Mark incomplete bars (bars that have less beats than indicated)


Sometimes after editing and moving things around, I end up with measures that may be missing beats. (see the 2nd 3/4 bar below)


I have a big score with about 1000 measures and I’d like to find (and then fix) all of those measures that don’t match their indicated time signatures and avoid rehearsal disaster.

Is there any way to mark/detect/identify all of the bars that don’t match their time signatures?

Also posted to the FB group here:


I agree this is a big proofreading issue with the potential for disaster. You can often avoid them in the first place by recognizing why they are happening. In the gif below, I have a 2/4 bar in the 3rd bar. Even though the first two bars are empty with default whole rests, Dorico doesn’t treat them like that when I apply a meter change to 3/4. Instead it treats them like there are 8 beats which now need to be spaced accordingly in 3/4, resulting in two correct bars and one erroneous bar.


I’d love to see a couple of improvements here

  1. Some sort of signpost for any bar containing the incorrect number of beats. This would substantially help with proofreading. I guess it would be nice if pickup bars were excluded, but it’s just a signpost and easy to hide if it marks them as well.
  2. An option to treat bars with default whole rests as empty when changing meters. In the example above, I’m almost always going to want 2 bars of 3/4, then the existing 2 bars of 2/4. If the bars are empty, I would guess most users aren’t thinking of 8 beats there, but 2 bars of 4/4 that they’d like changed to 3/4. If there is already music input in another staff then that obviously changes the calculation, but it seems like the default here should not be to create bars with the incorrect number of beats.

Dorico seems to go well beyond other programs in avoiding “incorrect” notation, so it does feel out of character that it is so easy to create incorrect bars. I’m not saying the ability to create bars with the incorrect number of beats is a bad thing, I’m sure there are plenty of times it could be useful, I just don’t think it should be the default, or if so make it really obvious to the user with a signpost. Just my $0.02.


For me the missing whole bar rest is always a clear indication that something is not right. Of course that wouldn’t happen if every instrument is playing on that bar.

I really like how dorico behaves at the moment - it is so handy to add couple beats here and there and change the time signatures later. It is also usually much safer than using insert mode.

The issue is that I have 1000 bars, some of which have the wrong number of beats and there’s no way for me to figure out which other than looking bar by bar and counting to see that the beats add up.

And in the kind of music I’m working on, counting beats can get confusing

At least on that particular passage you could look at the bottom piano staff for missing bar rests near time signature changes.

But perhaps some kind of warning flag or way to search for incomplete bars would be useful!

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Well I completely agree about insert, but intentionally creating bars with incorrect numbers of beats without alerting the user seems like the wrong way to handle this IMO.

For example, if we start with this like in my above gif:

In Finale I either end up with this, if the bars contain default whole rests using these settings:

Or this if they contain notes:

I can deselect Rebar music and force the measures to be incorrect (4 quarters in each 3/4 bar in the above) too, but that’s not the default. Finale also has the Check Region for Durations command to find any bars with incorrect beat counts.

MuseScore acts a bit like Dorico, realizing the 8 beats of rest won’t fit into 2 bars even though they are default rests, but adds an entire extra bar rather than an incorrect partial bar:

Personally I think any of these options are better than Dorico’s current way of handling it, because they all make it impossible to put bars with the incorrect number of beats on a stand. Anything that forces an additional proofreading step increases the chance something wrong will slip though.

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I completely agree some sort of feature would be nice to make this sort of proofreading easier. Exactly what that’d look like I’d leave up to people smarter than me.

That said, for the time being, I think the easiest workaround for a big complicated file would be to add any old temporary dummy instrument to the score and then just scroll through looking for rests that aren’t whole rests.