Feature request (with work-around): bar repeats above the staff

Feature request: please allow us to place bar repeat regions above the staff and to tweak the position in Engrave mode.

These examples are from a popular series of jazz fake books (the ones that inspired the Petaluma font).

I’d like to do this, except that in my case the bars are empty.

It doesn’t seem possible currently. I tried changing the Y offset of a bar repeat in Engrave mode, but it had no effect.

EDIT: Removed work-around originally posted. See below for a better one.

I just use a custom Line for this. To ensure it’s always centered, set the start and attachment points to “attach to barline.”


I wouldn’t personally need this feature but I believe I’ve run in to this before… I seem to recall that some musicians prefer this method because it allows them to make annotations in their part. Is that the reason why?

Yeah, blank staves can be useful on a professional level because they allow the player to pencil in cues, backgrounds, etc. They can be useful on a student level because they can allow the student to pencil in chord tones for chord symbols they may not have memorized yet. A lot of the Jamey Aebersold play-a-long books are blank like below for that reason.

(LOL, just noticed an error in Jamey’s book. 4th bar of solos should have D7+9, not G7+9)

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I’m looking at the line editor and have no idea where to begin. Would you be willing to post a screen shot?

Yes! As I mentioned in another thread, this was requested by a well-known jazz musician and producer when I was preparing charts of my songs for a recording session a while back. He wanted the space to write in anything that might come up during the session - fills, rhythm accents that we might create on the fly, solo ideas. It was a light-bulb moment for me - I wish I’d thought of it long ago! I’d been dodging needless slash marks to pencil in things for decades.

Yep! Fortunately, the bassist didn’t play that on the accompaniment track!

Sure, here 'tis:

I think I just copied and pasted the symbol from the SMuFL page.

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Thanks! Before I saw your reply, I found a way to use the symbol already in Dorico:

  1. In Engrave > Repeatable Symbols, I created new one called Bar Repeat. Clicked Symbol > Edit and in the “Range” menu of the next window, selected “Bar repeats”, clicked on the symbol to select it, and then clicked “Add glyph.” (see screen shot)

  2. If I recall correctly, the new repeatable symbol was now available in the Line Body Editor in Engrave > Lines, so I selected it.

What I didn’t realize at first was that the way to get a single bar repeat symbol was to simply add it to the music and drag the ends. And that the place to select the attachment point was in the Lines sidebar.


To me, all of these repeat signs look like they are tilting left. When notating repeat signs by hand in ink I was taught that the line should be drawn at a 45 degree angle (Glen Rosencrans, Music Notation Primer (1979), p. 36). It might be an optical illusion but the angle of the line does not look correct to me.


Interesting. Ted Ross says it should be 45 degrees too on pg 202. I didn’t realize Dorico’s wasn’t I guess but it’s definitely not.

There is a bit of variance with this glyph in most of the well known fonts:

(I have that Rosencrans book too, but hadn’t actually opened it in a while. I guess I just think of it as a hand copying book.)


And how accurate have you been in that endeavour?

Miles Gombrich (or any other producer of ersatz urtext prescriptions) might say it should be 50.2 degrees if you are right-handed, and 43.5 degrees if you are left-handed…

However, just think about the practicality of creating a glyph and realise that 45 degrees is not possible - the stroke would have zero width if it is to have horizontal top and tail!

Sorry, I’m not following you here. This glyph in Maestro is exactly 45 degrees:

With hand copying you can just angle the nib as illustrated below:


Way, way OT, but I didn’t realize how long that glyph has been around. I found this interesting from Rastall’s “The Notation of Western Music”


Thanks for the posts, @FredGUnn and @Esermon . I’ve been having a difficult time getting the bar repeats above the staff aligned properly - they (almost) always seem slightly tilted. I wonder if it’s because of the larger-than-45-degree angle.

So I’ll add to the feature request: in addition to letting us position bar repeat regions above the staff, it would be great if Dorico also offered an alternate glyph with the slash at 45 degrees.

@dspreadbury - Any chance these features might be added?


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The standard glyph in Dorico is square. The left edge of the foot of the stroke is at one corner, the right edge of the head is at the other corner. Therefore the angle of the stroke to the baseline must be greater than 45deg.

The glyph in maestro is not square, it is rectangular.

Your pretty pseudo-handwritten instruction set is also ambiguous. The top example shows a horizontal foot, yet the pen nib is at 45deg, whilst the bottom examples seem to show all the stroke starts as vertical!

Ok, sure. Why is being square desirable for this particular glyph? I’ve never seen any notation manual or style guide call for this to be square but several to call for it to be 45 degrees. Can you cite an example from a reputable notation manual or house style guide that calls for it to be square?

SCORE’s glyph was certainly not square either, and has been used by many reputable publishers (Boosey, Schirmer, etc)

Here’s another example from McLaughlin’s 1902 book Elements and Notation of Music. I think this looks terrible, but there’s clearly no historical preference for a square slash here either.

That’s from the book Music Notation Primer. I only used it as an example as it was previously cited by Esermon above, and was certainly handwritten, as it predates computer copying.

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Just for reference, I found an old PDF of some work I did in SCORE back in 2000. This glyph in SCORE looks to be around 40 degrees I guess:


(The dots seem to be octagonal too. Since everything was postscript I have no idea if that was standard or just me screwing up the settings when making the PDF.)

For me, the repeat glyph in Dorico looks good until it is above the staff. In fact, I didn’t notice the angle issue until I saw the glyph used above the staff. (A good example of a left leaning repeat sign in a published work is obvious in bobk’s example in his first post above. For me, this example looks like someone had an ink block stamp of a repeat sign and just stamped above the systems to generate the repeat signs but just couldn’t get the angle correct. Since the repeat signs are consistent in both systems of this published example, it is obviously computer generated.) For me, if Dorico allows repeat signs above the staff, which is desirable for certain notation, an alternative glyph should be created to give users a choice. If Dorico users likes the current glpyh, great, use the same glyph above the staff that s/he is using in the staff. But, if it does bother the users, the Dorico team should provide users an alternative glyph, or at the very least, allow users to modify the existing glyph, to change the angle and maybe the dot locations. It is not critical, it just looks sloppy to me to have the repeats signs leaning to the left and since the Dorico team is incredible at making notation look great, this would be helpful. (Thanks to bobk and FredGUnn for their detailed comments above.)


Why not just grab the SMuFL Maestro glyph (if that uses a 45-degree slash) and use it as a substitute?


As Derrek pointed out, now that Maestro is SMuFL, this is pretty easy to just substitute in Engrave/Music Symbols. (Or any other SMuFL font) For comparison, here’s Maestro in the 1-bar repeat and a Line with Bravura above.