No. 179

Time Signatures with Notes for Beat Durations

IWBNI Finale supported the convention whereby the beat duration/denominator of a time signature is indicated by note(s) of various durations. This has been used to indicate beat durations that are powers of 1/2 (e.g. whole, half, eighth, quarter, sixteenth, etc.) as well as those that are not powers of 1/2 (e.g. dotted eighth, eighth-note triplet, etc.). An example is shown below:

This form of time signature is useful for situations such as a measure consisting of 2 beats, each of which has a duration of a dotted eighth. Or, when there is a measure consisting of 5 sixteenths to be played in the time of 6 and the complete group (i.e. a dotted quarter) is the duration of a beat. In other cases, one would like to indicate that the bar consists of 4 beats of eighth note triplets (that is, the duration of the beat equals that of one of 3 eighth notes played in the time of 2).

As it is now, the only way to display such a time signature is by using beat durations such as 4+8 or 32+64. This works. However, this form of notation is rarely seen in the literature (if at all).

To allow one to create such time signatures, the following features could be added:

1. Change the Select Default Fonts dialog box so that Time (i.e. the font used for time signatures) is replaced by the following 2 font settings for time signatures: Beat Group Time and Beat Duration Time.

2. Allow one to enter any characters into the beat duration edit controls within the Composite Time Signature dialog box that is used for the bottom half of the Time Signature dialog box (i.e. in the Use a Different Time Signature for Display section).

With these new features, one could pick any font (e.g. EngraverText) and then type the appropriate characters for a beat duration (e.g. "ed" for dotted eighth) to display the beat duration as notes. There would be no need to have Finale understand that "ed" means dotted eighth. It would only need to display the characters from the selected font. The actual beat duration could still be set by using numbers (e.g. 8+16) in the top half of the Time Signature dialog box.

Created: November 27, 1999
Last Updated: December 1, 1999
Version: Finale 2000b