A very complicated request

Greetings all,
If someone has a solution for this, I’m all ears. I would like to request in a future version the ability to do multiple tempi at the same time. I know that this is not something that is likely to occur in either Dorico 3 or probably even 4, but it would be useful for some of the work I am doing.

The example I’ll give is that I am currently working on a project for the estate of one of my composition teachers to see about the plausibility of engraving some of his works from the 70’s and 80’s. Many of these were difficult to do in Finale, but can easily be done in Dorico (A reason I’ve switched). But I’m working on an orchestral work of his that has 2 different tempi at the same time, and I can’t find a common rhythmic value that I could use instead of the tempo indicated.

Alternatively, and I haven’t found anything about this in the documentation, if I could move and hide barlines independent of each other, I could work with that as well, and put the second tempo in using the engrave section.

I’m sure this is quite complicated, but I also believe it can be solved. I’m only asking for this in the notation, not playback (although that would be nice as well). If anyone has any alternative ideas, i would be interested.

Thanks for reading,


You can effectively move barlines by doing this:
A. Enter a global time signature using the Shift+M popover and closing it with Enter.
B. Set the caret at the start of (one of) the stave(s) that you want to be at a different time signature, type Shift+M, your different time signature, and close with Alt+Enter. This time signature can now be Alt+Clicked to all other staves that need to be in a different tempo.
C. If necessary, use hidden tuplets to make the notation look correct.
Once you have independent time signatures, you’ll get independent barlines automatically.

It might be helpful to see a little example of what you’re trying to achieve - that way you’ll get a more specific answer.

Craig, Thanks for the link. I didn’t see that one when searching. I’m glad that it’s on their list, but I have enough programming experience to see how this could be difficult. It might be easier to do playback than notation.

Pianoleo, thanks for the advice. Most of that I have been trying, but I have included a brief example (the estate is nervous about me posting too much) of what I’m trying to do. I hope it helps. Right now, I’m looking for any workaround that might be possible. I’m not sure I have the math to calculate the polyrhythms to make this work. Anyway, here’s a glimpse at what I’m trying to work with.


132:99 is a 4:3 relationship - so you might be able to realize this with a bunch of big tuplets and extra barlines. This is how I was able to input Nancarrow’s Study No. 16 (attached); it uses a 5:3 relationship. If you look at the signposts you should be able to see what I did - I hope it helps!

A full orchestra piece is a bigger job than a player piano piece - so I don’t know if this is viable for the amount of time you might have to spend on it, though.
Nancarrow-Study16.dorico.zip (557 KB)

thank you for sending the file. I look forward to looking at it, but I have a problem. I downloaded it and unpacked the zip file, but it doesn’t have a dorico file in it. Is the something else I’m supposed to do? I haven’t downloaded a file from the forum before, so maybe i"ve missed something. Sorry.


It’s probably not actually zipped. Just change the file extension to remove the “.zip” and it should open correctly.

That was it! Thanks, Dan.