Tuplet Bars?

• Jun 1, 2011 - 01:55


I was wondering, if I just wanted to have a melody and then for a bar or two have just, say, five triplets (the tuplet space compared to the previous quarter note beat, if the previous melody was in 4/4), would that be in 5/3 time, or, how would you go about writing that?

Thank you.


I can't understand what you mean. If the measure doesn't change length in actual time as measured by a stopwatch, but there are five notes in it instead of four, then you still write 4/4 time but write the five notes as a quintuplet,. is that what you mean? There is no such thing as 5/3 time signature, at least not in standard notation.

Sounds as if you might mean this:
Change the time signature to 5/4 for a bar or two, and turn each quarter note into a triplet.

Sorry for my clarity not being to clear hahahaha.

Okay. Imagine, a quarter note triplet. I want that space of note in a bar, five of them. So in effect there would be like, three and a third over four time. One quarter note triplet and then two notes of another quarter note triplet only for one bar, then going back to a 4/4 time signature. I hope this makes better sense.

I would like to avoid writing in 12/8 as the norm (quarter notes in 4/4 converted to dotted quarters), then switching to 10/8 for a bar to do this (each note of the triplet a quarter note), and then going back to twelve eight, because then I'd also have to put quarter equals dotted quarter and vice-versa when coming from a 12/8 bar to a 4/4 bar.

Thank you.

In reply to by [DELETED] 12786

I don't know what you mean in that last sentence - switching from 12/8 to 10/8 shouldn't require any special notation. That's the most straightforward way to do it, I think. But not if you use a lot of eighth notes. So if you're going to use 4/4 mostly, then a fractional time signature probably makes most sense- 3+1/3 / 4, if my math is right. But I don't think MuseScore supports that.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yeah, I didn't mean it would have special notation, but I'm writing in 4/4 for the majority of the song, so I'd have to then say when switching from four-four to twelve-eight that the quarter note (in the four-four) equals the dotted quarter in twelve eight. As a matter of fact, now that I think of it, I wouldn't have to have that at all. Just the four-four, a ten-eight bar with the quarter equals dotted quarter and vica-versa at the beginning/end, and then back to four-four. However, My question was if it would be possible to do this without using the 3+1/3 / 4 time signature or the 10/8 idea, because by band teacher said that there was no such thing as a fractional time signature (?) and I really didn't want to do the 10/8. But. Thank you. Yeah, I don't see anyway it is supported.

In reply to by [DELETED] 12786

Well, *traditionally* there wouldn't be fractional time signatures, because *traditionally* people wouldn't be trying have a measure that just had five quarter note triplets in it :-). But this sort of thing - adding or subtracting a fraction of a beat from a measure every so often - if not that uncommon in certain circles, and fractional time signatures are indeed one way of notating it. I think MuseScore should be extended to support this. But while I can see how 5/6 might sense as an alternate way to notate this time signature - you're dividing a whole note into six equal parts then using 5 of them - it's just not something I've ever seen anyone use before.

In reply to by [DELETED] 12786

Good question. I'd probably go with 3:2 and let people figure that there are actually only two of them. This kind of stuff is rare enough that no matter what you do, no one opne reading it will ever have seen anything like it before, so you'll basically just have to explain it yourself.

In reply to by [DELETED] 12786

Do you want five quarter notes in a measure to play in the same time period as four quarter notes normally would? If so, use quintuplets. Four quarter notes would be standard. Two triplets would give you six notes in the measure. If you want five notes spread evenly over two measures they might have to be tied some way.

In reply to by JaimeWJr

No, I know what quintuplets are, but I mean triplets. I am talking about having a measure with evenly spaced notes BUT the measure not being four quarter notes long. It would be 3 and a third quarter notes long: a quarter note triplet and then two quarter notes from another quarter note triplet. So the time signature is changing, maybe just for one bar, and then going back to the 3/4 or 4/4 or whatever you are using in the situation.

In reply to by [DELETED] 12786

Given that you said, "I am talking about a measure with evenly spaced (time-units) but the measure not being four (time-units) long," I think that you are indeed talking about a change of time-signature, and that you should write it that way.

If you wanted to express "5 notes played in a single (time-unit)", that would be a "5-tuplet." Any measure can have such a thing, regardless of the time signature.

If you are changing the number of time-units ("beats") in a measure, that's a change of time signature.

In reply to by mrobinson

Yes. That is true. I am talking about a time signature change. That is why I also mentioned "So the time signature is changing, maybe just for one bar, and then going back to the 3/4 or 4/4 or whatever you are using in the situation." in my previous message, hahaha. But the purpose of this post is to ask WHAT time signature I should give, and HOW it should be notated, and HOW it could be done or implemented into MuseScore.

I realize that any measure can have a quintuplet. I understand that concept. My question is like this:

Imagine a metronome going in 4/4 time repeating over and over. Let's say this is a little ditty. Now we're going to preform a little transition for our little ditty. Okay, still thinking that 4/4 pattern, I want you to think quarter note triplets over that. So you're going to have six beats in a bar, but it's still 4/4. Right. Now. I want a bar, with only five of those spacing notes. So, in essence, there is 5/6 of a whole note in a bar.

Now, if the time signature was some weird fractional time signature such as 5/6, my question would be how would you notate that. It wouldn't make sense to put a quintuplet in there, that'd be saying "five of these notes in the space of five of the exact same notes." It would be like putting a 4-tuplet in a 4/4 bar, it's pointless.

OR, if I wrote the bar in the time signature of 3-1/3 / 4, (three and one-third / four), how would I notate this. I suppose it would be possible to notate a tuplet as 5:3-1/3 (five quarters in the space of three and one-third quarters). I asked Mr. Sabatella previously his thought on how it would be done and he said he that would put two 3:2 tuplets and let people realize that there's only two quarter notes in the second one (it's all up there ^ hahaha). I suggested a 3:2 tuplet and one that was 2:(4/3) (two in the space of four thirds).

I would like for this to be implemented into MuseScore if it is at all possible by some of the genius programmers who make this wonderful program possible:

1) The addition of the ability to add fractional time signatures (such as three and one-third / four)
2) The better compatibility of tuplet bar time signatures, such as 5/6 (if it is even possible, as the question arises on how the heck you write a "sixth note" hahaha)
3) Better demonstration on how to use this, since it is pioneering into a relatively artistic and rare field.

Thank you for spending your time trying to figure my posts and questions out hahaha.

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