A reason to hide cautionary time signatures

This theatrical piece employs a cumulative meter, however, the first bar (and any subsequent fermata bars) are written in 4/4 with a hidden time signature. The reason being that the cumulative time signature beams with dashed lines the start of each time signature portion. The look I really want is the first bar (the hidden 4/4) to be isolated on its own with the spoken text and then the second system to show the additive time signature and appropriate music. Any thoughts on how to work around it?

Separate flows on a page may be a good solution.

True, but compositionally, the opening text is the beginning of the movement (flow), it would also disrupt my custom flow-headings (though I could create a special flow heading for this moment). I’m not opposed to this idea but am wondering if there are any other solutions.

Well, then, notationally, showing the cautionary meter signature is the correct thing to do; especially if you take the (permissible, I think) liberty of showing no meter signature for the first bar at all.

I agree. But the composer thinks it looks “ugly”

Hmm. This is the source of your problem and is a nonsensical restriction. The empty bar with your text could equally have the same meter as the others, so no need to re-state the meter, so no (ugly) problem with cautionaries…

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so the issue with this is the additive time signature. If I do it the way you are suggesting, the additive meter creates these dashed separators in between each grouping (if you look closely at the second system, you’ll see them). I do like it for the music actually, I find it useful. But on the fermata measure, it looks too distracting, hence whey the hidden 4/4 was implemented. Does that make sense?

I would do something like this…

If you enter an aggregate time signature using the pipe symbol ( shift-\ ) separating the different meters, the dashed lines will appear.

If you enter an aggregate time signature using the colon symbol ( : ) separating the different meters, the dashed lines will not appear.

If you want some staves to have the dashes and some not, you can enter a time signature which affects only the staff selected by using alt-Enter (Enter by itself does the whole system - alt-Enter makes it “local” to the selected staff).

Also, if a particular bar on one staff is empty of notes and rests, the dashes will not appear on that staff. The fermata is not considered to be a note or a rest.

And, of course, to preserve the beaming would require [4]/8|[6]/8|[4]/8|[5]/8

I think the composer is right. There should be no meter fore or aft on the first system. Go with a separate Flow if that is what it takes.

The composer should do whatever seems best, but I would put each rhythmic group into its own measure rather than combining the time signatures. IIRC Stravinsky did something similar in Rite of Spring.

Ok, I have made an additional flow and allowed it so that multiple flows can be on a single page in the score. How do I control it? Right now, the new flow with a single measure is showing up on the previous flow rather than the one I want it to be on? Not gonna lie, this has absorbed an abundance of my time. I appreciate everyone’s help but I stand by my subject line; I would rather just have the ability to toggle the precautionary time signature on and off.

In engrave mode, select the barline where the system should break and type Shift-S to make a system break.

You could use a hidden coda in the second measure to hide the cautionary time signature at the end of the first system:

If you decide to use a coda, you will probably want to change the Default gap before mid-system coda section to zero spaces in Engraving Options>Repeat Markers>Repeat Sections in order to avoid indenting the second system.

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This was the answer I needed. Thank you!