Quick-start Guide

ScoreCloud Songwriter
Quick-start Guide

In this guide you will learn how to edit a score in ScoreCloud Songwriter.

Here are the steps covered in this guide:

Read or watch the chapters below, or watch all the videos in one playlist.

You can search this page with Ctrl+F (on mac: +F) to find specific answers.


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Welcome to this guide for ScoreCloud Songwriter. If you are trying out the program and wondering “how does this work?“, then this guide is for you. We will go through the basics of ScoreCloud Songwriter to help you evaluate your automatic lead sheets and get you up to speed on editing your score.

ScoreCloud Songwriter was created for acoustic instruments and vocals, but it can also work for larger bands. The program separates vocals from instruments and notates vocal melody and chords. It cannot notate different instruments into separate voices just yet.

After recording or importing audio, ScoreCloud Songwriter generates a lead sheet for you. While this is a great starting point, some editing is usually necessary.

In this guide, we will walk you through the steps of editing and fixing a sheet in ScoreCloud Songwriter.

1. Playback & Display – Evaluate Song

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After getting an automatic sheet, we want to identify what is correct and what is not in the score.

Choose what you want to hear and what you want to see in the Sheet tab. A good way to start is to:

  • Enable the MIDI Melody
  • Disable the Accomp. Pattern
  • Enable the Accompaniment Rec.

Enabling the Drum Pattern, changing it to Metronome, can help you place barlines. By default the drums will follow the original timing of your recording, but you can switch to straight linear timing by clicking the conductor icon next to the Play button.

Now press play and listen to the song while following along in the sheet.

You can adjust volumes in the mixer to hear more of for example the Accompaniment Rec. You can also change the instrument of the MIDI Melody to make it easier to follow the written melody and see where you need to edit.

All instruments are transcribed into a piano staff. Enabling the Accomp. Notation can help you identify downbeats, for example by looking at the lowest bass notes.

Try different combinations of Playback and Display to see what works for your needs.

Next we will look at how to fix the issues we identified!

2. Time & Rhythm

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The first thing to check in your automatic sheet is Time & Rhythm, to make sure that the bars line up correctly. We’re looking at the big picture here, so rhythms of individual notes come later in the note editing step.

While editing, remember that you can always Undo multiple steps back by pressing Ctrl+Z (on mac: +Z).

We’ll use the Playback settings from the previous step and listen to the song.

Time Signature

We start by making sure that the Time Signature is correct. Change the time signature by double-clicking it, or by going to Time & Rhythm in the Song tab.

In the Time & Rhythm dialog you can also double and halve all the note values. The score will sound the same but you might want it notated with eighth notes instead of quarter notes. You can even change it to triple time if you for example got note values in 3/4 but want to write in 9/8 instead. 

If the song has time changes, you can insert new time signatures by right-clicking in the score and selecting Insert Here -> Time Change.

Song phase and pickup

Sometimes the program can misunderstand where the downbeat is, for example hearing the third beat as the first one. You can shift the music relative to the barlines using the Pickup tool.

Make sure that the first downbeat is in the correct position in the bar. Showing the Accomp. Notation can help if there is an instrumental intro.

Dragging Barlines

If the program misunderstands a downbeat in the middle of the song, you can fix this by dragging barlines. Click and drag a barline to the correct position and all following bars will be re-calculated. If there is no melody note on the downbeat, showing the Accomp. Notation can help you find the correct position of the barlines.

Some measures can be hard to fix by dragging barlines. If one barline is off, but the following bars are correct, you can fix this later by moving notes within the bars.

Go through the song to make sure the bars are correct, and you are done with this step!

Remove unwanted bars by selecting them and going to the Notes tab, or by pressing backspace twice.

You chould now have a song that is metrically correct!

Next up, key signatures and transposition!

3. Key & Transpose

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We need to make sure that the key signature and transposition is correct. Listen to the song and identify the root.

The melody usually ends on the root, and you can see the name of the selected note in the Notes tab.

Go to Transpose in the Song tab and change the key signature (without moving the notes) to the correct one.

If the song has key changes, you can insert new key change by right-clicking in the score and selecting Insert Here -> Key Change.

In the Transpose dialog you can also transpose the song (change key and move notes) to a key that suits you better.

Change a clef by double-clicking the clef.

You might also want to write the song in a different octave. Select all notes in a part by clicking to the left of the clef, or select all notes with Ctrl+A (on mac: +A) and move the selection a full octave with Ctrl+ or Ctrl+ (on mac: + or +).

4. Notes Editing

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Let’s fix the melody notation.

While editing, remember that you can always Undo multiple steps back by pressing Ctrl+Z (on mac: +Z).

Listen to your song with the MIDI Melody turned on and see where you want to change the melody notation.

Note Pitch, up & down

Click and drag notes up or down to change the pitch. You can also select a note and use the and arrow keys to move the notes.

Move the selected note(s) in half steps, altering the note, by holding the Alt key while dragging or by pressing Alt+ or Alt+.

Move selected note(s) a full octave by pressing Ctrl+ or Ctrl+ (on mac: + / +).

