Forcing regular placement of notes in a measure

• Jul 23, 2021 - 13:17

Hi - I'm trying to make an illustration for my students to show that a "beat" is regular, unlike "rhythms" which are made up of changing note values. I've created a double staff, treble clef on top and percussion on bottom. I inputted regular quarter notes on four measures on the bottom staff, and then various rhythms on the top staff.

Is there ANY way to force the score to align to the regular notes on the bottom staff? It's kind of hard to explain to children that the beat is regular when it keeps shifting its spot to keep up with the rhythms on top!

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Rhythm_vs_Beat_both-1.jpg 168.03 KB


If you have fewer bars (measures) on each line, this will stretch it out a bit to more what you want. But traditional music engraving does not maintain a constant distance between the longer notes (beats): the space per beat always adjusts, depending on how many shorter notes have to fitted in for a given beat.

In reply to by DanielR

I do realize that I'm asking for something that's a bit out of the box. Most of the online resources I've found don't use actual notation to show the difference between rhythm and beat, but I don't like dumbing things down for my students... I'll just have to play around with the spacing, see how close I can get things.

In a way, I don't care that it's not the way it's usually done; I just want to show things visually. I could just do an illustration with fruits or something, or make a manual illustration using notes with a drawing program, I guess. Always open to ideas!

In reply to by lingvemulo

One rather fiddly way would be to use voice two the fill measures with, in your example, 16th notes. Make them invisible. Use voice 1 to add the rhythms you want. Save as a PDF. May not be what you want because it's only useable as a PDF or other print out. Not as something you can use in MuseScore.

I see someone else suggested this whilst I was creating a file - add hidden notes of the shortest duration and this forces everything to space out evenly. It does spread things out a lot, though, so to counteract this you can make those notes Small and set the Leading space to -0.9.

You don't have to add notes, however, since rests take up space too. This gives you a couple fewer steps in making things invisible. You can tidy it up a bit by removing the first system indent and leaving the Leading space at 0 for the first 16th note in each bar.

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Spacey.mscz 11.68 KB
Spacey_2.mscz 11.56 KB

In reply to by underquark

Could also be (invisible) rests (of the shortest duration), in that case you don't even have to make them silent and it is less elements to make invisible too (heads, stems, beams, flags)

Edit: I see (now, need new glasses) that you mentioned that and even provided a sample score

And I think I have it. I put the four measures across two lines (2 per measure) so it's not so crowded. I'll make an image file, and manually move things closer. For some reason reducing min. or max. staff distance doesn't seem to do anything...

This has been a great way to learn more about MuseScore... :-)

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Rhythm_vs_Beat_Final.mscz 8.29 KB

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Yes, that's logical. I was just not sure what kind of text to use; I'll remember that for next time. For this particular project (4 measures ending up as a jpg) whatever works goes - but I do write lots of arrangements and I'll need to know how to do things the right way. I used to use Finale but it's a bit overkill for my current needs!

In reply to by lingvemulo

There is a bug where the system distance settings are not interpreted correctly with vertical justification enabled. Since there are only two staves in this example and on ly a single page, it's not a big deal to simply disable it, but in general, that's a last resort. The better way to prevent filling on a single while not giving up the advantages of justification elsewhere would be to add a spacer or frame below the last system.

Also, you shouldn't have disabled autoplace on the "Beats" text. that causes collisions. Instead of disable autoplace, and instead of dragging the text, simply flip it below the staff with "X". Except that here, as mentioned, you really shouldn't have attached the text to top staff to begin with - it should be staff text attached to the bottom staff. But still, for future reference - disabling autoplace is also something that should be a last resort and is pretty much guaranteed to cause problems, there are almost always easier and more effective ways to do whatever it is you want.

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