´ Pickup measures in FORTE music notation software
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Tutorial: How to write pickup measures

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Pickup Measures in 3 Minutes!

In this video we will show you how to write pickup measures within your score and everything else you need to know about pickups. When setting up your score using the score wizard, you can add the pickup at the beginning of the score. Generally, the last measure has to be shortened by the note value of the pickup measure.


Here’s a transcript of the video for you

Our example shows that FORTE has already optimized the first and the last measure. In the middle of our song, there’s a repeat. That means that the measure containing the repeat must be shortened. The song has a two quarters signature. The pickup contains two 16th notes, amounting to the value of one eighth note. In measure 6, there’s a quarter rest instead of the required eighth rest. In the following measure, we will have a new pickup of one eighth-note. All other measures return to the original two quarters time signature.

Let us look at the input palette. In the tab „Meter“, there are all options that we will need.


At first, we will enter a two quarters meter in measure 8.
This way, we won‘t mess up the following measures. This can be critical, if you have already written notes into the later measures.


Select the two quarters meter from the input palette and add it to the score with a click. Now, let us add the correct meter for measure 6, the last measure before the repeat sign. We will need a 3 eighth note meter. Enter the values „3“and „8“ into the respective custom field of the „Meter“ tab. Add the custom meter to measure 6.
Please note that custom meters are only available in FORTE Home and FORTE Premium.
Now we will need a one eighth-note meter for measure 7. That is the mock pickup measure of the second part of our song. Let‘s enter the notes for the rest of our song.

The properties windows helps you to edit and hide elements!

Subsequently, we will hide the time signatures. Double-click on the element and open the properties window with a right-click. Select the tab „General“and check the box „Hidden“. Repeat this procedure for all other time signatures.

As our final step, let us polish over our layout and edit the spaces of the notes and sizes of the measures. To re-position an element, please click on the element. It should turn red now that it’s marked. Press “control” and keep “ctrl” pressed while using the arrow keys to re-position the element to the desired place.

How did you like this tutorial?
We’re looking forward to your comments!
You will find more tutorial videos on our YouTube-Channel.

Have a great day
Your FORTE Team


  1. John - June 4, 2017 Reply

    How do I start the bar numbering after the pick up – ie on the first full bar?

    • FORTE Team - June 6, 2017 Reply

      Hi John,

      that’s an excellent question.
      Please go to Score – Layout – Tab “Options”
      You can edit the measure numbering here.
      (This is available in FORTE Home and Premium).

      Kind regards,
      Your FORTE Team

  2. Gail Nash - June 26, 2017 Reply

    Very helpful about pickup measures.

    Something I often need to do in my band music is insert a double vertical line somewhere in a measure to indicate separate sections of the score. I can only find a way to add the double lines over measure bar lines. Is there a way to do what I want with double lines within a measure?

    • FORTE Team - June 28, 2017 Reply

      Dear Gail,

      thank you for your question.
      In order to indicate separate sections, we recommend you use the marker tool that you find in the input palette’s tab “text / chords”.

      Of course, double vertical lines also indicate a new section.
      However, double vertical lines can only be added at the end of a measure.
      If neither the marker or the comma (“Accents / Techniques” ) will suffice,
      you’ll have to adjust the meter (and hide the element afterwards)
      in order to insert double vertical lines “into” the measure.

      Kind regards,
      Your FORTE Team

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