Tuplet across barline

• Jan 30, 2013 - 21:54

I recently came across this problem. It is apparently not possible to create a tuplet across a barline. There are ways around this I know, but it is counterproductive to eg have to make a measure with double the number of beats and then hide the truth. When making eg a quartuplet over 3 beats, two in the first measure and one i the next, Musescore automatically makes a quartuplet over the two beats in the first measure, which of course makes no sense.
So Musescore clearly makes sure that there are not too many beats in the measure but why doesn't it understand that I am thinking beyond that first measure? Could it be solved with eg a warning dialog box that your tuplet is moving into the next measure and would you like to continue?
I welcome any input on this... :-)


So, thinking this through, say you have the cursor on beat 3, then you enter dotted half as thre next rhythmic value (the total length of the tuplet in question). If you hit a letter at that point, MuseScore automatically breaks up the note into two beats in the first measure and one in the next, as one would expect / hope. I think what you're suggesting is that the act of hitting ctrl-4 to creat a tuplet (instead of entering a note) should bypass this and bring up a dialog asking if you want to create a special over-the-bar tuplet. That seems reasonable.

I would suggest (and here indeed it is open for debate), though, that the current situation is not really "counterproductive". The type of rhythm you are suggesting *is* a pretty complex cross-rhythm that isn't just hard for MuseScore to figure out - it's also going to be difficult (but not impossible) for any human musician reading the score to figure out. Not that this notation shouldn't ever be used, but you really should be thinking it through and not assuming that it should "just work". For instance, in your example, how many notes should come before the barline and how many after? My math says three before and one after, but of course the one after isn't on "1" but on the "1e". The first note (or rest) in the second bar to actually occur on the beat is the one that would follow on beat 2. So it parses as a group of 5 beats followed by a group of 3. If the person reading it is going to have to work that out, I don't really see a problem with your having to do so to, and tell MuseScore this explicitly. I just wish there were a more direct way to do this.

Right now, the most direct way I know is to use Measure Properties to set the first bar to 5, the second to three, then hide the barline, then manually drag a barline on top of the last note of the tuplet. This isn't *that* difficult, but it would be nice if there were a way to just say, "move the barline over by one beat".

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi Mark, and thanks again for your elaborate answer. I agree with you as far as your last comment on a practical way to do it; in fact I've been told that other more expensive music scoring software has the same "problem" (let's call it that for the time being).
I don't know if the word "counterproductive" is the right term, but when you can't go the direct way to what you're thinking/feeling about the piece of music you're writing down, then I find that the software is not helping you, rather working against you. I find it strange that Musescore can understand all sorts of tuplets no matter how strange, as long as it is inside one measure, but not when crossing a bar line. But then again, I am not a software designer...

Working out tuplets with maths can be really ridiculus, and while there might be very good reasons to do so in orchestral works, in most cases it's just an approximation of a number of notes over a number of beats. Think of romantic works, eg Chopin piano works; full of long ornaments written out as a number of 16th notes over 2 or 3 beats - you get really odd things like 17:3 (just an example), but working out the maths on that will not make any music for you!
I guess my point is that there may be a number of reasons why one would want to write a tuplet across a bar line, it all depends on the context.

Anyway, the story remains, can we find an easier way to accomplish the task...?

In reply to by audioraw

It's been debated back and forth, but my opinion is set: I dislike the whole measure-tyranny of MuseScore.

Your said, "when you can't go the direct way to what you're thinking/feeling about the piece of music you're writing down, then I find that the software is not helping you, rather working against you." And this is not just tuplets, it is inherent to the whole idea of forcing measures to be right and filling in rests. I didn't choose to have rests, I just want a note. If I didn't enter anything, it should just be blank.

There are some other programs that work this way (Notion for example, Encore also). The idea is: if you have less than enough notes in a measure, then you have left some things blank. Oh well. There could be a command to fill in the rests to make it complete, but it shouldn't be the only option. In Notion, you can even have measureless music that goes on and on with no barlines; in Encore, if my memory is right, you can have 5 beats in a four-beat measure but the last note will be marked as red to indicate an issue, and it just plays it into the next measure along with whatever is in the next measure on beat one.

The biggest problem with MuseScore's tyranny (which is identical to the way Sibelius works, by the way), is that it isn't easy to adjust rhythms or move notes forward or ahead in time. In MuseScore, a note is at a particular heirarchical place in the overall span of the piece, but lots of music is more sequential; i.e. it just matters that this note comes next, and you might want to try it earlier or later.

I really would like to see a future where this behavior is controlled by user preference. I want to be able to tell MuseScore to let me do non-standard things and not fix my rythms with rests and such but let me figure out how I want to enter things to eventually get the result I want.

I still think MuseScore is the best overall software anyway…

In reply to by audioraw

Working out the math might not make the music any better, but as I said, it's what the human performer is going to have to do in order to play it. And also what MuseScvore will have to do in order to play it, and also what it will have to do in order to export to another music format like MusicXML. Which is why I still say that anything you ask someone else to figure out, you should have to figure out for yourself as well and communicate that clearly to MuseScore. Standard notation is what it is, and you can't pretend it is something other than what it is. There is just no getting around the math of it - you can't just throw a bunch of symbols up on the screen and expect results that play back in a predictable way, export to other programs in a predictable way, or would be played in a predictable way by a human performer. A program that allows you to create meaningless combinations of symbols by accident is not doing anyone any favors. A program should *allow* you to do non-standard things, but it shouldn't make it too easy to do by mistake.

