by Tamsyn

April 23, 2011

Mary had a Little Lamb
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New skills for this assignment include:
Dotted notes, adding lyrics, selecting and deleting measures, and adding repeats.

  • Open a new file in Musescore.
  • Give it the title, “Mary had a Little Lamb”.  The composer is Lowell Mason, and the lyricist is Sarah Josepha Hale.  Create new score from scratch.  Next.
  • Click on “Vocals”, then double-click “Voice”.  Next.
  • Use default key signature, meter and number of measures (12).  Finish.
  • In your new file, press “n” to be in note-entry mode.  Type “5” then “.”*  This highlights the quarter-note/crotchet and the period.  Now type “E” and bring it down an octave.

*Note that this entry method for dotted notes is different from the popular Finale program, in which you add the dot after creating the note.  Musescore requires a little more foresight.

  • Type “4” to select the eighth note and type “D”.  Continue until you have entered all of the notes for the piece.  It should look like this.

  • Now you need to delete the extra measures at the end.  Type “n” to exit note entry mode.  Now click on the first measure with no notes.  A blue box will appear over that measure.  Hold down the shift button and click on the last measure.  The empty measures will be highlighted.

  • Type “ctrl+del” to delete those measures.
  • Now click on the first note in the song to select it.  Type “ctrl+L” to add lyrics.  You need to select a note before you can enter this mode.  Type in the words.  For words with more than one syllable, you will need to type in the “-“ to separate them.   Typing a dash or a space will automatically take you to the next note.  “Ma-ry had a lit-tle lamb, lit-tle lamb, lit-tle lamb.  Ma-ry had a lit-tle lamb, its fleece was white as snow.”
  • To add a second verse, click somewhere outside the final note.  Select the first note of the song again and type “ctrl+L” again.  It should automatically set you up for creating the second verse.  If it wants you to type in the first verse again, simply go to the end of the word and press “enter”.  You can navigate between verses with the arrow keys.
  • Note that in singing, it is customary to abbreviate out syllables that are not sung by substituting an apostrophe, as in “Ev-‘ry-where” instead of “Ev-ery-where” (everywhere).  “Ev-‘ry-where that Ma-ry went, Ma-ry went, Ma-ry went, Ev-‘ry-where that Ma-ry went, the lamb was sure to go.”
  • Go to the palettes on the left and click on “barlines”  Drag the ending repeat measure to the last measure of the song and let it go with your mouse.

The finished assignment should look like this:

About the author 


My name is Tamsyn and I love music. I got my bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from USU. I spent many years teaching private piano lessons until I had children of my own. I have attended several children workshops on how to teach children music. I really like the Kodaly method, but have adapted a lot of different techniques for my own children.

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  1. Hi,
    Thanks for writing this in-depth review.
    Actually, I am also searching for information on how to delete measures in musescore.
    I have found the information on how to delete measures in musescore in your article. And I delete my account properly.
    I really benefited a lot from your article. Thank you very much.

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