Feature request: specify number of empty bars before multi bar rest is used

Please allow us to specify the minimum number of empty bars before a multi bar rest is used.

FWIW, Cubase allows this.

As I mentioned in this thread, it doesn’t make sense to classify a single empty bar as a multi-rest, even if it is a convention to display it as such in orchestral music, as pianoleo said is the case.


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This is an old trick, but it still works: if you need an empty bar to not be treated as a multirest, invoke the Shift-X popover, type a single space (" ") and then hit Return. There’s nothing to see except for a red signpost (if your signposts are turned on), but it’s no longer an empty bar. The upside is that Dorico won’t treat it as a multirest; the downside is that if it falls on an empty stave, in another layout, Dorico can’t hide that stave.

You’ve been warned :wink:

I think the new Engrave > Split Multi-bar Rest feature will do the same without affecting hidden staves.

Anders, unless I explicitly say “I’m not in front of the computer right now”, you can bet I’ve already tried it. It doesn’t work. :wink:

edit: as Anders has said below, it works if you apply the split before or after a barline, rather than at a barline:

It works if you move it to any other rhythmic position, I think.

Anders is right (though could have been a little bit more specific in his previous post). Thank you Anders, and sorry for doubting you.

No worries! I discovered it by accident, so didn’t notice the specifics myself until I saw the screenshot in your reply.

If anyone from the team happens to see this, it would be really helpful if this detail made its way into the Version History, pretty please.

It seems as if there is still no setting where you can specify how many empty bars you must have before a multirest is used.
Will this be considered in the future?

I’d be interested to know under what specific circumstances you would find this useful. Please describe the actual requirement, rather than what you imagine the solution should be. (Problems are in the user’s domain, solutions are in the software developer’s domain.)

  1. As a music performer I usually did prefer to see 2 and sometimes even 4 empty bars rather than a multi-rest bar.
    But I found that it was always depending on the context.

  2. When possible and when the music has to be played by children, I like to notate with a visual structure of the music with bars rather than with numbers.

In the attached example I find it easy to follow what is to be played and when it has to be played.
But this simple example needs already some flexibility in the creation of multi-bar rests.

I think you can easily achieve what you’re trying to do with shift-x markings (put a space, it will prevent the multi-rest to happen, and it’s easy and fast to input, alt-click to copy…)

Isn’t it the case, though, that you can’t select and delete it later? I generally prefer to use a playing technique and hide it, so it generates a flag.

No. If you create a piece of Shift+X text that only contains a space, you’ll get a Text signpost that can be moved or deleted. At least that’s my experience.

@ MarcLarcher, dankreider and pianoleo
Thank you for your answers and thoughts.
I am/was aware of these solutions but this is not what I am after.

All the orchestra parts I wrote before using Dorico are written in the way I want to write it: multi-bar rests are shown only from a minimum of 3 bars and sometimes from a minimum of 5 bars.
I am not willing in order to achieve this in Dorico to use a workaround where I would have to create bars with arbitrary symbols, then color them or reducing their size to make them invisible and then copy these bars hundred of times.
I find such workaround … well not good at all.

For the moment I rather resignate and let the multi-bar rests be the way Dorico dictates it.
I resignate because in my view Dorico does some tasks much better than Finale for me and these tasks are more important for me than the multi-bar rests thing (and a few other things).

I could have post some of the parts I wrote as examples but I guess it does not make much sense to convince someone.
These examples would simply show how I layout parts with multi-bar rests: in a different way from the way Dorico designers think it should be.

I hope with the example I posted that shows a kind of visual structure of the music to convince that at least one could see that it makes sense and it is usefull to create multi-bar rests with different constellation than on/off.
At the moment (correct me if I am wrong) you can either unable or disable multi-bar rests. The only setting (about the presence of multi-bar rests) is to prevent the programm to write a “1” above a one bar rest.
For my needs and for what I would like to achieve this is not enough.

This is what I would find usefull:

  1. A user setting for the minimum number of bars necessary for the automatic creation of multi-bar rests
  2. The possibility to manually able/disable any number of multi-bar rests after they have been automatically created
  3. Indepedently of the automatic creation, the possibility to manually define/undefine any number of bar as multi-bar rests

I too wish there was some more local control over individual multi-bar rests. There are cases where I may have an instrument resting for say 11 bars, but I’d rather show an 8 bar followed by a 3 bar multi-bar rest. I know how to force Dorico to split the multi-bar rest using the “split” feature, but that will split the multi-bar rest in every part; that would prevent me from having another part showing a full 16 bar rest in the same spot - I would get 8+8 in that other part.

The other example is if I’m laying out 4 bar systems and the last bar of one system AND the first bar of the following system are both empty, by default Dorico will combine those bars unless I put in a system break which requires temporarily entering a note in one of those bars to get access to that bar between those two bars in order to put in a system break. Or I could just put multi-bar splits every four bars, but that would prevent me from ever having an 8 bar multi-bar rest. Anyway, it would be helpful to have the ability to simply select any multi-bar rest and either break it entirely so you can recombine new ones any way you want to or otherwise somehow edit it locally to split it in a specific way.

Since we’re on the topic! :wink: I would love the option when casting off a fixed number of bars per system to define multi-bar rests as counting as the number of bars in that multi-bar rest. Currently casting off a fixed number of bars per system calculates any multi-bar rest as one bar. If I’m laying out 4 bar systems I’m doing it so that the phrases come at the beginning of each system, so yes, a 4 bar multi-bar rest should take up the entire system. Now if I have a 4 bar multi-bar rest I get that multi-bar rest and the next 3 bars on one system which is… 7 measures which is never what I’d want to see.

Just my 2 cents on the matter.

Thanks for the feedback. In the fullness of time it would certainly be possible for us to add more options in this area.

Did something happen with regards to this? I am arranging an hour of music atm and not having option to specify the minimum amount of silent bars until a multirest is used or having to resort to these weird workarounds makes it incredibly tedious. I want multirests only from 3 bars on. Is it possible by now? It`s been 3,5 years…

No, Dorico doesn’t currently provide a means of specifying that multi-bar rests should appear only after n empty bars. However, you can use Engrave > Split Multi-bar Rest to manually force Dorico to break a multi-bar rest if you wish, and you can copy and paste those “split” items once you’ve made one.