Controlling note groupings and beamings with X time signature

Hello folks,

I’m new to Dorico and one of the things I’m slightly struggling with is how to work idiomatically with Dorico’s tendency to rewrite rhythms and beams. I appreciate the focus on trying to use consistent style rules, but sometimes it makes it tricky to get what is wanted.

One example is the following rhythm. Written in a 3/4 time signature it displays as I want:


However, if I switch to (or start with) an X time signature, Dorico insists on compressing the last tied notes:


How can I get Dorico to understand the note/beam groupings that I’m looking for when a time signature is not present? (In this case it would suffice for Dorico to understand that notes are still grouped by quarter.)

Obviously I could just write using hidden time signatures and make barlines invisible (although that seems to be non-trivial…), but I’d really like to understand how to use the no-time-signature option effectively and idiomatically. Can anyone advise?

Thanks and best wishes,

   -- Joe

You could use Force Duration, press o first.


I was pretty sure I’d tried that, but I’ll give it another go. Thanks for the reminder anyway!

Is there any way to prevent Dorico from rewriting the rhythms when a time signature is changed (e.g. if I edit the 3/4 and turn it into an X)?

Don’t think so, but could be wrong.
Anyway possible with Force Duration


Actually, if you select all the notes and press o before changing time signature you’ll get this.



If you want note grouping like in 3/4, why not keep the 3/4 time signature but hide it if necessary? You can give individual staves their own time signatures by closing the popover with Alt-Return, if you want to control note grouping in different ways on different staves (although they’d have misaligned barlines by default; I can’t remember whether Dorico adjusts note grouping for a meter if you delete a barline)

Thanks for the suggestion. That’s the solution I came to initially, but I gathered from other forum posts that it’s non-trivial to hide the barlines as well as the time signature, and that if no barlines are wanted, it’s considered idiomatic to write with no time signature. So I wanted to understand that idiom better.

BTW that’s also why I asked above about keeping the rhythms while changing time signature: the music is already written in 3/4 and I would prefer not to have to do a massive editing job just to change the time signature!

If you don’t need dashed barlines anywhere, you can set the dash length to 0 (Engraving Options–Barlines). Then use Shift-B, ; to set a “dashed” barline that appears invisible. I use this all the time.

Thanks for the thought. I came across that just now and was wondering if it would be useful … but then, what if I do want dashed barlines elsewhere? :-\

I’m honestly a bit surprised that amid all the default-barline options, there is not a choice for “no barlines”.

You can actually just select and delete the barlines, and Dorico will retain the existing beam grouping. As such there really isn’t a need for hidden barlines in this situation.

The exception is barlines that coincide with a time signature, whether or not that time signature is hidden.