Forcing rest durations

I am not one that is against Dorico choosing the rests for me, and me needing to input rests. I am actually liking the way I don’t have to input rests. I like how Dorico does it for me, and I have to worry less about rests.

However, I have run into a small issue with this… I am writing several “reading” exercises for students learning to play. It is my teaching technique to start with talking about the quarter note (crotchet): It’s shape, the associated rest, etc. We then play several exercises that include the quarter note and the quarter rest. Dorico is creating a half rest by default (which is great 99% of the time). We have not gotten to half notes and rests yet, so I would like to force the half rest into two quarter rests.

How does one do this in Dorico?


You should use Force duration (keystroke o) before entering your rests. This overrides Dorico’s magic :wink:

Try using the Force Durations tool (the C-clamp, key shortcut “O”) with the rest and duration tools to force the rest values you want.

I thought I had tried that. However, in doing it this time (and it did indeed work), maybe I was just hitting the space bar before, as opposed to a note name.

Nonetheless, thanks guys for the input. It worked, and I am now moving along with the project.


Hitting the space bar doesn’t “enter” anything into the score, it just moves the note entry caret forward. That is usually the best way to “create a rest”, because it will generate implicit rests when you enter the next note, but it won’t create forced rests.

Thanks Rob - that is the best explanation I’ve seen of the space bar. The first day I used Dorico it took me a half-hour to figure out to make a quarter rest. It does strike me as confusing to have to enter a pitch value (A, B, C etc.) to enter a rest. Maybe there is another way to implement forced rests, but I haven’t thought of any better ways, and I’m sure the Dorico team has thought hard about this.

Hi, I still cannot understand, why splitting rests in Dorico is so unintuitive. You need to:

  1. double click a rest ( or double click a bar and change to the particular rhythmic position)
  2. activate force duration
  3. activate rest in a left panel
  4. choose how long it have to be
  5. press (any note!?) like A, B, C, D…

If you would like to split a duration of the note, you just mark it and choose a new value. OK, I understand, as Dorico creates rests automatically following rules set in notation options, you could probably activate a force duration in order to overwrite it? No! It is not possible! But why?

You can split a note pressing U if you move a cursor to a particular rhythmic position. Cool, absolutely great idea! Tried the same with the rest. It is not possible. Even with an activated force duration. Again, why?

I agree it would be nice if this could be done in fewer steps. The issue is that until you have created an explicit rest, there’s nothing truly there for you to edit the duration of. But that is something that ideally the software should hide from you, and perhaps we’ll be able to improve this in a future version.

It’s actually easier than that:

  1. select the (implicit) half rest (no double-click needed to get the caret)
  2. type O to force duration (you’ll see no change in the score, but the clamp in the left sidebar will be lit)
  3. type 6. That’s it.

This last step will change the forced half rest into a forced quarter rest, but it will intelligently result in showing another (implicit) quarter rest after it.
Make sure you don’t have Insert mode on.


Pjotr, thank you very much for your replay! Great solution. It works! I didn’t know that and couldn’t find this information on a forum.

Thank you Daniel for your replay. Actually I need it mostly while writing down a small piece like a song which begins with a pic-up. Eventually on the end of the piece I have to reduce a length of the note or rest according to this pic-up. Would you imagine an intelligent property for that in a future which will do this job automatically? Any way an answer of Petr was very helpful. Such a great community and support!

You can do this either with the popover or the toolbars:

With the popover,

  1. Move the input caret to where you want to cut off the final measure (for example, if you want 3 beats in the final measure, put the input caret just before beat 4)
  2. Press Shift+B to bring up the barline popover
  3. Type either |] or final and press Enter

With the toolbars,

  1. Put the input caret in the right spot
  2. Open the Bars and Barlines toolbar in the right-side panel
  3. Expand the “Create Barline” menu and click the final barline
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Thank you mrthechairman, one great idea after another. I didn’t know that. Very useful!