Variable number of notes per measure

• Feb 14, 2017 - 17:13

Is there a way to turn off the count of the number of notes per measure? We have some paper music that has some instances of four counts/notes per measure and some where there are a many as twelve notes
per measure. It appears the music was written this way to permit folks to know how the music should be sung.

Sometimes the music has one measure the full width of the page with 14 beats in the measure and on the same page two measures covering the width of the page with 14 beats and 4 beats respectively, etc, etc.

We did purchase the manual but didn't see anything referring to this. Thanks in advance for any help.


No, it is not. But you can tweak each measures actual diration, or merge and split measures.
The Manual is for free, and available online. Maybe you mean Marc Sabatella's "Mastering MuseScore"? Joining and splitting measures is mentioned, as is the actual measure duration, but what you really should be looking for is 'Meterless music', page 301 in my copy

Best woul;d be to attach a picture of one of the measures you are working on, so we can suggest the best way to duplicate it. There's nothing particular unusual about 12 notes in a 4/4 measure - for instance, eight sixteenths and four eighths adds up to four beats perfectly normally. Are you saying you are seeing 12 notes that *don't* add up to four beats? We'd need to understand what you are seeing in order to advise the best way to achieve it.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for the response. There doesn't seem to be any pattern to this sheet music. There are whole notes, half notes quarter notes, etc stuffed into a measure that has no marked time. So there are measures with as many as 12 whole notes in some measures, some with eight quarter notes and one whole note, some with two half notes, etc. It looks like Muscscore is locked into computing the beats per measure and that can't be overridden?

In reply to by thepowderriver…

MuseScore insists of filling a measure with notes/rests worth the measure's "actual duration".
MuseScore doesn't have a true meterless mode.
So if you need a measure that contains 12 while notes, change that measure's actual duration accordingly, or enter those 12 whole notes into a series of 12 'normal' 4/4 measures, or enter those 8 quarter notes plus a whole note into 3 'normal 4/4 measures, then select that bunch of measures and join them.

In reply to by thepowderriver…

To make it less tedious: Start your score with a rather large meter (I've often used 20/4) and set an easy shortcut for the 'split' command (The 'K' is still available).

Transcribe measure 1, you'll have beats/rests left over. With the first extraneous rest selected, press your shortcut to split the measure.
Select the split-off part and remove it with Ctrl-Del.

Saves you the effort of having to count out each measure duration.

In reply to by jeetee

Sorry for the lack of clarity. We were replying to the author's comment. We tried the previous suggestion for 'split' and we tried the author's suggestion re page 301. Under the advanced properties we do not get access to the tabs display in the picture in the text.

We even tried the meterless choice for layout. We were able to get the required notes for one simple measure entered. We entered the lyrics to be assigned to the notes. They appeared to be assigned correctly until we exited the lyric mode then the app reassigned a number of lyrics to a single note them space them and the note out to another section of the measure.

In reply to by thepowderriver…

Advanced properties? Not sure what you are talking about here. Also not sure what you mean about "meterless chocie for layout" - there is no single option for that. Maybe you mean the option to not show the time signature? That works, but you still need to use Join and Split to create the variable-length measures. These commands are what allow you to easily create measures of whatever length you like. Simply enter some notes, then Join as measures as you like to create longer ones, or Split one if you need to remove some beats.

So again, if you continue to have trouble, please attach the actual score - not just a picture - and give us step by step instructions to reproduce the problem you are seeing. Only then will we be able to understand what is going wrong and guide you better.

In reply to by thepowderriver…

The only way that join or split should change anything about the apparent alignment of lyrics would be if you actually attached lyrics to the wrong notes then dragged them to appear as if they were under different notes than the ones they are actually attached to. As mentioned, if you are encountering some specific case where things appear to be going wrong, please attach the score you are having problems and steps to reproduce the problem. We're here to help!

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

We can't think of any better way to explain it other than to have you folks look at the pic that was attached in the earlier post. That's an exact sample of what we're trying to do. We need to take the music and lyrics for the Panikhida we have on paper and turn it into the digital format to post on our website for church members.

In reply to by thepowderriver…

Hmm, well, that's not my intention, feel free to come back and ask, if you need help.
We want to help, but we do need some information in order to be able to do so.

Please understand that it is somewhat frustrating when we do answer question and in quite some detail, then get told that it didn't work, just to find out it seemingly hadn't even been tried

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Apart from this problematic meterless paper copy we have trying to put into digital format
Musescore was outstanding to get to know. It's graceful, has a clean interface and is intuitive to use. We were able to get the work started a few minutes ago using something else that supports
chant notation. We're going to have to pay a good deal for it but it looks like it will easily allow us to get the work done for the church. So thank you again for your efforts.

