Show time signature on every bar?

Not on every system, but every bar. Is this possible somewhere in the preferences? I would like to be able to toggle it on and off since I write large orchestral works using mixed and alternating time signatures. The latter in particular can get confusing when looking at a glance across a large score. I have my signposts turned on and it does not show this. As a feature request it could be handy to show either in signposts or similar to how you can turn bar numbers on/off for galley view, so it would show above every bar but hidden from the actual engraving as it’s just for my own reference.

As a workaround — albeit a tedious one — I just tried and confirmed that if you select a bar, bring up the time signatures pop-over, and type any time sig, including the one currently applied in an earlier measure, it will force it to reappear. Alas, though, selecting multiple measures only forces the reappearance in the first of those selected.

There’s either a much better way to accomplish this, though, or there will be in the future…

This makes me think of Finale which, as you may know, has a meter for every bar. Redundant meters are hidden by default, but they can be shown or hidden in any bar. Dorico, by contrast, generates all its barlines from one meter at a time. Redundant meters are allowed, and not AFAIK accounted for by anything automatic.

I think the easiest way to do this for now is to select each meter and Alt-click to subsequent bars. Set the rhythmic grid to a whole note to reduce the chance of error.

Unfortunately undoing this will be even more tedious, since you have to find the redundant ones by eye.

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Hmm, yeah those workarounds would be a bit awkward since really this is only for my own reference while composing to just see at a glance where I’m at.

However taking these ideas, I was curious, what if I set up a flow in advance with numerous duplicate bars and then hide the time signature manually, thus preparing a flow ahead of time? It’s a little clunky but it could work for now (though ideally such a feature could be implemented: show time signature, just like showing bar numbers).

I was recently working on a piece alternating 6/8 + 7/8. Without a time signature reminder, while in galley view especially, it can be quite hard to tell them apart especially when they are empty, as they both use the same whole note rest and one is simply slightly narrower than the other. So I created a fresh flow and duplicated that alternating 2-bar time signature over and over:

I could continue writing with it in this view if I wanted, and then select all > filter > time signatures and hide all except the first one. However I will probably be inclined to hide before I start writing and use signposts as a reference when I need. It will get a bit messy but it at least can tell me where I’m at at a glance:

Is there any way of simplifying the data displayed in those signposts? All I need to see is that it’s either 6/8 or 7/8. I don’t need to see the math comprised of (e, 3+3) etc.

This workflow could get a little hairy when I do meter modulations which I often do as well haha. So yes, while I’m sure it would be low on the priority list for the Dorico team to address this, having the ability to turn this on as a reference would be really helpful in cases like this.

Note, too, the little beat grid display when the caret is active – that makes it fairly easy to tell 6/8 from 7/8, with a lot less clutter on the screen. If that works for you, you could do without the redundant meters entirely.

The signpost content can’t be modified, only hidden.

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That’s true, although I like to see this kind of thing at a zoomed out glance at the score even when not in write mode. But good to keep in mind. I may or may not go with the redundant meters workflow, depends on how much clutter that adds up to in the signposts over a dense piece of music – I’ll just have to experiment to see which approach I prefer there!

There is always this.


That is interesting. Can you explain how you did that?

Shift-M and 6/8|7/8


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Hmm, that’s neat. I hadn’t seen that before. What is the role of the dotted barline here? Does it mean this is one full bar of effectively 13/8 with an imaginary separation between each respective 6/ and 7/ 8th note groupings? It seems as such, I just tried it and noticing that the dotted barline only appears on bars where there is music, and empty bars are complete with just a normal full rest.

I suppose the only problem with this approach is for me I can usually tell which time signature is which when there is music already there, my problem is more when I am looking across a large score in galley view, and for example I scroll up from my strings which maybe have music to woodwinds which don’t, and then I sometimes cannot tell at a glance which bar is which (as per my earlier screenshot in the thread, where empty bars appear only slightly narrower).

