Creating leadsheets with Musescore

The number one online source for Guitar Tabs and Chords is Ultimate Guitar, but I often prefer leadsheets, as they offer a single-page overview of songs. You could create a simple leadsheet with e.g. PowerPoint or Excel, but I also like having the ability to add music notation and tablature, e.g. for licks and solos. I found that Musescore does exactly that. Musescore is quite complex, hence here’s a short guide to creating leadsheets with it

Choose the Guitar Tablature template. This defaults to 32 bars spread over two lines, but with a lead sheet, you probably want only four or eight bars in one line. This can be achieved via Format – Add/Remove System Breaks. You might need to select all bars first (Ctrl+A). In order to add a chord symbol, you first have to add a note. Note entry mode is activated by hitting the N key. Note duration can be selected with the buttons in the menu bar. You can move around the tab with the arrow keys, and enter notes (fret numbers) with the number keys.

For Chords, I usually add the root note, e.g. a 0 on the low E string for an E chord. You can then add the chord symbol by hitting Ctrl+K. And that’s really all there is to it. You can also add Chords with fretboard diagram. For this you need to add the Fretboard Diagram palette to the palettes. The selection of chords is limited, but you can edit them in the Inspector on the right.

You can delete bars by selecting them and hitting Ctrl + Del. You can also try the Jazz template for a different look. It might be necessary to switch the template from note to tablature mode. This is done via Edit – Instruments and choosing a guitar with tablature. You might also want to add the Arpeggios & Glissando palette for slides and bends.

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