dorico aleatoric music

Hi there,

thought I’d share with you all a little basic aleatoric notation example I made yesterday/today in about 20 minutes. See attached.

I figured out how to add internal repeat lines (i.e. ones that aren’t tied to bar lines) and form thick black tar lines from note clusters, both via the SMUFL Unicode tables → see for example.

My biggest obstacles about doing this kind of notation again in this piece are:

(1) it’s a pain to hide things. To hide a single item you have to Open properties, activate the button for “color”, set opacity to 0, press enter, activate the button for “rest position” drag the rest above the staff, make sure it’s not dotted (because the dot won’t hide) or not a whole/half note (because the tongue of the rest doesn’t hide). This is too far too much for a single item. Needs to be one or two keystrokes!

(2) It’d be nice to have alt-click copy capabilities in “Engrave” mode as well as in “Write” mode… This way I don’t have to keep going back between “Write” to copy a special character (or its size/length)to another stave and “Engrave” to adjust its position. (Say for example internal repeats, fermata symbols, etc.)

  1. These cluster lines aren’t dynamic (yet), so the length can’t be adjusted between parts and score…

Perhaps most importantly:
4) It should be a given assumption that free-time signature bars are by definition “open”. There shouldn’t be rests unless an engraver wants them. In free-time bars, you should be able to drag notes left and right via the “Engrave” mode.

but it looks hopeful. we’ll get there.


That may be a useful option, but there are plenty of uses for bars without time signatures but which do use conventional notation for rhythms (including rests, of course). That includes a huge amount of music written in the 16th century, as well as the 20th and 21st!

That’s also true – but if that music is meant to line up vertically, couldn’t you just use a time signature of 250/1 and call it a day?


Can you please tell me how you made the thick lines following the repeat signs? I tried to copy and paste the square note cluster from the page at the link you have provided, but it comes out as a totally different symbol when I paste it. Is there a specific font to be used? Sorry if this is a noob question.

UPD: In the meantime, I have managed to fake it using a graphic frame. Ends up looking like this:

The bad news, of course, is that if relocate anything in the score, I’ll have to adjust the graphic frame manually, which can become painful, considering the fact that I will be using multiple instances of this.


yup, it’s not perfect… it did take a lot of work… it would need to be adjusted, indeed. hopefully they’ll make it easier for us in version 2.

I’m afraid I doubt we will make much headway in this specific area before our next major update, but we definitely, definitely plan to implement features for frame/cell notation in future.

thank you, Daniel! Let’s hope so. It would make such an incredible difference - especially for students, who’ll often take the easy way out and write metric music just because it’s faster to do so.