Is there an "official" way of marking a section of measures as optional? I'm not talking about an ossia, but defining a whole consecutive set of measures as "include according to preference".

I'm transcribing a piece with quite a large intro, which consists of three sections, each adding either a layer or a twist to the theme. In practice, any combination of those (as long as you keep the order) can be used, and any combination can actually be found in renditions of the piece.

Is there way to properly annotate this in sheet music, other than textual instructions to the player?


My choice is KISS (keep it simple, stupid): just put in "Optional cut to .." either a measure number or a segno marking. No need to get fancy.

  • Yeah, that's the current implementation :) It's mostly curiosity if there is proper way to annotate this (other than text), that lead to the question. Never had the need to do it before. Dec 2 '19 at 14:46

I'm only aware of the (also textual) ad libitum marking which is mostly combined with a sonewhat smaller note appearance, to signal the scope. The following unconditional part is then again marked with something like solo, play or similar.

The typical use is, however, to permit a soloist to join some tutti passages as well.

  • It's for solo guitar, so a highly specialized case of a tutti scenario ;) Ad libitum does indeed not quite cover it, but it might be handy, since it's generally recognized as an option for "customization" (with still the accompanying notes, of course). Dec 2 '19 at 14:08

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