Add or replace a time signature
Use any of the following methods:
- Select a time signature, measure, note or rest, and click a time signature in a palette (double-click in versions prior to 3.4).
- Drag and drop a time signature from a palette onto a space in a measure, or onto an existing time signature.
Delete a time signature
- To delete a time signature in the score, select it and press Del.
Create a time signature
If the time signature you require is not available in any of the existing palettes, it can be created using one of the following methods:
From the Time Signatures palette
Available as of version 3.3.
- In the Time Signatures palette, click on "More", then, in the supplementary palette, click on the "Create Time Signature" button;
- In the top line, enter the Numerator, Denominator, and Text (the latter is optional where you need the display to be different from the actual time signature).
- Adjust the note beaming in the Note Groups section.
- Press the "Add" button to transfer the newly-created time signature to the Time Signatures palette.
From the Master palette
- Press Shift+T to display the Time signatures section of the Master Palette;
- Select a time signature to edit in the center panel;
- In the top line of the Create Time Signature panel, enter the Numerator, Denominator, and Text (the latter is optional where you need the display to be different from the actual time signature).
- Adjust the note beaming in the "Note group" section".
- Press Add to add the newly-created time signature to the center panel. To delete a time signature from the center panel, right-click (Mac: Ctrl-click) on it and select Clear.
- Drag and drop the time signature from the Master Palette to the Time Signatures palette. You can also drag the time signature direct to the score, if desired.
Fractional time signatures
Starting in version 3.5.1 there is limited support for fractional time signatures. Only ½ and ¼ are supported at this time. If your keyboard does not have the characters on them you can enter them using Alt+0189 for ½ and Alt+0188 for ¼ on some operating systems. You can also copy/paste from here.
Time signature properties
To edit properties of particular time signature object(s) on a score, use the Time Signature Properties dialog. Do either one of the following:
- Select the time signature, then click on "Properties" in the "Time Signature" section of the Inspector, or
- Right-click (Mac: Ctrl-click) on a time signature and select Time Signature Properties….
- Global value: Shows the data used by Musescore to create metronome tick audio, see Tempo chapter. Not modifiable. It is also shown in the status bar.
- Actual value: Shows the data used by Musescore to create local time signature, see "Local time signatures" section. Not modifiable.
- Appearance: Specify a displayed text for engraving purpose, it does not affect the score. See "Additive meters" section.
- Note Groups: Controls beaming of notes affected by this time signature. See "Change beaming" section.
- Also change shorter notes checkbox : Checked to automatically apply rules to notes of shorter note value (note duration), when an item is dragge-and-dropped from the Beam properties section.
- Reset button: Removes all changes made since this window is opened this time only, and revert to settings used last time. This button does not reset settings back to the way it was when the time signature is added from the palette. To do so, replace this time signature object with a new one.
Change beaming of notes using this object
To override time signature setting, assign note beaming property. See Beams.
- Select the time signature, then "Properties" in the "Time Signature" section of the Inspector; or right-click (Mac: Ctrl-click) on the time signature and select, Time Signature Properties…;
- Under the Note Groups panel, do either one of the followings:
- Click a note to toggle the beam connecting the note and the previous note; or
- Drag and drop an item from the Beam properties section onto a note.
The four items in Beam properties section assign rules. Dismissive rules override permissive rules.
These three items create dismissive rules on beam creation connecting the target note and the previous note:
- This item prevents Musescore from creating a beam to the previous note:
- This item prevents Musescore from creating more than one beam to the previous note:
- This item prevents Musescore from creating more than two beams to the previous note:
This item creates a permissive rule on beam creation connecting the selected note and both of the two adjacent notes:
Additive (composite) meters
Additive (or composite) time signatures are sometimes used to clarify the division of beats within a measure. To use an additive time signature:
- Create a new custom time signature, see above, or
- Modify an existing time signature on the score:
- Right-click (Mac: Ctrl-click) on a time signature in the score and select Time Signature properties…;
- In the Appearance section, adjust the "Text" property as required;
- Adjust note beaming in the Note Groups section if required.
Local time signatures
In certain cases a score may show staves with different time signatures running at the same time. For example, in Bach's 26. Goldberg Variation:
In the above example, the global time signature is 3/4, but the time signature of the upper staff has been set independently to 18/16.
To set a local time signature for just one staff:
- Hold down Ctrl (Mac: Cmd) and drag and drop a time signature from a palette onto an empty measure.
Resize time signature
- Select one or more time signatures and, in the "Time Signature" section of the Inspector, adjust the "Scale X" (width) and "Scale Y" (height) values.
Pickup measures and cadenzas
Occasionally you will need to decrease or increase the duration of a measure without changing the time signature—for example, in a pickup measure (anacrusis) or in a cadenza etc. See Measure operations: Measure duration.
Time signature changes and breaks
- How To Using Polyrhythm, mixed meters and local time signatures in MuseScore (MuseScore HowTo)
- Additive meters at Wikipedia.