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The documentation covers the Score Editor in Cubase Pro that includes an extensive set of functions and tools for music notation and score printing.
Platform-Independent Documentation
The documentation applies to the operating systems Windows and macOS.
PDF Documents and Online Documentation
In our documentation, we use typographical and markup elements to structure information.
Key Commands
Many of the default key commands, also known as keyboard shortcuts, use modifier keys, some of which are different depending on the operating system.
The Score Editor window shows MIDI notes as a musical score. It is divided into several sections.
Score Editor Toolbar
The toolbar contains tools and various settings for the Score Editor.
Score Display
The main area of the Score Editor window shows the notes in the edited parts on one or several staves. Parts on different tracks are shown on different staves.
Page Mode
The Score Editor has two different modes: Page Mode and edit mode. Page Mode offers additional features which are directly related to how the score is displayed and printed.
Status Line
The status line shows the mouse time position, the mouse value, and the current chord.
Info Line
The info line shows information about the selected note.
Extended Toolbar
The extended toolbar contains additional tools for your score.
The filters bar allows you to filter out indicators, handles, and other non-printed elements from the score.
Left Zone
The left zone of the Score Editor allows you to display the Inspector and the Symbols tab.
Right Zone
The right zone of the Score Editor allows you to display the Properties tab that shows options and settings for the elements that you select in the score display. This gives you context-related access to settings and editing options for the selected element.
Inspector Settings Dialog
You can configure which Inspector sections are shown. You can also specify the order of the sections.
The Score Editor rulers are only available in Page Mode. They are graphic rulers that are shown at the upper and left border of the score and help you to position symbols and graphical objects in the score.
Position Info Window
The Position Info window helps you to determine and edit exact positions for symbols, objects, and staves in your score.
Zooming in the Score Editor
You can zoom in the Score Editor using the standard zoom techniques.
The Score Editor allows you to display any possible piece of music as a score, complete with all the necessary symbols and formatting. You can extract parts out of a full orchestra score, add lyrics and comments, create lead sheets, drum scores, tablatures, etc.
MIDI Notes vs. Score Notes
MIDI tracks in Cubase hold MIDI notes and other MIDI data. A MIDI note in Cubase is defined by its position, length, pitch and velocity.
Setting up a Display Quantize Note Value
You can define the smallest note value that can be displayed by setting up a Display Quantize note value.
Preparing Scores
When you prepare a score, we suggest you do things in the following order, since this minimizes the time needed if you make a mistake somewhere and need to redo a step.
Activating a Staff
Only one staff can be active at a time. The active staff is indicated by a rectangle to the left of the clef symbol.
Setting up the Page
Before preparing the score for printing, you must make some page settings for your project. This also affects the on-screen display of the score.
Clef, Key, and Time Signature Settings
Before you enter notes into a score, we recommend that you first set the clef, key, and time signature for the staff.
Setting up Note Names
In the Score Editor, you can display note names in the following formats: English, German, or Solfège.
Transposing Instruments
Scores for some instruments, for example, a lot of brass instruments, are written transposed. Therefore, the Score Editor provides the Display Transpose function that transposes notes in the score without affecting the way they are played back.
Printing from the Score Editor
When you have made all necessary changes to the score display and you are satisfied with the result, you can print your score.
Exporting Entire Scores as Image Files
You can export a complete page in various image formats. This allows you to import your scores into desktop publishing and drawing applications.
You can create scores by transcribing your MIDI recordings.
Preparing Recorded Parts
Display Quantize Exceptions
Display quantize exceptions are useful if your score looks as expected except for a few bars.
Resolving Parts That Contain Mixed Notes and Triplets
You can split the notes on a staff into separate tracks or convert a polyphonic staff into polyphonic voices.
Converting MIDI Notes to Match the Score
You can change the lengths and positions of some or all the MIDI notes in the edited parts so that they have exactly the values shown on screen.
Adjusting Rests
If there is no rest after a note although there should be one, you can try changing the settings in the Score Settings dialog.
Adjusting Note Lengths
If the recorded note is displayed with the wrong length, you can try changing the settings in the Score Settings dialog.
You can create scores by entering and editing notes in the Score Editor.
The notes that you enter or edit in the Score Editor snap to positions defined by the note length and quantize values.
