Keep Measures Together

Sibelius has the feature “keep bars together”. This prevents a system break between the specified measures, but otherwise leaves the casting off to the software. I would like to request this feature for consideration to be implemented into Dorico. Would be quite useful to influence Dorico’s default casting off.

You can set “wait for next system break” on a system break in the properties panel and it will squeeze all bars into one system until the next system break. Or the “lock system” or “make into system” buttons do the same with less clicks. Here is a tutorial video explaining this:

I am aware of those functions, but that’s not quite what I am referring to.

Essentially, the functionality I’m looking for is “prevent system break”. If I place one at mm. 19, then Dorico would be free to place system breaks anywhere it wanted, except mm. 19, effectively keeping mm. 18 and mm. 19 next to each other, but not influencing the layout in any other way.

Are you saying that Engrave > Format Systems > Make into System will not let you put a specific number of measures into the same system without a system break?

Derrek, the point of “keep bars together” in Sibelius was that you don’t have to specify the number of bars in a system, or where the system breaks go. What it does is mark a single bar line as “unbreakable” so it can NOT be a system break.

This is useful if you have something like a text instruction that is longer than a bar. You can prevent Sibelius creating a system break that leaves half the text sticking into the margin, without having apply any other reformatting which might need changing if you edit the score later.

You can also use it to prevent any type of short marking (hairpin, slur, 8va line ,etc) that crosses a bar line from getting split into two even shorter marks, and possibly save some vertical space by not having to show part of the mark on both systems.

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+1, I too would like to see a “keep bars together” feature implemented. As a similar request, I would also like to see a “never keep bars together” (always create system break) function too. Finale has this as Measure Attributes/Behavior/“Begin a new staff system” and it’s quite useful for with one click you can make sure major rehearsal landmarks will always start a system.

How is “Begin a new staff system” different to an explicit system break in Dorico?

You assign it once, and then it automatically works in the score and every single part with one click. It’s sort of like an explicit break that automatically propagates to all parts.

The requested feature is the exact opposite of an explicit system break: an explicit instruction not to break the system on a specific barline. Just like a non-breaking space in a word processor. Often, with long text instructions for example (as Rob Tuley says) you want to keep 2 bars together, but leave the rest of the casting off to Dorico.

Dear mth,
I understand the request and find it’s a good idea. +1 (Unless the team comes with an even better idea we’ve not thought about, of course)

Excellent analogy; I should have included this in my original post.

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I still don’t quite see the point in this. If you’re going the length to specify a no-break point you might as well specify the bars you want to have in one particular system, that would have the same effect.

VIPStephan, The point is that if you change the music, your fixed system breaks are probably now in the wrong place and need to be edited. But the instruction to keep two bars together does not need to be changed.

If there are several bars of music on a system, “keep bars together” doesn’t care whether those two bars are the first and second, the second and third, etc, and the software can format the score any of those ways. All it says is that they are NOT the last bar of one system and the first bar of the next.

@Stephan: No, that’s not the same. E.g.: suppose bar 10 and 11 are joined (system-wise), then they would never be separated in any part, without the need to fix system breaks in all parts separately. In part X a system may contain bars 6-11, in part Y 10-14, etc. Bars 10-11 will simply behave as one bar together in casting off.
The analogy with a non-breaking space (or non-breaking hyphen) is quite on the spot: in text, you shouldn’t normally need to enter hard returns to keep two words on the same line.

Also +1 from me. Obvious use case: Menuet with Trio. Definitely one movement (flow), but the Trio will have to start on a new system in all parts. No need to put this break in all parts manually.

Right, that makes sense.

Old thread, but this is a need. I quite often want to customize which bars are kept together. Would love to see this feature added like the old Sibelius “lock bars” feature.



I never used this in Sibelius (didn’t know it existed and I wasn’t an advanced user at the time I had it) but I can definitely see how this would be useful. +1 from me as well. I’ve done all the manual work before, to suddenly need to make an edit upstream which causes everything to need to reflow… which warrants deleting all the manual breaks and reformatting by hand. Having certain measures stay together and dynamically reflow would be wonderful in such cases.

A very good idea, +1 from me.

I’d definitely like to add my vote for such a feature. I’m arranging an opera at the moment and it’s full of staging directions which often take more horizontal space than a single bar and this frequently requires a lot of extra manual formatting in multiple layouts to avoid these comments from being truncated at the right side of a page.

Or like a “keep with next paragraph” instruction in a word processor. I can see how this would be useful.