A dotted whole note tied to an 8th note works efficiently, but it looks kind of weird and doesn't convey the feel of the music. In this instance, the 13/8 is comprised of 3+3+2+2+3, so I tried a dotted half note tied to a half note tied to a dotted quarter note, but it seemed to be over-complicating things. Is there a commonly accepted practice for this type of note or a happy medium that I can use?
Write a whole note. It is fairly standard practice to use a whole note to indicate a bar's length note when the bar length meets or exceeds the length of a bar of 4/4. What's more, even if someone doesn't know that they will very quickly understand the meaning of the absence of rests. 'Yo's answer is functionally identical in this regard except using the breve; in my experience (as a performer who mostly plays jazz and therefore mostly plays 20th century music notated as simply as possible) I have only actually seen the whole note used for this purpose, although I am aware of the usage he describes. Nonetheless, I'd still recommend the whole note because it's just generally more readable, especially by amateurs.
Your only other real option is a tie, I'd say, and that looks silly since you'd have to beam the tie appropriately, meaning you'd need to tie together whatever the largest allowable note for each subunit is (dotted quarter plus dotted quarter plus quarter plus quarter plus dotted quarter). You can't (or shouldn't) use a dotted half note because it implies a unit of six when, in fact, you have two underlying units of three.
It depends. In general, the good ways are two:
- Use a whole note when possible.
- Divide following the rhythm.
The second option can be done, in your case, as
2. 4.. or
4. 2.. 4. or
1 4 4. or so (as mentioned in the comments).
For the first option, there is no standard way as we do not have a single note of duration
13/8. However, the breve note with standard duration
2/1 = 16/8 is used for "undefined" lengths in some church music such as psalmodies. So, if your music contains a clear
13/8 in the same bar in another voice, I would try using a breve note for this. While this is non-standard, it will be the easiest to read, once the player gets familiar with what you mean, check this, for instance:
I would just not do this if it appeared only once or twice in the whole piece.
Note that you need
a\breve*13/16 to input the note in LilyPond as the native duration of the note is
2/1 and you need it to be
13/8 = 2/1 * 13/16.
Addendum: I tried various ways of writing out the long notes (e.g. as Laurence Payne suggests in the comments) but I can't say I like it more or consider it more readable; still it could be just me. Some variants are written down below. One thing is that we don't know how is 3+3+2+2+3 grouped in the piece...