Acoustic Feedback
Acoustic Feedback allows you to hear the pitch of the note while moving to hear the pitch of the note at the mouse position.
Lock Layers
You can assign different types of objects to different lock layers and instruct Cubase to lock one or two of these layers. This way, you cannot accidentally move other edit them.
Setting up the Staff
Before you start entering notes, you must make some initial staff settings.
Note Values and Positions
The most important settings for entering notes are the position of the note, the length of the note, that is, the note value, and the minimum spacing between notes, that is, the value that is selected in the Quantize Presets pop-up menu.
Note Input
You can show bars and beats positions when you insert notes.
Note Selection
There are several options to select notes.
Editing Note Positions
You can edit note time positions by dragging, by using the info line or by using key commands.
Editing Note Pitches
You can edit note pitches by dragging, by using the info line or by using key commands.
Moving Notes across Staves
You can move notes from one staff to another. This is useful if you edit several tracks.
Duplicating Notes
You can duplicate notes, even on different systems at the same time.
Cut, Copy, and Paste
You can use the regular commands to cut, copy, or paste notes.
Note Editing Overlay
The Note Editing Overlay allows you to edit note durations, note time positions, display durations, and note velocities in a similar way as in the Key Editor.
Further Note Length Adjustment Methods
You can edit the actual length of the notes, or you can edit the displayed length of the notes.
Splitting Notes
You can split two notes that are strung together by a tie.
Deleting Notes
You can delete notes.
Setting up a Split Staff
You can set up a split staff.
Multiple Staves
When you have parts on several tracks selected in the Project window, these are put on one staff each when you open the Score Editor. This allows you to work on several staves in parallel.
Inserting Clefs, Keys, or Time Signatures
You can insert clef, key, or time signature changes anywhere in the score.
Troubleshooting for Note Display
The Score Settings dialog is divided into several tabs that allow you to set up your score.
Score Settings – Project Tab
On the Project tab, you can specify which font and style are used for various elements in the score.
Score Settings – Layout Tab
On the Layout tab, you can make settings for the different layouts.
Score Settings – Staff Tab
The Staff tab shows the settings for the currently active staff.
Score Settings – Text Tab
On the Text tab, you can set up the text for your score.
Cubase allows you to set up polyphonic voicing with up to eight voices. This can make music with multiple voices clearer and easier to read.
Setting up Polyphonic Voices
You can set up your score for polyphonic voicing.
Activating Voices and Entering Notes
You can enter notes directly into active voices.
Inserting Display Quantize Changes for Active Voices
You can apply Display Quantize changes to active voices.
Creating Crossed Voicings
You can create crossed voicings for vocals, for example. Crossed voicings allow you to set up the stem direction and other note properties. This automatic distribution may require some manual editing.
Merging Polyphonic Voices
You can combine up to four tracks into one track with polyphonic voices.
Converting Voices to Tracks – Extract Voices
You can extract polyphonic voices from an existing track and create a new track for each voice.
Cubase provides advanced options for formatting notes and rests.
Note Stems
You can flip the direction and edit the length of note stems.
Set Note Info Dialog
The Set Note Info dialog allows you to change the properties of all notes individually.
Note Event Properties
The Properties tab for note events in the right zone of the Score Editor allows you to change the properties of the selected note event.
Setting up Accidental Options
You can set up the display of accidentals for all tracks in the project.
Changing the Enharmonic Spelling
You can use Enharmonic Shift to change the enharmonic spelling of notes. This is useful if one or several notes are not displayed with the accidentals that you want.
Changing the Notehead Shape
You can change the shape of noteheads.
Colorizing Noteheads
You can assign colors to noteheads.
Copying Settings Between Notes
You can copy the attributes and settings of one note and use them for other notes.
Cubase automatically groups notes under beams. You can determine how notes are grouped.
Tied Notes
Tied notes are two or more notes that are tied together.
Moving Notes Graphically
You can move notes graphically. This is useful if you want to change the layout without affecting the score or playback.
Moving Rests
You can move rests manually.
Displaying Cue Notes for Voices
You can set up voices to display cue notes.
Converting Notes to Cue Notes
You can convert regular notes to cue notes.
Creating Grace Notes
You can create grace notes by converting any note into a grace note. Grace notes do not affect the rest of the score display in any way.
Editing Grace Notes
You can edit grace notes.
