Force number of bars per system

• Mar 20, 2023 - 17:07

Hello, two Qs.
1. Yes, I'm sure it is IN the manual somewhere, but I've looked under "bars" / "systems" and "Staves" and I can't find it.
I want to stipulate how many bars fill out a stave.
i.e. select a number of bars and have them ALL on the same line / stave, and have a bar # counter in the dialog box in case the bar spread goes onto the next page which makes selecting them a PITA. :)
I suppose there's a system default that sets it to some value, but I can't seem to find that either.
2. I found the working version of " keypad to note value" XML file, downloaded and inserted- JOY!
Only thing missing that I'm so used to from another life - the decimal pont on the keypad dots the note.
2(b) "R" = rest?

A pointer please.

Thanks. [ Keep up the excellent work ]


Note that the manual is written using US terminology and therefore to find out about "bars" look for "measures". I find the best place to start is in the Full Contents page which is hidden in the Appendix. From there you can use the Find on page facility of your browser.

To get 4 bars or measures per system:

  • Format>Add/remove system breaks.
  • Select "Break systems every 4 bars"

That will allow up to 4 bars to fit on a system. Whether they will fit or not depends what is in them. If there is too much music in the bars to fit 4 on a system you will have to reduce stretch or use a larger page size or smaller margins or reduce the size of everything by reducing the Stave Space in Page settings.

In reply to by SteveBlower

Hi Steve & thanks for getting back to me so promptly.
( btw - MuseScore v 4.0.2 on MacOS 11.6.8. Big Sur )
I might try to reinstall in English - I can manage in French, but as the manual is out of date, I have to refer to the Uk one anyway :) I will try to upload the .mscz file so you can look /play with it.
Found the "Format" menu - deleted all System Breaks - Asked for System break every 4 bars - nothing - da nada - no change.
In any case - I'm not after a global number of bars per stave for the whole piece - I want to be able to put a different number of measures on any given stave. If you know Finale - this was a Shift+Command+M combination. If the bar range was drawn / preselected, the dialogue window would have the numerical bar range pre-filled and I'd just need to put the numerical total in. Bingo - a stave with 6 bars in it. Yes sometimes things would get a little squashed - but that's my problem.
If the file uploads and is usable - you'll be able to see that I have staves of 1, 2 and 3 bars. I had no say in the matter - that's just how MuseScore decided things should be.
Anyway - hope to hear from you when time allows.

Attachment Size
Back Fugue II Book 2.mscz 39.94 KB

In reply to by Ozfrog

You can do this up to a point. try this:

  1. Select the measures you wish to combine into one line.
  2. Press the "Shift" key while also pressing the "[{" key. (The "[{" key is just to the right of the "P" key on your QWERTY keyboard).

MS will not force unlimited measures on one line like Finale does. MS4 will stop combining when there is no more space (I suppose as determined by your bar measure width settings). You could change the measure width setting to a smaller number to perhaps get one more measure on a line, but I wouldn't go there myself. Hope this helps.

In reply to by ST Keller

Hello and thanks.
I tried this key combination [ MS V 4.0.2. on MacOS 11.6.8 Big Sur ] and it had absolutely no effect. I tried selecting treble clef, bass clef and both clefs with same negative result.

Had a look at minimum bar width and changed this from 8 to 4 - still no effect.

The original sheet music and my effort with Finale were both happy with 3 bars per staff / stave / system and it was still perfectly readable.

I'd tend to think one of the following;
1. A real "bug".
2. MacOS incompatibility.

Thanks again.

In reply to by ST Keller

Much progress. 😀
Increasing the page width allowed the whole piece to go to 3 bars per system.
Selecting some bars and forcing a "system return" has allowed me to force 2 bars per system where I wanted.
My final clean up would be to get 5 systems per page instead of the current 6 and 4. The second page has wide gaps between each of the 4 systems whereas the original and what I'm trying to achieve, has 5 systems, evenly spaced on each page.
Onwards and Upwards!


Attachment Size
Back Fugue II Book 2 (2).mscz 48.38 KB

In reply to by Ozfrog

You wrote:
My final clean up would be to get 5 systems per page...

Select measure 15 and use the 'Page break' from the 'Layout' palette.

To even out the bottom edge of music across the 2 pages, use menu item: Format > Style > Page and select 'Enable vertical justification of staves'.
Back Fugue II Book 2a.mscz

(I adjusted the page margins to make some room at the page edge instead of placing the notation right up to the very edge of the paper.)

In reply to by Jm6stringer


Applied these two band-aids.
See attachment.
Looking much better.

I am not a coder, so I don't realise the work involved but I think there might be a few things MuseScore could emulate from Finale. These are not criticisms but just things I personally think might be addressed.
Page parameteres;
1. Number of systems per page = " user value " => Systems are automatically evenly spaced.
The height and width of each system to be easily changed by "handles" in the GUI.
2. Number of bars per system by default = "user value ".
Selection plus KB key combination to change default config. Maybe a dedicated selection tool?
3. The .XML patch for the keypad is great - please add - "." = dotted note and "9" = triplet.
4. (i) Get note duration.
(ii) If "." is pressed, add 50% duration.
(iii) If no note is entered and "R" is pressed, enter equivalent rest duration.
In my dreams - emulate ALL the great stuff from Sibelius + Dorico + Finale and eliminate ALL the warts.

It's Springtime officially!

Oh - and please keep up the excellent work as far as feedback goes - this is exemplary.



Attachment Size
Back Fugue II Book 2 (2).mscz 42.76 KB

There are several ways to save space horizontally but it is impossible in MU3 & 4 to force measures into one system. If space is not enough to ensure that no collision happens the system will break and I kind of like that.

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