Add more barline style : tick, short, dotted

• Sep 3, 2011 - 18:33
S5 - Suggestion

MusicXML defines 3 styles of barlines not supported by MuseScore.
From the DTD:

  • tick (a short stroke through the top line)
  • short (a partial barline between the 2nd and 4th lines), see request
  • dotted

Lilypond supports the dotted one. The 2 others are only supported via setting properties of normal barlines.

Finale supports only tick out of the box. Others can be added as custom "smart shapes".

More about short barlines in Finale and Sibelius :

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lily-5eb082c3.png 2.27 KB


As we are at it, I would like to extend this into a request for Mensurstrich support.

As described in a recent post to the dev mailing list, with respect to current implementation Mensurstrich involves two things:

1) more bar lines types: in addition to the short type described above, the bar line between staves rather than across them

2) allowing note values to cross measure boundaries (at least in the visible surface if not in the internal data representation).



@miwarre I think your feature request should be in another post. This one is just an addition of 3 "symbols" in the barline palette. Your request seems to involve a lot more change, at least the second part of it. Knowing how barline spanning is done in the branch, I believe the first part is also quite hard.

Can I add my voice to this request please.

Those of us working in the liturgical music field often require half barlines when working with plainchant style melodies. The tick is also sometimes used.

In plainchant the style of barline is used for notating breathing and phrasing:-

A tick is a slight pause in the melody, a half bar a quick breath, a full bar a full breath and a double bar the end of the section.


Just a short note to let everyone involved know I'm working on implementing this feature. I'll post a patch when (more or less) ready. I'm working on my spare time, so no delivery time promise!

Ideally, it should allow to draw bar line from any stave line (even negative for 'above stave' lines, like tick) of one stave to any line of another stave, either generally for all bar lines of a stave or individually for each bar line.

Implementing file I/O, laying out and drawing does not seem overly complex; user interface may take longer, though (as it is often the case).



Hi Miwarre,
I wonder if this very detailed implementation is useful. For the moment, MuseScore supports only same barlines span on a system. It also support only the same barline style vertically on a system. For the music notation I know, ie non medieval, this feature is enough. I would not want MuseScore to become more complicated to use for these "general" cases.
Is there any known cases where all this versatility could be useful? If yes, how do you envision the UI to going in the way of casual users?

The current trunk situation is already quite predisposed for what I want to achieve:
*) bar lines can be different across staves (for instance in a violin + pf score, bar lines of 1st stave span that stave only while bar lines of the pf. part span 2 staves)
*) bar lines can have individual properties (for instance, visibility)

So, I'm simply trying to add some more granularity to a system mostly already in place (no big changes to the program internals are needed). The idea is to leave all the defaults as they are now, so the initial impact and the 'normal' look would not change.

A possibility for the UI could be an extension of the current edit mode for bar line:

1) Both handles (top and bottom) could be draggable and in stave line steps rather than in whole stave steps
2) Simple drag would adjust all the bar lines of that stave (as now)
3) [Ctrl][Drag] (or something similar) would adjust the individual bar line.

At the moment, I do not see the need of any addition to the UI in the form of menus, dialogue boxes and the like. Suggestions are welcome.

About uses:

1) The feature has been requested for plainchant.
2) It is used with some frequency for Medieval to early Baroque music coming from separate parts; they may use BOTH specific bar lines (short bars and/or bar between staves rather than across them = Mensurstriche) AND different bar lines for different parts (for instance, vocal parts could use bar 'between' while continuo realization will use bars 'across', like a pf. part).
3) If you do not need it, don't use it! I do not see how this may affect 'normal' use (a part a little more manuality while dragging bar line handles).

In summary, it seems to me a sizable extension of applications can be obtained with quite a little effort.


It would also be nice to have direct control over the horizontal positioning of barlines too, other than by "stretch". Occasionally MuseScore gets the last barline position slightly off at the end of a line, and the ability to fine tune it's position would be very useful.

@Miwarre : Thanks a lot for the clarification. I guess it would be also valuable to have already predefined tick, short and dotted barlines in the barline palette without the need to resize them in score. I can add them right now but I don't want to make conflicting changes.

Re: space before after a barline, those could be made properties of the barline just as you can add space before and after notes. But one could also simply add space after the last note of the measure.

@Marc: Space between bar line and first following note is configurable in trunk (but not (yet?) between bar line and preceding note).