In reply to by jeetee

We got as far as entering one bar of notes. When we attempted to enter the lyrics as we needed them assigned to notes and tried to save the file the app rearranged the assignment of the lyrics to different notes. For example

note x note y
had these lyrics assigned to them

Notice at this point note y had nothing assigned. When we tried to do save some of the lyrics assigned to note x were moved over to note y by the app.

So there are no hard feelings ... attached is a zipped music score file we created a few minutes ago to demonstrate we were actually able to do what we need and a pdf that we can print or upload to our web site for our church members.

Attachment Size 104.47 KB
test.pdf 68.36 KB

In reply to by thepowderriver…

This too is possible with musesore, here you Need to attach more than one syllable/word to a note, but using Ctrl+dash or Ctrl+Space rather than just dash or space, and then probably need to tweak the horizontal offset.

So you're now using Min-U-Script ?

Maybe you should save yourself those 400$ and pay yourself 20$/h for 20 hours to learn how to do it in MuseScore. That's not a bad deal and I'd bet you Need far less than those 20 hours for the first decent looking scores and learn the rest 'on the job'

In reply to by thepowderriver…

I *think* I understand your problem now, you didn't want the 62/4 time signature to show and you deleted it. However, by deleting your time signature MuseScore falls back to the default time signature (4/4) and adjust all accordingly. Note that the lyrics in your example are still connected to the notes you attached them to initially.

If you however would've *not shown* the time signature using the staff properties (…) you would've gotten what you wanted.

Aside from that, I'm unsure as to why you have so many rests before you last chord though.

In reply to by thepowderriver…

What you ran into seems to be mostly not yet knowing how something should be done (like hiding the time signature vs deleting it). Looking at the picture you've attached though, it looks like the chord for 'est' is still in the first measure, but not right next to the other notes. The *only* reason that should happen, is because you put it there, after those rests.

As for how to hide it, look at my response above, it also links you to the handbook page showing that you'll need 4 clicks of the mouse, once, when you set up the score.

Back to calling the process tedious:
Other than entering the notes (something you have to do anyway) what we propose is an additional 3 keypresses (one for split measure, Ctrl+Del for removal of the remaining measure) and a single mouseclick (to select the remainder) per measure. It prevents you from having to count out the duration of each measure manually.
I'm now very curious to understand how Finale solves this (irregular measures) for you.

[EDIT:] If Finale helps you out, wonderful. I'm just hesitant to think its usability in this case is worth the additional cost.

In reply to by jeetee

I'll give Musescore another chance sometime over the weekend.

The other software has a chant notation mode. Set at one measure; set the number of beats;
enter the notes; add the lyrics; ctrl click on the rests to be hidden; click on 'H' to hide the rest.

Since so many requests for this sort of open composing have been noted during the google search I suspect if you added a simple mode to do this in Musescore you'd have more users than you'd know what to do with sir.

On a different note ... the cost. Given the importance of having church members being able to follow along with the choir's music for the Panikhida and other Orthodox services the costs really doesn't make a whole lot of difference.

In reply to by thepowderriver…

This sounds almost exactly like how you'd do it in MuseScore, if MuseScore didn't also have Join and Split commands to simplify the process. I thought it was the whole need to set the number of beats you were objecting to. If you like counting beats and manually setting that, you can do so in MsueScore, but luckily, we don't force you to do that much work. Join and Split simplify the process immensely.

You're right that the subject comes up often, but if you'll pay attention to the dates, you'll see most of those requests predated 2.0. Or came from people who didn't know about the Join and Split commands, and once they discovered them, they were happy. These really do make the job simple - easier than what you're describing needing to do in some other program. Not that there isn't room for improvement, but once you learn to use them, I think you'll find they meet your needs just as nicely as they do for lots of other satisfied users!

In reply to by thepowderriver…

To be perfectly clear:

You weren't supposed to delete the time signature. Doing that is what caused the problem you are seeing, but it's not a bug. it's that deleting a time signature does something different than you meant. You just wanted to hide it but keep it 62/4, but deleting it actually changes it back to the original 4/4 or whatever. Instead of deleting, you should have used the Staff Properties option we have been discussing.

Also, instead of inserting time signatures, you could be using Measure Properties to set the *actual* duration. It's a better process than inserting and then hiding time signatures, in the same way a hammer is a better tool for driving nails than a wrench is, even though the latter will do in a pinch.

But again, if you use the Join and Split commands, you don't need to do *any* of that. No messing with time signatures, no messing with Measure Properties, no counting beats. none of of that. Simply enter the notes then join the measures - it's really that simple.

I've chosen a 4/4 meter, but it is not allowing me to input the correct number of beats. I'm trying to get: DOTTED QUARTER REST, TWO TIED 8THS, AN 8TH REST, AND 2 8THS in one bar. Can you help me figure out what I'm doing wrong, please? I notice the grey + sign above the measure. Is this causing a problem?

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