Beaming eighth notes by beat in time signatures without a half-bar

I’m trying to beam eighth notes in pairs, such as 10/8 as [2+2+2+2+2]/8, or 6/8 as [2+2+2]/8. However, I can’t find settings in Notation > Beam Grouping that will perform this automatically - Dorico insists on beaming the entire measure of eighth notes together.

I’d expect “Break beams at beat boundaries” to work, but I guess technically each beat is only 1 eighth note…however, because I’m defining the beat groups explicitly, I think this option should respect them.

I’d rather not use 5/4 or 3/4 because the piece is full of time signature changes with an 8 denominator. Is there a setting that will work, or do I have to beam these measures manually?

Hi Jester!
If you find that 5/4 or 3/4 time signatures do work as expected, you could write those on the second bar of 10/8 or 6/8 section and hide them… Not a perfect solution but you could still earn time :wink:
Anyway, as I understand that the [2+2+2+2+2]/8 and [2+2+2]/8 do work as you wish, you can simply alt-click those instead of reentering that time signature in the popover, it’s really fast.

Thanks Marc, but the problem is that even if I enter it as [2+2+2+2+2]/8 or even 2+2+2+2+2/8, the eighth notes are not beamed in pairs.

Ok, I did not understand that square brackets did not work for this case. Well, then use a keyboard shortcut to beam together (I make a cmd-b for that myself) to be fast on that manual action, and maybe use the other trick I gave you (5/4 time signature hidden)…

I suppose the problem is that if the time signature is 10/8 the eighth notes are the beats.

These option do affect the grouping of shorter notes, e.g. 16ths.

This Notation option perhaps?


Jesele, that option says “16th notes” and it means what it says.

But it beams the eights like OP wanted I think, did you try?


Ah, you are right, it does what the OP wanted.

I simply tried every option until I found one that worked.
; - )


Finale has a very useful option to display a different time signature from the one actually in effect that solves such issues. If Dorico 3 doesn’t have one, it needs one. I remember running into a poly-metric problem that was impossible to solve in Dorico 2 because it didn’t have such an option.

You can usually get what you want in Dorico, because any time signature can have a pickup bar, and the pickup bar can be longer than the standard bar if necessary.

So the strategy is to create a visible time signature with a pickup bar of the correct length, and a hidden time signature in the next bar. You may have to edit the beaming in the first bar.

The only situation I have found which can’t be done in Dorico is a change of time signature “in the middle of a bar” without a barline preceding it, because Dorico doesn’t have “invisible” bar lines.

Goldberg variation 26 has this in the original notation, but of course there are plenty of ways to notate the same thing using tuplets without this notational oddity. (The polymetric time signatures and 3/4 and 18/16).

Thanks very much, Rob. From the sidelines, that does sound like a rather cumbersome workaround of the type that Finale is infamous for. Having the option to display a different time signature seems much more efficient to me.

The polymetric problem I referred to occurs in Chopin’s Nocturne in C# minor op. posth. There are two versions of the same measures, an ossia in 3/4 and the main text in 4/4. The two measures of 3/4 equal one measure of 4/4. If I recall correctly, I was only able to do this in Dorico by creating the time signature as text and adjusting the numbers manually. In Finale, I could use the option to display a different time signature, but had to insert fake bar lines. It seemed such a shame to me that Dorico had come so close to a real solution to this situation but not quite close enough. Perhaps the workaround you describe does make this possible in Dorico. I will try it out when I demo Dorico 3
Chopin ex.jpeg

It’s easy enough to do that in Dorico using the technique I described. Start with a 3/4 time signature with 2 beat pickup, then change to a hidden 2/4 time signature. You need hidden triplets for all the ossia notes as well.

Compared with some of Chopin’s “non-standard” rhythmic notation that one is pretty simple.

P.S. I assume the editor “forgot” the D naturals in the ossia part :slight_smile:

Thanks, Rob. I’ll try it out as soon as they offer a 30-day trial. It gets even more interesting a little later in the piece where the meter changes from 4/4 to 3/4 in the middle of bar in the left hand. Is this also possible?

Yes, the “editor” had his hands full with his Dorico experiment and did no proofing at the time. So please forgive errors, I don’t have access to Dorico now.

I didn’t realize it was your own edition John, but I couldn’t find that ossia in any of the IMSLP editions so I wondered where it had come from.

As I said before, the one thing you can’t do (except by just creating a text item that looks like a time signature) is have a time signature without a bar line in front of it, like the 3/4 in the middle of a bar in your second example. That is the same problem as the Goldberg example I posted

It was just an experiment to see how Dorico would hold up doing a highly annotated edition based on the original sources. It did well and would have done even better had I known your trick, aside from the alternate fingering issues that stand in my way.

The ossia comes from the earliest of the autographs of the piece. Since as you know, the middle section conflates themes from two movements of the Concerto no. 2, which are in two different meters, Chopin apparently improvised it in the two meters and wrote it down that way, which I think is unique in his output. Then he changed it to the tamer version now known, but the area in my second example makes more sense when one knows the origin of it.