” key), carefully select the incorrectly glued notes (NOTE: they will each have different colors). Be sure to select only the notes which are incorrectly joined.

b. Hit the “Y” key. Joined notes will separate and change color.

7.9.3 Checking vertical alignment of voices

Measures with notes and rests that are incorrectly aligned will become highlighted reddish (“error”). In addition, all notes and rests that are glued will move together when dragged left or right in Nudge mode.

Hold the Shift button. Click and drag note control point to verify.


FIGURE 7 - 6: Using Nudge mode (SHIFT) to check vertical alignments

7.9.4 Swap position of note heads (Select + “L”)


Occasionally, you will want to swap the horizontal positions of a pair of joined offset notes. This can easily be done by selecting a vertically aligned pair with the Select Tool (“O”) and hitting the “L” key. The relative positions of these joined notes will be swapped without altering voice color or playback.


Note heads before swap

Note heads after swap

FIGURE 7 - 7: Note head swapping

7.9.5 Cross-staff voicing

Occasionally, notes of one voice may “visit” an adjacent staff. Technically, visiting notes belong to their “home” staff, but they obtain their pitch information from the visiting staff line.

To create cross-staff voicing,

Make sure the note to be moved across staff lines has its stem in the correct orientation (Select + “S” to change stem direction). Hold the Shift key down and drag the note- head to the desired pitch of an adjacent staff. If cross-staff notes belong to a beamed

group and the beam does not interfere with the movement of the notehead, simply hold the Shift button down and drag the notehead into the adjacent staff to its desired pitch.


FIGURE 7 - 8: Cross-staff voicing

Notes positioned in a “visiting” staff still belong to the “home” staff. To edit or move a note positioned in an adjacent “visiting” staff, press the Caps Lock key while the “home” staff is active. Press Caps Lock again to unlock the active home staff.

NOTE: Cross-staff indicator lines can be either solid or dotted. These attributes can be changed in Edit > Program Preferences > Systems > Cross-staff voicing line style.

To control cross-staff beams (beam collisions and flipped stems)

If a beam collides with note stems or appears at odd angles after moving notes, hold Shift down (Nudge) then click & drag the control point on either beam end. Drag beam end until it is properly positioned. Stems of notes alternate as the beam angle is changed.


Beam colliding with note stems.


Drag beam control point to alter stem orientation


Drag beam control point to change beam angle

FIGURE 7 - 9: Controlling cross-staff beams

7.9.6 Cross-measure beaming


To create a cross-measure beam,

a. Insert a flagged note on either side of a barline.

b. Use the Select tool to highlight both notes and hit the “B” key.

7.9.7 Overlapping or offset noteheads

Two notes in different voices can share the same pitch at the same time. You can choose whether note heads of different voices should overlap one another or become horizontally offset.

To allow offset note heads,

Check off “Overlap Notes” in Edit > Document Preferences > Score Symbols > Overlap mode. Playback will not be affected whether note heads are offset or overlap.