@lasconic: once the machinery is there, predefined 'styles' like thick and short (or Mensurstrich) could be rather simply added as 'shortcuts' to the appropriate calls to bar line member functions, so it might be wise to wait. Dotted style is perhaps different, being a drawing style rather than a matter of dimensions; maybe as last detail?

Just to know, attached is an example of where I went so far (the example is rather contrived, I know; also no UI (all achieved by editing the .mscx file) and no individual bar line setting yet...).



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trunk_barline_test_1.png 40.29 KB

It's been a while since I have had reason to check up on this issue, but I am currently engaged in transcribing chants from the Liber Usualis and other sources for use in our liturgy at St Michaels.

Looking at Lasconic's test PNG, it is apparent that MuseScore is perfectly capable of the styles of barline required for this, namely tick and half-bar.

I'm attaching a page from Liber Usualis which shows the types of barlines required.


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AspergesMe.png 74.29 KB

Sorry, I didn't notice your post (shouldn't I have received an e-mail notification of it?).

I went somewhat far on this, but then 'trunk' (as it was called then) went through a period of 'volatilty' and I shelved the project. It may be time to resurrect it, though (last things I remember were open issues with user interface).

Thanks for the reminder!


I have been busy with TAB's lately and the 'core' developers are -- I dare say, rightly -- more concerned with features of wider usage.

Anyway, I think this feature rather important (at lest for the 'early music' users) and I need it myself, so I'll do my best to arrive at some solid point with it, but this is the best I can promise, as it is a free time endeavour for me (luckily, or better, unluckily, I seem to have much free time lately...)



Status (old) active patch (code needs review)

I just posted a pull request implementing this feature: //

Bar lines can be dragged by individual staff line steps; drag while holding [Ctrl] to change a single bar line without affecting the whole staff.

Currently, each bar line which has to be different from the global staff bar line span has to be dragged manually and individually; a palette with specific spans can be added once the current code proves reliable.

Hoping the pull request gets through...


Thanks for the test and the reply.

I noticed this 'echo' effect; it has to do with the way the display is updated which I hesitate to alter: can we live with it, at least temporarily?



Status (old) fixed active

More work to do before closing it:
- add predefined style
- add dotted barline
- MusicXML import/export

I just filed a pull request adding the dotted style for bar lines: // ; almost there...


If you have customized your palettes, the customized version overrides the built-in version; you need to delete the profile and customize the palettes again, in order to see the new style in the bar line palette. Inconvenient, I agree, but it is one of the cons of working with development versions...


Status (old) active patch (code needs review)

Pull request #123 (// ) filed to Github: it includes the pull request #121 quoted above and should complete this feature request:

*) added dotted bar line style (can be accessed from bar line palette);
*) added 4 ready-made bar line spans to the bar line palette: 2 flavours of 'tick' (around top staff line) and 2 flavours of 'short' (around 2nd and 3rd staff spaces) (other bar line spans can be obtained by editing a bar line and handle dragging);
*) styles and spans can be applied to a single bar line (rather than to the bar lines of all the staves of a measure) directly from the palette by dragging it to the bar line rather than to the measure in general (limitation: the bar line of an individual staff cannot have different repeats than the other staves);
*) styles (normal, dashed, dotted and even repeats) can be freely combined with spans (both ready-made or custom).


Customized palette
As for the pull request above (post #26), if you have customized your palettes, the customized version overrides the built-in version; you need to delete the profile, run MuseScore and customize the palettes again, in order to see the new style and spans in the bar line palette.

The profile is located at:
Linux: ~/.local/share/data/MuseScore/MuseScoreDevelopment/profiles/default.profile
Win 7: C:\users\<user-name>\AppData\local\MuseScore\MuseScoreDevelopment\profiles\default.profile
other OSes: ?

This is a newly added group of features: it needs testing and quirks (or plain bugs) in the user interface and/or in the underlying code are possible.
Please open new, specific, issues if you find some.



Status (old) patch (code needs review) fixed

Fixed in commit ceee5261a8, which should be included in nightlies from tomorrow onward.


Status (old) fixed active

Just tried this out today Miwarre.

Excellent work.

There is one problem, however, if you are using a grand staff assigning a tick or half barline results in the top staff of the pair displaying the set barline, but the bottom stave of the pair remains blank.

Maybe I should open a separate issue for this, but for now I have reset this one to active.

Muse score 2.0 R2d3b0b9
Windows XP Pro SP3

Thanks for testing. I noticed this point during dev and I thought to have correct it, but probably it crept back in again.

For cleaner records, I'll open a specific issue.