Support for large time signatures

• Aug 14, 2016 - 21:47
Reported version
S5 - Suggestion

This has only rarely been asked about in the forums (see for an example), but tall time signatures are quite commonly used in scores—for film scores especially, or in any piece where there are frequent time signature changes. In Finale, they look like this:

In Sibelius, they are by default simply scaled up versions of the normal time signatures, but can be set to use other fonts including Finale's.

I have a feeling that this feature would open MuseScore up for a massive new group of users.


I would like to give my vote for that feature here!

Please include support for tall time signature in score. They instrument part should have independent settings.

Thank you!

I would also like to see this.

Perhaps their could be a "tick" option of "Tall Time Signatures in Parent Score". This would allow older scores to be instantly updated, and the extracted "child" instrumental parts to be written as usual.

That would require some intelligence in placing the time signatures in the score, since not every staff could just have its time signature made tall.

Yes! This is a crucial feature for film composers and students. It will be important to have a separate font for the large time signatures, as they should not be simply an expanded version of the normal time signature. It is absolutely crucial that the time signatures not be too wide.

I think the best place for this feature would be in Staff Properties, as one could create large time signatures for the staff, which could then be dragged down to be however large the user wants (normally 4 staves). This could go next to the option to hide the time signature in Staff Properties.

This page is useful for understanding the issue more fully:

I hope that this is something that we will see in future versions of musescore.

Another thing I've seen is time sigs that are about %25 to %50 larger than regular such that the numerator extends above the top line of the staff and the denominator extends below the bottom line of the staff, but the time sig is still centered about the middle line, like this mockup:

Though Isaac's suggestion that this feature alone would cause people to switch in mass is a bit optimistic, This is a feature I would like to see.

It may not cause people to switch, but if we can talk about young composers, from my experience, musescore is by far the most used. I think this feature (and individual measure numbers as a staff, along with the numerous improvements 3.0 will bring) will be crucial in keeping those young people using musescore as they move into their professional careers.

Not that this would "cause people to switch," but it would open MuseScore to them as an option that it might now not be, as per number 7.

The may be in Bravura but they are not in the master palette.

I was thinking about how to implement them. Perhaps something like the bar lines. Double click a time signature (or edit) and expand it to multiple staves. Each one would have to somehow become independent though.

They could easily be exposed in the master palette. We do access other stylistic alternates. Not sure what you mean with each one being independent. In the example above it looks like a single time signature has replaced the time signature of subsequent staves and they all have the same size.

Currently if you replace 1 time signature you replace all time signatures unless you make it a local time signature. I really don't think you want the larger time signatures to be considered local. That would be worse than not having a large time signature option.

I'm not sure independent is the correct word because barlines are not totally independent either. What you can do with a barline is grow it over several staves. I don't know what happens to the barline on the second staff when the first is grown over it. There is no way for a user to access it that I know of, and that is a good thing. Being able to do that with a time signature is what I have in mind.

Status closed PR created
Regression No
Workaround No

Created a Pull Request that implements the SMuFL "Large" styling alternates and adds a "Large Time Signature" checkbox to the t/s inspector.

Note: still a WIP.

  • Clicking on the checkbox only changes the glyphs - it doesn't automatically scale the Time Signatures. I'm thinking on automatically scale the t/s to (3, 3) when checking and back to (1, 1) when clicking on the checkbox, of course leaving the user free to adjust that afterwards.
  • Need to sort out a glyph spacing problem when using fonts other than Bravura (i.e. emmentaler...) and more than one digit (as in 12/8).