# Half rests in 12/8...Force Duration?

Hi all!

I’m trying to write the last 4 eighths in a bar of 12/8 as a half rest instead of the default, pictured below. I assume this is with forced duration, but I can figure out how to do it for rests—just notes.

Any tips?

Ended up answering my own question…

I selected the 8th rest, in the properties panel turned on “Force position and duration,” and then typed 7 for half note. Feel free to share if there’s another better way, but this got the result I needed.

You didn’t ask, but… that’s not correct notation!

That’s why you have to use Force Duration…

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Yep. You need to show the fourth beat separately.

Totally. …but I’m writing something very unusual. This is easier in this rare context and will be clearer this way, I promise. Hahaha

Ugh…I know. I’ve chosen this as the lesser of two evils.

If you really care, the staccato quarter from the example is the end of a fast 12/8 section (ergo the caesura), and there’s a 2 beat pickup into the next bar which has changed to a rubato 4/4.

I could finish the last beat of 12/8 in silence, then write a bar of 4/4 with two dead beats, waste space visually, and generally make the silence look longer than intended (only a brief caesura is wanted), or I can use that “2 beats” remaining (well, 4 eighths in 12/8…) to create the sense we’ve entered the next meter early. It’s clearly an imperfect, subtly inaccurate way to write it, but I know from using a hand-written chart with my intended notation that it’s completely clear and readable to my musicians, so I’m opting for this.

Might also be worth mentioning, 12/8 may usually be divided into 4 equal compound beats, but isn’t always. Ever notate something Balkan or the abakwa [sp?] bell pattern? Things can get far more sophisticated than the traditional compound meter of marches and classical tradition.

I guess what comes after the caesura is sufficiently notated so an attempt at “faking it” will result in the proper feel. But even though you’re aware of Balkan or abakwa notation, most people are not.

A possible alternative way of notating this sort of situation:

Make the first half of this last 12/8 into a 6/8 bar, then make the remainder of the 12/8 bar into a 2/4 bar starting with the staccato note before the caesura.
My reasoning is that because the pickup notes before the double barline are, in a musical sense, actually part of what follows the double barline, then it might make more sense to notate those two “beats” as part of a simple meter rather than a compound meter.
Ultimately it is your choice as to how you notate it. In situations such as this, my choices are usually influenced by the amount of mental gymnastics a player will have to go through when trying to figure out what is intended, particularly if sight-reading. And, of course, it will always depend on the musical context and what else is going on at the same time. One way of notating something in one context might be less helpful in another.

I write for and play with a group of professional, progressive jazz musicians who routinely tackle odd meter works. We frequently have to find ways to convey, as simply as possible, complicated things. You should see our lead alto’s rhythmic death-traps (one of his faster works has 6 meter changes in 8 bars, and we improvise over it!!!). This piece is a cakewalk compared to that…

And while I don’t expect everyone to know my background (I mean, why would you?), I do notice a trend on this forum of assuming users don’t know how this stuff works—probably from countless forum posts from folks who genuinely don’t and may in fact appreciate correction. I guess I can understand the impulse to correct folks (“um, actually”), but even in the effort to be helpful, it’s still kind of condescending.

I guess it gets under my skin a little.

Still, I really do value Dan and Ben’s help I see around the forum, and they’ve also helped me here and there, so I aim to be polite back, even when I’m feel a little snarky about the teacherly replies.

Yep—I’m with you. I strive for what conveys what I’m going for the fastest and most efficiently. There are a few different ways to go about it for sure. I can see yours. A version I considered…

Make the first bar 9/8. Let the final 8th rest after the quarter be present. Then create a 2/4 bar with the pick-ups. Maybe even hide the 2/4 meter so they appear as pickups. It’d work, and might be more accurate. But it’s a pain in the ass and I’d have to explain it.

My solution was sight-read perfectly when I had it written out. I’m not sure these others would have been.

This might be completely unsuitable, depending on the missing context, but here’s my contribution to this little contest:

(My apologies for the crude metric modulation.)

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I could see this working.