Dorico messes up score downwind of time signature changes

So, I work on fairly complex musical scores that have a lot of very frequent time signature changes and uncommon time signatures everywhere such as 19/16 etc. This is New Complexity music. The composer often changes his mind about time signature and number of beats in certain bars. What I have found to my disappointment in two big pieces for piano I have been engraving is that even when I use the input source stop edit position (that I only just discovered) Dorico changes hundreds of note values to tied groups and I have to manually redo every one. I estimate I have lost a month full time work because of this this year, and it’s so frustrating that it’s time for a question to the forum.


The tied group was originally a dotted crotchet and now see what it has become.

It’s odd that I have never seen any other forum post along these lines.

What totally stupid thing am I doing wrong? It has got to the point where I don’t like fighting Dorico like this all day, sigh.

I can’t set up beaming groups because there are just far too many time signatures including lovely ones like 23/16 and even then the beaming is specified by the composer and does follow any easily specified rules, even though it is in fact rational and clear. I am guessing that this is Dorico imposing its will about beaming groups and how to do ties across beats and so on. If so, can one turn this off?

Indeed, when you change a meter, Dorico may change the rhythmic notation to fit it unless you’ve locked durations. Each number of beats has a default grouping, which you can override with brackets that don’t show in the notated meter.

Your composer changing the meters after you’ve done such complex entry is somewhat unfair. (Such changes would be at least as much work with F or S, where music does not flow across barlines.) On the other hand, you have to know that Dorico is designed this way. It does save time & effort and improve notation for a majority of users. The stop line does not AFAIK affect this rewriting of rhythmic values with meter changes.

To solve the red-arrow example above, simply select that chord and 4O6. (in English: shorten it so it is not tied, then lock duration and finally restore the correct duration.)

Well, that is odd, since you have a frequent presence here. There must be dozens of threads about this kind of thing.

Yes, this is where we have to go fixing things in Dorico, which is all rules-based. Custom beam groups, note durations, stem directions, etc. Not so complicated or difficult when you know how the features are designed to work.

If you set up a beam group such as [7+7+9]/16 for your 23/16, you can copy that time signature to another place and it will retain that beam grouping. Similarly you could have a different one [5+4+5+4+5]/16, which again you can copy. Both will show as 23/16 but have different beam groups.

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Thanks @Mark_Johnson I know how to revert the values. The problem is that it has smashed several hundreds notes downstream for dozens of pages and the damage is done.

Are you saying there may have been a way to lock durations to the end of the piece to stop this?

Hope you are charging the composer extra for all the work the changes entail.

After all, when I was having my house built (years ago) I had to pay extra for work orders that made changes in the original agreement.

Thanks @Janus. We are dealing with New Complexity School music here and even though there are many say 23/16’s the beaming varies in each one - that’s part of the complexity such composers espouse. So I can’t easily set a fixed beam grouping. But all this is very good to know.

You can lock the duration of all notes in a selection if this will save you time. Obviously if barlines move, you may then want to unlock some of them.