Barless music

Barless music: Is it possible, in doing an edition of 16th century viol music, to input all notes maintaining desired note/rest values as well as no cautionary accidntals, and then superimpose a meter without getting barlines and losing dotted notes as opposed to tied notes and same lack of cautionary accidentals? Is it possible just to make the barlines invisible without losing the essentials of barless music?

Martha Bishop

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This reminds me of Bach pieces I’ve seen - for example, in 4/4, a dotted quarter note on beat four which carries over to the next bar. Is that what you mean? I was able to hack together a quick example by making an invisible 8th rest on the downbeat (in Engrave mode, turn the opacity of the rest to completely white), and put a text “.” using shift-X after the final quarter note in the first bar.

And it’s not hard to hide cautionary accidentals, in the bottom panel in Engrave mode. This was actually easier than I thought it would be!

[edit] - I should acknowledge that this is a hack, and I’m not really doing what you’ve asked for - I don’t know if that’s possible, in any notation program that I know of.
Baroque-dotting.jpeg

It’s possible in Lilypond. In fact, Lilypond always works like that, except you can tell it to check that you didn’t do it by accident, if you want to write “conventional” notation!

I don’t think there is any way to do it in Dorico yet, though.

Not only Bach but a lot of XVIII century copyists and composers. However, I have only seen in the manuscripts the augmentation dot after the barline, which is in fact a shortwriting for a tied note. Sorry if my description isn’t clear enough, I can provide an example if needed.

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Thanks - I should have remembered that about the dot. In the hack version shown above, the dot is just a graphic element which can be moved anywhere, so it’s not a problem to put the dot in place of the invisible eighth rest.

There’s also at least one instance of this in Brahms (in a bar-crossing hemiola at the end of the third movement of the third symphony).
brahms_3_dot.jpg

Thanks, that is really cool! I just checked my Dover score and that passage is engraved in the usual way - but the notation in his autograph captures the musical idea better than the printed edition does.