More early music feedback

I just had a conversation with a colleague specializing in early-music, in which I was trying to talk him into purchasing Dorico. His current work involves creating modern editions of partbook-format vocal music, and he’s been happy to use Musescore 4 so far.

His biggest hangup on Dorico is that his ideal editions have some kind of barlines in the full score, but no barlines in the parts. I don’t imagine this is currently possible to achieve at the same time in a single Dorico file. The best workaround I could offer him is to set the length of dashed barlines to 0 (a workaround that I use for a number of situations, unfortunately often), then set default barlines to “regular” when exporting the score, then to “dashed” when exporting parts.

This works fine as long as you remember to switch that setting back and forth when working in either layout, but he would’ve preferred if the barlines could just display differently per-layout so that wasn’t necessary.

Unfortunately, when the barlines are hidden they still effect horizontal spacing––the gaps between notes on either side of a hidden barline are wider than those within a measure, which makes the note spacing appear arbitrary when the barlines are hidden. The ideal result is that the score is in 2/2 and the parts are in open meter.

Still hoping for an invisible barline option, ideally one that does not impact note spacing!

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I’d have thought it is relatively trivial to just double up the players and have one group with barlines and the other group with open meter, each with appropriate layouts. Not perfect but a simple workaround.


That works fine once the notation is finalized, sure. But when you’re making multiple passes to double check pitches, rhythms, and text underlay against the original prints, I would want to be able to edit either the parts or full score and have them update in both layouts, and not need to remember to copy and paste changes from one set of players to another every time I make an edit.

I said it was not perfect! Personally I’d sort out all the pitches, rhythms and text first, then do one pass to sort the final layouts. If your source is unbarred, start there and work back to the barred score… (hardly taxing on the grey matter) BTW how does your colleague achieve a satisfactory result with MuseScore?

I’ve haven’t used MuseScore in years, so I don’t know specifics, but he says he can input the music in 2/2, then select all barlines and cmd-V to just make them invisible. He showed me the editions he’s made and I was pretty impressed, honestly. He told me to let him know when Dorico can natively handle incipits and he’ll reconsider switching :stuck_out_tongue:

There’s no built in function,. but sure you can do incipits.

See for example:

As @dspreadbury says in that topic:

Hopefully one day we’ll have a proper feature for this, but until then this is perhaps better than a kick in the teeth, and as far as I know not much more laborious than doing a similar job in Sibelius or Finale.

Do the notes remain tied over the invisible barlines?

Wait… what?

Here’s a page from a score and a part that he made in MuseScore to show the convention in question:

Dashed barlines in full score.pdf (55.1 KB)
No barlines in parts.pdf (54.0 KB)

Again, ideally the parts are in open meter so there aren’t any hidden barlines affecting spacing, but the score is in 2/1. This isn’t my personal favorite way to notate the score, but it’s a common method.

Yes, and I’ve actually gotten quite good at creating them since that earlier post of mine you dug up. Making them look good requires a bit of work, but it can certainly be done! He was certainly willing to concede that he can’t do that in MuseScore yet. Here’s the incipit from a project I did last month, which I’m happy with:

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The Tenor has a D in the incipit, but a B flat in the score. (The D is correct.) You only need show one note in the incipit, to show the transposition and note value scaling, if any.

In the Parts, the idea of 4/2 and “5 bars’ rest” is a bit odd, when you’re not using bars at all! (And when the tactus is on the semibreve.) The Musescore lyric lines are a bit wobbly, too!


Once you see it you can’t unsee it.

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Like I said, this isn’t how I would think to notate it :stuck_out_tongue: and certainly Dorico would have more attractive output for the same amount of work. But I understand his impulse to use modernized multibar rests instead of a combination of maxima/longa/breve rests every time there’s a long rest, which would certainly be harder to read for most people.

Thanks for catching the Bb, I haven’t proofread the edition yet.

Halfway houses between ‘then’ and ‘now’ create as many problems of interpretation as they claim to solve, IMO.

But Chacun à son goût, as Johann Strauss would say about the presentation of Renaissance notation.

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TBH, I would highly prefer old-style rests (combinations of longa, breve, etc.) over modern H-bar multirests. Not only don’t H-bars ‘belong’ in this notation practice, they’re confusing because there are no barlines and therefore no real bars to count. There’s a tactus, and a voice may be required to remain silent from time to time, but it’s easy to lose track whether a beat is ‘on’ or ‘off’ the ‘start’ of an un-notated measure. The 4/2 is also a bit suspect. I guess that’s a C or cut-C in the original. So either add modern barlines to help less-experienced musicians, or use the original notation and leave them out.