Copying unequal measures

• Feb 21, 2016 - 12:33

How do you cut/paste a multiple-measure section of score whose measures are not equal? If you "add new measures" and copy and paste, chaos ensues. You can do that, and find the start of the damage and attempt to fix it measure-by-measure note-by-note, but one might hope that there would be a better way.

While I employ subtly unequal measures for my hidden rests (because there is no "non-counting pause" feature), music whose measures are unequal is not only common today, but was common 400 years ago (or at least the way we represent amensural music today).



I am not sure what you mean. Copy and paste should work fine - the notes should reflow automatically across the barlines as needed. Can you post the score you are having trouble with and steps to reproduce the problem?

Also not sure what you mean about hidden rests. Are you saying you are inserting adjusting meausre lengths with extra rests just to get playback to sound better? I definitely would not advise that - the layout will be incorrect unless you do an awful lot of fiddling. Why not just use fermatas and or pauses? What do you mean by "non-counting"? Again, an example would help clarify.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Here you go:

Copy the first three measures. Paste them somewhere else. The notes "re-flow" beautifully, except that's wrong, because the measure lengths (or the time signatures) are not copied.

Yes, I'm doing the awful thing you say. The layout is not incorrect at all -- no one notices, it works like a charm (the rests are always at measure-end), but it's impossible to copy and paste because of this bug.

I don't know about "pauses" -- where are they available? By "non-counting", I mean that they do not consume beat-time -- a 4/4 measure to which such a pause would be added would still be 4/4. Where are "pauses" documented?

In reply to by BSG

I can't access your score - permission denied. Can you just attach it here (File Attachments link right below where you type your response)?

Without seeing your example, I thought the whole idea is that you *wanted* different measure lengths in the source versus the destination. I now am guesisng you really mean, the source itself has different measure lengths, and you want those lengths reproduced in the destination. In which case, you have to set them up yourself before the copy. Or do the copies one measure at a time for such measure (which presumably are the exception, not the rule). Anyhow, it's not a bug; normally, reflow is exactly what one wants.

Pauses are found in the Breaths & Pauses palette. Aka caesura, aka grand pause, aka "railroad tracks". If you are using invisible rests at the end of the measure as a substitute for these, the layout is definitely wrong by default, whether someone notices or not - there will be too much space after the last visible note and before the barline. Fermatas over the barline as also worth considering, or section breaks, depending on what specific effect you are after.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I don't have to give you any further example, as you correctly figured out what I mean -- the source itself has different measure lengths, and I'd just like to reproduce the source, end of story, and that doesn't work. I could be copying a whole section of a score to another file, and I don't want to retype dozens or hundreds of measures or copy them one at a time. How is this not a bug, or at least a gross deficiency, that there is "copy notes" but not "copy score section?" Reflow is exceedingly valuable if that's what you want. So is strawberry ice cream, if you like strawberry, that is. Rock and jazz scores are full of varying measure lengths, let alone modern classical music.

Section breaks are completely wrong for, say, lines of a hymn. I just tried the "railroad tracks" (caesura) and hear no effect on the sound. I just tried fermata over the bar-line, with no audible effect. I changed "time stretch" to 5, and still no effect. Am I missing something? I opened the permission on the same score which displays these failures.

In reply to by BSG

As I said, most of the time, reflowing is what you want. Even when there are varying measure lengths, it is not by any means a given that you'd always want these copied. Consider also the fact that you can copy notes to a different starting position with the measure, and presumably don't normally want your barlines rewritten to force fit everything into the original measure configuration - that would defeat your whole reaosn for copying to a different time position in the first place.

Anyhow, it's not a bug when things work the way one normally wants. Copying measure durations while copying ranges is an additional feature that would be nice to have sometimes, to save the trouble of adding the necessary time signature changes. I'm pretty sure there exists a feqature request for it. It comes up occasionally, but not that often, which is why it hasn't been prioritized as highly as features requested more often.

Your example score doesn't include "railroad tracks" - it includes a breath mark, which indeed is not supposed to introduce a pause. You need the actual pause symbol - two parallel lines which looks like railroad tracks, hence the slang name. Again, without seeing a real life example, I can't tell *why* you want this pause or what notation you might have used to tell the human musician reading the score to pause at that spot. Which is I guessed it was possible you really just needed a section break. I had no way of knowing your pauses were more like lines of a hymn than like ends of movements.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"that there is "copy notes" but not "copy score section?"

