time signatures 1/6 and 2/6 makes the program crash

• Oct 10, 2009 - 20:23
S5 - Suggestion

Adding notes with time signatures 1/6 and 2/6 is impossible. The program crashes either when you choose a note value (f.ex. eight-note) or try adding notes (f.ex. quarter-note). 3/6, on the other hand, works fine.


I dont know how to handle these cases yet. Setting an 1/8 note in an 1/6 measure gives a rest of 1/24 which has no representation (without any tuplet magic).

The solution seems to be to restrict denominators to 2^^n values (1 2 4 8 16 32 etc.). Are there any other values used?

Not in traditional music notation.

Time signatures are used to give a tool to place notes in time and allow durations.

Your take a whole and divide it - then divide the 1/2s, etc. This does not lead to a "sixth" and I don't understand the wish for or the use of it.

Indeed. Some composers/transcribers seems to have lots of fun with it. I have no problem with using only 2^n.
As far as I understand finale and sibelius models supports only 2^n as well. Others are hacks.

Although 3/6 doesn't crash it is inaccurate since it only allows two quarter notes in the measure instead of three. 3/6 is the equivalent a 2/4 measure with triplet quarters. Irrational time signatures allow for rhythms that couldn't be written in normal time signatures. For example 2/6 allows for 2 quarter notes in a row. Trying to write the equivalent in a 2/4 measure would leave you with an incomplete triplet. (That said, some composers use incomplete triplets if possible see //secretsociety.typepad.com/darcy_james_argues_secret/2008/03/till-this-bitte.html )

Here are the basic rules for irrational time signatures:

  1. Irrational times signatures are only used in the context of normal time signatures (you wouldn't write a whole piece in 2/6 time)
  2. The bottom number represents a division of the whole note. So each beat in a 2/6 measure would have a duration of 1/6 of a whole note
  3. The top number represents the number of beats in the measure (as usual). The only remaining question is whether the beats are represented using quarter notes, eighth notes or something else. The answer depends on how it would be written as a tuplet. Earlier we mentioned that 3/6 is equivalent to triplet quarters in 2/4. Therefore each beat in a 3/6 measure is written using quarter notes. A 3/3 measure is equivalent to triplet half notes in 4/4 so each beat would be written using half notes.

It would be nice to have this built into MuseScore eventually. It looks like LilyPond supports irrational time signatures but most scorewriters require hacks to achieve this type of notation.

Based on the first rule (from comment #7 above) it would be sensible to remove irrational time signatures from the new score wizard and only allow them via Create > Time...

To me the object of any language is to describe a phenomenon in the simplest terms, an if an addition doesn't add clarity but obscures I fail to see its use (unless obscurity is its goal). An example are the graphical symbols used in post-modern music. These graphics seem an important addition.

if I understand your comment, #7, there really is no difference in time, only in the way of notating it. To me this is just a confusing and unnecessary addition to notation.

If they are to be added, I agree with comment #8.


Maybe I need cleare this matter a bit. I came across one interesting contemporary piece. It's not too easy to learn, so I thought I could check the rhythms in a notation software (whether I play them right). This piece includes measures with f.ex. 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 1/6 and 2/6 time signature. I find 1/6 measures (i.e. a quarter-note triplet, in a whole note there're 6 of them) the simplest way to write two 12th-notes (i.e. ordinary eight-note triplet, 12 in a whole note, divided often in four groups of three) or 18th-notes (triplets inside a triplet).

Xavierjazz, MuseScore already allows irrational time signatures so we are not really adding anything. The point of this bug report is to stop irrational time signatures from crashing (or possibly remove the capability).

There are plenty of sites and forums that address situations where "irrational time signatures" are necessary (besides the 2/6 example I mentioned in #7). However This bug report is not the best place for that discussion.

Thjanks for your explanation, but I'm still confused as to the use of 6 as a denominator.

I looked up triol and this is the only reference I found: " a compound with three hydroxyl groups in the molecule".

As to 12th notes, again these are not a part of traditional notation and I don't understand their meaning. It appears to me that the only connection is that they (1/6, 1/12) are only related to each other and I still don't understand their use. Is it to avoid using triplets?

Please enlighten me.


I'm sorry, with a triol I meant a triplet (I'm not a native speaker). Using 1/6 and 1/12 avoid the promblem that comes when mixing f.ex. one or two triplets with normal rhythms.

#7: I tried the following: set time signature to 3/6 and then changed actual measure duration in measure properties to 3/4.
The tempo of this measure is wrong on playback of course but it should look ok if i understand your explanation right.

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That issue is closed since more 11 (!!) years, quite a while before MuseScore 1.0!

Also from an images we can't tell what's going on, a sample score is needed.
But please in a new issue, let this one here R.I.P.