6

I know I can write them as metrical modulations but I prefer to write them like this: enter image description here

...which Sibelius can't do. I have to switch to a graphics program and it's time-consuming.

The main advantage of writing them this way is that tuplet-relationships are familiar: you don't have to stop and work them out. You just have to remember to stop tapping your foot! Using metric modulations makes the page untidy.

Any suggestions? There's something for Mac called NoteAbility that seems to know about these time signatures, but it doesn't look very sophisticated otherwise.

  • 1
    Does Sibelius allow fractional time signatures? Allowing I understand your intent (a dubious proposal), could you change 7 / 6 to (2-1/3) / 4 – Aaron Jul 14 at 5:45
  • 2
    Musescore (musescore.org) can do it. Their time signature feature allows you to overlay the "actual" time signature with custom text. It's very easy to do. Just know, I couldn't discover how to create the incomplete tuplets at the ends of your 7/6 measures. – Aaron Jul 14 at 7:12
  • 2
    Also, in any case these are not "irrational" as that would mean they would involve numbers like Pi or Sqrt(2) or other non-rational numbers. Don't do that :) – herman Jul 14 at 8:32
  • 1
    Ok a 6th note is actually a 4th note in a triplet, I get that now. – herman Jul 14 at 8:46
  • 1
    Btw do you just want it to look like this, or do you need the software to understand this semantically (like play it back correctly without hidden tempo workarounds etc.)? If not then Dorico can do this. – herman Jul 14 at 8:58
3

I discover it CAN be done in Sibelius. AND it will play back correctly with a couple of hidden metric modulations.

First input the notes as normal crotchet-triplets into a 4/4 bar followed by a normal quaver into a 1/4 bar, then hide the barline and delete the time sigs, so that it looks like a single bar.

[Turn on 'View hidden objects' if you like.]

Add some space at the start of the bar using a hidden grace note. Switch its playback off.

Click the R. button in space above the staff, and from the menu that appears select text|special text|time signatures. Then click the L. button where you want the time signature and enter '7' then '6'.

Now to make the final incomplete-triplet's bracket.

Select the final quaver in the bar and press 'L' to open the Lines menu. Scroll through it and select the bracket without a final hook. It's named 'bracket above (start)'.

Position it where you want it, and lengthen or shorten it by dragging the end of its line with the mouse. Now right click above the bracket and navigate to text|special text and click on 'tuplets'. Then left click and type "3". The 3 appears and you can drag it into position on the bracket line.

[Depending on your set up it's possible you may need to switch magnetic layout on or off.]

Finally use a new tempo for what was the 1/4 bar to make it last only 1/6, and another one to set it back to the preceding tempo. Hide these tempo changes. Sibelius will now play it correctly.

As Sibelius still sees the 1/4 bar as separate, the bar-numbering will need to be corrected.

[Turn off 'View hidden objects' if you like.]

| improve this answer | |
2

With some workarounds, Dorico can do this. The workarounds are necessary for the incomplete triplet at the end of the measure. There is a custom line tool with which you can create this by hand. It won't play correctly though, unless you add hidden tempo changes.

See this forum post.

| improve this answer | |
  • That's really useful. Thanks. Yeah - hidden tempo changes. No problem. As I said I don't need it to play back, but if it did that'd be a bonus. I'd better spend a few hours in Sibelius/Dorico hell (as I do every few years) and see if Dorico has caught up with Sib enough to be useable, or if there are any plans for Sib to incorporate these time signatures. (Very unlikely I think.) – Old Brixtonian Jul 14 at 12:32
  • Well - in the end I found Sibelius CAN do it. AND it plays back correctly. It's a complicated workaround but at least it can be done. Thanks again for your input. – Old Brixtonian Jul 19 at 2:17
1

Since you've given no instruction as to the relationship between a quarter note in the first measure, and a (no-such-thing) "sixth note" in the second, this notation is useless to a performer in the first place. You have nothing to indicate how to map the standard icon for a quarter-note and eighth-note into "sixth-note" timing.

