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What's new ?
Music theory
Page mode
Engraver mode
Discontinuous selection
Tie, slur and beam
Multi-voice staves
Color notation
Gregorian notation
Break symbols
Key signature
Time signature
Free objects
Text commands
Character fonts
Character sets
Virtual Singer
Myriad HQ
Software license
Technical support
Printable manual

symbol marks changed chapters.


Free objects

Note: Some features described in this chapter depend on Page Mode and can only be used fully with Harmony Assistant.


With Melody Assistant or Harmony Assistant, it is possible to add miscellaneous objects in a staff: text, graphics, chord diagrams... These objects are linked to the staff area. Inserting a bar or moving the staff will move these objects on the printed page.

Free objects are not related to a staff but to the page itself. Changing anything on score won't affect their location.

Here are some samples of what free objects can be used for:

  • Displaying additional titles on the first page
  • Adding a comment page about the score, with graphics and text
  • Adding a logo in the margin of any page of the score
  • Displaying complete lyrics at the end of a page
  • Creating a document that embeds several scores, in order to annotate and print them.
  • etc.


Because free objects can be inserted anywhere on any page, Page Mode (only available in Harmony Assistant) is the quickest and simplest way to handle them: you actually see these objects on score and can change their size, move them or edit them with the mouse.

In the "Miscellaneous tools" palette, a new tool has been added (Harmony only). Select this tool and click on the score where you want the object to be inserted: an object is added and its editing window opens. You must be in page mode to perform this kind of operation. If not, editing automatically switches to this mode.

In the Edit menu, the "Free objects" option provides several features:

  • "Edit" opens the free objects editing window. This is the only way to manage free objects in Melody Assistant. Please note that in Melody Assistant, these objects will only be displayed in print preview or on the printed page.
  • "Lock" disables any movement or resizing of free objects during score editing.
  • "Mask/Show" masks (hides) or shows free objects in their different layers. Please note this also affects printing.

How to edit a free object?

In Page Mode, double-click the object, or select "Edit free objects" in Edit menu. The complete list of free objects is displayed. You can delete, add or duplicate an object from here, as well as edit its characteristics.

A free object can be defined by:

  • Its type: text, graphics, frame, etc.

  • A text object can include special character commands that will be substituted when displayed. These commands are the same as those used in page header and footer editing.
      • $F: file name
      • $T: document title
      • $D: current date
      • $H: current time
      • $P: page number
      • $N: number of pages
      • $$: $ character
      • $L is substituted by lyrics. You can create text objects with different verses. $L,n extracts the line "n".  $L followed by the staff name selects the lyrics for one staff. For example $L"tenor".
      • $M: total music duration (mm:ss)
      • $N : number of pages
      • $Oxxx: Value to add to the actual page number. This enables, when you split a music piece into several files, to print them with consecutive page numbers.
      • $P : page number
      • $R : remarks related to the document
      • $T : document title

    Free objects of "text" type can also include special text.
    You can select style, font, color and alignment for the text.

    A picture object is imported from a file in BMP or PICT format. The picture can be in color. Picture data are saved along with your document, so be careful about the picture size because it can increase the document file size drastically.

    A frame or circle object is displayed using the selected color and line width.

    A score object is an embedded page from an external music file. The page is drawn at 200 dpi.

    You can change the type of an existing object. It affects neither its position, nor its size.

  • Its page number. Page number can be relative to the beginning or the end of document. If you select a page number that exceeds the available number of pages in the document, the needed extra pages are added. This is very useful to add a comment page at the end of the document.

  • An object can also be displayed on all pages. For example, a logo added to the first page header will be repeated automatically on all other pages.

    An object can be displayed on even or odd pages only, for example to define non-standard headers or footers.
  • Its location within the page. Location on the page is given in tenths of a millimeter (254ths of an inch). The default origin is the page's top left corner. "Page" means the usable area on paper, the page area always being smaller than the paper itself (because of the margins left by the printer). If printer characteristics change, free objects will always remain well positioned. It is also possible to define another origin: bottom or right edge of the page, etc...

  • Object size on page. The object's size is is given in tenths of a millimeter (254ths of an inch). It describes the picture display area, the text formatting area...
  • Layer. Free objects are split into two groups: those displayed in front of the staves (foreground) and those displayed behind the staves (background).

  • In a same layer, objects are sorted. To change an object display order, drag it in the list with the Ctrl key pressed (or using the right mouse button).

  • Colour. This is the object display color. For black and white pictures, this color will be printed instead of black.
  • Line width. For objects like frame, circle, etc. (in tenths of a millimeter or 254ths of an inch)

  • Page number to display. For embedded score objects.

Embedding external files

External files in BMP or PICT format, or even scores in MUS format, can be displayed within the document.

Important: External files are completely copied into the document. Thus, even if the external file is moved or deleted, your document won't be affected.

However, if the external file stays at the same location on your hard disk and is modified, an icon in the list (icon with a little watch) tells you an update can be performed by clicking "Update".

If the external file cannot be found in its original location, Harmony-Melody searches for it at the same level as the document it is embedded into.

If the external file cannot be found anymore on the hard disk, an icon with a broken file is displayed instead. This does not affect the document content, but tells you this object could not be updated.

In "display control handle" mode (Score menu), this icon is also displayed in the top-left corner of the object area.

Managing free objects in Page mode

Using the mouse, you can:

  • Double-click in the object area to edit it
  • Click and drag to move it
  • Click and drag its bottom right corner to resize it.
Using the "Edit>Free objects>Edit" menu option, you can edit all these objects globally.


In some cases, objects can be empty. For example, you might have a text object without any text. It becomes difficult to see it on the page and therefore to edit it. In that case, turn on Display control handles (Edit menu). The object area will be displayed on screen.

When a picture object has no related data, it is displayed as a crossed black frame.

If you create a collection of short tunes, you can have them printed and annotated in a single document. Create a new document ("Very Simple" template), select "Staves>Delete empty staves" in order to get a completely empty document, then embed your tunes as free objects of the "score" type.

If you want to always be able to update embedded files in a document, even if your document is moved on your hard disk, keep the embedded files at the same level as your document: when an embedded file is not found at its original location on hard disk,Harmony-Melody searches for it at the same level as the document it is embedded into.

Otherwise, the embedded files will still be displayed and printed, but it won't be possible to update them anymore.

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