Repeat lists not honored

• Aug 8, 2019 - 17:28

Hi all,

I'm running into this issue when I try to make MS play the second ending more than once.
My score (4 bars) is something like that:

B1 E1 E2 B2

B1 and E1 are within Repeat Lines
E1 Repeat Count is set to 3
E1 is ending 1
E2 is ending 2

Now, if I set:
E1 Repeat List = 1,2
E2 Repeat List = 3

MS plays: (B1 E1) (B1 E1) (B1 E2) B2 (as expected)

Instead, if I set:
E1 Repeat List = 1
E2 Repeat List = 2,3

MS plays: (B1 E1) (B1 E2) B2 (missing the 3rd repetition, i.e. (B1 E2))

Then I've tried with Repeat Count set to 4 and the only combination that works is as follow:
E1 Repeat List = 1,2,3
E2 Repeat List = 4

All other settings (1,2/3,4, 1/2,3,4) make MS play B2 immediately after the fist execution of (B1 E2).

Do I miss something?

Thank you for help.


In reply to by mike320

To be honest, MS is not really friendly when dealing with repetitions and documentation doesn't explain in detail the settings to achieve a generic configuration of repetitions.
For example, I couldn't find any trace about putting an ending barline in every ending bar involved in repetition sequence.
Thanks to Jm6stringer's suggestion (that you can find below in the thread) I've started to apply this method but, nonetheless, this is not enough to get a complete control on repetition process.
What I found is that one of the two mechanism needed to control the repetitions has to be used in a quite counterintuitive way to get to the goal.
I'll try to explain.

The two parameters you need to use are:
1) Repeat List (Volta bracket parameter)
2) Repeat Count (Ending bar parameter)

The first one is straightforward to set, the second is really tricky.

Let's say you have to repeat a phrase 6 time and you have 3 way to terminate it, E1, E2 and E3 (each one with its own Volta Bracket, L1, L2, L3).
Let's say you want this sequence of endings: E1, E2, E3, E2, E2, E1

This is how to code the Repeat List parameters:
L1: 1, 6
L2: 2, 4, 5
L3: 3
So far so good.

This is how to code the Repeat Count parameters:
E1: 2
E2: 4
E3: 2
Weird, isn't it?
One could say the phrase would be repeated 8 times instead of 6.
And why E1 has a Repeat Count of 2 (the actual count of repetitions) when E2 and E3 don't (actual count of repetition + 1)?

Anyway, these seem to be the rules:
1) Set the Repeat List the way you need.
2) Set the Repeat Count of the Ending bar that you want to be played the last equal to its actual repetition count.
3) Set the Repeat Count of all the other Ending bar equal to their actual repetition count + 1.

I can't say why the software needs this strange settings to perform as expected, but it works.
The real problem is that this is not documented anywhere.

I wouldn't blame all asking people as ignorant or just lazy.

I've attached an example.

In reply to by nisantmail

First of all: It is necessary to place the numbers correctly under the voltas so that people know how to play the score.

Your placement estimate is as follows (I wrote it by looking at the repeat list in your file).


This spelling is obviously wrong. If you look at the picture, you will see that after 6, you have to go back to the beginning again (there is a repeat bar). And if the player returns to start from here, where should to go? There isn't a 7th volta around.
However, the software skips to the end because you don't set play-count to 3. (If you set play-count to 3, it will play one more time than you want.)

In this case, volta 6 should be put to the end


Thus, the play count of the first volta is actually 2.
And the player knows where to go after playing the volta-6.

In reply to by Ziya Mete Demircan

The bars in the two rows are played in the same order as indicated in the Voltas lines.

There are three things I would remark.

The first one (academic if you want) is that, if I want that only three endings are possible, the first row completely meets the assumption, the second don't, because I could write in the last executed ending whichever notes I want different from E1.

The second one is that, even though I've no problem to concede that my score (first row) can be "Incorrect" from the musician point of view (I'm not a musician), nonetheless I'm sure that every people would play B2 after the second repetition of E1, musician or not.

