Convert bar into pick-up bar


There are a few topics on this but I can’t work it out, even from reading those plus the instructions.

I have a 4/4 bar with 3 beats of rests and two quavers.

I use the time signature pick up bar of 1 beat, and get:

I also tried the shift B, I assume I want something like 4/4,-3q? Nothing happens though.Nor 4/4,0.25.

Thank you!


In Dorico, rhythmic time is absolute so even if you delete or change the time signature, Dorico keeps all the beats you previously had. It looks like you’ve input the pick-up bar you want correctly, but what you need to do now is delete 3 beats at the start of your flow - Dorico won’t do that automatically because that’s not always what people would want.

A quick way to do that should be to select the first rest, press Shift-B to open the bars and barlines popover, and enter “-3q” (= “delete 3 quarter notes-worth of time”). The 3 rests/empty beats will be deleted, and your quavers will ‘move up’ to the start of the flow.

Thank you! That works.

I assumed that the time signature or the -3q were two separate ways of achieving the same thing.


If it helps, in Dorico I tend to think of the time signature as being like a cookie-cutter framework, that you press into/over the music to break it up into bars of the corresponding size; you always have the same amount of dough rolled out, you can just use differently sized cutters on it. Deleting or adding time signatures never changes the amount of actual music/beats you’ve got, or their positions relative to each other.