Multiple Time Signatures with Different Barlines

Items like bar lines, tempo marks, rehearsal marks, etc, belong to the complete system, not to a single staff. Notes, rests, dynamics, etc, only belong to one staff.

You can extend the caret across staves with Shift + the up and down arrows. This is useful for entering notes on several staves at once, as well as creating a time signature on several staves.

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This bit refers to the ability to press Shift-Up arrow and Shift-Down arrow when the caret is active to extend it across multiple staves. As this isn’t always what you want to do, and describing this in detail in this step for every task about inputting notations might be even more detour-esque, this sentence gives you a hint and then there is a related link at the bottom, where how to extend the caret is described in detail.

If the caret is extended across e.g. four staves in an orchestral score and you input a time signature with Alt-Return, that time signature is input locally on those 4 staves. The same is true for playing techniques like pizzicato, making it a useful additional bit of input functionality.

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Many thanks for linking to this tutorial, from a newbie who had been daunted by cleaning up an .xml import that had polymeters. What a great forum.

I hope this is the right place for this question:
How can I remove meter changes in selected staffs?

The context is this:
I am working on a score where a group of players (let us call it group 1) are playing in a different meter than the rest of the orchestra (group 2). I have already input group 2’s notes and meter changes. When inserting group 1’s meter changes, they change back whenever there is a meter change.

This is the problem. In bar 72 there is a 3/4 bar meter change, and it interrupts the new meter in group 1

(The reason the time signatures are so complicated is that this actually is polytempo music, notated by means of different meters and complicated tuplets. But the question here is solely concerning getting rid of the meter changes in the upper staffs.)

Thanks in advance!

“Global” time signatures (ones input by pressing Return to close the popover) apply to all staves, and if you input a global time signature after inputting a local one, the global one re-takes precedence.

You probably need to input the 3/4 as local to each of the other staves - if you show the caret and extend it so it covers all the staves that need 3/4 and then input a local time signature by pressing Alt-Return to close the popover, that adds it to all those staves at once.

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Thanks! This works.
The problem is that because of the complexity of the piece, inputting a local time signature to the rest of the staves (56) with the extended caret takes 7-8 minutes (condensing is off). And there are 10 time signature changes to change… I guess I did it in the wrong order from the start.

Originally I was actually not expecting that Dorico could manage the poylytempo notation, and I was prepared for working with it graphically. But then I understood that it is actually possible to do it in the program.

If you add the global time signatures first, then add the local time signatures, that might work better. Or, re-input your local time signatures again at the position of the global time signature, and hide it if necessary.

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Thank you so much! 30 seconds now — huge difference. Because of you, my day now has one hour more! :slight_smile:


Apropos to this, I have a score in 6/8 with one instrument in 5/4. At some point all the instruments have bar repeats. Instead of writing it all out I simply want to put repeat signs for the entire score in the 2 spots where the time signatures converge, obviously 3 bars of 5/4 and 5 bars of 6/8. But every time I try this Dorico changes the 5/4 staff to 6/8 going forward. Tried inputting 5/4 on that staff again after the leftmost repeat sign, no luck. Any thoughts on this?
Also second problem, not as crucial: when you have multiple time signatures I notice Dorico cannot playback bar repeats properly in each staff. Correct? or am I missing something?
Thank you all,

When you create the start repeat barline, hold Alt when you either confirm the popover or click the barline in the panel, and it will be created only on one staff.

Brilliant! That works Daniel. But what about the playback of bar repeats? Is this not functional when you have multiple time signatures in different players?

No, I’m afraid not at the moment.

OK thank you.

This looked rather easy at first, but some of the logic has changed since the earlier versions, so I can’t quite follow it. Basically the question is about big orchestra and small groups playing musing with different and chancing time signatures.

I’m writing a lengthy orchestral piece with a section where most of the orchestra play normally with some time signature changes now and then. There is a group that plays independently, let’s say they play mostly in 4/4. Another free group plays without any time signature.

Is this the most efficient process?
-I write the most of the orchestra part.
-In the independent groups 1 I Alt-Return time signature (4/4).
-In the independent group 2 I Alt-return an open time signature
-Then I will need to polish things: for every time signature change in most of the orchestra, I will need to hide the time signature in the groups. Then I will need to hide the barlines. [In an early Dorico version I could just choose this, but right now I’m not sure how to do it in just one stave. I can’t just backspace it]
-Then I will need to add the right barlines back to the group 1.
-I was also considering just making all time signature changes local. It would be a bit more tiresome at first, but would probably make everything else much easier later.
-My consideration is that the measure numbers will get totally chaotic after a while. I mean the measure numbers are of course a bit iffy in this section anyway, but musically speaking they should definitely be according to the most of the orchestra. If all the time signature changes are local, the measure numbers will be wrong everywhere (or maybe correct in 4/4 if I so decide).

Well, who needs measure numbers in an orchestral piece anyway…

a recent topic with a similar problem. But only with 2 groups. And yes, the barnumbers are weird to get right. Which group should have the “correct” bar numbers?
And the system track will “break” easily.


I just tried it. In the other topic, the independent meter was just a ossia. So the bar numbers will work.

Here the bar numbers on the parts will be off, and you have to fix them after this passage. In the score, they seem to follow the top staff.

I’m having a lot of trouble with this. As soon as I change the piano part from 6/8 to 5/8 I get a bar with one eighth and no matter what I do I can’t change the length of that bar.

I’m guessing the reason for the short bar is that the 5/8 in the top part is global. So no matter what meter you put there (at the selected 3/8) it gets interrupted.

If my analysis is right, the solution is to make the 5/8 in the top staff local, and delete the 3/8s on the same beat in the piano. Let us know if that doesn’t work.

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Thanks for the suggestion. I tried making the meters in the top part all local but it made no difference. Whenever I shorten a bar, e.g. from 6/8 to 5/8 I end up with a partial bar that I can’t change.

I finally got it to work. I’m not sure what I did but I don’t think this feature is working correctly.

Thanks again for your help.