Edit an existing pickup measure without shifting remainder of piece

Good evening,

After doing some research and attempting the steps documented [here] and elsewhere numerous times, (Remove/convert pickup meaure without moving music), I’m coming here for help.

All I want to do is add an extra eighth note to the pick-up so that the pick up is 3 eighth notes, with the lyrics “and if I.” I then want to reduce the number of beats by one eighth note in measure 16.

I get through these steps successfully, as linked above:

  1. select pickup note and enter “SHIFT-B” “4q” (if you have 4/4 time signature)
  2. select first rest first of the first full bar and enter “SHIFT-M” “4/4”
  3. select first time signature and enter “SHIFT-B” “-1” or use System Track to delete pickup bar.

By this point, my first measure is now a 4/4 bar. If I try to convert it to a modified number of beats by doing “SHIFT-M” “4/4,1.5”, the correct measure appears, but all the music gets shifted in strange ways. If I try to select all the music and do the opt + arrow key trick to move things, the formatting gets messed up.

What am I missing? Thanks in advance for your help. I attached the score for reference.
I Will Lead You Home.dorico (1.2 MB)

The note attached to ‘I’ is a quarter. Do you want this to be an eighth?

Hi. Try the following. It’s a bit fiddly and there is probably a better and more correct way of doing it, but it worked for me.

Select the first note of bar 1.
Create a 4/4 time signature.
Select the 4/4 time signature at the very start.
Create an open time signature: shift-M, then open.
Click either of the notes in the pick-up bar.
Shift-B, 1e.
You should now have a pick-up bar with 3 1/8-notes’ worth of time. The notes won’t be in the right place but you should be able to edit things to how you want them.
Once you are happy with things, double-click on the signpost for the open time signature and change it to 4/4, 1.5
Delete the 4/4 in bar 1.

I’ve just re-read your original post and I think I might have misunderstood how you wanted the content after the pick-up to appear.


The quickest way of removing one 1/8-note worth of time in bar 15 is to double-click just before the final 1/8-note E in the C instr. and type Shift-B, -1e . This will give a total of 4 beats (not 4 + 1/2) when you do the repeat.

Hi Craig_F, I want it to look like this:

Hi Christopher.
Try what I suggested. You will have to do a bit of re-entering/editing of things, but the number of beats in the pick-up bar will be correct and the rest of the notes have not moved - work on a copy first, though, just in case.


Select time sig, press enter
Change to “4/4,1.5”
Select the third note (assuming we are in the file you attached)
Shift+B, type “+1e”

Then the structure you want is set and you can recompose the start as you like.

@LAE That’s even better and quicker.

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There are always many ways, and this way does not keep all the music in place during the process – everything shifts after changing the meter. Now I don’t know from where the OP comes, but speaking for myself coming from Finale, I have in Dorico gradually overcome my reluctance to this kind of edits. Surely there are ways to mess things up in Dorico as well as in Finale, but this isn’t one of them.

[edit: I misread the bar numbers… What I write below works for bar 15, not 16. Sorry. ]

…and to shorten bar 16, select the last 8th-note (in the “C inst”), type


To make the final bar shorter, you have to either input a barline where you want it to end then delete the now-excess bar beyond, or add a time signature with the required number of beats and hide it (like you did in bar 15). The documentation used to be incorrect about this, but it’s been updated for the iPad manual to give an appropriate note.

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The exact steps I’d use depends on how you want the rest of the music to flow. If you want to keep it as is, then shifting ‘I go’ to the right would leave a quarter rest between ‘I go’ and ‘and prepare’.

First select the D (lyric ‘I’) and make it an eighth. (Press 5)
Delete the eighth rest that follows <shift>B -1e
Select G (‘go’) make it a quarter (Press 6)
Hit ‘R’ to duplicate it
Select the 2 quarters and hit ‘S’ to make slur
Now enter time sig <shift>M 4/4,1.5
Adjust pitches

At this point you may need to add beats to align the rest of the music. To get it as it was Select the D (‘and’) then <shift>B 1q

This worked beautifully - thank you! I marked your response as the solution for the pickup issue as it did not displace the placement of the other notes for the rest of the piece. I used Lillie’s documentation to clean up bar 15.

@Craig_F I went with @stevenjones01’s solution given the minimal note displacement - when I tried your method, I found it required some more adjustments for notes in score afterwards. Nevertheless, I learned a lot by your post when it came to the shortcuts for the relevant Dorico functions!

@Lillie_Harris , the documentation you posted worked for me to delete the undesired extra eighth note - thank you!

I can only hope that I can as helpful to others at some point as you have been to me for this topic. I see I still have a lot to learn :blush:

Sorry, I misread the bar numbers… What I suggested works for bar 15, not for bar 16.