Invisible bar lines again

Now - I think it’s good that Dorico doesn’t have invisible bar lines - it avoids the tragic use of hidden bar lines in plainchant for example.

However - in this piece, I have a repeat section which starts on beat 4 of a 4/4 bar - I want a staff break on the repeat, so in my mind the end of the stave should result in no barline -

Am I wrong? It would be good to have no bar line here - it just looks wrong…


Genuine hidden barlines would be useful, since split measures don’t afford you a note spacing handle at the end of the stave, which encumbers proper adjustment in some cases. That said, on the whole, I agree with your sentiment.

I think you’re right about this. It looks incorrect to have a 4/4 marking and only three beats in the bar… an open measure would make it obvious as to why this is the case. I think this might indeed be a little hiccup in the algorithm.

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So the function is: system break at a rhythmic position mid-bar, what Finale calls a “split point” (except in Finale it is set not by rhythmic position but by physical distance). Indeed Sibelius achieves this with an invisible barline and “irregular bars”. You also see this in hymns, where each line of the poem perfectly fits a line of music, and to even out the spacing every line starts with a pickup.

Yes, but the problem, as James points out above, is that a system break does not create the needed note spacing handles. So since days of yore, the workaround has always been to set a system break, then add a dashed bar line with the dash length set to 0.

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Although my use case is rather different (aleatoric music), the underlying need is partially similar. It would be really nice for Dorico to natively have an invisible barline to simply choose from the menu… If I wouldn’t need the dashed line, I would certainly use the current workaround, but I do need it. Hope it will be implemented soon! :slightly_smiling_face:


VanDariu, I’m curious to know why you need an invisible barline in particular instead of simply having longer bars?

Very sorry for my late reply… Easter holydays :innocent:

Let me explain my use case and rationale for asking for this feature. Sorry for the lengthy elaboration that goes way past the subject of this thread, but I hope it might be useful! You might very well have a different direction for Dorico in mind and, in that case, I’ll adapt.

In an Ad libitum, free-meter, aleatoric section, things are, usually, not really meant to be rhythmically aligned… This, in it’s self, sadly, goes against the very thoughtful “metered” inner logic of Dorico (and most other score writing programs out there I think…) that you and your team are continuously trying to perfect! I might admit that such “chaotic” music is not really common enough to receive that much attention, but, if one takes into account fermatas, colla parte, independent solo cadenzas etc., the breaking of sync/meter, in it’s very basic form, is not that uncommon after all… (please allow me to make a related request for the ability to hide an individual fermata for these exact situations! Pretty please!! :pray: :innocent:)

Established composers that have, in the past, used advanced aleatoric techniques (I’m thinking mainly of Lutosławski and Penderecki here) thought that in such sections, music aligned vertically isn’t necessarily played in sync and they use barlines, usually dotted, to loosely or strictly align their music. There are frequent situations where they want to clearly align just the start of a stream of otherwise unsynced musical lines and, for this purpose, they use, again, barlines (yes… downward arrows, footnote explanations etc., but still, conceptually, basic barlines…).

For my own “Ad libitum” sections I am using the same logic as I think it makes perfect sense, both musically, historically and in Dorico’s current internal logic. These are some “Ad libitum” principles that I’m thinking of and how they relate to Dorico:

  1. Notes aligned do not necessarily play together. This can be easily done right now in Dorico, although, sometimes, it may be quite difficult because of automatic rhythmic alignements! There are several “proper workarounds” like using the triplet tool or moving notes in the Engrave workspace, but for a truly “proper” way of writing aleatoric music, I can imagine an Ad libitum button, a region perhaps or something similar that, in such regions/sections/measures etc., makes Dorico not align globally, rhythmically, but optically on a staff by staff basis… just a thought… It’s certainly not for me to decide what is proper and what’s not, but anyway, this can be done right now and it’s a workable solution! Thank you!

  2. Notes placed immediately after a barline are in perfect sync (native logic in Dorico), which logically means that notes not immediately after the barline are a bit later, unsynced (easily done with hidden rests). OK… sometimes, a composer might want an instrument to play without syncing with others! Of course! That is the whole purpose of asynchronous music! In this case, that instrument might not have a barline when everybody else has one!! Trying this out in Dorico right now raises a problem: a global meter change (Ctrl+M then Enter) forces a global barline that interrupts/overrides any previous local meter change (Ctrl+M then Alt+Enter) and cannot be hidden. Well… one could make several local meter changes in a long bar and leave just one staff the full length, but it’s not a workable solution in a large orchestral setting (plus an annoyance regarding the numbering of measures that would take too much additional space to explain here)… Thus, the ability to hide a global barline on a single staff using an independent local barline is, in this case, very useful and, surely, an easy software implementation! Of course, there might be arguments against the practice of having a different number of bars/measures for each staff, I myself try to avoid this, but, sometimes, it is really the best musical solution and is extensively used in several works of the aforementioned authors!

  3. Extensive use of strict repetition, variation, improvisation for which Dorico has already added the barline, custom line and text tools. A kind of footnote tool would be a great addition, but, right now, this can be done and that’s excelent! Thank you!