Custom barlines

I very frequently need single thick barlines, and the ability to make custom barlines in general. Is this possible in Dorico?

Is there a feature request mechanism for the program?


The feature request mechanism is posting here and saying that you need something that doesn’t exist in the program yet – just as you have done.

You can’t design custom barlines in Dorico at the moment, I’m afraid. I’d be interested to hear, if you have the inclination to say more about what you use them for, what the various different barlines you use are typically used for. Are they actually barlines that otherwise behave exactly as the standard barlines do, or are you rather using barlines in another scoring program as a means of achieving some other effect?

In general I am always more interested to hear about what the problem you’re trying to solve is, rather than the nature of the solution you want. That way I can understand how your musical requirement might best fit into Dorico’s overall philosophy. I have no way of judging based on your request whether you are really asking for something specific to barlines, or that you might actually need something else entirely.

So I hope you won’t find my question intrusive or that I am trying to ask you to justify your request. It comes from a place of wanting to understand the requirement well, so we can think about both what kind of solution might work best for you, and also what kind of priority this should have for us. Thanks!

Without suggesting that I am anxious for you to add custom barlines, I can tell you what I sometimes use thick barlines for in Finale, where the option is available. Sometimes when I am planning out a piece of music I want to divide the piece into four-bar segments in advance, and I use the thick barlines for this purpose. Ultimately I replace them all with normal barlines before “going to press” as it were.

As I said, I can always find a work-around in Dorico for the occasions when I would use thick barlines in Finale, but I thought you might want to know one reason someone might opt for alternative barlines.

Hi Daniel,

I set a large amount of what may be termed New Complexity scores (although neither myself nor my colleagues use this term any more, but it conveys a certain idea). In particular, I use mensural style inter-staff barlines for beat indications, rather than bars, and thick single barlines for indicating the end of various logical sections, such as a run of beats in a particular time signature. These are used often throughout the pieces. The function is indeed simply as a normal barline, more or less. The standard double thin line barline is not appropriate for this work.

As to custom barlines, sometimes I want a very thick single barline for emphasis. So control over the line type would be good.


Thanks, Andrew. We will certainly think about how we can provide the possibility to define your own barline types in future.

Daniel, here is another issue: while working with complete editions I do need thinner barlines than the regular ones, for example in some Arnold Schönberg editions it will be required that the width of the barline is lesser (e.g. 50% of the regular one) to display how Schönberg drew some of them…

Another option that would be great is to be able to edit double barlines: some contemporary composers wish that for example the double barline is displayed like: the first line is dashed or dotted while the second one is regular. I do know it is an option that won’t be used by many but it could be handy for many users when it is there, it would be nice if the option to edit the barlines could appear in one of the updates or upgrades…

I have made use of thick barlines to indicate macrorhythm (i.e. bar groupings) many times over the years, in different types of music.

Is it possible to make a double barline, with one of the two a dashed barline?

Not yet.

No, we have no specific plans for this kind of barline. Can you say a little more, mtto, about what it is used for?

I think this is a very niche example but in Brahms’ piano exercises he used regular barlines with repeat dots for exercises where each bar or two were to be repeated. I always liked this because it’s a little less obtrusive than the regular repeat lines. I’ve also seen other variations for other music with lots of repeats. As a piano teacher I do lots of stuff like this so it would be nice to add an alternative repeat barline to Dorico.,_S._520.pdf

But that ist not, what mtto asked for.

A tihai is a rhythmic cadential technique from Indian music, in which a phrase is repeated 3 times, with the end of the third repetition landing on the big downbeat of the rhythmic cycle of the composition.

For example, in 4/4: a 16 quarter-note long phrase, starting on beat 2, with a 3 eighth-note long rest between repetitions. I place a dotted barline between beats one and two at the start of the first repetition, and a dotted barline in the same position at the end of the first repetition, four bars later. Three eighths later, between beat 3 and the & of 3, another dotted barline to start the second of the three repetitions, which ends in the same position, 4 bars later. The third of three repetitions starts on beat 1, which naturally starts with a solid barline. I would like to visually tie the start of the third repetition to the starts of the first two repetitions with a double bar that signals the start of a bar of 4/4 with a normal solid barline, as well as a dotted barline to link it to the previous statements of the 16-quarter long phrase.