Note that Sibelius (7.5) does not otherwise.
Watch this first result of copy and paste ( click to see entire image )
When we know this, it's really not a big deal to "prepare the ground" by adding time sigs in the right place.
sebe 2.jpg
And so, you get the desired result.
sibe 3.jpg

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I tried both kinds of railroad tracks (oddly, railroad signalling is another of my interests), and the train is still in the station. Same score.

Here's a score I did yesterday where I use hidden rests, and it looks great and sounds great (where the fermatas are). That doesn't mean that a skilled eye can't see a slight irregularity in the spacing. Tell me any way to do this that better avoids the bug (yes, it is a bug when you can't copy a portion of a score verbatim, even though there are copy, paste, and mark commands, no matter how useful the underlying functionality is in more common cases) and I will be grateful.

I don't understand why you repeat to me how useful reflow is. That's not being contested. I use it all the time. I'm not asking to remove reflow. I'm asking to fix a glaring deficiency, not break what's there.

Incidentally, once I discovered I was being obstructed by reflow, I indeed tried to "prepare the ground" but made completely expectable counting errors and the result looked like a war zone, and I then had to fix that recursively. I shouldn't have to teach the computer how to count or how to copy.

And while we're at it, the whole need to prepare measures to receive the notes is counterproductive here and ensures an incorrect outcome in this case. "Copy all these measures exactly as they are as many as there are, inserting or appending here" is what is needed. Copy score in addition to copy notes.

In reply to by BSG

I don't understand how you can say the reflow is useful and that you use it all the time, but somehow it is a bug that it doesn't magically turn itself off on the occasions when it happens to not be useful. MuseScore cannot read your mind. If the way the current feature works is useful in some situations, then it isn't a bug that it works that way. There is simply an opportunity to add a different new feature that would be useful in *other* situations, and no one is claiming it would *not* be useful in those other situations. So it's a valid feature request, but as I said, just not that that comes up often enough to have given anyone incentive to actually implement this new feature. And one reaosn it doesn't come up very often is that most people probably don't alter measure durations just to get fermatas or breaks to playback - they simply use the built-in facility for this purpose.

FWIW, I looked at your score, and I don't see "slight irregularities"; I see pretty glaring unnecessary gaps after the notes with the fermatas. But I'm a stickler for such details, maybe others don't care so much. On the other hand, I don't care so much about playback, so I'd never compromise correct notation just to tweak the playback.

Anyhow, I don't see any railroad tracks in your score. If I add one, say to the last note of measure 1, I get a pause exactly as I should. So if you are seeing otherwise, please give the precise steps to reproduce. Here's what I did and it worked perfectly:

1) click the G quarter note on the third beat of the soprano part in measure 1
2) double click the first of the two caesura symbols to apply it to that note
3) play score

Result: a pause after that note, just as there should be. However, too long for your purpose. Really, you should just be using the fermata with a slight time stretch. True, there won't be a slight breath like real musicians would do, but it will be extremely close for almost no effort and you won't continually be messing with non-standard measure durations.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

"Sigh. I never wanted more than an -option- not to reflow if I -don't- want it." "Reading minds" was never on the table. A deficiency/lacuna of something expected counts as a bug. It is not a defect in the commands that reflow, but is the lack of one that doesn't.

Are you looking at this score? ? this has caesurae in it and I don't hear anything other than the next note struck anew. I will try your formula.

I agree that altering measure durations is a last-ditch recourse; I would like a closer ditch if one works. But that does not alter the fact that mixed measure-lengths, EXPLICITLY MARKED, are awesomely common in all types of newer and older music (not much during the 18th and 19th century).

In reply to by BSG

Well, you can make up your own definition of "bug", but it's not the one software developers use. A bug is a feature that doesn't work as it was intended to work. A request for a new feature is a feature request. These are simply two different things.

Anyhow, I was looking at the hymn you posted when I said there was no caesura. The other score does indeed now contain one (it didn't before), and indeed, it doesn't play back. Are you perhaps using an older version of MsueScore to create it, or maybe a custom palette you created using an experimental prerelease version? Ceasura playback was implemented sometimes after beta 2 and before the release of 2.0, but if you still have an older palette you are using, that would explain it. It should work if you use one of the standard palettes. But again, it isn't going to be what you want here - the pause is much too long for this purpose.

As for a "closer ditch if one works", I think a fermata with a slight time stretch is the obvious choice - that's what this feature is for. If you really need the slight space between notes in addition, you can get that effect using the Pianoroll Editor.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I've been a professional software developer for almost a half a century, so I know what a bug is, and how to use that term more liberally than you might. A glaring deficiency is a bug in my (and many others') eyes. I expected that "copy/paste" works as in every other application (word processors, graphics editors, etc.) and it did not, because you found a meaning that, most of the time actually is more useful, so I could not do what I can do in Word, Pixelmator, or 100 other applications, "just copy what I have". That is a UI design bug, not an implementation bug.

