Recreating renaissance style parts-- what about this rest notation?

Hi all,

I am playing around with parts with no barlines, like in part books from the renaissance.
Have a look at this –


This rest sums up to 7.5 semibreve (whole note) rests, but I never saw any such notation before. What do the dots mean in this context? How shall one read it?

It’s a triple-dotted long rest. So, 2 x breve, plus a half (another breve), plus a half (a semibreve), plus a half (minim).

You’ll have to Force Duration for the rests you want.

I did have some joy using “Old Style multi-bar rests” to create the traditional rest patterns; though I must have used bars in order to achieve that.

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Aha, thanks a lot!
Did they actually use that notation back then, or did they just add breve+semibreve+minim?

They didn’t use augmentation dots, no!


If you look at most 16th/17th-century partbooks, you’ll see they used “long” rests (as shown in your example), then breve rests (1 whole space), then semibreves and minims roughly as we have them now (though taller and thinner).

Long rests would be paired and stepped on different staff positions:


What’s interesting is that you’ll often find patterns like this:


… so that even though the tactus is on the semibreve, there’s still a notion of where the breves fall.


Fascinating!!! Thanks Ben!

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That’s very interesting. It’s tempting to think that the shifting of position in the staff has to do with keeping count while beating tactus.

Dorico caters for “Old Style” Multi-measure rests (which you’ll find in instrumental parts up to early/mid 20th century), which are clearly based on the Renaissance rests:

… where a Long rest is 4 bars, instead of 4 semibreves.