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I have composed some "tempo libero" pieces, meaning no time signature and no bars also known as "umeasured". I would like to use the computer to produce typeset scores for this kind of "free time" music and possibly play them.

All DAWs and MIDI editor I've come across do not support "tempo libero" music, like medieval chant. E.g. a sequencer should allow me to set repetition points on any note, even if it does not fall at the beginning or the end of a measure.

Does anybody know any program that supports that?

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Lilypond can do this; you'll have to "turn off" several of the components, e.g. bar lines and time signatures, but you'd only have to set it up once.

If your interest is really in typesetting medieval chant, there is a section of the lilypond documentation on doing so (which I also think demonstrates how far lilypond can be tweaked).

Without further details on exactly what you mean by "free time" and how you want it to look, I can't go into more detail on how to help you.

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You can do this in pretty much any music notation program, but you might have to fight it a bit. I use Finale, and the way I would do this is to use convenient time signatures (say you have a run of 6 quarter notes, use a 6/4 bar for that chunk) and then hide time signatures and bar lines en masse, which you can do from the Measure tool.

MuseScore is a free program that I'd be surprised if it couldn't do the same thing.

  • Similarly, Sibelius has a command for making barlines invisible. – user1044 Feb 13 '16 at 2:32
  • I know you can hide time signatures and bar lines in MuseScore, but I'm not sure if there's an easy way to select everything and hide them all at once. – cjm Feb 13 '16 at 6:00

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