I am using
2.0.2 f51dc11 . Is that not right? Doesn't the .mscz tell you what version I used?

I created that score yesterday. Is the pause length not adjustable? The Piano-roll editor, huh? It's not documented, as far as I know. Will that mangle the measure timing such that website MP3 synchronization will not work? I don't want to shorten notes (although I would love a "real" feature that did that, too), just an out-of-count pause such as you hear in the hymn.

So it sounds like short invisible rests is not such a bad solution after all.

In reply to by BSG

I am sorry you seem unwilling to accept the reasons why the feature works the way it does, but I assure, it *is* by design, it *is* often good that it works this way, so it is *not* a bug that it works the way it was designed to work. You want a new feature, that's simply all there is to it. Feel free to file an official feature request, but please don't be angry that the existing feature does not work the way you happen to wantt it to in this particular situation. It works in a way that is useful in *other* situations. I don't see any value in continuing to argue about this.

On to other matters:

I suggested a fermata over a barline because, again, I didn't know the actual specific context because there was no score posted at the time to show i. Fermatas over barlines are appropriate sometimes, but not apparently for your specific case. Moving on...

To be clear about the palettes: the reason it didn't work at first is that you were working from a custom palette creqated with an older (experimental pre-release build).

Not sure why you are saying caesuras shouldn't take horizontal space. That is not my experience. What is your source for this claim?

Anyhow, I still say that a fermata over the note itself is the obvious way to go, perhaps combined with a shortening of the ntoe via the Pianoroll. Feel free to continue to use custom measure durations to optimize for playback at the expense of correct notation if that suits your needs better, but realize that MsueScore is primarily intended for notation, not playback, so many design decisions are based on that. Creating scores that are incorrectly notated but playback as designed is fine, but MuseScore isn't necessarily optimized for this type of usage.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

You claim I'm not hearing you, but you most certainly are not hearing me. I understand why the feature working the way it does is utterly useful. I have used it on countless occasions. I don't propose changing it or removing it. I am saying that I would like to have BOTH WAYS available. I did not ONCE propose changing the existing feature. Why should I not be able to copy scores by Shostakovich and Stravinsky as opposed to Buxtehude in a couple of keystrokes? My initial post was not "this thing doesn't work correctly" but "HOW DO I DO THIS"? Check!

The breath taking (no, it's not "breath taking") as much space as the hidden rests just looks wrong. I will search my printed music collections for examples. It should occupy space comparable to its graphic width.

I understand the "Not a music-making tool; any use for making sound is outside the charter" warning on the bottle.

MuseScore for me, and for countless other amateur composers here of all degrees of talent and devotion, in particular, is our Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonic Hall. This is where we send others to hear and judge our work. Maybe it's not supposed to be used that way, because it's just a notation tool?

In reply to by BSG

Good, then we are in agreement - both methods should be available. There is an existing feature request for this, see [#16322]. It's probably worth adding your voice there. The more often it comes up, the more likely it is to be implemented some day. Thus far, it hasn't really come up often enough for it to make the cut. As you will see when you peruse the thread, I was imagining several years back that it *would* turn out to be a high priority. But in fact, it really just has not been requested all that often, so efforts have been focused elsewhere instead.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Please read your thread -- you suggested (why on earth am I blessed with HTML here but not in "About" comments!?) I try fermatas on barlines. I know what fermata on notes does, and the time dilation it can effect. That's not what I need or what.

Your .mscz definitely produces pauses (at the railroad tracks, not the pause) on my MuseScore. I tried again to click on one of your notes, and double-click on my railroad tracks, and it places the mark, but has no effect on playback. I'm running Mac OS X 10.11.3 (the latest). MS 2.0.2 f51dc11 . Must be a Mac-specific bug. And, yes, the railroad station stop is too long and cannot be controlled (or on a Mac, even specified). What on earth is going on?

If the simple pause (a) worked (b) was controllable it would be what I want. I abandoned it a year ago when it had a bug which placed its effect -before- the note instead of after it. Actually, I think it still has that bug. If you insert a measure before the first measure in your score, with the identical note, the internote-break between mm.1 and 2 is almost imperceptibly longer than that after it. At least on my 2.0.2 f51dc11 on OS X 10.11.3.

If you want me to make an MP3 of what I hear, I can easily.

