Lifting the constraints of measures and time signatures

• Jan 19, 2021 - 19:45

I'm probably in the minority here and I understand that perhaps I just have a backwards approach to transcribing music, but something that I find particularly cumbersome with Musescore is how strict it can be when filling out a measure.

I'm a long time user of Guitar Pro because, well, I'm a guitarist who used tabs for a really long time. I've been trying to get away from using it and I've been wanting to learn how to use "legitimate" notation software so I chose Musescore.

My general process when writing in guitar pro is to select a measure, type in all the notes for a musical phrase, then go left to right and change their lengths to fit the rhythm. Guitar Pro also lets you know in the bottom right corner how long the phrase is , so if the time signature was set as 4/4 but what I entered in was actually 7/8, it says "3.5/4" so now I know to alter the time signature. Also, the measure itself is highlighted red if the the content of the measure was either under or over capacity. When you play back the audio through guitar pro, it'll either linger on the measure to fill our the specified time signature or just jump to the next measure and ignore the extra beats. This alone seems like warning enough to the user that they need to fix their score without imposing constraints on how they enter it.

Now I could just be a complete noob to Musescore, but my understanding is that the measure must be at exact capacity at all times or else it's a no go. If I entered 4 quarter notes that I meant to make eighth notes and so I go back to change them, what Musescore does is add little rests between each note. If I then try to click on those rests and delete them because I want this pattern of notes to be together, Musescore doesn't allow you. It doesn't even prompt a message to let you know why you can't delete it. I ran a google search and found that I'm expected to either retype the phrase or cut and paste the notes around which is unnecessarily excessive in my opinion.

I find this odd because I've noticed that this idea behind coloring errors is actually in Musescore in a different way. When you enter a note that is technically impossible to play on the assigned instrument, Musescore doesn't restrict you from notating it but it highlights that note in red as a "Hey, just to let you know, this is impossible to play."

But yeah, I just find this to be really cumbersome and it interrupts my process for how I'm used to transcribing music. I just find it so much easier to type in all the notes, assign their values, and adjust the time signature based on what I entered. I mean hell, I tend to play odd-ball avant-garde progressive rock music or whatever you want to call it and my compositional process rarely includes me figuring out what time signatures I'm playing in, hell, sometimes I'm used to using Guitar Pro as a tool to assist me in making sense of my compositions. It would be really nice if this is a feature that can be included someday. Just some kind of checkbox the lifts the "forced" meter of a measure.


A normal Delete removes sound, as a rest is already silence, it will indeed not again be replaced with another rest. If you wish to remove that "time" from the measure, then select the rest and press Ctrl-Del; you will now also see a small '-' indicator above the measure indicating it has less beats than given by the time signature.
Also have a look at the "insert" note input mode.

But yes, MuseScore does not work well for inputting pitches first and then rhythms 2nd. The other way around is way easier, by using rhythm and repitch note input modes.

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