I can honestly say I do not know any musician who would want to try to read that and figure out the metric. Figure out how long your "7/6" measure will last in terms of the 4/4 measure, and notate triplets or sixths or 3-beat quads as necessary.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    It's quite clear to me, 4/4 lasts 4 quarter notes and 7/6 lasts 7 lengths of quarter triplet note (this is what division of a full note into six parts is). – user1079505 Jul 14 at 19:51
  • 1
    @OldBrixtonian Yes, I have, however they are purely composer-wanking and from a performer's point of view, highly obfuscatory. Kill them. Kill them dead and burn their bodies (the time signatures, not the composers) – Carl Witthoft Jul 15 at 11:08
  • 1
    Don't know if this is helpful or not but: imagine the melody written out above, with no bar lines, and no time signatures. It's perfectly unambiguous how long each of the notes are in relation to each other. Adding barlines doesn't change that, and saying it means there's "a competely undefined meter relative to the previous measure" is simply untrue. That is to say, there is no such thing as "triplets in 4/4 time" as distinct to "triplets in any other time signature". That's like saying a dotted crotchet in 11/8 is different to a dotted crotchet in 4/4. It isn't. It's 3 quavers long. – Judy N. Jul 15 at 20:15
  • 1
    And absent of any specification to the contrary, i.e. absent any specification that relative lengths of notes in the new bar have changed in relation to lengths of notes in the preceding bar, everything just happily continues at the same pace, regardless of what time signatures we may have passed; the time signatures express the size of the bars and indicate the principal subdivision, but they have NO EFFECT on relative durations of notes unless this is separately specified – Judy N. Jul 15 at 20:19
  • 1
    Mmm...I’ve been playing, directing and conducting time sigs with 6, 12, 5 etc on the bottom since the 80s and honestly have never come across a musician who needed more than a few seconds to get their head around the notation; "what’s 5/12?" "Five triplet eighths" "err...so like three triplets plus another two at the same speed" "yup" "ok I get it" – Damian leGassick Sep 17 at 21:43
1

Lilypond handles this without fuss if you can do without a GUI: you just write \time 7/6 and enclose the notes in \tuplet 3/2 { ... }

\version "2.20.0"
\relative c'' {
  \numericTimeSignature
  \time 4/4
  e4 b8. c16 cis8 cis gis4 |
  \time 7/6
  \tuplet 3/2 2 { 
    bes4 bes f8 r 
    g!4 d8 r e4
    b!8 r
  } |
  \time 4/4
  cis4 fis8. f16 e8 e a4 |
  \time 7/6
  \tuplet 3/2 2 { 
    g4 g c!8 r 
    bes4 ees8 r des4
    ges8 r
  } | 
}
| improve this answer | |
  • So \tuplet 3/2 {\time 7/6}? – Aaron Sep 17 at 22:16
  • No, eg the OP’s second bar would be \time 7/6 \tuplet 3/2 {bes’4 bes’ f’8 r8 g’4 d’8 r8 e’4 b8 r8} – Damian leGassick Sep 17 at 22:37
  • Added minimum working example. And it works, tuplet brackets should be adjusted (span too small) but otherwise effective. – Owain Evans Sep 17 at 23:34
  • 1
    yes, to get the tuplet brackets and spacing as desired you have to add the usual types of formatting instructions - my general point to the OP being that the use of a time signature like 7/6 doesn’t add any significant difficulty when typesetting with Lilypond. – Damian leGassick Sep 18 at 8:02
  • Thank you, Damian. Lilypond looks really good. I don't know if you saw my own answer, but I did eventually work out how to do it in Sibelius, and although the solution was complicated to describe, actually using it doesn't take long at all. So I'll stick with the devil I know. – Old Brixtonian Sep 18 at 14:40
0

Judy makes a good point about visualising the music without any barlines. That would certainly make it easier to read than this 7/6 business. But her comment "but they have NO EFFECT on relative durations of notes unless this is separately specified" does not stand up, for example if music goes from 4/4 to 3/2 you have to consider whether it's crotchet = crotchet or crotchet = minim, you can't just take it for granted. If it's possible to enter it into Sibelius in a 4/4 bar plus a bit more, then why not publish it that way, too? After all, Carl makes a good point that few, if any, musicians will try to figure out the 7/6 scoring - they'll just go and play something else. If I want to tap my foot to this music, how many toes do I need to amputate?

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    No, Carl doesn't make a very good point. Professional musicians don't find it difficult. Certainly orchestras don't. I haven't yet put 7/6 in front of a band, but I imagine they would find it trickier as everything they play is either foot-tappable or else (very occasionally) free, with no pulse. Orchestral musicians aren't as prone to foot-tapping. If your musicians will "just go and play something else" maybe you're not paying them enough. – Old Brixtonian Jul 19 at 16:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.