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We introduce a new method for analyzing and constructing combined modulation and error-correcting codes (ECCs), in particular codes that utilize some form of reverse concatenation and whose ECC decoding scheme requires easy access to soft information. We expand the work of Immink and Wijngaarden and also of Campello, Marcus, New, and Wilson, in which certain bit positions in the modulation code are deliberately left unconstrained for the ECC parity bits, in the sense that such positions can take on either bit value without violating the constraint. Our method of analysis involves creating a single graph that incorporates information on these unconstrained positions directly into the constraint graph without any assumptions of periodicity or sets of unconstrained positions, and is thus completely general. We establish several properties of the tradeoff function that relates the density of unconstrained positions to the maximum code rate. In particular, the tradeoff function is shown to be concave and continuous. Algorithms for computing lower and upper bounds for this function are presented. We also show how to compute the maximum possible density of unconstrained positions and give explicit values for the runlength-limited (RLL(d,k)) and maximum-transition-run (MTR(j,k)) constraints.