But this is interesting nonetheless. Curious in practice what the benefit of the dotted line is over the normal alternating approach?

my problem is more when I am looking across a large score in galley view

I second that. I write a lot of changing meters too and I often have to scroll somewhere else in the score to figure out what meter was input as last, especially when the score is half empty. It would be handy to have the option (or even default) in Galley View to see the time signature together with the clef, key signature and instrument name on the left in light gray. Perhaps it seems redundant to many, but I bet it would make life easier for some. :slight_smile:


One idea for a workaround: Select any barline and temporarily add an explicit single barline (either from the right panel or the Shift-B popover). This will show a signpost with the prevailing meter. Then just Undo. You have to have signposts showing, obviously.


I would agree when meter changes are “irregular,” but for a consistent alteration over a lengthy passage, I prefer not seeing meter changes every measure. (Of course, I am seldom consistent.)

Is there an option to show metrically-correct rests in empty bars, instead of default whole rests that ignore the meter? For example, a pair of quarter rests and a dotted quarter rest in an empty 7/8 bar, demonstrating the meter?


Maybe there’s a more efficient and elegant way to do that, but the only thing from the top of my head would be to define the correct inner structure of the time signature, so for 7/8 you could define [3+4]/8 or [4+3]/8 or [2+2+3]/8 or whatever you want it to be, and then manually input the first metrically correct rest (edit: you need to switch on “Force duration” for that to work). Dorico should fill up the rest of the bar with the correct rests on its own. And then copy-paste. Quite meticulous but it should get the job done.

Btw, if you use square brackets in the nominator field of the time signature fraction, only the sum will be visible in the score. It just defines the inner structure of the bar that influences beaming, rests etc.


[Lengthy post alert (with summary expanded)]

A strong undercurrent of this thread that I’m catching is a really interesting and important one: having options available for simplifying the display of things that one would not eventually show in a (properly) notated score but which would be helpful to see during the compositional process. This strikes me as a significant general discussion vis-à-vis software design-philosophy, and gets at a meaningful answer to the “why would you ever want to show that?” sorts of questions sometimes posed in the forum.

Tools like Dorico, while obviously intended primarily to render professional-looking scores, are also, for many of us, the tools with which we are creating, exploring, shaping and unfolding our musical ideas to begin with. As such, what we might want to see during the creative phase is not necessarily what we would want eventually to display. @wing 's instance of time sigs every bar is a perfect example.


Given the dense visual information of working on a screen — especially with signposts showing —, sometimes having “extra” info such as time sigs every bar can (perhaps ironically) be helpful.

For myself, I frequently sketch with all sorts of “analytical” system and staff text annotations to help me keep track of things I’m doing. My workflow, then, has become: sketch and polish in the annotated version then duplicate the flow and delete all of the annotations. But if I then later decide to change something, I have to edit both flows if I want the change reflected in my annotated copy.

In my case, I would love it if there were a simple “3-position switch” feature that let me: (1) display every text entry I’ve written in my custom annotation character style; (2) display them as signposts (which would then display/hide with all others); or (3) hide them (NB: not having to toggle each text item as hidden in the properties panel).

In the case that initiated this thread, what if one could define a region of bars with some sort of markers, then simply toggle whether or not to show time sigs in every bar (while composing) or not (when “going to press”)?

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Hi @judddanby Maybe is not what you need, but I presume that you know about the Comments functionality? If you leave the panel on the right open, with just selecting the comment it shows what the text is (and this doesn’t overload the music, and can be easily be hidden, and you can export the comments as file, etc.etc…)

Nice tip! Yes this works, but you need to activate Force duration before entering the first rest. (and I tried and Dorico default division of 7/8 is already 4+3 :wink: )

(As a general (not just Steinberg) forum-user “semi-newb,” I’m wondering if there’s a point at which something should be moved to a new thread…? Please advise as to the etiquette.)

Thanks, @Christian_R . I do know about comments, and occasionally use them, but they are not visually helpful in my annotation process as I work with highly formatted bits of text that I want to see in specific locations either as system text or on particular staves.


Here’s an example:

Right, forgot about that. Thanks for pointing that out, I edited my previous post and included that step.

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