You can use the and arrow keys to go to the next and previous note. Stepping through the notes, moving them up and down is a fast way to edit.

You can change all notes of the same pitch at the same time by selecting a note and pressing Ctrl+Shift+A (on mac: +Shift+A) to Select Similar before moving. Select Similar multiple times to select notes with that same pitch in all octaves and voices.

If a pitch has the wrong spelling, say a C# note that you want as a Db, select a note and press X to do an enharmonic shift.

Note Rhythm, left & right

Change the timing of a note by clicking and dragging it left and right.

Shorten and prolong a note by holding the Alt key while dragging left and right. A note can only be prolonged up to the next note.

Change the rhythm of a set of notes by selecting them and using the Rhythm Dropdown under the Notes tab. This is a fast way of creating and removing triplets.

Change the subdivision of a selection in the Rhythm Dropdown, or by pressing Alt+2, 3, 4, 5 or 6. This will use the original timing to snap notes to that number of notes per beat. If your song has many unwanted triplets or sixteenths, snap them to eights by selecting a beat or an area and changing subdivision to 2.

Notes are automatically split, tied and beamed based on the time signature. You can manually tie notes by pressing T, and you can change beaming by right-clicking the note and going to Beam.

Add and remove notes and rests

Select one or more notes and remove with backspace

Selecting and removing rests with backspace will extend the previous note. Alt+Backspace extends the next note instead, moving it backwards.

If two notes are notated as one, select and split a note using the dropdown under the Notes tab.

New notes can also be added by dragging them in from the notes palette in the Notes tab, or by double-clicking a rest.

Ornaments and note style

The Actions panel in the Notes tab show you actions for the selected element(s). With a note selected, you find symbols for vibratos, slides, bends as well as courtesy accidentals, quarter-tones and more.

You can also right click a note or other element to change beaming, stem direction, notehead shape, color and more.

5. Chord Symbol Editing

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Now we’ll get to fixing the chord symbols above the notes. 

Start by generating New Auto Chords based on the edits you have made, using the button in the Song tab.

Enable the chord pattern playback and choose a playback style to listen to the song and identify what chords you want to change.

Edit a chord symbol by double-clicking it and typing a new chord.

Move to the next chord position with the Tab key, and to the previous chord position with Shift+Tab. Chord positions are each beat and above each note.

Choose between chord spellings, related chords and tensions by selecting a chord and clicking the Chord dropdown under the Notes tab.

6. Lyrics Editing

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With all the notes in the correct places, let’s edit the lyrics.

Edit by double-clicking a lyric and typing a new word. You can also select a note and press the L key to add lyrics.

Continue writing by typing a space to go to the next word. You can also move to the next lyric position with the Tab key, and to the previous with Shift+Tab. Lyrics can be entered under each note.

You can split a word over several notes by writing a dash - to create a melisma. Type a dash in the middle of an existing word to move the rest of the word to the next note, as long as the next note doesn’t already have lyrics.

Extend the ending of a word with a melisma over several notes by writing underscores _ under the following notes.

Add a new line of lyrics by pressing the Return key. You can create up to six verses this way.

7. Display & Layout

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The last editing is the finishing touches to make the sheet look good.

Edit the Title, Composer and Lyricist fields at the top of the score by double-clicking and typing. Change the font and size of the selected words in the Actions panel under the Notes tab. Your title can be multiple lines with different fonts and sizes.

Choose what parts of the song should be displayed under Display in the Sheet tab.

Change the overall score size and and spacing by going to Layout under the Song tab.

Here you can also show margins so that you can move them by clicking and dragging.

Change the spacing between individual systems and staves by clicking to the left of the clef and dragging up and down.

Insert manual system breaks in the notation by selecting a barline and pressing Return, or by looking at the Actions panel under the Notes tab with a barline selected. This way you can get for example four bars per line.

Use system breaks, note size, spacing and margins to make the score look good on the paper.

8. Print, Share and Export

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You can now print the score from the file menu.

Change what parts of the song are included under Playback and Display in the Sheet tab. You can print the melody, export just the lyrics and chords to PDF, or create an mp3 without the vocals as a karaoke track.

You can also export the song into multiple formats.

  • Export as a PDF from the Print dialog (On Windows, use the Microsoft Print to PDF printer. On Mac, choose Export -> PDF from the File menu)
  • Export to an audio file to share and listen as an mp3 or Wav file.
  • Export as an image file to share on social media or in presentations.
  • Export to MIDI to import into a DAW to continue working on the production.
  • Export as a MusicXML to open in other music software.

You can share your song in the My ScoreCloud interactive web player by signing in to your ScoreCloud account on my.scorecloud.com. The online player cannot yet play synced audio tracks from ScoreCloud Songwriter, but with the interactive MIDI playback you can change the key, tempo and voices in the browser. Set the song sharing to “Anyone with the link” and paste the web address in a message. Or embed the whole player on your website!


That’s it for this Quick-start Guide. See our other ScoreCloud Songwriter tutorials on the tutorials page.