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What symbol do I use to go from common time to half time when notating that particular change?

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To change the meter, use whatever symbol denotes the meter you want to change to. To change the tempo, you can either use numerical metronome marks or give a relative indication.

So if you start in 4/4 or ๐„ด ("common time" symbol), and you want to switch to 2/2 or ๐„ต ("cut time" symbol), and you want the half note in 2/2 to be as fast as the quarter note in 4/4, you can start with ๐…Ÿ=80 (quarter=80) and then use ๐…ž=80 (half note=80 -- or whatever actual tempo you want). A problem with the traditional approach of equating the half note with the quarter note is that practice has changed over the years as to whether one should write ๐…ž=๐…Ÿ (half=quarter) or ๐…Ÿ=๐…ž (quarter=half). In this case it's unlikely to be ambiguous, but in some cases it can be.

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    The music symbols you've used seem to be system dependent. On my Mac, they all just show up as boxes of horizontal lines.
    – Aaron
    May 5 at 13:27
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    @Aaron I copied and pasted unicode characters into my browser. Perhaps try a different font with support for musical symbols? I'll check them on my desktop machine in a few minutes after my meeting.
    – phoog
    May 5 at 13:30
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    My point is that there will be readers who can't see those characters. They may or may not work on your desktop and @ElementsinSpace's Mac, but they will still remain a problem for others.
    – Aaron
    May 5 at 15:49
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    @Aaron the problem may lie in the fact that the musical symbols' numerical values are all greater that 65536, so they all require two 16-bit code units in UTF-16. Or it could be font support.
    – phoog
    May 5 at 16:21
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    Yeah, horizontal lines for me on Mac OS, both Chrome and Safari, and also on iOS, Chrome and Safari. I wonder whether it depends on having installed something like Finale or Sibelius on your machine? May 5 at 16:54

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