Bar lengths not matching displayed time signature

Again Dorico is such a bad Program.
I tried to put in some Bars , I already had 32 them I added another 165 because I got
a Score from the Orchestra I am playing in, I have to write a Voice for me.
After I had all empty 197 Bars I started to put in all the necessary DoubleBar Lines
then I put in all the Key Changes then I put in all the Meter Changes and at the End
I put in the ChordSymbols I nearly finished when I notice in a longer passage with
a 3/4 Meter there was suddenly a 4/4 Meter for no obvious reason and I could not get rid of it.
It destroyed an hour of work, I really hate this Programm

How did you input the the necessary double bar lines? Any kind of non-default barline (repeat/double etc.) is a time signature in Dorico, so if you input one double barline and then copy and paste that double barline elsewhere, all of the pasted ones will be the same time signature as the first one (even if there are changes of meter in the interim).

For this reason, a) it’s a very good idea to work with signposts visible, as a large red “4/4” is a good heads up that you’re creating a problem

b) don’t copy and paste barlines. Shift-B || Enter is pretty quick, or the right panel makes inputting double barlines a single click.


Then don’t use it. There is no room for such snark in these forums. There are many experienced folks here willing to help, but with your attitude in the post you wont get many replies. The same applies to most forums. Despite your tone @pianoleo has kindly replied.


No, no, no, no. You have to add the meters first because they determine the length of the bars.

When you add explicit barlines, they stay fixed in place rhythmically, so when you add meter changes after that, the barlines will be wrong. Same with key changes and chord symbols, because they are system objects that don’t move with the bars.

I also like to lay out all the tempos, rehearsal marks, etc., of a large score first. It’s good to have the landmarks. But the first thing must be the meters.

Calling it a “bad program” because it doesn’t work like another program or like you were expecting is childish. I’m sorry you wasted an hour trying to use it without learning how it works, but that is on you.


Dorico is certainly a different program. However, there are countless videos and pages of documentation that show you exactly how things works, and how things are done; and I would strongly urge you to sit down with a cup of something and go through them, otherwise you will certainly run into “obstacles of expectation”.


Frankly I always found Dorico quite intuitive… At start I thought Dorico decided even too many things by itself, because I was accustomed to more freedom, even when that freedom could have produced an incorrect score. But I always appreciated the speed and the quality with which you can produce scores! Absolutely unsurpassed!


Hello All
Thank you very much for the help , i am very impressed with this Forum, did not expect such good response.

But i am still not very impressed with Dorico, after seeing all Video (discover Dorico etc.) and reading the Manual so many things are so complicated, you can
change values in so many different places, its not designed for the user.
for example how can i know that Double Bar Lines are Key Signatures?
Sibelius has the same problem it is also a bad user experience and Finale 30 Years ago had also the same issue , at first Dorico looked really promising but I am still disappointed because I hoped Dorico would make it better, but sorry I only can work with it when nice people like you help me but without you I would be lost,
because the program is not intuitive enough it has the same problems as the other
Notation Software, sometimes I have to work really fast but I never can do it with
all this Softwares.
I noticed so many details which are so strange, if I had time I would explain it in details and I would have to fill Pages with it, the whole Program-Design is not user-friendly enough.
A person who works all the time with Dorico does not notice anymore if the usage
is intuitive enough , but I work with Logic, Sibelius,Dorico,Finale and MuseScore
and they are all feature rich but a nightmare to deal with that’s the reason why I sometimes have to work with paper.
If I am proud of something in most cases I do not want to hear criticism , but criticism can be helpful .

Hope this helps for thinking about how to make Dorico better.

Thank you very much

@Reto_Byell, I’m sorry to read that your initial experience with Dorico is as frustrating as those you had with all of the other major notation software plus a DAW. As a long-time user of notation software — though only relatively recently, at 2 years, having switched to Dorico — I imagine that I cannot fully remember the difficulty of learning computer-based notation software. Even as I work through the challenges of switching from what I knew previously for 32 years to Dorico, I realize that I have had a conceptual framework in place for many years, which has helped me more quickly to understand the points of contact and difference between the two programs. But I will try my best to offer a supportive and encouraging response by sharing a few observations from my own experience.

My Experiences

Several years ago I wanted to try my hand at some SVG graphic design, so I purchased an entry-level app. I was utterly lost! I had no framework of experience to serve as a basis and only a cursory understanding of how computers handle complex graphic design, image layers, etc. I quickly realized that I was in way over my head, and that if I were to continue this work I would need to “go back to school” in the form of lots of study. Perhaps this experience was valuable in helping me better sympathize with the frustration of those who are in their early encounters with music-notation software. After all, the semiotic symbol-set of traditionally notated music is a highly complex and specialized one, and it stands to reason that any software capable of handling it as powerfully and elegantly as Dorico (and the other major platforms) cannot be an easy thing to pick up and “run with” immediately.

