Lettered bar numbers

I was wondering if there were any plans to introduce an option to change bar numbers to letters only. For example, in musical theatre extra bars at the beginning of numbers are often lettered where an intro has been added at the top of a number, before the bar numbers proper kick in. For now, the only option I can see is to change the first bar’s bar number to 0 and then add the letter. But this is not really satisfactory (I end up with 0a, 0b, 0c, 0d rather than A, B, C, D).

Why not use rehearsal marks? You have quite a few options related to design.

That’s not much good if you need actual rehearsal marks later on in the project. (Leigh, I’m disappearing over Christmas but back on the 4th - let’s grab a beer!)

Yes, Leo is right. I also need rehearsal marks to be rehearsal marks. And yes please Leo!!

I think the usual usage is when bars have to be inserted in later…

so you might have a sequence where the bars are 206, 207, 207A, 207B, 207C, 207D, 208, 209.

The idea is that every measure needs a unique number, and once assigned, that measure number should not change, even if bars are added/removed for timing purposes.

Yes, it’s weird - and like most weird things it began in the hand copy era.

That’s true Tyler. But for example, here I need to name the first few bars as letters so they match up with vocal score.


It would be great if Dorico could find some way of implementing this as a feature in a future version.

Leigh’s example is likely for the same reasons as given in TylerE’s post: the song probably initially started at bar 1, but an additional introduction was tacked on.

In the 1990s I used to copy for two arrangers who just always used letters for intros. The introductions would always be labelled A through whatever letter, and then the main tune would start with bar 1. It definitely is a system that some people used to adhere to, even if not commonly found now outside of inserts.