Reference: score with a note marked "second time only", and others marked "both times"

Is there any way to notate the following:

  1. When this melody starts playing, the first drum beat is skipped
  2. It plays through the melody, including the three drums beats at the end
  3. When it reaches the repeat, it goes back to the beginning, but plays that first drum beat this time.

EDITS: Changed key, expanded it, and added corrections.

  • 2
    Your edit strikes me as odd: it looks like you put the answer into the question. if that is what you mean by "added corrections" it would be better to add that as an answer (you can and should answer your own questions; and accept those answers). When I first read the edited version, my response was "what you have down seems completely sensible".
    – Dave
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 22:30
  • Related: Small changes between 1st and 2nd endings Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 4:16

1 Answer 1


This is a relatively common occurrence, and it's a very easy fix! You can just write "first time only" or "second time only," depending on the situation. For clarity, I'd write "both times" by the final three articulations (if I understood you correctly).

Note that this could also be done with a first and second ending situation, but for something this simple "first time only" is sufficient.

On another note, I'd recommend adjusting the rests in the first measure of the drums; it looks a little unnatural. I recommend you follow the eighth note with an eighth rest, quarter rest, and then a half rest since it shows the beat subdivisions more clearly.

Edit: Here's an example using first and second endings. I don't know exactly what comes before or after your example, so your situation might differ, but this is the general template.

enter image description here

  • Agree on the last para. Although, it won't make any difference, but it looks better. It still means don't play for the rest of the bar. Daft, isn't it!
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 19:50
  • I almost said the same thing. I originally started typing that it would confuse the performer, but that's not true; they'd play the first eighth note and see they rest for a few bars...no problem! But it certainly looks unnatural!
    – Richard
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 20:12
  • Thanks. You understood me perfectly. Fixed the rests (and put what I have now as an edit). But, how would I do it with first and second endings? I only ask, as I am trying to get MuseScore to play it.
    – user215859
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 21:01
  • I'm not a MuseScore user, so the best I can offer is this video: youtube.com/watch?v=mHGZ47pwuB8
    – Richard
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 21:04
  • 1
    @Lysol Sorry, I never saw this until just now! I'd just write it above one staff if it's a multi-staff single instrument (like piano).
    – Richard
    Commented Jan 11, 2023 at 22:38

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