pick-up bar


I am writing a new arrangement with a very unusual 2 bars pick-up. When I enter in the popover say 4/4, 5
I get 5 beats in a 4/4 bar. But I am after a bar with 1 beat and a full bar as a pick-up. Is there a way to do this?

Thank you

Can you show us a picture of what you want? By the sounds of things, you want a 1/4 pickup bar and then a regular 4/4 bar, then the rest of the arrangement. That’s as simple as putting 4/4, 1 in the popover and then using the Shift-B popover to add an extra bar (+1).

Hello Pianoleo,

Thank you for replying to my question.

I would like to add two or three 8th notes to the original Miles Davis tune. So the whole-note D should be, as in the original, bar number 1 and all the preceding notes the pick-up bars.

Thank you for taking the time to help me out.

My suggestion is that you do something like the attached screenshot.

I’ve added a meter of “4/4, 1.5”.
Then I’ve inserted the repeat barline where you want it.
Then I’ve put the caret in the pickup bar, right-clicked > Bar Numbers > Add Bar Numbers and set a Primary 0 and Subordinate A.
Finally I’ve clicked the repeat barline and implemented another bar number change that resets it to bar 1.

Hi Pianoleo,

That is great! thank you.
Is it possible to use the Casting Off Fixed number of bars per system? Say 4 bars per system starting on bar 1.

Use the casting off feature in Layout Options > Staves and Systems.
Then to bypass it for the first system, you’ll need to:
Go to Engrave mode.
Select something at the beginning of your pickup bar (the first note, preferably). Ctrl-click the final barline that you want on the first system.
Click the Make Into System button in the left panel (the button immediately above the Staff Spacing toggle).

What this actually does is insert two System Breaks. The first, at the beginning of the flow, has the “Wait for next system break” property selected. The second goes where you want the next system to start.

Ok, I imagine that the “casting off work around” have to be done for every one of the parts in the big band. If that is the case, is a long work around.

It isn’t a way to just select from the repeat on and have it format in four bars? Casting off works on the entire piece, not in a selection, right?

Well, thank you for your time. I may opt for not writing those extra notes. And make it easier for myself.
Best regards,

You’re right about the “casting off work around” needing to be done for each of the parts.
However, Dorico counts pickup bars as regular bars, so even if you stick with Miles’s original, you’ll STILL need to do the workaround to get the pickup AND the first four full bars on the first line.

Hello Pianoleo,

This is pretty crazy… all this thinking and I just found out what you just wrote in the lasT message: that the pickup does get count as a regular bar…

So that implies that no 32 bars tune with a pickup can be formatted automatically with casting off. Well, maybe back to Sibelius. I was trying to start re-learning Dorico because I forget all I learn if I don’t use it. But unfortunately maybe it is wiser to wait a little longer.

Thank you for your time, this forum is great and the people a great community.
Best regards,

This is one area where Sibelius (currently) does a better job than Dorico.
I would argue that even with this little irritation, Dorico does other things more quickly and more accurately than Sibelius, so the overall time it takes to get a whole project done is likely quicker in Dorico than in Sibelius. That’s my experience, after roughly a year of using Dorico (and 20 years of using Sibelius).

Thank you, Pianoleo for the encouraging words. I think Dorico is a terrific piece of software. Perhaps for jazz charts needs a little more time so it gets implemented all these little things that we wish for.

Do you know, or could you direct me to a link where it is explained a work around getting Chord Symbols with Slashes, like:
I understand that the automatic slashes did not make it yet to the last version.

Thanks for your time.

See https://www.scoringnotes.com/tips/applying-slash-notation-dorico-via-lua-script/

I’m also back to waiting for these jazz oriented features to show up. I tried to incorporate Dorico into my workflow quite recently, but Dorico just isn’t ready yet. I’ll be patient… :wink:

Cheers all,


Dear Benji,

It has been said here that next update (the paid one) is going to offer these markings :wink:
See https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=246&t=119356&p=731862&hilit=slash#p731862 Daniel answered as #6

Marc, thx, I had seen that post. That’s why I’m patient… :wink:

All the best,

This script has been good enough to allow me to finally dump Sibelius.


Hello Pianoleo,

Thank you very much for the link. I have being experimenting with the Slash Notation and found that, as you said before, if one wants to enjoy all the other technology advancements that Dorico offers, the work around is worth it. Here are the steps I did and the observations:
(I am attaching a Big Band template)

  1. switch to the SCORE (Transposed pitch) ———

  2. WRITING mode

  3. write one bar of 1/4 notes in the third line

  4. select the bar, Hide Accidental property

  5. right-click and select Notehead/Slashes/Slash Notehead

  6. ENGRAVE mode

  7. set Properties/Steam adj. (-2 1/4)

  8. switch to the PART——————————————

  9. select the notes, Hide Accidental property

  10. set Properties/Steam adj. (-2 1/4)



  1. switch to the SCORE (Transposed pitch) ———

  2. WRITING mode

  3. copy one of the already done instrument

  4. adjust the note pitch to the third line

  5. switch to the PART——————————————

  6. set Properties/Steam adj. (-2 1/4), Hide Accidental property



  1. switch to the SCORE (Transposed pitch) ———

  2. WRITING mode

  3. copy one of the already done instrument

  4. switch to the PART——————————————

  5. set Properties/Steam adj. (-2 1/4), Hide Accidental property



  • This may seem like a long recipy to just get the slash bars but it is done very quickly. I am NOT including the keyboard shortcuts.

  • You have to decide ahead if you to want to see your final-printed Score in concert pitch or transposed pitch. I like to have my printed score transposed.

  • What it takes a little longer is the fact that it has to be done for each instrument, even the same instruments as Alto Sax 1, and Alto Sax 2, because the Steam adj. property doesn’t get copied from the Score to the Part.

  • The good thing I discovered is that once (say the first bar) it has been set up in the Score and in the Part, for every instrument, one could just copy it to any bar from the Score or the Part without any other step.

I’ve created a Score Template with the first bar of Slash notation for every instrument. When opening this template to work on a new piece, just adding bars (in a way that the first bar will get pushed to be the last one). The last bar of the piece will be like a “kind of slash notation Clipboard” from where we can copy slash bars for any of the instruments.

  • I am attaching the Big Band template with the Slashes set up for every instrument just for any one who wants to experiment with it.


**** While working in this Slash Notation project I noticed that the instrument Guitar, or Jazz Guitar (my main instrument), doesn’t have the expected transposition behaviour.

The Concert Pitch notes are incorrectly notated, they are written in the same octave aa the.Transposed Pitch (an octave up).

I do not know if there is a way to edit the instrument.

Let me know what you think and if there is any way to improve the process.

Best regards,
big band.dorico.zip (1.6 MB)

Carlos, I’m afraid I’ve never used the script I linked to, and have no intention of doing so! We know that an official method of doing slash notation in Dorico is on the way, and (thankfully) I have no need for it at the moment.

I’m sure someone more knowledgeable will chip in sooner or later.

Great! I am not using the script, I just made a template that works for me easy enough. Although how to hide the chord symbols and where they should show is really cumbersome. Worst than the slashes which for me is solved. Now writing some music where you may want to trade 4 bars of solos say with four instruments and notate only those bars with the chord symbols maybe a nightmare selecting chord symbols to be hidden on the properties for the score and for the parts.

Somewhere in this forum, Daniel said that it is the way is going to stay and that there is no much to be change. For me is hard to believe that it is going to be so hard, it does not make any sense.