Empty bar rest for independent time signature (before masking meters)

Hello, all. I’m needing to use independent time signatures for certain instruments in an opera (for a polymeter with metric modulation). I’ve used them before. Everything works swimmingly when the music starts up right at the time change. But I hit a snag when there needs to be an empty bar just after the start of the independent meter. I’m going to describe this as finely and usefully as I can. I’m hoping there’s a native solution (or one that’s being worked on for an update), but if not I’d take a logical workaround.

(Just so everybody knows, I’m aware of the beautiful Scoring Notes article, a huge help in this department: Masking meters and creating polymeters with metric modulations in Dorico - Scoring Notes)

Please see the screenshot below from Write mode Galley view (this is Dorico 4.3.20). Please understand I don’t want to share the file because it’s massive, it’s for hire, and besides I don’t think it would shed additional light on anything.

The prevailing meter of the piece goes to 2/4 at bar 453. However just some staves change to 6/8 there, among them certain singers (not shown but doing rhythms that bespeak 6/8), horns 1 & 2 and trombones 1 & 2. The horns begin right at 453 so I’m able to put the individual meter, enter the notes with the needed hidden tuplet stuff, and follow the next bar with the masked meter 2/4 and so on (all explained in the Scorning Notes article above). However the trombones, which answer, need to rest first for a bar before entering. That one empty bar of 6/8 in both trombones at 453, I need it to show a standard empty bar rest (whole-looking rest automatically positioned in the center of the bar).

Niether the composer nor I want to start the trombones’ 6/8 meter a bar later. He doesn’t want it solved that way because the meter change ought to line up vertically with all others for the conductor’s sake; I don’t want it because I need the individual meters to appear in the condensed score and that works best when I break the system at that bar.

I’ve been trying but to no avail. You’ll see two different looks to the trombone rests at 453. For trombone 1 that is what you get if you do nothing. (Note that these measures actually contain two quarters in terms of time, I’m only masking individual instruments to show 6/8, a brilliant solution from Dorico, but that doesn’t make those bars contain three quarters of time — anyway that’s not what this post is about!) Trombone 2 is interesting. That’s a half-note rest with forced duration and, in our clever friend Engrave Mode’s properties panel, I’ve shifted the rest position to +1 which actually ends up giving me the whole-looking rest that I want. HOWEVER it’s shoved over to the start of the bar (of course we want our single-bar rests in the middle). I don’t see any way in properties to cause that rest to appear default center.

Note that I erased the notes that were in trombone 1 at bar 455 just to make a point; once the 2/4 signature is reintroduced in 454 and hidden, any empty bars after that will end up with the proper rest. It’s that first one, which so far as I know must be an individual meter of 6/8, that gives the trouble.

Let me add one possible solution here for bar 453 that I thought of, but please let me know if you have a better one. I can give both trombones the forced-duration up-shifted rest (like is in tbn 2 now) and, in Engrave > Note Spacing, I can highlight just that alone and shove it to the right until it looks to be centered (later when the bar’s width is all set) and do the same in the trombone parts. That could work for me here but only because I’m lucky to have a half-note rest that can be shifted to look like a whole; I imagine there’d be other individual time signature scenarios where one wouldn’t be so lucky and would just prefer to have an empty bar rest made to sit in the middle of the bar. (Hey, Daniel and co., a nice feature for an update if you haven’t been considering it already, forcing an empty bar to contain a hanging whole rest in the middle??)

Alrighty, many thanks!

I am away from computer right now, but have you tried inputting rest into the popover for that bar? When you create a time sig with a pickup, as of course you must for this purpose, Dorico fills the bar with measured rests automatically. But I’m hoping you can replace them with an “improper“ bar rest.

If that doesn’t work, we did have this thread this week. At the very least you could force a whole rest into 2 quarters with a hidden 2:1 tuplet.

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WOW, slightly embarrassed, but what an incredible feature! I don’t know if it’s a hidden feature but it was hidden from me anyway, in my ignorance LOL. Anyway it’s an entirely sensible feature, really I should have thought to try it myself but I didn’t (so much in Dorico is elegant and intuitive). Yes, for anyone else looking for this, instantiate the bars popover, type the word rest, and alt/opt-enter (in my case since I want it only for trombone)… voila (I’m always tempted to type viola).

Thank you, Mark!

I don’t think it’s a hidden feature — I might have given this trick four or five times in this forum. Note that there should also be a button (for those who are not as keen on popovers as I am) in the right panel, Bars tool…