Converting Grace Notes to Regular Notes
You can convert grace notes to regular notes.
Building Tuplets
You can build tuplets by permanently changing the MIDI data of the notes.
Quantizing the Display to Show Tuplets
If you recorded a tuplet and it plays back as you want it, but it is not displayed correctly, you can quantize the display.
Tuplets Dialog
The Tuplets dialog allows you to set up tuplets, triplets, etc.
Cubase provides a Symbols tab that holds specific symbols that you can insert in your score.
In Cubase, a score page always has multiple layers: the note layers, the layout layer, and the project layer. Any symbol that you add to the score belongs to one of these layers, depending on the type of symbol.
Symbol Details
The Symbols tab contains symbols that you can add to the score. These symbols are arranged in different sections.
Inserting Note Symbols
You can insert note symbols such as articulations and ornaments to one or several selected notes.
Inserting Note-Dependent Symbols
You can insert note-dependent symbols, such as arpeggios and strum directions, for specific notes, or you can insert them freely.
Symbol Handles
Symbols that have a length or a size, such as crescendo/diminuendo, slurs/ties, image files, or bars, have handles that allow you to resize or edit the symbol.
Moving Notes and Symbols
You can move notes and symbols with and without affecting the score playback.
Copying Notes and Symbols between Bars
You can move or copy notes and symbols from one bar to one or several other bars.
Resizing Symbols
You can resize symbols.
Resizing Note Symbols and Dynamics
You can resize note symbols and dynamics.
Aligning Symbols
You can align symbols horizontally.
Aligning Dynamics
You can align dynamic symbols horizontally.
You can insert chord symbols into your score or have Cubase analyze selected notes and create chord symbols.
Inserting Chord Symbols
You can insert chord symbols into your score manually.
Creating Chord Symbols from a Recording
If you have already recorded the chords for a project, Cubase can analyze them and create chord symbols.
Displaying Chord Symbols from the Chord Track
You can display the chord symbols from the chord track. Chord symbols can be viewed, edited, and printed out in Page Mode.
You can insert lyrics and other text types into your score.
Text is tied to the bar and staff position, that is, if you move the bar or the entire staff, it moves with it.
Lyrics are tied to the note position. If you move the note, the text moves with it. The spacing between notes is adjusted to make the lyrics fit.
Block Text
Block Text is text that you can paste from the clipboard or import from a text file.
Layout Text
Layout Text is text that is inserted on the layout layer. You can insert it for multiple staves. Layout Text is tied to the bar and staff position.
Page Text
Page Text is text that you can insert on the Layout Layer or on the Project Layer. Page Text that you insert on the Project Layer is part of the project layout and is shown in all layouts.
You can save words that you use frequently as dedicated symbols in the Words section. This saves time, since you do not have to type the same word repeatedly.
Text Attribute Sets
Text attribute sets are presets that contain all font, size, and style settings. By creating text attribute sets for the settings you use most often, you can save a lot of time.
Context Menu Options
The context menu for text contains several options.
Setting up the Text Font
You can set up the text font for selected text or for all text.
Setting up the Font for Other Elements
You can make settings for virtually all text and numbers that appear in the score.
Finding and Replacing Text
You can replace all occurrences of a specific word or group of words with another word or group of words regardless of font, size, and style settings.
Editing Staff Names
You can set up staff names in the Score Settings dialog.
Melisma Lines
Melisma lines extend from lyrics to indicate that a syllable should be sung over several notes, for example. You can also add melisma lines to text that is an advice about articulation or playing style to indicate that it applies to a specific musical phrase.
Setting up Bar Numbers
You can set up how bar number are displayed.
Cubase automatically creates layouts when you edit a single track or a combination of tracks. Layouts are presets that contain settings for the layout layer. They are an integral part of the specific track combination.
Extracting Musical Parts from Full Scores
You can extract a musical part from a full score.
Open Layout Dialog
The Open Layout dialog lists all available layouts for the project and allows you to edit different combinations of tracks.
Importing Symbols from Another Layout
You can import all layout symbols from the selected layout into the current layout.
Removing Layouts
You can remove layouts that you no longer need.
Showing Markers in Layouts
You can show markers that you created in the Project window in the current layout in the Score Editor.
Exporting Layouts
You can export layouts together with all staff settings and import them into other projects.
Cubase can import and export MusicXML files.
