MakeMusic
SmartMusic Finale Garritan MusicXML

Multi-Part Music

MusicXML contains two elements to help distinguish what is happening in multi-part music: the voice and staff elements.

A staff element should be used wherever possible in multi-staff music like piano parts. Note, forward, and direction elements can all include a staff element.

The first cross-staff chord in measure 3 of the piano part is represented as:

      <note default-x="26">
        <pitch>
          <step>A</step>
          <octave>3</octave>
        </pitch>
        <duration>1</duration>
        <voice>1</voice>
        <type>eighth</type>
        <accidental>natural</accidental>
        <stem default-y="91">up</stem>
        <staff>2</staff>
        <beam number="1">begin</beam>
      </note>
      <note default-x="26">
        <chord/>
        <pitch>
          <step>C</step>
          <octave>4</octave>
        </pitch>
        <duration>1</duration>
        <voice>1</voice>
        <type>eighth</type>
        <stem>up</stem>
        <staff>2</staff>
      </note>
      <note default-x="26">
        <chord/>
        <pitch>
          <step>E</step>
          <alter>-1</alter>
          <octave>4</octave>
        </pitch>
        <duration>1</duration>
        <voice>1</voice>
        <type>eighth</type>
        <stem>up</stem>
        <staff>1</staff>
      </note>
      <note default-x="26">
        <chord/>
        <pitch>
          <step>G</step>
          <octave>4</octave>
        </pitch>
        <duration>1</duration>
        <voice>1</voice>
        <type>eighth</type>
        <stem>up</stem>
        <staff>1</staff>
      </note>

clear

The voice element helps keep track of multiple independent voice parts. Specifying the voice makes it much easier to import MusicXML files into other programs that handle multiple voices, such as Finale with its layer feature. In the piano chord above, having all the notes be part of a chord in voice 1 but with different staff elements ensures that this will be represented as a cross-staff chord. After completing the six chords in the right-hand part, the left-hand chord is represented as a chord in voice 2, using:

      <backup>
        <duration>6</duration>
      </backup>
      <note default-x="26">
        <pitch>
          <step>F</step>
          <octave>1</octave>
        </pitch>
        <duration>6</duration>
        <voice>2</voice>
        <type>half</type>
        <dot/>
        <stem default-y="-105.5">down</stem>
        <staff>2</staff>
      </note>
      <note default-x="26">
        <chord/>
        <pitch>
          <step>F</step>
          <octave>2</octave>
        </pitch>
        <duration>6</duration>
        <voice>2</voice>
        <type>half</type>
        <dot/>
        <stem>down</stem>
        <staff>2</staff>
      </note>

Prev Next