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I'm working on a score in 4/4 and would like to insert a half-measure rest in between sections. What would be the most appropriate/readable way to do this?

Switch to 2/4 and back, like this:
A measure of 4/4 (with four quarter notes), a measure of 2/4 (with a half rest), another measure of 4/4 (with four quarter notes)

Or just add two beats to the measure, like this:
An overfull measure of 4/4 (with four quarter notes and a half rest), a measure of 4/4 (with four quarter notes)

2 Answers 2

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Well, both of them are readable by someone who knows notation, but the second one is technically wrong, since the bar is now 6/4 and not 4/4. So, you could either change the time signature to 6/4 in your second example (just for the first bar) or use the first example.

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  • THanks for the answer! Yeah, that's what I thought too. I've seen the second one used though, but maybe it was a mistake.
    – Creynders
    Sep 23, 2017 at 10:29
  • The 2/4 bar is a better option, as it will be used as a break bar rather than the end of the previous part.
    – Tim
    Sep 23, 2017 at 10:31
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I would prefer the first example, because the 2nd one is, as already answered, technically wrong. I would suggest a fermata-symbol after the last quarter note.

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  • A fermata wouldn't work, as its duration is undetermined. There may be something else playing on those two beats which needs exactly a minimum timing. Although not so in this case.
    – Tim
    Sep 23, 2017 at 10:28
  • Thanks for the answer! Why the fermata-symbol exactly? I wouldn't want any notes wavering into the rest, i.e. I prefer a hard stop.
    – Creynders
    Sep 23, 2017 at 10:28
  • Not a fermata, unless you want the last note prolonged. If the exact duration of the break is important and the beat continues, write the 2/4 bar. If you want a less determined 'breathing point' a caesura symbol ('tramlines') might be an alternative.
    – Laurence
    Sep 23, 2017 at 10:52
  • You can add a fermata to a break. dont know why you downvote my answer - so the player can play the break as long as he wishes. Sep 23, 2017 at 16:53

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