So, again, I would agree it would be to have an easier way ot moving the barline (better than marking it invisible and adding a graphic one manually), but beyond that, I really can't see what one could reasonably expect.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Dear Marc,
I don't know your music skills but let me tell you that is not so complex or uncommon.
Indeed theese rythms are very easy to read and play and are very common.
For example I am now writing a very symple polyrhtm (see attachment).
I have this problem but in a complex orchestral score and changing the meter, hide and draw the barlines will mess up every instrument.
This feature is really needed.
Does anybody here knows if in Dorico, Sibelius or Finale this thing can be done correctly?
I also have Cubase pro 8.5 and I can say that it has same limitation as Musescore

Attachment Size
musescore triplet accross the bar.jpg 74.59 KB

In reply to by luigimaesano

Dear friends, in the end I came to a good solution!!! See the attachment.
my goal was to have a score like attachment 1
Attach 01.jpg
I couldn't change metere because it's a big orchestra where only few instruments play a polyrythm
I was able to have the final score (attachment 2)
attach 02.jpg
by writing a 8th triplet on the last beat of the bar, a 8th triplet on the first beat of the next bar then write the notes as I needed.
After that, I've hidden the second triplet sign, I've hidden the first note of the second bar (the one that started to play on the previous bar)
Then I've hidden the flag of the last note of the first bar.
In the end I've changed the position of the first acual note of the second bar, moving it slightly on the left and I've stretched the triplet sign to the right, crossin the bar till the end of the first beat of the second bar.

Attachment Size
attach 02.jpg 101.78 KB
Attach 01.jpg 74.59 KB

I just came up with a solution to this. Suppose you want a constant 4 over 3 pattern, with the bar changing every 5th beat of the 4. Obviously, this won't line up. Instead of thinking about putting a tuplet over a barline, put a barline over the tuplet. You can make a time signature (using the master pallate) that is several bars longer than you need it, but have the text say the normal time signature. In our example, if the the 8th note was the 4 (and the quarter note triplet as the 3s), you can make a bar that repeats 5 8th notes 4 times, or 20/8 time. Make it appear as 5/8 time (or whatever you want) and then manually place barlines where you want them (click and drag to the first note after the barline). Now, you should have "measures" that have tuplets over the barlines.

I can not copy and paste tuplets. I'm a beginner, the tuplets do not appear to me to cross the bar line, what am I missing? I'm using 4/4 and there two sets of 3 notes each per measure for a total of 6 notes in the measure. So each tuplet is 3 notes per 4/4 1/2 note. Please help.

In reply to by staples77

Assuming you are selecting the entire tuplet, it shoudl work. if you continue to have trouble after making sure you have selected the entire tuplet, please post the score you are having problems and the precise steps you are following, and we should be able to figure out what is going wrong.

Thank you for your prompt reply. I think that there might be some sort of corruption when I switched over to 2.0. I've had a close look at it and there doesn't seem to be any other explanation. I reproduced one of the measures in question by hand for another instrument and it copies and pastes perfectly well. Oddly enough, where I erased the problem measure, it remained blank, not even a rest, so blank in fact, that there was nothing in the measure to latch on to, even the measure itself, so that no matter what I did, the inspector displayed 'nothing selected'. I think it will most probably be fine after a reboot and I'm no longer using that instrument in the part so it is not a problem, but the fact that it occurred might be something the developer might want to be aware of...

In reply to by staples77

Well, again, in order to help much, we'd need to see the score itself. Corruptions involving tuplets were quite common in 1.3, although in most cases you'd have been wanred about those corruptions when loading into 2.0. To fix the corruption, see https://musescore.org/en/node/54721

If it turns out the corruption was only caused *after* loading into 2.0, we'd definitely like to know if you find steps to reproduce the problem. Would be best to start a new thread, as this is not related to the specific question of creating tuplets across barlines.

"Right now, the most direct way I know is to use Measure Properties to set the first bar to 5, the second to three, then hide the barline, then manually drag a barline on top of the last note of the tuplet."

I just found a better solution than this hack Marc suggested above in his initial response. The problem with that above hack is that the horizontal adjustment of the barline is measured in spatiums, which unforunately means that when a measure is stretched or tightened, the position of each note is going to change, while the offset of the barline will not be, which might lead to an undersired situation where the barline gets display in an incorrect order with the other notes in the tuplet.

So what I would do is instead of two measures, I would make one big measure in musescore (by going into the measure's properties and doubling the number of beats in the measure. Then I would form the tuplet in this big measure, and then select the note head just after where the barline shoud be (which to be honest I don't know whether it should be before the second note or before the third note of the tuplet, as the second note does indeed straddle the two measures):


and then double click the pallet icon for barline, so that musescore will internally know the added barline belongs just before the selected note:


That way if the measure is tightened or stretched (for instance to the full width of the page), then the barline remains before the note the user told it to be:


You might want to edit the measure property of the subsequent measure to set "Add to measure count" to 1, so that subsequent measure numbers get corrected.

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