requesting advice/guidance with tricky time signature issue

• Aug 31, 2019 - 14:03

At measure 29 of the attached mscz, the score shifts from Common time to "3/2" and "(18/8)". Please see the attached PNGs of the original from IMSLP.
Reviewing the score, the composer's obvious intent is that the string section is in 18/8, while everything else is in 3/2.
To replicate-
In MS 3.2.3, I applied 3/2 as the primary time signature, and 18/8 as the local time signature for the string section. So far, so good.
To get the graphics to look like the PNGs for the non-strings, I went to Master Palette/Symbols/Time Signatures and inserted the symbols to the right of the 3/2 signature to get the desired effect. A bit clumsy, but it works. Perfectly acceptable given how infrequently one would expect to do this.
For the string section, I made the as-displayed 18/8 time signature invisible, and again recreated the 3/2 + 18/8 time signature using the Master Palette symbols. Again, clumsy but it works. This completes the recreation of the "p200 top" PNG.

I'm now at the part that baffles me. If you look at the PNG "p199 bottom", you'll see that the courtesy time signature has the complete 3/2 + 18/8 notation. I'm at a loss to replicate this in MuseScore. Any ideas are welcome.

Even with this issue, I'm impressed that MS has the ability to do what I've done so far!

Attachment Size
p199 bottom.PNG 75.98 KB
p200 top.PNG 65.43 KB
Onegin's Aria.mscz 37.53 KB


My first piece of advice it don't add a local time signature unless there is no other way, it complicates things in the other staves (like you will no longer be able to copy and paste). For a tacit instrument like the 2nd violin add then right click the time signature and change it's appearance in time signature properties if necessary. I would actually make it look like all of the others.

The rest of it is probably best to be done by using an image of your time signature.

Create a time signature somewhere (like another score you can scrap when you're done) and make the lines not seen in the staff/part properties. You can then use the Image Capture tool and make the background not transparent (so you can cover up the workaround at the destination).

Next insert a custom time signature that is 3/2, but make the display long enough to take up room for the 3/2 (18/8) you will put there. Something like 38888/28888 should work. This makes room for your time signature.

Paste the captured time signature in all of the places you want to see it. If you place the first one exactly where you want it, then copy that one and paste it on the other staves (attach it to the first beat) there will only be a little left and right adjustment necessary. Repeat the copy and paste process anew on the courtesy clef.

In reply to by mike320

Thanks. The 2nd violin problem will go away once Hide Empty Staves is enabled. The other things you recommend should probably wait until I'm further along in the score, since who knows what other formatting changes might happen before I'm done.
My first instinct was to not use the local time signatures as you recommend, but then the notes in the 1st violin part needed to be sextuplets. (Not being able to copy/paste is a nuisance.) I tried that approach at first, and although I'm not under any constraints to follow the original score perfectly (this is for my own use), the original seems to have a more elegant appearance. Also, there is learning how to do it, in case some future score should need to mimic the original exactly.
And, this seldom-used functionality is where we often find issues with the software.
Sidebar- I wonder how one conducts this? Mahler was one of the earliest conductors of the opera, it would be interesting to learn his approach to this section.
Again, thanks,

In reply to by marty strasinger

The 2nd violin problem will go away once Hide Empty Staves is enabled

It's existence, visible or not will cause problems if MuseScore does not recognize the time signature as being the same. But now that I think about it, MuseScore shouldn't cause you problems because the internal time signatures should be the same.

I should have suggested that you wait until the page layout for those two pages are established before you paste the pictures so they don't move around later. I'm glad you thought about that.

When I have a mixed time signature like this, I insert anything that looks like a tuplet as a tuplet, then use the inspector to turn off any brackets and numbers on the tuplets. I usually do this a page at a time so I can select all of the tuplets on that page or staff as appropriate and turn them off all at once. If I have one staff with 3/4 time signature and another with 6/8 I do the same thing to prevent the use of local time signatures. I enter the one that has more staves and change the appearance on the others and use duplets or triplets with numbers and brackets hidden as needed.

How to conduct it? Maybe a professional conductor will answer that. I believe toffle is one.

if you want ease of entry, just make them all 3/2 and then change the Time Signature property of the 18/8 staves - but only the text/appearance part and not the actual count. Create 6 triplets and hide the numbers and brackets. You can even copy/paste (or use ´R´) to replicate blocks of 3 or 6 notes in the 18/8 parts.

I'd be inclined to leave it at that - the conductor won't mind and the parts will print OK, but if it is essential that it looks like the original then make the Time Signatures invisble and add your pictures on once the score is all done.

Play it back and the conduction side of things seems fairly straightforward actually.

Attachment Size
3_2__18_8.mscz 11.52 KB

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