Does Musescore enforce correct notation?

• Jul 5, 2023 - 01:59

The phrase in measure 1 is identical to the phrase in measure two. In measure 1, the A beginning on beat 2.5 has a duration of two beats, so I notated it as a half note. In measure 2, I notated that A as an eighth note beginning on beat 2.5, tied to a dotted quarter note beginning on beat 3.

My question is, is there a preferred or correct way of notating the phrase? Musescore allows both, so I have the impression that both ways are acceptable. If that be the case, is one way better than the other?

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Personally, I think the second method is more clear when reading the music because it divides the beats more logically within the time signature. Notating music has its conventions but there is freedom of expression depending on what you want to depict. A simple example is using accidentals instead of changing the key for 8 bars.

Elaine Gould in her notation manual "Behind Bars" says this (page 167):

"Sustaining notes across beats
Note-values sustained across a beat or half-bar [half-measure] must expose the beat structure of the bar."

So in a 4/4 time signature you are discouraged from using a half-note which starts on beat 2. Instead Gould recommends two tied quarter-notes in this context.

In reply to by DanielR

Thanks for that information. I see the merit in avoiding the placement of notes between beats where the duration of the note exceeds the fraction of a beat remaining before the next beat. Tying the note to a note of appropriate duration on the beginning of the next beat makes it clear where the beats occur in the phrase. However, I would boldly place a half note on beat 3 in 4/4 meter, as its relation to the meter in that case is unambiguous.

In reply to by frfancha

I see I mistook the above comment by DanielR, "So in a 4/4 time signature you are discouraged from using a half-note which starts on beat 2. Instead Gould recommends two tied quarter-notes in this context," which makes perfect sense. Instead, I was thinking he meant a half note starting on beat 3 in 4/4 meter.

In reply to by steven_brown1

There have been many.....discussions about this very thing. There are those who will say that the first example is wrong no matter what. Musicians would not be able to sight read the first example. But would have no problem with the second. I think I would only be able to make such a statement if I knew ALL musicians. There are no rules of notation. There are current practices. Don't believe me. Take a look at notation from 1 or 2 hundred years ago. Just because Gould says it, doesn't make it so. Personally, I don't find either one easier to read. And there is more to notation than sight reading.
Excuse me while I duck and cover.

In reply to by steven_brown1

Good choice.
On the valuable topic regarding pattern recognition of rhythms, see:

Also, look at the (confusing) first line of music here:
and observe the following use of beams and ties to expose the beat(s) where necessary to create the recognizable patterns.

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