Can't get note grouping right

I have a bar of 4/4 containing a quarter note, a half note, and a quarter note rest. I seem to have tried absolutely every option in Notation Options | Note grouping, Dorico insists on giving me two tied quarter notes instead of the half note. If I enter a half note, it’s because I want a half note! Is there any way to convince Dorico to give me what I want, instead of what it thinks I should want?

Welcome to the forum, digitig. By default what you expect is what Dorico should produce. The two options that affect this are under Syncopation on the Note Grouping page of Notation Options: ‘Notation of short-long-short patterns’ should be set to ‘Notate as single notes’ and ‘Rests substituting one of the short notes in short-long-short patterns’ should be set to ‘Notate as single notes’ too, and that should give the results you’re looking for.


I’m having the same problem, went over the Note Grouping and checked already all those options and I’m still getting “8th rest + 8th note tied to 8th note + 8th rest”, instead of 8th rest + 4th note + 8th rest". What am I missing?

Dorico won’t consider rests as part of the syncopated pattern: you’ll have to use Force Durations in this case.

Done. Any chance to add this option to the main menu?

We certainly plan to revisit the area of detecting syncopations in future, but I’m not sure about this specific case.

I would find the ability to use eighth-rest quarter-note eighth-note for after-beats if that becomes possible.

I can’t even get what I want using force durations in some cases. Even with force duration selected, as soon as I tie it to another note it jumps back to the original separate notes. (The case is, in 4/4, 2 quavers, a minim, two quavers; I want to tie the second quaver to the minim, but when I do the minim jumps to two crotchets.)

Force Duration works reliably as long as it’s turned on when each of the notes in the tie chain are entered. If you start with a forced note and then tie it to an existing non-forced note, you can’t expect it to work.

The preferable method is, and has always been, to turn on Force Duration, then enter the first note, then hit T, then enter the second note, then hit T, etc. etc. I have literally never found a situation where I can’t get Force Duration to give me what I want using this method.

I’m playing the music on a piano keyboard in real time then quantizing, so I have to do it retrospectively. The “preferable method” isn’t available.

Fine. Before you start fiddling with an existing tie chain, select the whole tie chain (all the notes and ties) and turn on Force Duration. Then, when adding or altering those notes, ensure that Force Duration is turned on at every step in the process.

A suggestion if I may? It would be nice if there was a key command that would toggle the duration when a tied note is selected… like if it’s currently tied convert it to, if possible, a non-tied version (e.g. quarter-tie-quarter to half note) or if impossible change to another possible tied combination (dotted quarter tie quarter to half tie eigth).

The handling of durations is one Dorico’s rougher edges. It seems odd that the behavior must be set at note entry time with no easy way to convert it after the fact.

Dear Tyler,
Since Dorico 2.2.10, you can use Force duration after the fact. It’s actually pretty useful, combined with lengthen notes and an appropriate grid. Your suggestion seems like a holy grail, but think of some situations where there could be a lot of possibilities… Learning how to use force duration in depth seems more reliable : it already exists, and you can achieve whatever is needed :wink:

The thing that’s possibly difficult to understand is that retrospective Force Duration doesn’t change anything; it fixes (locks?) the selected duration(s). Used in conjunction with the Shorten/Lengthen By Grid shortcuts this is fairly quick.

Also, if you are working “retrospectively”, U will split a note in two at the position of the note entry cursor. The key sequence U O T is often useful.

(The mnemonic U might mean “untie”, but since Dorico treats tied notes as “one long note,” U works the same way on tied and untied notes.)

There are several tools to adjust this in Dorico, you just need to find the ones that work best for what you want to do (and avoid the “if you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail” scenario!)

No, I still can’t get it to work. I’m currently trying to enter syncopated rests in a lead sheet so I can show the correct positioning of the accompanying guitar chords, and no matter what I do with force duration (and/or lock duration), Dorico combines the rests. I’m switching to Sibelius, because I need to get this done.

You’re not using Space to enter rests, are you? Cos that’s not what Space does… you need Y.

“Input Pitch ( Pitch: X )”? Well, that’s clear, isn’t it? [Tries it: Y always seems to enter a G, which isn’t a rest]

I’m trying hard not to switch back to Sibelius, because I want to build up the muscle memory for Dorico. One project I’m working on is transcribing a grand mass for choir, soloists and augmented orchestra, and Dorico is making it a dream. I’ve done a smaller project in Sibelius (it was a piano reduction, not a full score) and I don’t want to go back to that experience. Then I try to produce a simple lead sheet for a church music group, and I find I’m beating my head against a brick wall. I have to go back to Sibelius for things Dorico doesn’t support such as guitar capo chords. And documentation is one of my perennial Dorico gripes.

Are you in Rest Mode? I believe that’s invoked using a comma. I don’t use it much, so I’m not really familiar with it, but that should work.

You’ll see the rest icon on the left panel light up.

For what it’s worth, probably 2/3 of what I do in Dorico is for rhythm band. It’s excellent for that. I made a tutorial on lead sheets in Dorico for several of my church music friends; you may find it helpful:

It would help to know exactly what rhythm you are trying to produce, but try selecting the “wrong” rest notation, pressing O for forced duration, and then the number (and possibly “.”) that would want it to have. Note, this only works if you select the rest when you are NOT in note input mode.

In note input mode, you can go into Rest mode by pressing comma, and then entering any note (A-G) will actually create a rest, not the note. But beware that even if you exit note input mode and restart it, Dorico remembers you are in rest mode, so you may end up scratching your head as to why you can’t enter any notes at all (been there, done that…)