"a tempo" suggestion and relative tempo suggestion

First suggestion.

When using “a tempo” in scores, I have had performers ask “a tempo to where?”. This is a valid question because they want to be sure to return to the proper tempo yet traditional engraving does not make this obvious (it requires looking backwards).

  • it would be useful to have an additional property on the “a tempo” to automatically show the calculated return tempo as a q= mark. I write this in manually, to eliminate this question. Which means that I have to be careful to fix the manual text, if modifying the prior tempo in a later score revision. Example of manual workaround:

Screen Shot 2024-04-27 at 6.26.43 PM

Partly because of this engraving ambiguity, media composers do not bother to use “a tempo” and simply always write literal q= tempo marks.

Second suggestion.

When using gradual tempos in a score, it would be nice if Dorico calculated the final q= tempo in the property panel next to the “final tempo %” data entry box. If I want to end up on a specific tempo, then I either calculate the % by hand (without Dorico’s help which it could easily calculate), or I figure it out by trial-and-error, modifying the “%” and using Playback and watching the transport area’s tempo box for Dorico’s final BPM value, repeating this until I get the desired q= tempo.

  • If Dorico provided the real calculated q= next to the “Final tempo %” in the property panel then it would simplify entry of gradual tempo changes. Or, if Dorico allowed data entry of either one: if entering the “%” change, Dorico would calculate the final BPM and present it visually; or, if entering the final BPM then Dorico would calculate the % change and present it visually. Example:

I am a strong believer that Dorico should pre-load the starting tempo for accel. or rit. and allow one to set the final tempo as a property.

No idea when or if this will happen, but I keep my fingers crossed (which may explain my keyboard playing).

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FYI:

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Additionally the default final tempo % on relative tempo change seems to be 75%, that is really quite a large change, seems like a very large default. I nearly always have to change it to something like 85%. Is rubato really measured at typically 75% ?

Rubato isn’t measured typically at any percentage, it’s entirely contextual. The team had to put an arbitrary value. If that bothers you to the point of needing to change the tempo a million times per page, I guess a default configuration value on playback options would suffix.
I don’t know why they decided to go by final tempo % instead of just a BPM value, but yeah I like your suggestions.

Isn’t “a tempo” simply back to the last tempo?

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It is.

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Yes however things like page turns or system breaks make “last tempo” difficult to immediately sight-read, which is why performers ask and then sometimes pencil onto their own scores.

I like having the “final tempo %” as a “%” in many cases, because it allows easy copy-paste to other measures for expressionistic rubato in various places. I guess mostly using something like 92%.