Creating metered bars after very long unmetered bar

I couldn’t find anything about this—even searching for unmetered, irregular, or unmeasured bars, but I’m notating something that has a long unmeasured introduction after which is a metered contrapuntal section. (Think French overture without all the dotted notes.) It’s a fantasie for baroque lute.

At the end of the free-flowing first section, I placed a double bar but found I couldn’t add bars after that by any of the usual methods. (I hope I don’t have to “define” this big unmeasured bar like I would have had to in S******* by creating a key signature such as 105/4 and then hiding it.) Is there some command that defines the end of a bar, regardless of how irregular it is? I had figured that adding a bar line—I’ve tried them all—would have told Dorico, “end of bar, back to normal,” but apparently not. I also tried adding bars at the end of the flow in the insert bars panel, but no luck.

Is this a situation in which I’d need to create the fugal part of the piece as a different flow?


You can’t automatically add bars without a defined time signature. You can type notes into the blank space and Dorico will automatically extend the bar, or you can use Shift+B +1h Enter (for example, to add one half/minim to the bar) but it can’t create barlines if it doesn’t know how long the gaps are between those barlines.

Thanks, I have gradually been coming to that realization. What can one to do for music like this?

Keep going until you get to the end of the unmeasured section, then place a regular barline, or better, a time signature. I don’t really understand the problem :confused:

Indeed, you can simply use an open meter (Shift+M, X) and then add barlines as needed by typing Shift+B and then typing | (the pipe character) or “single” into the popover.

I think my problem was that I just started entering music and didn’t use open meter (Shift + M, X) as Daniel said.

Just in case this comes up for anyone else, I still couldn’t add bars after I had made an open meter bar. But I could finally get on track by clicking the bar line I had placed at the end of the unmeasured section and clicking a time signature. After that, a new bar appeared.

You can’t add a number of bars with the B popover after an open meter bar, because Dorico doesn’t know how long an open meter bar is.

But unless you are entering notes by clicking in the staff with the mouse (which is the slowest way to work) you can append more notes when the note entry cursor is right at the end of the score without doing anything special. Just keep entering notes and the staff will extend to contain them, and create new bar lines when you want them.

(If you are entering notes with the mouse, almost everybody here would recommend you try either the computer keyboard shortcuts or a MIDI keyboard instead)