How to create a pattern of switching time signatures?

• Apr 2, 2016 - 23:55

I am transcribing a piece that has for the most part 4/4 and 2/4 time signatures switching every measure. Is there a way to set this up without manually changing the time signature of every measure?


Not that I know of. Consider just making it 6/4 - probably easier to read that way anyhow. You could even add dotted barlines between beats 4 & 5, although that too you'd need to do manually for each measure.

You could manually create, say, 8 empty measures of alternating 4:4 and 2:4, then copy them and paste those 8 measures repeatedly into enough blank measures to complete your piece.

If the piece is very long, paste the 8 measures in 4 times, copy all of those, and then paste in 32-measure blocks (and so forth, depending on total length).

Now go back to the beginning and start entering your notes. As long as the music you are transcribing matches the pattern you have described, it should work fine.

If there are sections where the alternating pattern isn't consistent, just use INSERT to add an extra measure (or two or three, whatever) of either 4:4 or 2:4 at the appropriate point. Alternately, you can delete a measure in the 'wrong' time signature by highlighting it and hitting CTL+DELETE.

In reply to by ljshamz

Well...merde. (Sorry.)

I just tried it (I ASSUMED it before writing that post; it never occurred to me it wouldn't work!) and you're right. That is a very unpleaseant--and unexpected--surprise.

Why should key signatures and notes copy properly, but not time sigs? That needs to be fixed.

In reply to by Recorder485

A good percentage of the time when copying a passage from one section of a piece to another, you wouldn't *want* the time signatures copied. And in many cases, it wouldn't even sense - consider copying a passage beginning on beat 2 of a measure to a destination starting on the "and" of beat 3. What should happen to time signatures in that case?

But indeed, a new feature that does copy time signature in some fashion would be nice for situations like the one at hand. See #16332: Copy and paste honoring actual time signatures of selection .

This is undoubtedly a bug or "undocumented feature" (and it may only be present in the beta 2.1.0 version that I'm using) but if you create a score with several 4/4 measures then make the second measure 2/4 and then select the next two (3rd and 4th) measures and double-click on 4/4 in the palette then it creates a 4/4 followed by a 2/4 measure.

This might work because simply adding 4/4 to one measure changes all those after it but when you try to impose it on two measures MuseScore changes the first but fails to change the second as it is already selected by the first action and can't have its property changed.

It might at least speed things up just a tiny bit (or it may corrupt your score and kill some kittens, so use at your own risk).

In reply to by underquark

It's not a bug, it's a feature that was added for 2.0.2 (I think).

The idea is: if you select more than one measure then double click a time signature, that time signature will be applied to just those measures, rather than being applied from that point to the end of the score. That is, the selected time signature will be added to the beginning of the selected passage, but the original time signature will be restored at the end.

In your example, you select two 2/4 measures. So MuseScore added a 4/4 at the beginning of the passage, thus converting those two 2/4 measures into a single 4/4 measure, and restored the 2/4 at the end. Had you selected, say, ten measures of 2/4, then double clicking the 4/4 would have convertedthose ten measures of 2.4 into five of 4/4, and restored the 2/4 at the end.

As far as I know, this feature works does work as intended with no risk to any kittens :-). At least, I am not aware of any bug reports involving this feature, but since it is pretty new and apparently not yet documented, it's probably not getting a lot of use.

In reply to by underquark

It doesn't work in 2.0.1, so Marc is likely correct about it being only in 2.0.2 and forward.

I'm wondering if this feature has the same limitations that are described in… ?

I was able to create a test score with a local time sig in 2.0.1 using CTL to limit it to the staff I chose. Easy-peasy. I avoided pasting in the music for that part (as warned), but pasting in the harmony part to the OTHER staff did not cause any problems. (ETA: I can confirm that pasting music into the staff with the local TS does indeed cause all sorts of weird corruption--which is quite difficult to get rid of afterwards, BTW)--even if the music pasted-in is copied from that same staff....)

I don't remember what version the OP is using; if he's on 2.0.2, this would be the best answer for him.

In reply to by Recorder485

No, the feature of applying a time signature to a selected region should be safe - it's really not a very complicated operation at all internally. Whereas local time signatures are extremely complicated and indeed there is a nasty bug with copy and paste ("fixed" in 2.0.3 by disabling copy and paste in sections within a local time signature).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Heh. That's not a "fix", it's like hiding under the bed when the air-raid sirens go off. ;o)

But I understand; that bug is indeed a mean one. I've been playing around all afternoon with a test score in which I took a simple theme in 4:4 and wrote variations in 12:8 and 6:4 to play simultaneously (a 'cheap' way to avoid writing all those 3s and 6s, as Bach figured out a while back). Some of the wacky behaviour I've produced when trying to paste stuff in is beyond anything I've yet seen in MuseScore: measures with NOTHING in them (which can't be selected!); measures with random rests stuck wherever.... Only way to 'fix' a score like that is to CTL+Delete the entire affected section and then re-insert new, clean measures.

Just for fun, here's the test score (unfinished), after I cleaned it up. The 'cantus firmus' is from a 19th-century carol, 'Here we come a wassailing.' A real earworm....

Attachment Size
Time sig tests.mscz 18.48 KB

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