How to add a pickup bar

Hello again!

This time, my question is about pickup bars.

This article details how to add a pickup bar:

Seem like a lot of work just to add a simple pickup bar to be honest, but I give it a try.
The problem is that when I try to do number 4 of the procedure, the Edit Time Signature dialog does not appear. It just opens the Meter Popover. That was introduced in 2.2, I think, which is a feature I love.
However, now I can’t figure out how to add a pickup bar.
In the attached picture, I’ve added a blue circle around my progress so far.

Will somebody help me, please?

All the best from Jim-Roger Knutsen

I’m a little bit tired and in a funny mood, so I decided to include a suggestion for making adding pickup bars easier. See red circle.

Sorry, Jim-Roger, but you’ve found the instructions for Cubase, not Dorico.

Here are the instructions for Dorico.

Shout if you still can’t figure it out, and we’ll be glad to help.

Oh, and with regard to your suggestion, take a look at the bottom of the Time Signatures panel in Write mode…

Oh damn!
My apologies, and thanks!

I’m trying to add an eighth note pickup to a 4/4 bar and can’t figure out how to do it. Where exactly do you input the 4/4 time signature? To the right of the pickup? To the left? When do tick the “pickup bar of” box in the time signatures panel? I’ve tried ticking the box after selecting the time signature, or the pickup itself, or the following downbeat, and it just unticks itself and nothing happens.

Edit: Finally stumbled upon the right combination of clicks - don’t use the popover. Use the “create time signature” part of the panel at the right to create the right time signature, select the pickup note itself in the music (not the downbeat), tick the box for pickup of the appropriate length in the panel, then at the bottom of the panel, click the time signature you created. (please put this in the instructions in the link above… there’s no way to know how to do it except by trial and error)

Also here:
What is meant by “activate pickup bar” is not clear - we need a step by step of exactly what to select in the music, when to tick the box, and how to actually assign it.

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To start a new score with a pickup bar, type M for the time signature popover and then C,0.5 (i.e. common time with 0.5 beats of pickup bar).

If you want a 4/4 time signature not C, you can type 4/4,0.5 instead.

If you already have music that starts on the first beat of the bar, you need to insert the extra half-beat of time at the start.

  • Suppose you already have a score that looks like step 1.
  • Select the first note of the score and type B to get the barline popover, then +1e to add one 8th-note. That will give you step 2. Don’t worry that everything now looks a mess!
  • Select the rest, type M for the time signature popover, then C,0.5. Result: step 3.
  • Then add the music to the pickup bar.
    pickup step 1.png
    Pickup step 2.png
    Pickup step 3.png

Ah ok, good to know there is a way to use the popover. Thanks for the step by step! Also I had never heard of being able to do that in the barline popover - also good to know.

I’ve been around and around this - still cannot figure out how to do a pickup bar at the beginning. It seems inordinately complicated.
Matching it at the end would be nice but I’m probably asking a bit too much.
I managed to do this back in December , and I vaguely remember taking about 4 hours to figure it out - but naturally I’ve completely forgotten how.
And the manual is as claear as mud. Is there a video somewhere perhaps?

There’s now a dedicated set of steps for pick-up bars independently of time signatures. If you’ve already got music in the project, you might also need to insert/remove beats to move the music into the pick-up bar.

There have been some examples on the forum and in the Facebook group in the past helping people fix-up a project when retro-actively putting a pick-up bar at the start; if you can’t find these or they’re not helpful, feel free to share a more specific example of where your project is at currently and what you want to achieve.

E.g. this one: Convert bar into pick-up bar

I seem to have bodged it finally - I tried the various links but they weren’t really helping - using the shift M popover and inputting 3/4,1 and then deleting the extraneous bar at the beginning has created what I need - but I cannot figure out any logic behind it - I just kind of blindly added numbers and commas here and there until I got what I wanted.
I certainly now understand why I couldn’t remember how to do it from before!
Trouble is of course, I won’t remember next time either!

Is there an explanation in plain language about what’s going on? and the methodology.

Without knowing exactly what your project started like before getting to a 3/4 time signature with one beat pick-up, perhaps this introduction to “rhythmic position” might be helpful. Dorico approaches time in terms of beats, rather than bars - which is why adding/removing beats to “move” music into or out of pick-up bars is often necessary when changing the time signature (time signatures move around music, not the other way around).

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OK having sorted the front of this piece - I’m trying to same at the end to make it match.
But I get a time signature add - so although I can set it to two crochets to balance the pickup bar at the front, I can’t figure out how to hide this time signature.
had a look at the hide/ show thingy at the bottom but it’s very difficult to understand.
I was somewhat hoping that I could right clikc on the time signature and select hide - but no such luck.
Any ideas?

end pickup

Look in the properies panel.


Thanks - I was concerned abot all the other time signatures disappearing but it seems this is local to the one in focus…

Properties only apply to whatever is explicitly selected in the music area.

You don’t have to shorten the final bar. Just put in your first two beats and then select the third beat (or the last note) and type shift-b “fin” and it will immediately add a final barline at that spot and trim the rest of the measure.

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Back to this old chustnut again.

Every single time I get stuck here. And still don’t understand the instructions.

Trying to create a pickup bar - spent ages trying to figure out, read the tutorials, no help unfortunately, just can’t make any sense of them, so I dug out my old post here - again - I clearly have not understood how this thing works - but after 2 or 3 hours of messing around, copying and pasting my score back across half bars and so on I have finally bodged it to look like I want to.

Is it possible for the R&D team to put on a wishlist to come up with an alternative arrangement to pickup bars that makes it easy, rather than it taking an age to patch together every time?

I’m going to have to go in and sort the end out to match in a moment, and I’m really not looking forward to that!

I wish I could write myself a really simple A B C “how to” instruction set to follow each time, but I don’t have enough understanding of what’s going on to be able to do that yet.

Lillie is always right. :slight_smile: but if that’s a little too much information at once, try this:

A - Select the first note of the piece)
B - Type Shift B, and enter however much space into the popover that you need for the pickup measure, like 3e for 3 eight notes worth, 2e for a quarter note of space, etc.
C - Select the original first note of the piece again (not the space you just created)
D - Type Shift B again, and enter | to create a new barline.

Note to Dorico team - would it make sense to be able to enter 3e| all at once without invoking the popover twice? Just a thought.


@gdball I’d say that’s good advice for the first few steps, adding the extra time in first might be an easier way to work through the process, but I wouldn’t recommend just adding a barline when pick-up bars in Dorico are intended to work as part of time signatures.

I’d recommend instead for step C selecting something at the start of the flow, then re-inputting the time signature but with a pick-up. E.g. if you added a quarter note of extra time, add a quarter note pick-up. That way it’s all semantic and the pick-up bar won’t contribute to the bar number count.

Thanks Lillie - your reasons makes sense, but I bet people will probably always tend first to think of Pickup bars as, well, bars you know?

We are (hopefully) trainable. Pickups seem to me like something leader/players evolved as a quick and dirty convention a zillion years ago. I feel like its in the spirit of that to argue for having an quick-and-dirty convention for creating them and not a set of steps. :slight_smile:

Nobody is going to do this enough that we have any cause to complain though.