Music theory reminder
The time signature lets you define within
a score the number and type of notes contained in a bar.
It consists of two numbers:
For example, in 4/4 time , drawn,
a bar has four beats, each beat being a quarter of a whole note. Such a
bar will contain four quarter notes (or eight eighth notes).
The upper number gives the number of beats in
Below, the second number gives the value or duration
(in fractions of a whole note) of each of these beats.
A bar in 3/4 time signature is made of three
quarters of a whole note: there are 3 beats in a bar, and each beat is
a quarter of a whole note.
4/4 time signature is also called "common time," and can be abbreviated
as a C.
2/2 time signature is also called "cut time," and can be abbreviated as
C struck through vertically.
A change of time signature is always located at
the start of a bar and applies to all staves simultaneously.
You can set a change of time signature at any
bar in the score.
For example, a score can begin with a 4/4 time
signature, and then switch to 3/4 a few bars later.
To change the score's general time signature,
select "Score>key and time signature". The time signature selection
A dedicated tool palette ("Window>Clef &
signature tools") is available. It contains the time signature change
as well as tools for changing
Select the time
signature change tool (4/4) and click on a bar. The time signature
Selecting a time signature
The selection box has three tabs. Select the third
one, marked "time signature". In the upper portion of the window, you
see a preview of the time signature you are defining.
You can select whether the time signature will
be displayed or not, and the display mode for 2/2 and 4/4.
The displayed time signature can be different
from the actual one. This makes it possible to deal with anacrusis
An anacrusis is an incomplete bar (it contains
fewer beats than are required by the time signature). Anacrusis is
found at the beginning or end of a tune. It can also be called upbeat,
offbeat, pickup notes, etc.
For example, a tune with a 4/4 time signature might
begin with only one quarter note in the first bar (instead of 4).
Set a 1/4 time signature in the first bar, and
ask the program to display 4/4. Then set a time signature change to 4/4
in the second bar, and ask the program to hide it (invisible).
The first bar will then
accept only one quarter note, but all the other bars will hold 4.
To create an incomplete bar quickly, click the
ruler while Command (Ctrl) key is depressed, and select "Insert
bar" or "Edit>Bars>Insert incomplete bar".
Changing the Automatic Beaming
For each time signature change, you can select
how the Automatic Beaming will work. In the time signature select
click the scissors for beam/unbeam notes.
You can change the beaming mode without changing
the time signature (and therefore get a different beaming mode for each
bar) by inserting an invisible time signature change.
For example, here are four ways of beaming the