time signature shift insert mode

One of the Dorico bugs that drives me to tears is the inability to insert or remove music in Dorico without shifting the music which follows it.

For example, say you’re engraving a highly rhythmic piece, in which the time signature changes often.
Say you’ve engraved the whole piece, but then you want to add an extra beat in the middle of bar 3 – unfortunately, in Dorico, you’ll have to re-bar the entire piece from that point forward – literally delete all of the bar lines and re-enter all of the time signatures again.

Is this “feature” or “bug” going to be addressed in the forthcoming major update?
It’s preventing me from getting serious work done in Dorico.

Thank you!

Dear asbefore
I must say I do not agree. This has happened to me and these are the steps.
First, add a bar right after the bar that you need to modify (change meter) : select the last note of that bar, then shift + B, then +1 in the popover. This will insert an empty bar with the same meter properties than the previous one, but will not modify the music after that.
[Edit] If the bar after the one you have just inserted has no explicit meter, please re-input the meter, in order not to have any bars moving after next step.
Select the first rest in the new bar, change the meter (add the extra beat you were talking about). Notice that this will not move anything after that bar. Now you can copy from the previous bar, add your extra beat, and the delete the previous bar (shift+B and -1 in the popover).
I have done that in the first bars of l’Enfant et les sortilèges (1356 bars with meter changes all the time, so I could not afford changing all the barlines !!!) and it worked like a charm.

This is only one method, without using the insert mode. I am sure there are other methods that work perfectly too — the problem in insert mode is it does not shift all the instruments at once, only the voice of the instrument that is concerned by the insertion, that is why I like my method better.
Hope it helps !


This is a well-thought out reply, with very easy to follow directions!

I believe Dorico will have Insert Mode capability to shift all instruments at once at some point in the future, but your advice works perfectly!

Before starting work on the new bar I have to repeat the (immanent) time signature on the bar following it, otherwise the subsequent music is affected… is this different with you?

That is what I have seen, re-input the existing (original) time signature in the following bar is necessary to put things right in the music that follows, although this could be done after the edit operation as well.

You are absolutely right. Since I was working on a piece of music with meter changes at each bar, it didn’t raise that problem. I should edit my “tutorial” :wink:

interesting - will try, thanks!

This would still be a very useful feature.

I’m working on a piece now without time signatures, but with different number of beats in the bars, and lots of repeat signs. I cannot use “add bar” because it doesn’t work without a time signature (this makes sense), but when I use the insert mode it shifts all notes forward but NOT my barlines or repeats, and so all my notes end up in different bars that I intended.

I think Dorico should assume that you placed your handmade barlines in the right place relative to the notes that come before and after them, and move them when you insert notes (or at least give you the option).

Thanks –

I agree with ecc42 on this point. And I might add that this is also the case for master pages — when working in engrave mode and doing some casting off by hand, I often find myself correcting “first pages” and “default pages”, because the casting off has moved the first bars of subsequent flows… It might be an interesting option that these masterpages keep linked to the first bars of a flow, unless the operator decides to unlink them.

When you have Insert mode switched on and you insert a time signature, subsequent time signatures will be shifted forwards. This is new in version 1.1.

That is a step forward!! How about inserting systemselections with time signatures and all (sorry, I keep asking)?

What exactly do you mean, Douwe? Dorico does not have a concept of a “system selection”. If your selection contains time signatures, when you paste in Insert mode, then time will be inserted.

No system selections??? Suppose I want to copy and insert a complete passage of several bars with time signature changes every bar, in between some other bars. I have no idea how to do this. I just tried it again, Insert Mode on, still resulting in a mess. Perhaps I’m doing something wrong.

If you select everything you want to copy, including the time signatures, copy, then paste at destination, that should just work. Douwe, can you describe in more detail an example where this does something you don’t expect?

See the attached Dorico file, I want to copy the last 2/4 bar in between the first and second bar. Or I get the copied bar behind the second bar or I get a wrong 2/4 bar with only one beat, or things are so messed up that misses Gould would be really upset. I can’t figure out what to choose as destination point to get the result I want.

OK, I know in this specific example it would be easier to just insert an new bar after the first one, but what to do if you want to copy and insert a long stredge of fully finished music?

If two of you are saying that this should work I’m probably doing some very basic stuff wrong. At the same time, since the release of Dorico my big, big question is why o why this experienced team made a lot of basic things so difficult. I spend two months investigating the app, trying things, reading all the available documentation and watching every single tutorial video, presentation-video’s and hang-outs with John Barron.

I know the basic set-up. The different modes, the idea of tweaking on different levels, but in the end - and I really don’t like to say this - I decided that - even after two months of trying - I had simply no fun working with Dorico. My disappointment wasn’t about missing features (I followed the blog from the very beginning and I knew what was missing when I bought it), but about the fact that this software wasn’t the killer app I was waiting for since Steinberg stepped in.

I’ve got the impression that the builders of Dorico had (have) three main goals, building the smartest, the most flexible and the easiest notation software. That these goals sometimes contradict each other is obvious. In my opinion the Set-Up Mode is the most genius part of the app. There the three goals are combined in a beautiful balance. However in Write and Engrave the last goal (ease of use) has suffered way to much from the first two. I think these areas need a lot of rethinking on a very basic level…


oops, here’s the dorico file
Untitled Project 1.dorico.zip (733 KB)

I’m sorry you don’t find working with Dorico fun. In general I think our users are very happy, notwithstanding the features they’re waiting for, but of course any software with a reasonably different approach like Dorico is going to rub a few people up the wrong way. I’m sorry that you’ve bought the software and find yourself completely at odds with it, as I would not like to have parted with that kind of money and then the software incompatible with my way of thinking.

As we have discussed before, there are certainly operations that are not yet as easy in Dorico as they should be, in particular with regard to these kinds of edits that change the structure of the music. We have plans for enhancing Insert mode to make these edits easier and more efficient. Unfortunately we are daily having to make tough decisions about what to work on next, so I can’t say exactly when we will get to work on this, but I hope it will be soon.

Please don’t be sorry, Daniel. I’m already regretting my post a bit, because at the same time I deeply respect you and your team. I’m not using Dorico at the moment but I can’t stop thinking about what bothers me so much, following all the discussions her and on FB almost on a daily basis. To be honest I don’t know exactly what it is. I like the straightforwardness of Sibelius, although this software has its own shortcomings. I like the all-time WYSIWYG feel, the “hit a key bam-approach”. Don’t worry about me spending money. I’m really, really happy to have supported the development of Dorico and there will be a moment in the future that I will switch. In the end a well-written manual will help also, although I sincerely hope it will be something in the style you did for Sibelius. What I’ve read so far is in a rather dry voice (I think I’ve read somewhere that this is the general Steinberg-style…?). But I understand that writing such a manual would be a huge, huge, huge job. Douwe

Our new documentation writer started this week, we will work closely together on the documentation, and I know she will do a splendid job, but it will take some time before the documentation will be fully fleshed out.

He Daniel, I’m pleased to say that this afternoon I finished a 4 movement, 20+min, pianoscore in Dorico. Hail to John Barron, who convinced me very patiently to try again after all my hesitations regarding Dorico.