Dorico: multiple Time Signatures

Hi. After a long time working with Sibelius I just bought Dorico v1.2. Reason is that in an ensemble work with 5 different instruments I need to give each staff its own Time Signatures. In Sibelius this is not possible but colleagues told me that Finale and Dorico are able to do this, in a Written score as well as in the Play mode. After hours of trying I didn’t succeed in finding out how this should be done. Can somebody help me out here? Simply knowing were I can find the appropriate info will do (I hope).
Thanks in advance for a quick reply!

best regards,
Walter van Hauwe

Hello Walter!
Claude Lapalme has explained in a post how you should use multiple time signatures (in case you want to use a 12/8 at the same time than a C meter, with same barlines).
You can use the ability Dorico has to have a pickup bar greater than the meter. And to input a meter (or a key signature, or a special barline…) you alt-enter instead of enter when you’ve finished writing the popover content. I could not find that thread, so here is an explanation:
•Invoke the time signature popover (shift M)
•Write 12/8, 8 in the popover
•Press alt-enter
•Fill this bar, using hidden tuplets (a single tuplet with 8th value engaged, and with a ratio of 12:8 should do the trick)
•Next bar, invoke shift-M
•Write C and alt-enter
•Input all your music in that staff using the 12:8 hidden tuplet. Your score looks like you have one staff with a 12/8 meter while everything else is in C, all the spacings are perfect.

Hope it helps

Dear Marc, thank you so much for this very helpful info. Now I finally found a way to sneak in into this obscure territory of music notation. Great!
Best regards,

Please feel free to ask very precisely when you encounter problems, there are many helpful friends in here ! You can also use the Facebook group :wink:

Dear Marc, sorry to disturb you again but each time when I open Dorico I got a error message, saying:

One or more of the components used by Dorico for playback has not been found.
Please run Steinberg Assistent and install Halion Sonic SE and Halion Symphonic Orchestra.

And that is just what I did twice now. In the PLAY-mode I can see on the right site, under VST Instruments, I can see that Halion Sonic Se seems to be installed indeed. I deleted the entire Dorico program, with all its files, two times now and re-installed it, inclusive the two programs mentioned in the message, but always this message appears. For the rest the program seems to work well. However, if I want to change an organ sound into a recorder sound, the (now recorder)line remain silent while the others (still organ)sounds sound perfect. Is this problem know to you (or to somebody else of course)?

Dear Walie,
I never had this kind of problem.
I’ve read many posts like yours, and I know Anthony Hughes and Ulf Stoermer have made a very nice video with all the problems related to play mode, so if you dig in this direction you should find an answer.
I suppose you’re running Windows?

Dear Marc, thanks for your quick reply again. I will check these video’s; I already found them. Don’t worry, I will not bother you again with this problem.
By the way, I run Mac.

Walter, to solve your problem it should be as simple as running Steinberg Download Assistant and downloading and installing the items listed as “Dorico Playback 1” and “Dorico Playback 2”.

Marc, were you referring to this post on

I was referring to a post from Claude Lapalme, wgere I learned how to do that, and it looks like your post perfectly describes the path, I will refer to it next time someone asks for help about that! Maybe I could try and translate your post in French for those people from the French-speaking page on Facebook?

If you think it’s worth the effort, of course, go for it!
(Seeing that my post is obviously a bit bloated, I suppose that the instructions you wrote above would suffice perfectly as well, wouldn’t they?)

Here it is!

Now that’s something worth translating! Concise and precise… I didn’t know you had written this post, Claude, I must have missed it. Otherwise I would probably not have bothered to write up my post.

Thanks Claude ! I did remember it was you, and that “Jesus bleibet meine Freude” piece :slight_smile: Thanks for the link. And indeed, Florian, it might be faster to translate that post… I’ll think of it when I’ll give it some time!
Anyway, thanks to both for the tremendous help here :slight_smile:


I’m engraving part of Vaughan Williams’ Symphony 8 for a music theory article.

Is there a trick for getting this kind of multiple time signature in Dorico? See screenshot of original, and then what is looking wrong with the beat value in my engraving (and how the vertical placement of the notes is now off). My engraving is staying at e=e which is not what Vaughan William has.


Write the whole score in 2/4, and use hidden tuplets for the 6/8 note durations.

Create the 6/8 time signature change with a pickup bar of four 8th notes, so it makes a bar the same length as the 2/4 bars. Type 6/8,4 in the popover and press Alt-enter in the popover so the time signature only applies to one staff.

Then cancel the 6/8 in the next bar with a 2/4 signature, and hide it using the properties panel.

That will keep the “6/8” bar lines in sync with the 2/4.

Thanks, Rob!
Is there no other way to make this happen, other than “faking it” like this? It seems like I should be able to define the 2/4 as q.=q of the 6/8 rather than the e=e default.

If not, I’m sure this suggestion will work for now.
Thanks again.

It should indeed be possible to define the metric modulation to specify how the two time signatures relate to each other, but unfortunately that feature doesn’t yet exist in the program. It is planned for the future.

Is it correct that using this method for even one staff in a full orchestral score make huge time signatures unavailable?

Yes, that is correct.