Acceptable to obscure time signature?

• Nov 24, 2016 - 04:38

This is slight; but for the sake of notation, is the glissando line striking through the time signature a good practice?


I have never Heard of it as something to avoid, but I see your concern. Sadly I don't think there is much to be done about it.

I think it is ugly, and just ask yourself whether it is easy to read... I would take more space, and typically aim at glissando lines at around 45 degrees; it should look like a continuation of the stemless (senza misura) notes. Do you really need a 6/8 time signature? If this is the beginning of a piece, there is no way a listener will hear a different beat for just one bar; even if not the beginning, shifting the 3/4 one bar earlier would surely be acceptable, with perhaps an accent?

In reply to by Imaginatorium

I did not think it would be much of a disturbance as the part uses two staves. The player could assume a silhouette of the time signature on the top stave and confirm their estimate by looking at the bottom stave. At the same time, it looked unprofessional and lacking - players would also question if it really is a 3/4 and not a polymetre.

This is a harp part extracted from a larger piece at the end of a 6/8 section. Indeed, I could set the bar that will not have its time signature be obscured to take an early shift of a 3/4 metre change and accentuate (and beam) it as though it were in 6/8. That is a good suggestion. However, I prefer to wait for the ability to break elements. It will be much more systematic and obliterates the further need to introduce a workaround which may injure the musical phrase.

Actually, we can do exactly that workaround with lines:

In reply to by H. L.

OK, I made a number of wrong guesses, the first being "piano". I expect harpists are much more accustomed to glissandi (especially ones that can't possibly be played on the keyboard), so your new version is probably fine. Even so, I would have thought that a bit more space could make it easier to read.

Oh, and if this is in the middle of a piece for several instruments, then moving the time signature is a bit of a non-starter.

Although it might conceivably “offend someone’s artistic sensibilities,” I frankly do not find it objectionable and probably would not go out of my way to do a lot to change it.   Although the number has a line passing directly through it, it does not in any way obscure the readability of the number, nor the conveyed musical intention of the text.   “Curioser things have happened in computer-typeset documents ...”

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