help with repeats

• Apr 24, 2013 - 05:50

This is sort of a generic notation question. I have a song with the following structure:
verse; ending 1; verse; ending 2; chorus; chorus; bridge; verse; ending 2; chorus; chorus; coda.
Each verse is identical and each chorus is identical. Each ending is two measures.

Is there a combination of repeat signs, D.S. al Coda, etc. that will allow me to represent the whole song without having to duplicate the verses and chorus? Does anyone know how correct MuseScore's implementation is for all the repeat types? (For example, if a To Coda is placed in a measure that ends with a repeat sign, the repeat is skipped on the second playthrough. I have no idea if that is the correct behavior as that is beyond my notation-fu.)


The "usual" standard is for repeats to *not* be taken on a DS/DS. So MuseScore doing the "correct" thing there. But most well-written charts wold include an explicit direction as well, like "DS al Coda (no repeat)" or "DS al Coda (take repeat)" as otherwise, chances of a train wreck are pretty high as the human musicians playing your score try to guess what you meant. The standard that says don't take repeats unless explicitly directed to just isn't universal enough to expect people will just know.

So what MuseScore lacks is a way to control whether or not you want the reat taken. In general, there are any number of things you might be able to accomplish through sufficiently clever road map instructions on your score - like "DS, skip first repeat, take 2nd and 3rd ending only on next repeat, then repeat letter C four times before taking coda" that there is not going to be any way to get MuseScore to follow.

I personally recommend against ever using anything more than the simplest of combinations of repeats, DS's, and codas. I've seen far, far, far too many train wrecks resulting from charts whee someone tried to save a page by not writing out the verse or chorus a second time and instead trying to route the musicians through some convulated path. It's not usually worth it. Anything that you cannot *easily* write out using simple repeats, DS's, and codas should probably just be written out completely left to right, even if that it makes it take an extea page. Musicians eading the chart will thank you. That's my opiniom, anyhow.

The attached example does most of what you want but the above advice to keep it simple is the best. Exceptions might be when you are writing for a marching band where the music is on a small card clipped to the instrument or if page-turning is difficult for the performer. Then you should probably include clear written directions but MuseScore won't be able to play it back exactly as you want.

Attachment Size
Repeats.mscz 3.66 KB

Thanks everyone for all the well thought out responses -- I now have a good sense of what to do next. I think minimizing ambiguity for performers (to liberally paraphrase the general consensus in this thread) is good general advice and will certainly be a good yardstick to decide in similar situations.

I had assumed that because the people who invented notation were constrained in writing tools, they must have come up with business rules to deal with every possible way to minimize handwriting. But modern performers are not necessarily confident in their interpration of old scores, and I should have thought of that.

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