# Anacrusis

I can see how to begin with an up-beat bar of a half-beat etc., but how do I create an up-beat where the duration is shorter still - in this instance demisemiquaver (32nd note)?

Ian Schofield

specify as .125 etc.

Thank-you, I hadn’t tried decimal points, though I had given fractions a go!

Ian Schofield

Unfortunately we can’t easily use fractions for the pick-up, as it makes parsing the time signatures (which themselves of course look like fractions) more difficult.

The manual is misleading here, as it says to enter the number of notes, rather than beats, in the popover (page 91). I came across this when I needed to enter a multi note anacrusis. Using a decimal works well though.

Rather than fractions would it be possible to input an anacrusis as ‘8th’, ‘16th’, ‘32nd’ etc?
This should be parsable.

Yes, in theory, though how would you like to provide dotted values, or values that cannot be represented as a single (even dotted) note value?

I suppose ‘d8th’ or ‘.8th’? The worry is it all starts to look like code…
What about ‘qe’ for quarter + eighth? or ‘3qe’ for triplet quarter + eighth?
All a bit tenuous I’ll agree, but so is ‘.20833333’.

Maybe something like alt-(numkey) could actually show the note value (from note entry shortcuts) in the popover as you go. Could be useful for other popovers too?

This functionality in Dorico is really good, compared to the pain of having to fake time signatures to do this in Finale.

Being a programmer myself, I consider this path of “text input field that is parsed for values that the user hopes Dorico would understand” a very slippery slope.
I’ve done things like that in the past, and it always turned up to not be usable (enough) in the end. Either the expected syntax was too complicated for the user to remember with all its possible variants, or the things the users wanted to be able to put into the box was too complicated or diverse for the software to parse and understand.

I would strongly advise the Dorico team to really rethink this decision. Yes, it might be a great feature for these power users out there that will be able to remember the difference between “(3+2)/5” and “[3+2]/5”, but there will always be a majority of users that will need a more visual way of choosing whatever functionality these input fields provide. And these features will grow over time, making the text-based input more and more complicated.

Thanks, Daniel, for listening!

I think this is exactly the approach Dorico takes though, isn’t it? Provide UI to satisfy the visual way, and popovers for power users.

My first days with Dorico were very similar to a seventies text adventure…