In reply to by BSG

I did not suggest anything in this thread...
And yes, the lengh of the pause these caesuras cause is not controlable, not via the GUI at least (they are if you open the mscx in a plain text editor).
Are you by Chance usinf a paletted created with an older version of MuseScore?
Do you still don't get a pause after a factory reset and using the Advanced Workspace?
Looking onto your file shows that is is missing that pause tag.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Sorry, speaking of variable marcs, I didn't notice that you were not he. He did suggest fermata barlines in the letter above marked "Marc Sabatella on February 21, 2016 - 7:05pm"

Applying a little bit of the old intelligence to what you have just said, I cleared the railroad from the property (palette) and replaced it via the master palette, and, sure enough, it now "works", although the effect is, as we all admit, unsatisfactory for what I want. Perhaps I can write an extension to adjust the timing, although it that seems like an awful lot of work. Is a timing adjustment in the inspector (as with ornaments) a request likely to see implementation?

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I am, in fact, using a (however slightly) customized one, which probably does predate 2.0.2. I replaced all three pause-marks; the tracky ones work (too slow for anything except a pause between movements) and the apostrophe-looking one has no audible effect.

What do we need to get it on the roadmap? Surely, it should neither be controversial nor difficult.

In reply to by BSG

You should be able to edit that Workspace, it is an XML file, if I remember correctly.
And to get the inspector settings into the roadmap, this should get entered as a feature request in the issue tracker, unless it exists already ;-)

In reply to by BSG

I don't see anything about playback in the workspace representation:

<Cell name="Caesura">
<Cell name="Caesura">

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

<pause> 2 </pause> showed up when I quit the app.

Inserting a pause of .2 on "breath" works like a charm, although it will create mysteries when I post scores using it. The correct solution, of course, is the requested feature. And the need for verbatim copy of measures extends, as noted below, far beyond this kludge. Thanks!

In reply to by BSG

If I want a fermata in playback I use the tempo feature (i.e. I change the tempo to about 50% slower before and then back to regular after--can be set to invisible) to slow down the beat during the fermata. This will copy/paste right along with the notes.

Further if I feel like perfectionizing playback I make the score ready for print, save a copy and then modify that copy to try and optimize the fermatas, breaks, rubato. I am not very patient about this stuff, so I don't finesse it that hard, but you could. E.g. a ceasura could come from shortening the preceding note (as I learned in recorder lesson as a 7 year old), so you double dot it (or change a crotchet into tied quaver-semiquaver-demisemiquaver etc.) and add a rest to fill up the whole time. This is why it has to be done on a copy. It now sounds right, but looks awful.

I am somewhat surprised that a feature "copy score along with measure properties" is so rarely desired; 20th century classical music has thousands of examples, including "conservative" composers like Shostakovich. But given that it isn't a priority need of Musescore users I think we have to accept the result of this "election" and be a little patient. You seem to find it "glaring", but in all honesty it has never glared on me.

In reply to by azumbrunn

You yourself have made all my best points. Shortening notes visibly damages the score, and since my goal is posting, not printing, temporary edits are not of use. You yourself state how common this is in modern classical music (and, as I said, modern editions of Renaissance music), and your surprise at "how rarely this is desired".

The fermata at hymn-line-end in Baroque chorales and chorale preludes means exactly that; it does not indicate a retardation, and is not audible. The pause I need there is not a misinterpretation of the fermata, but a breath for singers and continuo.

In reply to by BSG

You are asking a lot of the software: Its product must look good yet the sound has to be also perfect. This is likely a minority position in the community: Musescore is designed to produce music for musicians to read, rehearse and perform; none of these activities involve playback. So you will have to accept somewhat laborious procedures and work arounds (which you have found, though they come with their own compromises).

BTW if you had used the time you spent on this thread to copy/paste your lines by first adjusting the measure properties in the empty target line and then pasting you'd have achieved some serious work.

I am thinking maybe the lack of demand for your desired feature stems from people rarely copy/pasting longish sections. As long as you don't do that you won't miss anything.

I wrote the post above because it seems to me that we ought to avoid getting aggressive at the developers for failing to program exactly to our own idiosyncratic needs. The rapid way in which they respond to requests / complaints (including my own) is in fact admirable.

In reply to by azumbrunn

Sorry, Az. I don't think this discussion is inappropriate. I have learned useful things, Marc and Zack have learned useful things, and I have found several ways to deal with the problem I am having in want of new features. I don't think a kid-glove approach of undiluted gratitude without examining possibilities of change is appropriate for any enterprise. There is a "requested features" forum. This is the place for such discussion, nowhere else. I am very grateful for this product. I don't think anyone who uses it or develops it feels that it can't be better. I've never met a product that can't be better.
I use MuseScore every day often, and I go for months at a time without needing to discuss perceived bugs.

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