Version 3 Mensural Notation Problem with long

• Jun 12, 2021 - 11:38

I am new to writing early music using the wonderful MuseScore capabilities. A problem I have found is that in a meter of 4/4 when I insert a 'longa' the result is a breve followed by an empty bar followed by a tied semibreve; see attached image. What I expect to see is the longa placed in the first bar and an empty next bar (as the longa in 4/4 would have the duration of two bars). Is this a bug or am I somehow misguided?

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Screenshot 2021-06-12 at 11.33.30.png 210.93 KB


In a 4/4 time signature, a semibreve (whole note) fills one measure/bar, a breve (double whole) fills two measures/bars, and a longa fills four measures/bars
"What I expect to see is the longa placed in the first bar and an empty next bar"
So, input a breve instead a longa

In reply to by mirabilos

Thank you. I appreciate that you have take some trouble to help me. Perhaps you have not understood that my interest is representing early music and that I am using the 'Mensurstrich' option. I am following the insights presented on the MuseScore Pages "Home Handbook 2 Advanced topics, Early music features".

I hope my next submission illustrates better what I am concerned about.

OK thank you all for helping me. There are some things to clear up and I am increasingly sure there is a problem here.

See the attached screenshot. I have two lines. Since the subject is early music I have made them for an Alto and a Tenor Sackbut. 'Mensurstrich' is set up in the style so that notes are allowed to cross barlines in imitation of
Renaissance music practice of not having bar lines. Now let us look at bars (measures) 1-3.

The Tenor Sackbut line shows :
bar 1 (measure 1) correctly fwith our minims (half notes)
bar 2 with two semibreves (whole notes)
bar 3 with one breve
These are all correct.

In the Alto Sackbut line bar 3 has a 'longa' (equal in duration in 4/2 to two breves).
It is shown correctly.

So I am very happy that all is well in these three bars in terms of notation (the music itself is rubbish).

But now look at the tenor line in bars 4 and 5. This is incorrect.
The 'longa' should overlap the four minims being played by the Alto Sackbut but does not.

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Screenshot 2021-06-13 at 16.06.45.png 508.11 KB

In reply to by Bo'neb

Yes, that is more clear.

Some testing reveals that the longa is not handled correctly until the time signature is at least 16/4.

Relatively easy to test: new score, just one stave, select the note values across systems thing in style, put a time signature, then hit N 9 C and watch the effects.

(It does say the note values across systems is experimental.)

Can you, for your purpose, get along with just halving all durations as written? I found contemporary performers like that (and normal barlines) more anyway, but if you’re actually trying to notate in early music styles this may not be desired, of course.

In reply to by mirabilos

Thank you. Very helpful.

The test you describe is interesting. I did it and the notation was correct. Here is the curious thing: Remember that in the example I gave the longa was correctly represented in the Alto part in 4/2 and wrongly shown in the Tenor part where a breve appeared in the 5th bar. After converting to 16/4 I converted back to 4/2 and the result is exactly what I hoped to see in the first place. See the linked screenshoot. I suspect there is only a small representational bug in the software.

Regarding halving notes and using barlines, I agree that many modern players prefer it. But those of us who regularly play early music believe that this has a habit of misrepresenting and underplaying subtle and beautiful rhythms.

The mensural notation is a good compromise between early notation and modern practice and MuseScore is very close to getting it right.

I do understand well that the early music notation is an experimental offering. It is for that reason I am checking it out. And I must say I am impressed and excited about where it will lead. My present ambition is to understand its limits. Already I have seen enough to be hopeful that MuseScore will continue to evolve its capabilities in this direction. I think my best next activity is to copy out a couple mensural notation scores including the occasional longa and see how it turns out - noting any necessary work-arounds.

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Screenshot 2021-06-13 at 18.18.44.png 180.1 KB

I believe the experimental (!) feature to display note values across measure boundaries is only coded/capable of looking 1 measure ahead/backwards.

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