Barless music

I edit 16th century barless music. Is there a way to put in a meter designation and make it invisible without having ithe meter put in barlines and unwanted subsequent ties over barlines? Notation options-Barlines-No barlines didn’t seem to work.

If I understand you correctly, you want to put in a meter so that you get beam/beat grouping according to a time signature, but then no actual barlines? If so, unfortunately that’s not yet easily possible: it should be possible to do it by typing something like [3+2+2/8]X into the meter popover, which would create an open time signature with the specified beat grouping, but this is not yet implemented. Hopefully it will be soon.

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Thanks Daniel. Pasting in a fake meter would work, but the minute I put in a meter and bars appear, then all the half notes over barlines become tied quarters, etc.

I know I’ll love the program when it evolves a little more. And I really appreciate all your communication.


As an addendum to this question, will there be a way to insert bars between the staves. So the music would be measureless, but the barlines would go between the staves every four beats. This is a common way to make the music easier to read for modern performers. Here’s an example. Thanks! And I love the program so far!

Dorico can handle this already: see the Barlines page of Engraving Options (“Single barlines between staves”, about two-thirds of the way down the page).

Thank you, Daniel. I hadn’t seen that. But I just tried it and it changes the note values when I put in the bar line. I’ve attached an example below (Barline Example 2) of the same passage in Dorico. In a case like this, the barlines should not be related to the music at all. They are put there for the convenience of modern performers so they can be more comfortable with the meterless original. I want the music to look like Barline Example 3 (below), but with barlines every four beats. So the notes would not switch to two notes tied if they crossed a barline.

We hope to be able to add an option that would not cause notes that cross barlines to be shown using ties in the future. It shouldn’t be too hard, as we can already handle it for complex tuplets crossing barlines.

That’s great! Thank you!

Did this happen, stopping Dorico from forcing a break of note value into ties across a barline? (I have done a new search on this forum for the topic, sorry if I missed a follow-up). I am at Dorico 4.3.11 at time of posting here.

I have been searching for how to retain the actual symbol for the note across bar lines that while meaningful for other parts are not for the part in question. In the 15-16th-century polyphonic music I am editing the symbols themselves are in fact musically meaningful for ‘true’ historical rhythm in patterns of long vs. short notes, so rhythm is much more than raw durations that schedule notes in otherwise neutral-agnostic time. So I would like to see for example a breve or semibreve without it being visually broken into other symbols. The musicians I prepare music for have no problem reading symbols for durations that continue across bar lines (including the augmentation dots, to refer to another discussion topic this forum).

For musical context: my technique so far uses no meter entry, just letting it Flow, adding bar lines manually, hence “X” meter. For some genres it is appropriate to go entirely without bar lines so in this case there is not a problem of broken-into-ties notes. So my enquiry is for other cases, for other genres when there is an ostensible meter against which some parts nonetheless rhythmically offset in hemiola, which if broken into ties has the appearance of being syncopation. A well-educated performer may understand this, but as an editor I would rather not be forced to notate a potential invitation to misunderstanding rhythms, counting on a performer knowing how to ‘unread’ what was written. Besides, the norm for modern publications of music for the periods in question already use the unbroken notes across bars especially when using bar lines only between staves.
Hoping for a not-hack, as such always later needs to be redone, but also would like just to get the project out, so open to hacks to make to a copy.
Thanks in advance.

How do you avoid broken notes at system breaks?

To answer the question technically, when going entirely without bars, the notes will not be broken across system breaks.

In general however I like to avoid letting this happen, for example a semibreve that would start very near the end of a system and then the next note in the part after some ‘empty’ space at the start of the next system for that part. So in Engrave I force a system break at a position where the parts are in still in alignment (and which makes sense to the phrasing). I do this carefully because it will defeat the otherwise good automation of note spacing.

I suppose I could hope for some option to have Dorico itself look for cases of note values crossing systems.

Addendum/Tip: I have found the best technique is actually to select an entire passage and then use Engrave/Make into System. But straying here from main topic.

There are two things that can be useful here. One is the fact that we can set the length of dashes for dashed barlines to zero in engraving options. The other is the tuplet trick discovered by Alexander Ploetz several years ago:
I’m sure using those things in combination, plus judicious use of system splitting, can address most of those issues.

The 1:1 tuplet trick works! I got a semibreve to ‘cross over’ using the instructions shown for the dotted note. Not how musically thinking of this in the first place, but it does use Dorico as designed, so technically not a hack. The tuplet attribute is retained with the note, so the intervening bar can even be moved around within its duration, without losing the ‘hold’ on the appearance as a single symbol. If later wanting to remove that attribute, easily done by selecting its signpost.

Many thanks for this! (and to Alexander P)

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Yeah Christopher! I second your comments wholeheartedly!!!

Martha Bishop