For the third one let me use an example:
Let's say there are two men separated from one another.
The first plays a note on a piano a certain number of times.
I've to make the second man play in turn the same number of notes and, to do so, I have a piece of paper labeled "Play Count".
Let's say the first man plays the note three times.
Which number would you write on the piece of paper?
3 or 4?
Honestly, I would write 3.

Now, back to MuseScore, I find that having to set the "Play Count" parameters of E1, E2 and E3 to 2, 4 and 2 when I want them to be executed 1, 3, and 1 times respectively, it's a quite strange choice.
From the point of view of an user of whichever software you want, I would at least define "Play Count" an
unfortunate and misleading wording, expecially if there's no clarifying information in the documentation that is instead saying:

Play Count
If a measure precedes an end repeat barline, this value controls the number of times that the repeat section plays back

So, why do I need to set it to 4 to make the bar be played 3 times?
(For the record, if I set E2 Play Count to 3, the playing stops after the third execution of E2 and the Volta #6 is never executed)

This may not be a bug, if you want, but let me define it a "documentation issue" at least.

Attachment Size
RepeatTest.jpg 61.7 KB

In reply to by nisantmail

As for the real issue:

The play-count exactly as it should.


try it.


If there is a volta here, -since the voltas are alternative endings-, a remaining (+1) play-count goes to the first measure of the next volta (=>alternative endings!).


Virtually: the next volta is where the previous volta measure is located.


Of course, if you put a repeat-bar where the second volta is, you will think of its play-count according to the new condition.

and so on...

PS: Normally music is not written in such a complicated way. However, if the rules allow, you can write even more complex.
But, If you are writing for musicians to read, you should make their work easier. Should the player solve the road map or play the instrument?
What you're writing: it's like some sort of pattern sequencer work.

In reply to by Ziya Mete Demircan

The question I brought up wasn't about the visual appearance of the score but about the way MS plays it, and besides, you can have a perfectly written score for musicians to play that is completely messed up when played by MS and vice versa.
That's because the involved parameters affect either the visual aspect or the playback, not both.
You are right, my approach to this issue has more to do with the sequencing process, but at the end of the day, when MS plays a score, it's nothing but a sequencer.

In reply to by nisantmail

BTW: This is not the first discussion in this forum regarding voltas, repeats, and 'play counts'.

@nisantmail... You wrote:
...let me define it a "documentation issue" at least.

I agree.
For example, the handbook states:
"More complex repeats are also possible: e.g. a "Repeat list" displaying "1, 2, 4, 5, 7" indicates that the volta is to be played during repeats 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7, and so on."
Here the handbook doesn't really 'nail down' the relationship between 'repeat list' and 'play count'.
The handbook is open for anyone to modify, so give it a shot. If you want opinions first, you can throw out any questions/ideas here (or in the Documentation forum).

Your 'RepeatTest.jpg' image comparing play counts to repeat lists is enlightening. Something like that should be in the handbook, but remember that English text baked into (.jpg) images is not translatable to other languages.

Another point is that 'volta' is not an actual (final) 'ending' - though it can abruptly become one if the 'play count' is too low (as you have discovered).

You wrote:
I have a piece of paper labeled "Play Count".
Let's say the first man plays the note three times.
Which number would you write on the piece of paper?
3 or 4?
Honestly, I would write 3.

I agree, and this is where words and meaning are important. Past forum discussions mentioned a classic misunderstanding, as in the following instruction:
"Tell the musicians to repeat that section twice".
Does that mean to first play it, then 'repeat' it twice? ...or simply to play it twice (play once, repeat once)?

You can search the forum for other posts on this topic, and feel free to come up with your own documentation idea(s).


In reply to by Jm6stringer

I would be glad to a give a contribution to improve the documentation even though it would be not easy being absolutely precise, clear, inequivocal and unambiguous in a language that isn't my native one. :-)
Nonetheless, If you think that the previously shown representation of the parameters needed to control the voltas playback can be useful, I've no problems to make it available (even though I don't know which the appropriate format would be to make it suitable in a multiligual environment).

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Thank you so much !!!
Adding a second repeat barline solved the problem.
I had to move the second repeat barline to E2 to perfectly achieve what I wanted to but, thanks your suggestion, I can get every combination of repetitions I need (1,2/3,4 - 1,4/2,3 - ...).
Thank you again.

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