Problem inserting pick-up bar

Dorico Pro 5.0
I am attempting to insert a pickup bar using Shift-M,( 4/4,.5) but Dorico is simply moving the entire piece back 1/8 note instead of inserting an empty pick-up 1/8 BEFORE the piece. How can I enter an empty pick-up bar? I have tried selecting insert mode and this does not help. The caret is positioned at the start of the piece. I have also used the “create time signature” panel checking the “creat pick-up” checkbox and hitting “4/4”. Same result. If possible, please paste a step-by step process for inserting an empty pick-up bar and/or tell me why Dorico is moving the entire piece back 1/8 note. This is happening whether input or selection is “on” or “off”

I don’t know if there is one-step method, but here is a two-step method which works.
Select the time signature, type shift-M 4/4,0.5 Enter shift-B 1e Enter

How is <<<shift-B, 1e,>>> actually entered? First shift-B, then “1e”?

Yes, type “1e” into the popover.

And welcome to the forum!

Thank you. What does 1e signify? By the way, the manual for Dorico 5.0 does not mention any of this.

Sincere thanks. It worked. May I ask how to permanently prevent dorcio from inserting the pickup “signpost”?

1e = 1 eighth note

I’m not sure that this is possible.

I would welcome anyone explaining why p290 of the manual does not mention this procedure. I am also unsure if “signposts” cannot be made to “go away”? Also what is the actual meaning of “Shift-B, 1e”? I am now worried that Dorcio might start moving my wntire piece around from an accidental insert.

Most people here use the online manual (well at least me). What’s on that page?

Shift+B = the Bars and barlines popover
1e = add a beat worth 1 eighth note

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Instructions from “web Help” manual follow. What am I missing?
In Write mode, do one of the following:
Start note input.

Select an item at the rhythmic position where you want to input a pick-up bar. If you want to input a pick-up bar on specific staves, select items that only belong to those staves.

Optional: During note input, if you want to input notes and notations onto multiple staves, extend the caret to those staves.
Optional: If you want Dorico Pro to add beats at the end of the region affected by the pick-up bar if required, activate Insert mode in any of the following ways:
Press I.

In the Notes toolbox, click Insert Insert button.

Open the time signatures popover in any of the following ways:
Press Shift-M.

In the Notations toolbox, click Popovers Popovers button, then Time Signatures (Meter) Time Signatures (Meter) button.

Enter the time signature and the number of pick-up beats you want into the popover.
For example, enter 3/4,0.75 for a 3/4 time signature with a dotted eighth note (dotted quaver) upbeat or 4/4,1 for a 4/4 time signature with one quarter note upbeat. The number after the comma indicates multiples of the rhythmic unit specified by the denominator of the time signature.

Input the pick-up bar and close the popover in one of the following ways:
To input a pick-up bar on all staves, press Return.

To input a pick-up bar only on the selected staves or staves across which the caret extends, press Alt/Opt-Return.

  • Dorico Pro does not automatically insert beats at the start of existing music to which you add time signatures with pick-up bars. If you add a pick-up bar at the start of a flow, that flow now begins in the pick-up bar, not in the first full bar. You can insert beats at the start to push existing music to later rhythmic positions.

In both manuals, the above paragraph is written at the end of both pick-up bar entry instructions.

The last sentence is what you did with Shift+B>1e

There are even links to the pages about adding beats.

Ok. I will review the end of the manual entry. Thank-you.

I have reviewed the manual and located the passage you mention. The basic instructions seem to include the use of “insert mode”. What is the function of “insert mode” in the pickup bar instructions? The pickup rest is never inserted whether the “insert” icon is on or off. It always seems to require this elaborate addional instrctuion to move all notes later. Hard to believe something so simple and often-used could require such a complictaed procedure.

When you make a meter change with insert mode on, Dorico holds the barlines in the same place relative to the notes, and inserts time for the specified pickup (or to make a complete bar if no pickup).

Without insert mode, changing the meter may change where the barlines fall relative to the notes.

Hi @Manny_Mendelson I made three little videos to explain different cases for editing the pick-ups. I hope can be of some help.

Case A: you have written the full bar with rests
-activate insert mode (global adjustment of current bar)
-select the rests
-press delete
pickup a

Case B: you forgot to write the pick-up and want to add it :
-activate insert mode (global adjustment of current bar)
-select first note
-press enter (to activate the caret)
-choose the note value (with the mouse or the numbers)
-choose the note (with the midi keyboard or the letters)
-press enter or esc (to go out of note input mode)

pickup b

Case C: you wrote the pick-up at the beginning of the full bar and want to reorganize the position (with the panel or with the popover)
-no need to activate insert mode (deactivate it if activated)
-select the first note
-in the right panel choose the desired pick-up
-doubleclick the time signature
-edit the popover text as following: 4/4,0.5 (it adds half beat pick-up)
pickup c


Notes are located at a particular rhythmic position in a project. If you have a note on beat 1 of a flow then it is on the first beat of the flow no matter what the time signature is. If you add a pick-up measure, that measure now contains the first beat of the flow and so the music must stay there (because it begins on the first beat of the flow!).

If you don’t want your music to begin on beat 1 of the flow, such as your case of wanting it on beat 1 of Bar 1 - which isn’t technically the first beat of the flow here - then you need to do the extra step of adding a beat after entering the pick-up, or switching Insert mode on before entering the pick-up.

The Time signature popover changes how barlines group the notes in a flow - not necessarily the musical location of notes. Most of the time it just appears to because we aren’t trying to add extra material before the beginning.

This is why you need Insert mode. See the videos that @Christian_R posted where the quaver worth of pick-up is actually inserted before the first beat of Bar 1 (= the music is staying in its musical position on beat 1 of Bar 1) or the rests are actually deleted (= the music also stays in its musical position).

Does this make sense at all? I hope I haven’t missed anything.


I have been trying for 20 minutes to ad a 1/8 pick-up to a 1-staff piece in 4/4. When I add the 1/2 beat pick-ip it moves the entire piece back 1/8 to the pick-up bar. I was told to use the "insert global adjustment bar to insert an additioal 1/8 rest. Then I click the (eighth note + rest) in the pallet, Dorico changes the pickup to a 1/4 note but DOES NOT move the music at bar 1 later. In other words the pickup 1/8 still remains before bar 1 with an additional 1/8 ADDED before bar 1. This is incredibly frustrating. You refrred to some videos by @Christian_R but I would appreciate a link. I would also appreciate a fully “pallette abd click” “recipe” for adding a pickup bar because there does not seem to be any reference guide for typed-in Popever commands. Also very frustrating.

Christian - Sincere thanks. I was in “Case 2” and your clear, understandable instructions worked. I was actually attempting to add a rest pickup and , thanks to your help, I was successfully able to accomplish this with multiple rest values. I deeply appreciate your time on this.

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