Hiding first barline of every system?

• Oct 18, 2019 - 19:09
Reported version
S5 - Suggestion

I see that in the sheet music produced from MuseScore, there is a barline showing at the beginning of every system (before the clef). I also see that sheet music produced many other software do not have that first barline on every system.
I am wondering that first barline can be hidden? I understand I can always hide barlines manually with the V key, but I wonder if there is an option that allows me to hide them automatically, so that even when I change the line break settings, the barlines will show/hide accordingly.
Also, I guess it is a common practice that the first barline of every system is not shown, can I suggest to have them hidden by default?


Status active closed

The standard in most published music is to show the barline if there is more than one staff, don't show it if there is only one staff. So that's the default, but you can indeed change it for either case as shown above.

Oh, I figure out what was wrong with my file. I had an ossia staff!

I basically follow this to create ossia staff:
How to create an ossia with another staff
This ossia creation method is more like a hack-and-patch to fix up something that is ossia-looking. Musescore doesn't technically support ossia staff for now.

With this method, Musescore basically see my ossia staff as the second staff. That's why it is showing the barline before clef.

Should this considered as a bug? Or just a not-yet-supported feature?

It's not clear what the distinction should be here. If you have a cutaway staff, or staff with invisible measures, maybe it's for ossia (in which case the one fully visible staff should be counted as a "single staff"), but maybe it's for a totally different purpose (in which case, probably the one fully visible staff should not be counted as a "single staff". It's not a hack, it's just a feature that happens to be useful for more than purpose. That's normally considered a good thing - like the way copy and paste can be used both to reproduce a section of music later in the piece but also to reproduce a section of music in the same place but for another instrument, etc.

Anyhow, either way, whatever we do by default, we'd need an option to make it do the other. And we already have options for that: the options in the Barline style settings shown above. So other than provide a and new different option to provide the same result as the existing, I'm not sure there is really anything to do here.

OK. Got it. I guess I will just have to manually make those barlines disappear like that.

I totally understand that "a feature happens to be useful for more than one purpose" is a good thing. It's just that I don't understand why there isn't a magical button (or something simple) that I can just click and create the required small stave with all the related settings. I mean.. all the required feature/mechanism can still make sure of what are available now - the ossia stave is still a normal stave (just with different settings)....
I just think that the required steps for the creation could be done with a set of all-automated steps triggered from a button or a wizard dialog or something like that.

P.S. Sorry, not that I want to complain, but like I have said before, the steps for creating a simple ossia stave are messy enough already. Now after this barline problem, I have learnt to take an extra step to fix something so minor that a casual user like me shouldn't really have to bother with...
I don't remember the steps creating an ossia would be so messy using other software...
If I were to promote musescore to my friends - converting them to be musescore users, I may be a little too embarrassed to teach them how to make an ossia stave, using the official methods.

I guess I would just try to avoid making ossia stave if I can in the future. LOL

The barline thing is only an issue for scores that have only a single staff to begin with - so, more about parts than scores.

That said, to be clear, here are the required steps to create an ossia staff:

1) remove extended barline if present
2) in staff properties, set it small (if desired), cutaway, and always hide when empty
3) in format / style / barlines, turn off barlines at start of multiple staves

Doesn't seem that hard to me - takes about 15 seconds. Although to be sure, it could be nice if there were a single button to save those few seconds. Maybe someone will write a plugin to automate the porcess.

On the other hand, if you do this a lot, you can also save yourself those seconds in the future by saving your score into your Templates folder instead of Scores, now it will be available to use every time you create a new score with File / New.

Also, hopefully someday we will provide the option to have the barline at the start of the ossia display. It's not really needed, but it does look better to have it, and trying to add it as a symbol does qualify as messy, I would agree.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I guess you may be over simplifying things a little too much... This is what I think I should be doing for creating an ossia staff at the moment:

Step 1. Press I to open Instruments window to add a new staff
Step 2. Type notes into the new staff
Step 3. Right click staff to open Stave/Part Propterties window. Check "Small stave"
Step 4. Right click page to open "Style" window. Under "Score", check "Hide empty staves within systems"
Step 5. Create parts manually
Step 6. Hide barline
Step 7. Readjust breaks as needed to correct score layout
Step 8. Select measures of the ossia staff with no notes and make them invisible. To do this, right-click a measure, select Bar Properties, and uncheck the "Visible" tick-box in that dialogue

A careful user should have noticed there are problems/hiccups with these steps. I will just elaborate a few here:

Don't you think the necessities of going through step 1, 3, 4 alone just to create a simple ossia is already too much? I mean a casual user wouldn't want to go to three different area to achieve something so simple, right? (Not to mention they have to have the knowledge of knowing these steps in the first place. ) I just personally think it's nice to click on one bar and click an "ossia stave" button to create what is needed... especially for casual users.

Is Step 5 do-able? I haven't figured out how to practically have multiple staves in a single part. Let's say I have 5 instruments in the main score and my first instrument has an ossia staff. Now I just want to have one instrument plus a small/ossia staff together independently in one part. How can I do that with the latest MuseScore version?

Let's just say I have my part created with the ossia staff in it. I will have to do step 6, 7 and 8 AFTER step 5, because I want the barline hiding to be only done to that instrument part and not to the main score. Also similarly line breaks and page breaks are dependent to the part (step 7), so step 7 has to be done after step 5. So as step 8. This actually creates a lot of potential problems. Let's say after I have done all the steps above, and then later on, I want to change one instrument (let's say a transposing instrument). Because musescore doesn't support that correctly for the moment, I will have to delete the whole part, change the instrument, redo steps 5-8. Trust me... that's very troublesome and not THAT simple.