I realized many years ago as a teacher of both music theory and composition that there is very little that is truly “intuitive” about either our symbols for notating music or our language for thinking and talking about music and musical notation. A humorous example: I once “instructed” a student doing a keyboard musicianship exercise that what he played was in the wrong octave and that he needed to move his hands “up” on the keyboard. His intuitive response was to shift his hands away from him towards the tops of the keys, like a baseball player “choking up” on a bat! I realized that real instruction would involve more work on my part. Likewise, there’s really nothing intuitive about a half note being “longer” than a quarter note — since it’s not! The stems are the same length and the noteheads are (at least very close to) the same size. The real difference — open vs. filled — is utterly arbitrary and therefore non-intuitive. (If we really wanted intuitive notation, I suppose piano-roll comes closer than many systems for pitch-based music.)

After decades in another software environment I came eventually — as both it as software and I as a user improved — to be comfortable enough through habituation that things felt “intuitive” simply through repetition and reinforcement (like a pianist learning scale fingerings). At some point I began to forget just how arbitrary, convoluted, and non- or counter-intuitive certain ways of getting music into the computer were. (Although there were a few I never forgot…!)

When I started my switch to Dorico I initially often felt frustrated. It was challenging for me to feel like such a “newb,” a beginner at something I had done on computers for over 30 years and for many years before that on paper! I realized, though, that it wasn’t because the software was any less intuitive. It simply handles the very intricate business of traditional notation using design principles and starting points which sometimes differ from other apps, locates specific options in differnet places, etc.

My response may be one you don’t wish to hear or have the time to emulate: I read the portions of the manual that laid out the broader design principles (and which often include embedded videos — which I watched from start to finish). I scrolled through Dorico’s YouTube playlists and watched a number of the (excellent) more focused tutorials and longer recorded live sessions. They have been invaluable! I also took the time to pause videos and go right into the program to try out the technique(s) for myself to try to reinforce them and get them in long-term memory. Then I began to consult the forum (which I find to be just as generous and marvelous as you have!) with a mind open to the understanding that Dorico is a serious program worthy of mastering and ears open to the responses of those many forum members who know far more than I — which I still do quite regularly, to my great benefit. And please know that among those you’ll hear from on a regular basis are the leaders of the Dorico design and documentation team along with serious “power users.” (Thanks, all-y’all!!)

It is only now, after nearly two years, that I have begun to feel that I’m just capable enough in the software to be able to occasionally give back and offer help to others, and just experienced enough that I can identify when the software has a true gap yet to be filled or feature to be added/improved. But I am so very glad that I have been investing this time to study, listen, try, and learn before judging! Dorico is quite a remarkable and elegant environment for notating music and generating playback “mock-ups.” Performers with whom I share scores and parts frequently comment on how great the music looks — not because I have any special skills in Dorico, but because by default it does so many things so well.

As someone deeply involved with and committed to traditionally notated music, I have never been happier with any other software. If, in fact, your musical needs and practices require you to render this type of notation, I can assure you that, if your life allows you the time to spend really learning it, that initial investment of time and energy you put in will serve you very well going forward. I hope that, should you choose to follow that path, you enjoy it!

Best wishes!


You must make the decision you think best, but you do not seem to be happy with any of the major notation programs. Any of them, given study and a little experimentation, can produce impressive results, but Dorico has proven worth the effort users have invested in learning it; so I would be sorry to see you miss out.


Hello Derrek
Thank you very much for your answer.
The point is, I am playing in 5 different Orchestras and they all use different
Notation Software which I have to deal with and in addition to this i am in a Arranger Course where they use Sibelius Ultimate, and this Situation is very confusing and MusicXML is also not quite there yet.
The best would be to have a kind of meta Level for all of this to get around with this

Hello juddanby
Thank you for your encouraging words, I have to work a little hard for Dorico I guess but as I explained @Derrek dealing with all these Softwares at once is very confusing, but I am so glad I found this awesome Forum
Thank you

Hello Mark
Thank you very much that really helped

Hello All
still got a Meter Problem, here I have a Part with 32 empty Bars in 4/4 then I changed it to 12/8 and suddenly in Bar 6 it I got dotted quarter and an 8th as you can see in the Pics, why is that?
Thank you

Make sure that signposts are shown (check View > Signposts > Hide Signposts is not checked in the menu) so that you can see what’s going on. I expect you have a spurious explicit barline or hidden time signature at bar 7.

Thank you, where can I make this visible?
My workaround was deleting all Bars but 4 and then added some again and the problem disappeared

Is it possible to just cut out this Bar 6 ?

You’ve got signposts for Time Sigs showing, and you can see that there’s a hidden time signature at bar 7. Select that, and delete it.

The question is: what are you doing that’s introducing it?

I’m also worred why there are no rests. Just put the music in first, and then deal with everything else.

If you did previously have a time signature or a non-standard (e.g. double) barline at bar 7, the way to remove it is to select and hit delete or backspace on your keyboard. Don’t grab a barline that looks normal from the right panel - that’s still a non-default one.

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Ah that was my main problem the Barline which is called Normal from the right panel is a special normal and not a normal-normal now when I deleted it as you said it worked
Thanks a lot

the reason for no Rest is that I have to write in manually while I am in the rehearsal with the Orchestra
Concert is coming soon I am in a hurry
ZFO Concert 8.6.24.pdf (934.8 KB)