Notating music with no time signature

• Feb 9, 2016 - 20:51

Hi, I'm working on simply transcribing an existing piece of music (not by me) that has bar lines and standardly notated pitch/rhythmic values; standard note heads and beams, dots, etc., but no time signature, and the number of beats in each bar varies irregularly.

what would be the simplest way to go about this in MS?

My first thought is: count the actual number of beats in each bar and create a new time signature for each bar (or as needed), then hide all the time signatures.

But it seems like it would be great if you could just tell MS "no time signature" and then type in whatever you wanted per bar.

thanks for thoughts!


1. Create a new score with the most common beats/bar as time signature.
2. Click on the time signature and press delete
3. Use 'Right Click' > 'Measure Properties' and change 'Actual Duration' for measures containing a different number of beats

You can also use the handy next arrow in the bottom-left of the Measure Properties window to go faster through this process instead of opening that window for each measure.

There's a method you might find a lot faster, actually. Select groups of measures and join them into longer ones with Edit > Measure > Join Measures, enter the notes, then use Edit > Measure > Split Measure. You can be fairly careless; if after splitting measures you have some empty fragments left, you can delete them with Edit > Measure > Delete Selected Measures. (As to the inconsistency in the names of these menu commands, see #97131: Rename Edit > Measure > "Join Measures" to "Join Selected Measures", and "Split Measure" to "Split Measure Before Selected Note".)

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