Rhythmic cues

Rhythmic cues only show the rhythm of the source instrument, whether it is pitched or unpitched, and are positioned above the staff by default.

Rhythmic cues do not show clef changes, accidentals, or ledger lines. They also do not show octave transpositions in their cue labels, even when the destination instrument is octave transposing. Their default position outside staff lines ensures they can never be misread as containing pitched material.

You can change existing cues into rhythmic cues and vice versa. This causes cues that were originally from pitched source instruments to show only the rhythm, which can be helpful when multiple instruments play the same rhythm together but on different notes, such as in big band music with large unison chords. In this context, showing the pitches of a single instrument in the group could be misleading as the destination instrument might think this indicates a distinctive melody. You can then change the cue label to include information about the instruments playing the rhythm in the cue.

By default, cues from unpitched percussion source instruments are input as rhythmic cues. If you want to save vertical space, you can change them to cues from unpitched percussion source instruments. This positions them on the middle line of the staff by default.

Figure 1. A rhythmic cue
Figure 2. A cue from an unpitched percussion source

You can change the default staff positions for rhythmic cues and cues from unpitched percussion source instruments in the Rhythmic Cues and Unpitched Instruments sections of the Cues page in Engraving Options.

You can also change the staff position of rhythmic cues and cues from unpitched percussion source instruments individually.