I have a song I'm working on where the chorus ends with a half note in the first half of a measure. I would like to do an instrumental/solo, I want to allow freedom to the musician so I have just filled the measure with beat "slashes". My question is if a measure already contain musical notation in the first half, should I use two slashes instead of a rest in the second half of the measure or wait until the next measure to start the slashes? Should I do it like this:
excerpt with slashes and rests

or like this:
excerpt with slashes only

I tend to prefer the second as I want the soloist to do a pickup into the second measure. But I've been told I should not mix standard notation with slashes in the same measure. Any thoughts or advice?

  • 2
    How will your notation be used, published, etc.? Will the intended audience care if you mix slashes with standard notation? FWIW, I might interpret the two options differently. For the first one I would stop the chord accompaniment in the last measure; for the second, the accompaniment would continue for a couple beats.
    – Theodore
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 17:54
  • @Theodore - sounds like an answer to me.
    – Athanasius
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 19:37

2 Answers 2


Since slashes are a more recent addition to the world of music notation the conventions are a little less etched in stone. The main thing is to make sure what you write is logical and clear, which it is. If you want the soloist to start playing around beat 3 the second example is the way to go. I would also include a written instruction such as “solo ad lib” to be even more clear. I have encountered combinations of notes and slashes in a single bar many times on charts written by other musicians and also have written things this way myself.


There's no problem mixing slashes with notes in the same measure. And I've never seen a 'rule' that there should be. Perhaps you're mixing up slashes and Bar Repeat symbols?

Write a rest where you want silence. Write notes or slashes where you want something played. So I think the second way best describes what you want here.

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