Half bar repeat

Is it possible to create a half bar repeat like the example included? I have to digitize old scores and the result should be as close as possible to the original.

Dorico doesn’t have a symbol much like this in its repertoire, I’m afraid, but you should be able to create something appropriate and input it either as text or as a playing technique.

I also transcribe old MSS, but since this is just a shorthand to make pen entry faster and not an essential musical element, why copy it? It does not add any clarity (although I suppose you could argue that it makes it clear that it is a literal repeat). Are you also going to copy having the stems on the wrong side of the notehead? I mention this not be snarky but to point out there are compromises when transcribing MSS to engraving, and always have been.


As a player the above mentioned notation does help performing. You don’t clutter your sight with a lot of black dots (notes), instead a visual pattern is displayed which actually helps your brain process the information in a better way. Read, recognise, play and repeat the pattern. Instead of read play read play read play. The pattern is easier recognised by the above example.

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I wonder if that section of music would make sense as 1/4 measures instead of 2/4, thereby allowing the normal modern 1-bar repeat without requiring any explanation.

the left hand of this piano stave has no repeating pattern.

Completely disagree, as a player. It’s just as easy to read the notes. It’s purely a shorthand for a composer in a hurry. It’s terrible notation anyway. With the idiosyncratic beaming it looks like a sextuplet, but it’s not, so the player has to spend time working out what it is.

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So what do you think it is, then? Six 16ths to one quarter note is a sextuplet to me.

… or the player goes by his or her instinct.
the less music a player sees on the paper the more imagination and creativity is needed or can be used. That’s not a bad thing when it comes to music as an art. I am not a piano player, but the above notation might lead a player wanting to give the repeat a slight variation in timbre, just as an example.
This is an accompaniment to a singer, so the pianist ist all ear anyway.

Another thought: think of it as a chord symbol.

I don’t know what it is. Some of the stems don’t touch the beam. If it’s a sextuplet it’s just more evidence of a person wanting to save time rather than provide notational clarity.

May I ask who is the composer, and what is the piece? Is the MS just a rough for the composer, or intended for players?

The composer is a Belgian man , Gustave Huberti who lived from 1843 till 1910. He wrote a lot of songs from which we already recorded a few. The MS is handwritten and was a rough for the composer. We try to make it more readable and visible to the public. The MS are stated in the national library and probably will stay there untill they are destroyed. So saving this heritage is our goal but with great respect for the original.

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I guess “respect” takes several forms. Certainly preserving the original material for historical purposes is one form of respect. But I would also think renotating it using our best methods and practices today would also show respect by making the composition more accessible for musicians to play. With that in mind, I would eliminate the repeat indications altogether and engrave all the notes, without any consideration for the shorthand the composer used in the draft.


I don’t agree here. Suppose there are hidden messages in this way of notation, of which we don’t know about as modern people.
Once we have eliminated them, they will be lost forever…

No. Scholars can go to the museum and look at the original scribbling to see if there is some divine message there. I doubt there is.


cparmerlee, fair enough, but let us take the thread starter’s wishes serious.

I myself f. e. try to respect original beaming and cautionary accidentals when copying out from manuscript. The musicians in former times were quite often much more professional than we can imagine.