Converting first measure into a pickup.

• May 7, 2024 - 05:01

TheHutch suggested I place the three note pick up at beginning of the first measure. I did that and of course because the piece is 12/8 time I now have equivalent of 9 eighth rests remaining in the first measure.
TheHutch said I should next follow scorster's instruction to convert the measure from 4/4 to 3 / 8 time. I assume somewhere along the line the info that the tune is 12/8 got lost or I wasn't clear about that. I tried to change the first measure to 3 / 8 time using the Time Signature palette but was unable to limit the change to just the first measure of the piece. So I am right back where I was: a full measure of 12/8 but want it to be a kick off measure containing only three eighth notes and NO rests at all and continuing with next measure using 12 / 8 time through to the end.. I see the example of Measure duration section and "Actual" button to use to choose an underlying time signature in the on line handbook. But those are pictures of what I cannot find. How to get there?


Sorry, I should have said change the one measure from the "Nominal" duration of "12/8" to an "Actual" duration of "3/8". What I really meant was from whatever it is to "3/8".

DO NOT do anything with the Time Signature palette!

I begin with a short score in 12/8. The first measure has the pickup notes: three 8th notes. Note they are at the beginning of the measure, not at the end!

20240507 004340-pickup 1.png

As described in scorster's instructions, right-click on the measure. Don't right-click on a note or rest (or text or anything else that might be there), only on blank space within the measure. This will give you the menu shown in the screenshot below:

20240507 004801-pickup 2.png

To get that I right-clicked approximately where the upper left corner of that menu is located.

From that menu, click Measure properties. If you have the UK version, it is apparently labeled "Bar properties" instead. That will give you this dialog box:

20240507 005006-pickup 3.png

When it appears, the "Nominal" and "Actual" duration will be the same. You will change the Actual duration to 3/8, as I have done in the screenshot above (highlighted yellow). For future reference, you can also change the "bottom number" of the duration if necessary. You do this by clicking the dropdown arrow next to the "8" (or whatever it is) and selecting the appropriate "bottom number" for the Actual duration you want. For example, if the time signature had been 4/4 and you wanted to change it to three 8th notes or five 16th notes or something like that.

Click the Apply button. For future reference, you can then move to the next measure or the previous by clicking the arrows in the bottom left of the dialog box. Since I am currently in the very first measure, the left arrow button is disabled. (Since you can't move to any measure before the first.) Once you have completed making all the changes you wish to make, click the OK button. In this case, since I only wanted to make this one change, I simply clicked Apply and then OK.

That ends up with this ...

20240507 005106-pickup 4.png

... which should be exactly what you want.

I hope this helps!!!

In reply to by TheHutch

Additional to this very detailed instruction please notice: when you're done, there is a little grey minus sign (-) in the upper right of the measure. It indicates, that the measure is shorter than the nominal duration of the time signature. In the example it is slightly covered from the blue selection rectangle.

In reply to by TheHutch

I would like to add that this action shortens the measure from the right-hand side. So if it was previously written like this, the notes already written will be deleted:
You should therefore select the notes beforehand (see image) and copy them so that you don't have to rewrite them afterwards and can simply insert them again.

In reply to by HildeK

> You should select the notes beforehand (see image) and copy them so that you don't have to rewrite them afterwards and can simply insert them again.

Right. Or copy and paste the notes to the beginning of the measure before converting the measure to a pickup.

Either way it's quite counter intuitive. I've updated the Handbook again to include these points.

And I hope to soon post a request that MuseScore "shorten" the measure from the left. Then scorists could write pickup notes "in place" before converting a full measure to a pickup.

In reply to by scorster

"I hope to soon post a request that MuseScore "shorten" the measure from the left. Then scorists could write pickup notes "in place" before converting a full measure to a pickup."

But often (usually?) when there is a pick up measure there is also a correspondingly shortened measure at the end.

As in most cases, fixing something after the event is more painful than doing it right first time. This proposal would just move the pain from the start to the end.

In reply to by scorster

Usually there are only one, two or three notes that should be present in the upbeat. It doesn't take much effort to rewrite them if they have been deleted. You just need to know what happens when you change the length of a measure.
It is best to choose the length of the upbeat when creating the score. You have to learn this and then the upbeat is already right.
If the last measure has to be shortened, the current behavior can be used without any problems.

Not sure why this doesn't seem to work for you. This is 4.2.1,yes?
You don't need to change meter. Add a full measure at the beginning of the score, as you have done. Now select that measure. You could right click it first thing, but if you select it first (left click) and a blue box appears around it, you know it is selected. Right click the measure. Here is where you may be having problems. After the right click, a window should open with a list of actions. The last on the list should be "Measure properties", Select that.
There is where you change the measure properties from 12/8 to 3/8. Select "OK". The first measure will be a quarter and a 1/8 rest.
Good luck.

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