Since I haven't actually achieved step 5 successfully, I wonder if I have to actually push steps 3 and 4 after step 5? If so, the steps will be even more messy if I have to change an instrument or transpose the piece.

(Step 7) Breaks are supposed to be a simple thing, but it is actually quite messy for a cutaway stave in musescore. Since users have to hide individually bars manually for a cutaway stave, readjusting line/page breaks may reveal bars that were not previously set as hidden manually. So everytime I readjust breaks, I will have to carefully check around if there are any hidden bars shown up.

(Step 8) Are there any ways to hide multiple bars? At the moment when I horizontally select multiple bars, I right click and select "Bar Properties...", the "Bar Properties" window opens but only focusing on one bar. (Why not multiple bars?) If I have 5 continuous bars to hide, I will have to repeat the step 8 five times - a little hideous.

Managing parts in musescore does create a whole lot of difficulties at the moment... I have to admit. However let's just say I forget about step 5. I just use the main score to pretend like a part score. There will be other minor things to care about. First I will have to delete all other instruments from main score and leave only that particular instrument and the related ossia staff. Then other than hiding the barline for multiple staves, I would also have to take care of other minor things, like hiding the instrument names at the start of the system, fixing the instument/part name on the heading/header, etc...

Either way, I don't think 15 seconds is enough to take care of all these minor troubles... I dont know may be they are simple enough for most people, but at least not for me. changing instruments and managing parts already make such big tasks for me to handle already. And simple things like line-breaking give me extra work checking through the whole part altogether.

Nevertheless, I am raising this issue because I do think it is really working against ergonomics. But if you think this is just minor thing that users can deal with them easily, I guess I will just stick to what I have got then. It's OK.

I agree ossias could be supported more directly, and we should provide a way to get the initial barline to display. But the steps you listed are indeed way more compicated than necessary. Did you try my steps? They are much, much, much simpler? In particular, they completely elimintate the need to turn on "Hide empty staves", they completely eliminate the need to individually select measures and make them invisible. Indeed, if one really had to do all that, I would agree it's very cumbersome. That's the whole reason I developed the "Cutaweay" option and the "Always hide when empty" option in staff properties - to simplify ossia.

If you try the steps I listed, you'll see it really is that simple.

I would also note your steps list things that nothing have nothing to do with creating ossia. Entering note,s generating parts, adding breaks where needed. I mean, of course you need to add notes, but surely you're not suggesting that could be automated? And generating parts or adding breaks are needed in the situations where they are needed - not in all music, but in some - with or without ossia. I am not understanding your comment about breaks somehow being complicated by ossia, but I guess you are seeing problems because you aren't using the correct steps - you are still relying on the global hide empty staves option instead of what I specifically advised you to use instead - the cutaway and always hide when empty options in staff properties. Use that the complications you cite go away.

Anyhow, yes, certainly, you can have multiple instruments in one part. Better, though, not to use a separate instrument for your ossia, but to add it as a separate staff on the same instrument, unless you need the ossia not to appear in the score (maybe that's your point). So, yes, use the Parts dialog to create a part with both instruments. If you are having trouble figuring out how to do that after reading the Handbook section on parts, feel free to ask for help on the Support forum.

So anyhow, I advise you to try the steps I explained, and you will see how much simpler it is than what you have been doing. And then if you have suggestions for further refinement, feel free to start a post in the Feature Request discussing ideas, so others can participate in the discussion.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I wanted to try your steps but wasn't sure about step 1: remove extended barline if present
Did you mean turning on the cutaway option instead? After I turn on the cutaway option, I realise the instrument names of that staff are still left at the beginning of each system. Instead of going to staff/part properties to delete the instrument names, are there any official way to those instrument names of the cutaway staff? See image below.
Also, with your method, how should I readjust the spacing in between the staves? See image below.

And yes, with the cutaway option, things got a lot simpler. It even eased off some of the problems I listed that above. And yes, may be I didn't explain my question clear enough. You may have misunderstood certain things.

With the cutaway method, I can see there are two minor thing to do afterwards though. They are:
1) to go to Style > Barlines > Remove barlines at start of multiple stave;
2) decrease spacing in between the ossia staff and the parent staff, so that people know, from just looking at it, which neighbouring staff is the parent of the ossia staff. See image above. Here I didn't adjust the spacing between the ossia staff and its parent. Reader will wonder if the ossia belongs to the staff or above or below.

Doing these two things after switching on cutaway option doesn't really seem much, but like I said in the previous message, these things are part-dependent. So that means whenever I have created a new part, I would have to remember to fix these two things.... If I delete and recreate the part for some reason, I will have to remember to redo these two fixes again. Do you see my trouble here?

By extended barline I mean, if you want, or don't want, barlines (other than the initial) connecting the staves. Without knowing your particular use case, I can't know if they are appearing already, nor can I know whether you want them or not, I can just say any time you add a staff, you get to ask yourself if you want the barlines connecting it to the adjacent staves.

To eliminate the staff names, just click and delete. To close up the space, your the "Hide when empty: Always" option in staff properties as I already described in step 2.

For further discussion, please use the forum, not this closed issue. so others can participate.