MusicXML vs. MIDI
MusicXML and MIDI handle note representation and sound differently.
Imported/Exported Parameters
Cubase can import and export MusicXML files, which makes it possible to transfer musical scores to and from applications that support this file format. However, there are some restrictions concerning the parameters Cubase supports.
Cubase provides advanced options for designing your score.
Auto Layout Dialog
The Auto Layout dialog contains settings for automatic layout adjustments. You can also specify a number of values for the layout functions.
Reset Layout Dialog
The Reset Layout dialog allows you to delete hidden or underlying layout elements, which in effect restores the score to default settings.
Adjusting the Staff Size
You can adjust the staff size of single staves.
Setting the Staff Size for All Staves
You can set up the staff size for all staves. This setting is part of the layout. Use it if you want to print a full score slightly smaller than the parts for each instrument, for example.
Barline Dialog
The Barline dialog contains settings for barlines.
Barline Properties
The Properties tab for barlines in the right zone of the Score Editor allows you to change the properties of the selected barline.
Editing Barlines
For each barline, you can choose whether you want a regular barline, single barline, a double barline, a repeat sign, etc.
Moving Barlines
You can move barlines with or without affecting the surrounding bars.
Breaking Barlines
You can break barlines that stretch across a grand staff.
Adding Brackets and Braces
You can add brackets and braces to the current layout.
Setting the Default Number of Bars per Staff
You can specify how many bars you want to display across the staff by default.
Setting the Distance Between Staves
You can set the distance between staves.
Inserting Page Breaks
You can insert page breaks.
Hidden Objects
Hidden objects can be useful for different purposes.
Multi-Bar Rests
Cubase allows you to set up how rests are displayed that span over multiple bars.
Creating Pick-Up Bars
You can create pick-up bars.
Creating Pick-Up Bars by Hiding Rests
You can create pick-up bars by hiding rests.
In Cubase, you can score for drums and assign unique noteheads to individual pitches and note values.
Setting up Drum Maps
To be able to display different noteheads for different pitches in the Score Editor, you must first set up a drum map. A drum map is a list of drum sounds with a number of settings for each sound.
Setting up a Staff for Drum Scoring
You can set up a staff for scoring drum notes.
Drum Note Editing
You can enter and edit drum notes in the same way as regular notes.
Setting up a Single Line Drum Staff
You can set up a drum staff so that it is shown as one single line, and determine if the notes are shown below, on, or above the line.
In Cubase, you can display staff notation in tablature, or you can create tablature from scratch.
Creating Tablature from Scratch
You can create tablature from scratch.
Showing Staff Notation in Tablature
You can show your score in tablature.
Changing Noteheads to Numbers
Instead of showing all notation in tablature, you can also change single noteheads to numbers.
Setting up the Tablature Font
You can set up the font for the tablature numbers.
Changing Note Pitches
You can change the note pitches of your tablature.
Moving Notes to Another String
You can move notes to another string if you want to avoid open strings on a guitar, for example.
In Cubase, you can display your score in rhythmic notation. This is useful if you want to focus on rhythmic information only, for example in cues or the conductor’s score. Rhythmic notation can also help you to create lead sheets.
Showing Staff Notation as Rhythmic Notation
You can show regular notation as rhythmic notation. Rhythmic notation is a display function and therefore non-destructive. You can switch between regular notation and rhythmic notation.
Showing Rhythmic Notation as Regular Notation
You can suspend rhythmic notation and show the regular notation again. Rhythmic notation is a display function and therefore non-destructive. You can switch between regular notation and rhythmic notation.
Rhythmic Bar Indicators
Rhythmic bar indicators show which sections of the score display rhythmic notation.
Hiding Notes and Rests in Bars
You can hide notes and rests in one or more bars. This allows you to focus on specific parts of your score without deleting anything. Only the display changes, all notes and rests still play back as usual.
Replacing Notation with Repeat Bar Signs
You can show a repeat bar sign that replaces the regular or the rhythmic notation in one or more bars.
In Cubase, you can play back repeats, project symbols, and mapped dynamics.
Playing Back Repeats and Project Symbols
Cubase can play back directions such as repeats, and project layer symbols such as segnos, codas, da capos, and endings.
Mapped Dynamics
Mapped dynamics in Cubase make use of the Note Expression functionality.