use different time signatures on different staves

• Aug 17, 2013 - 04:47

i mean on the same measure one stave would be in like 4/4 and another in 5/4


In reply to by lasconic

because its read not like that.. think the measures as just references.. on that image the bars are aligned so that looks like tuplets of 5..
for proper writing mesures should be positined proportionaly... like the examples below: (i think it was made in finale.. i just googled it)


its actually a very basic thing.. usualy its written without change in the time signature.. but its innacurate and harder for the musician to figure out..

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In reply to by mjbg

Makes rehearsal very difficult, though - the conductor can't just say "let's take it from measure 53". For that matter, the musicians have to pretty much ignore the conductor completely, since he may be conducting something in a different time signature.

No doubt this type of notation is very occasionally resorted to and MuseScore should eventually support it. But it's almost always a really bad idea, I think, and certainly nothing you'd expect to do every time you happen to write a hemiola.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Was it a really bad idea when Mozart chose to have three different time signatures simultaneously in the first act finale of Don Giovanni. It is quite common notation (and hugely convenient) to have for example violins playing in 9/8 and cellos in 3/4. The inability to deal with this problem has to be admitted to be a fault.

In reply to by operabarry

That is something different. The example you are talking about has the barlines still lining up, so each measure is the same length. MuseScore does support that - they are called "local time signatures". This described elsewhere in this thread (see Handbook under "Time signatures" for more info.

What we talking about above is something different - having measures of literally different lengths, so the barlines don't even line up. Sure, it can very occasionally be useful in experimental contexts, and MuseScore does support this using workarounds as mentioned, but in general, most musicians do better if you let the barliens align and allow rhythms to cross them.

Just did a search for this feature and found this thread. I don't know if this is supported yet, but my real world example is trying to import/enter a score where some parts are in 2/4 and others are in 6/8, with every measure of equal duration. The quarter note is therefore slower in the 2/4 staves than it is in the 6/8. While this may not be typical, it does exist in real music, and some thought should be devoted how to support it. Indeed, not only do you need to be able to put different time signatures on each staff, but there needs to be a way to indicate how the tempos relate to one another. In my case it would be dotted quarter of staff A equals quarter of staff B.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The limitation on this is that it doesn't seem to work! I have a measure that I have made sure is empty, and yet I cannot ctrl+dragl a different local time signature. No matter where in my score I try to drop a new local signature, I get the message that "the measure is not empty", though of course it is. Does it need to be done to the score prior to entering any notes at all? That's bad, now that I am 300 bars in. Any suggestions?

In reply to by harperdog

Remember if you add a time signature, it affects from there to the end of the score, unless there is another time signature change later. So make sure it's empty from the point you add the change all the way to the end, or to the next time signature change.

If that doesn't help, please post the specific score you are having problems with and precise step by step instructions to reproduce the problem.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I'm on bar 322 of many. I am not sure how to post an extract of the score here (nine lines of strings only), but I have done this: I deleted the many empty bars I had following so that there was absolutely nothing after what I had inputted so far. I appended one empty measure to the score and attempted to Ctrl-drag a new time signature in this new empty bar in the top string part. Same error message that the measure is not empty, though it clearly is!

I am attempting to insert a couple of 2/4 measures into an otherwise 6/8 section, exactly as described in a comment in this thread above. A couple of parts remain in 2/4 while others play in 6/8.

In reply to by harperdog

To post a score, use the file attachments link right below whrre you type. If you feel it necessary to delete some content before doing so, feel free, but it isn't necessary.

Right now the error message is pretty generic, and I do believe there are cases where we generate it for reasons other than measure not technically being "empty". One thing that could be happening is that some other staff is already under the influence of a temporary time signature. Also, I believe we disable local time signatures if there are linked parts already. Maybe some other corner cases too I have forgotten, but seeing the actual score would let us determine what is happening very quickly.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I have what seems to be a potential fix. I've changed to scroll view from page view, and it appears to work now. So there may just be a little glitch somewhere between those two views.

There were no other temporary time signatures, since I could never get it to work once, so that was not the issue. There was a cello part open as a linked part, so that MAY have been an issue, but it's still open when this actually works in scroll view.

So it looks like I've solved it for now, but only by changing the view. Thanks for your immediate help, Marc. I'll post what I have so far so you can see if it helps you understand where I was coming from.

Unrelated (perhaps better for a new thread) but still applies to the score I am working on - now that I am close to 400 bars, the page view is very quirky. Clicking and holding on a crescendo to slightly move it changes the screen to unrelated bars! The view often switches between what I am intending to work on and what I do not need. And then back again. Just moving a dynamic becomes quite a chore.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Then the fix could appear in 3.0 or 4.0. Support local time signatures when linked parts are present, and also when material has been entered in later measures (just as you can add dynamics, articulations, etc. in previously entered music). For now it's planning ahead and clever work arounds.

In reply to by harperdog

You have lots of crescendos that seem attached poorly - like they were attached to notes in one measure then dragged to appear below an entirely different measure. Those sorts of adjustments will not survive changes in layout. It's importat to attach markings ot the proper measures.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

They were attached fine. When I re-open the file, they have moved and been attached elsewhere. Other things move as well. Occasionally I will mis-attach a dynamic (especially if I am in a hurry) but these crescendos have a mind of their own. As I also said earlier, this is a rough draft that I have not tweaked, and so things are not always going to appear right. Especially when the program moves them on me.

In reply to by harperdog

Well, if you can find a reproducible set of steps that causes a correctly-attached marking to move upon save / reload, please post it them. Right now, I can just see that these are not *currently* attached correctly.

Dynamics markings do change attachment if you drag them with them mosue - there is code to reattach them to the nearest note. i am not really a fan of that code, but in case case, you can easily circumvent it by using the arrow keys or Inspector rather than dragging when moving dynamics.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I have a work by Richard Strauss which uses 6/8 in the strings, 2/4 in harp and 4/4 in bassoon and clarinet. There are two bars of strings and harp to every single bar of bassoon and clarinet. When I try to set this up using local time signatures I don't get the 2:1 ratio of strings+harp to winds. Is that possible with mscore 3.0.5?

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