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Hi everyone, I have 2 questions:
1. How should I approach writing unmeasured music? Jhere should I insert bar lines? How should I approach choices for note values?
2. When writing ensemble music involving transposing instruments, should I include the transposition in the part name in notation software (e.g clarinet is Bb is the name of a part in Finale)?
Thanks.

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Kickstarter Project for Music Jotter begins May 10th. Write music on the web or desktop computer.
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About the first question.

If you write unmeasured music, it's because time signatures don't work for your piece. I mean, if your music fits in 3/4, 4/4 or whatever, it has no sense to avoid bar lines. In other words, unmeasured music is expected to be "free" from a fixed rhythm.

You have to bear in mind that unmeasured music is possible for a solo player (including piano or polyphonic instruments). If you have two players it's not easy that they play with coordination. Of course, if there is an ensemble or orchestra you have to avoid unmeasured music (Messiaen told that, not I).

In my experience, Finale is a crap, you can't write with no measure, so you have to trick Finale and to use odd time signatures and, afterwords, hide them all. I don't know what Sibelius work. But I tried Dórico, and you can write with no measure at all.

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Yes, I agree with the comments above.  One more tip...  if you want to write unmeasured music for a group, you can do it, but provide some markers that can be referenced in rehearsal:  rehearsal letters or rehearsal numbers.  That's helpful for solo pieces as well, so that a teacher can discuss the work with a student.  "Just after rehearsal one, where your line ascends?" "Yeah?"  "You played a D natural instead of a D flat.  Circle that in your score please."  

If you want an unmeasured section followed by a metered section in the same piece, be sure you mark the measure number of the first measure that returns to standard meter, or people will waste a lot of rehearsal time trying to figure out where the conductor is when he/she asks the group to start at measure number ___, particularly if the measureless section crosses a page turn.  The less conventional something is, the more you have to anticipate questions that may occur during rehearsal.  (I'm looking at you, editor of that Holst piece we performed last season who just didn't include sign posts in a 15-minute work, where the conductor, choir, and orchestra members all had different pagination in their scores.  Ugh.  So much confusion and wasted time trying to figure out which bar we were all starting at.)

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27 minutes ago, pateceramics said:

Yes, I agree with the comments above.  One more tip...  if you want to write unmeasured music for a group, you can do it, but provide some markers that can be referenced in rehearsal:  rehearsal letters or rehearsal numbers.  That's helpful for solo pieces as well, so that a teacher can discuss the work with a student.  "Just after rehearsal one, where your line ascends?" "Yeah?"  "You played a D natural instead of a D flat.  Circle that in your score please."  

This is very true. Rehearsal markings are often underestimated... These numbers or letters save much time and therewithal money. Furthermore I write bar numbers of the interval of one or two bars, depending on the lay-out, so that the performers can also refer to these.

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I've also seen scores in which there are measured parts and unmeasured (or what is called proportional notation) for small groups of instruments. In this case, in the unmeasured sections there is a member of the players who act as a leader marking the beginning of the marks.

But for full orchestra is impossible (see The Rite of Spring, by Stravinsky).

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