Anytime I'm formatting a score with first and second repetitions I struggle on how should I write them in the score. I tend to do 4 bars for each staff (not counting pick up bars) unless the melody's phrasing is different. In those cases I tend to follow the melody which results in a clearer score.
My issue is when I have two different endings (1st and 2nd ending) for my melody and each different ending is 2 bars only. If I keep my 4 bars for each staff, I'll end up with two extra measures (the second ending) that are difficult to fit and make it look good.
Here I'll show you the 4 approaches I've been using so far and the inconveniences that I've found:
Fit 1st and 2nd repetition in the same staff, making a 6 bar in one staff. In this case, it tends to get quite difficult to read, specially if the melody has a lot of notes. However, if the melody doesn't have that much notes, I still find it difficult to read and jump to the second ending.
Add the two previous bars of each ending (which are the same) in order to keep 4 measures on each repetition. This one looks better for me than the first one but also has one big problem: musicians after playing first ending will tend to read again the first repetition amd then realise they should be playing second bar which will make them jump to the second ending, which is confusing for them. This problem could be solved the following way:
I found that on some scores they tend to make a 3-bars system with the first measure of the first ending, and then fit the end of the first ending, and the full second ending within the same system. This way, musicians are aware that they have to jump to the second ending althoug sometimes is difficult to find that second ending since it is in the middle of the staff.
Keep the second ending in a different system with only two bars, but move it so it fits under the first repetition bar making a blank space in front of the second ending. This one is the one I think looks more clear for me and it's easy to read. However, I think I've been so used to staves everywhere in my scores that having that blank space still looks weird to me.
What are your approaches on this? Thank you so much for your help!