Easiest way to change the Meter of selected measures?

• May 15, 2021 - 19:17

I've used several notation applications and haven't needed to ponder issues like "how to change the meter on a single measure or a range of measures."

Is there a way to limit the scope of a meter change when adding it via the Time Signature palette? Or does a Palette invoked meter change always impact "from here to end of score?" I expected that the current selection to govern the measure-scope of the meter change, but that is not the case. Initially I thought if there was no selection a click to the Meter palette item would only affect the active "clicked in" measure.

It appears that the Handbook doesn't comment on the scope of the impact, nor on limiting the scope. It merely says:

• Use any of the following methods [to add or replace a time signature]:

  • 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.

Alternately I've tried Measure Properties, but that only affect the first measure in the selection, and it only changes the Actual but not the Nominal properties, so there's no visible meter change.

I know how to open the Time Signature Properties dialog, but that's only for editing existing meters.

What am I missing?


In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Thanks for your reply Jojo,

And ... "Ack!!"

So if I've worked on a piece in 4/4 and want to add four measures of 3/4—say smack in the middle—doing so requires major surgery:

• copy/past "post-meter change" measures to a temporary score of the same meter
• add the wanted 3/4 meter change to the original score
• also add a meter change back to 4/4 in the original score
• Go to the temporary score and copy of measures of 4/4
• Paste it back into the new 4/4 area (after the measures of 3/4)
• clean up / correct all the things changed or left out by copy paste.

Ouch. This is what I've been doing.

Do you know if there's already an official request on this matter in the Issue Tracker?

If not, I'm glad to post one!


In reply to by scorster

Jojo wrote >> "a new time signature goes up until the next change"

When I get a chance I'll add that point to the Handbook. Does this sound accurate?

"A meter change extends from the measure (where it was added) to the next meter change; or if no subsequent meter changes exist in the score—the meter change affects all measures through to the end of the score. Currently there are no options to otherwise designate or limit the scope of an added meter change."

In reply to by scorster

No major surgery is required. Insert some blank measures and then place a 4/4 Time Signature in the measure after the blank section. Now place a 3/4 TS at the start of the section. Yes, this creates some extra measures but minor resection is all that is required and you could probably do it under local anaesthetic.

In reply to by scorster

Not sure if you missed the responses in the other thread, but you are missing a couple of basic things here.

1) The dead simple way to add a time signature to a set of selected measure is the same way you'd anything else to a set of selected measures: just click the palette element. Want a volta over three measures? Select them, click the volta. Want a bass clef to apply to three measures? Select them and click the bass clef. Want a 2/4 to apply to three measures? Select them and click the 2/4

2) Even if you didn't know how to apply palette elements to selected ranges, you don't need any convoluted workarounds like you mention. Try just inserting three measures of (since it's 4/4 currently, that's 12 beats - what you want, right), add the 4/4 at the end of the inserted passage (it will "take" even though it's already 4/4), then 3/4 at the beginning of the passage (the three bars of 4/4 will turn into four of 3/4). Done, no weird shenanigans required.

Thanks everybody. I was confused for two reasons:

1) the Handbook fails to mention the matter of scope when applying a meter change. In my experiments I attempted to apply a meter change to a single measure. I considered that to be a "selected range" of one measure, thus I expected selected a multi-measure range would behave no differently.

2) There are behaviors I don't understand with changing meter on selected multi-measure ranges.

So I think it may be wise to take this one step at a time.
Here's a file that shows a difference in behavior depending on the meter I choose to apply.

Midstream Meter Change TESTS 02.mscz


In reply to by scorster

Here are some more tests of meter changes on selected measures. Depending on the number of measures selected, and the meters in force, this causes the addition or removal of measures.

It appears that Musescore attempts to preserve the "cumulative metric time" ... of course, it can not always do so. When it can't it imparts some rounding in deciding how many measures to add or remove.

Midstream Meter Change TESTS 03.mscz

I'd like a reliable way to change measures from one meter to another ... without any other funny business.

Is there currently a way to do that?

In reply to by scorster

If the number of beats don't match, there will be "funny business", it's really just a question of whether it happens to be the specific funny business you subjectively might prefer in that specific situation. It cannot possibly be any other way, mathematics is pretty unrelenting :-)

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