Remove "Pause" property from Inspector for breath mark or make it 'stealing' time from preceeding duration

• Jun 8, 2016 - 22:47
S4 - Minor

Post-#100856: Show pause property for breath and casesura, the pause property is now also shown for breath marks, which it definitely should not be (imagine a musician losing the downbeat after a breath).

See also Marc Sabatella's comment at


Well, I don't necessarily mind them having the property, as long as it defaults to zero. Or is implemented like an articulation, slightly shortening the preceding note.

Title Breath marks should not have pause property Breath marks' pause property

I'd like the latter a lot. But having the pause property available the same as for caesuras (default to zero or not), it looks too much like it does shorten the preceding note when it does something quite the else.

I also vote for keeping the possibility of using the 'breathe mark' as a caesura, since I've seen it being used that way, and depending on the situation, e.g. for a singer, stealing from the previous note might not give sufficient time to breathe.

Providing the 'steal from preceding note' would of course be nice, and I actually like Jojo's idea with negative numbers. But I'm not sure if this might seem unintuitive to some users. Maybe it would be clearer to have a separate property for it.

I thought of the negative value too after posting, and I do think it's a good idea. I wouldn't worry too much about intuitiveness here since the majority of the time the defaults should be good, and seeing a negative value in that field by default will show the user that this is how to do it.

It's probably not too hard to implement but tricky because it is entirely different than the current implementation. Right now the effect is on the tempo map but the new proposed effect for negative values will be on note event lengths. Totally separate areas is code involved. Not sure that's a good enough reason you use a separate property instead of positive/negative but something to think about.

Title Breath marks' pause property Remove "Pause" property from Inspector for breath mark
Reported version 3.0 2.2

Probably there needs to be an option for either. In the instrumental ensemble world. breath marks would never ever add time. Everyone breathes at different times. The rest of the ensemble won't wait for just the oboe players :-)

Then you use the “check” breath mark instead of the “apostrophe” one (or the cæsura).

I checked this in Gould’s book (and had to change quite some apostrophes to checks in my scores to match).

In reply to by mirabilos

The check mark might be common for instrumental music in the UK; that I can't say. In the US, though, it's normally the apostrophe. And it never means to add time in that context. So, again, best would be for both options to be available: the "steal time" interpretation, and the "add time".

I think what happened is that people didn’t know the difference and used them interchangably. (Like forgetting the 8vb sign on the clef for vocal tenor.)

Gould is pretty clear for both vocal…


… and instrumental music:


I think that modern editions should honour the standard. I’m not averse to a checkbox in the inspector for all kinds of breath marks to denote whether time should be subtracted or injected, but the default clearly ought to follow Gould.

(“never” means to add time is just stupid to not have; I have scores where both appear, for good reasons.)

Consider educating the people.