Compensating for a Pickup Measure in the Final Bar

Compensating for a Pickup Measure in the Final Bar

Often when an anacrusis or pickup measure appears at the beginning of a piece, the last measure of the piece will be truncated to complete the first measure. For instance, a quarter note pickup in a piece that is in 2/4 time will often end in a measure that is 1 quarter note long (as seen above).

Since the time signature does not change when this last measure is truncated, creating the desired visual effect requires a few extra steps.  

After creating the initial pickup measure (the process is described in this Finale User Manual article for Windows or Mac) here’s how I’d address the final bar:

  1. Choose the Time Signature Tool and double-click the finale measure in the score.
  2. Set the time signature to the appropriate size. For instance, if the anacrusis was 1 quarter note long and the time signature for the piece is 2/4, set the time signature for the last measure to 1/4 to account for 1 quarter note less than the true time signature.
  3. Click More Options, then, in the lower area of the window, select Use a Different Time Signature for Display.
  4. Set the lower time signature (which will now be used as the display signature) to the same time signature that was used leading up to the last measure, then click OK. In my example, the Time Signature dialog box was configured like this:

Compensating for a Pickup Measure in the Final Bar 2

The last measure is now prepared for the appropriate amount of beats to account for the anacrusis at the beginning of the score.

John HansenJohn Hansen is a notation technician within the MakeMusic Customer Success department. John found his passion for music later in life after serving in the military. He started learning about music theory in college at the age of 25 and received his B.A. in Music Composition from Colorado Christian University in 2016.

John lives in Colorado with his wife Mary and baby son James. In his free time, John enjoys composing a broad range of music from orchestral to rock and metal. He plays the drum set primarily but also attempts to sound good on the piano and guitar.

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