# Dorico tuplet style (via Corigliano)

hi there – I wonder if you could consider adding a tuplet style that I consider quite elegant – courtesy of John Corigliano:

here, as you’ll see, a heap of notes are in a bracket that clearly shows the duration of the beat.

Looks very elegant, I’d say once again, and gives the performer a clear view of the big picture without too much fuss.

Thanks!

I like this notation very much. I also found it first in Corigliano’s music. It has to be said that Corigliano’s handling of tuplet notation is particularly good and is comprised of an impressive arsenal of choices, all of them always used intelligently for maximum legibility. He we will use ordinary triplet notation, ratio-based number display, notehead based display such as above, and even “approximate” tuplets in unmeasured segments such as “ca. half-note tied to dotted half-note” (but with noteheads, of course). He seems to always make the best choice for any player to apprehend the correct performance of a tuplet quickly.

Nevertheless, although I am not a programmer, I know that Dorico tends to go for notation that is based on general principles; so even though such notation may not be difficult to implement for simple bracketed values (such as quarter-notes or dotted eighths), it would be far more complex to do when dealing with a 16th note tuplet starting on the last 16th of beat 2 and covering nine 16th notes for example. What is Dorico supposed to choose here? perhaps a 16th tied to a quarter; but what if we change the passage to an asymmetrical meter? Could we then make Dorico smart enough to present an array of noteheads suitable for clear reading. It sounds like a mess of problems unless the method was only used for simple values, which is what Corigliano tends to do (and sparingly). But still, I have to say that I have always found this notation to be pretty sweet. When a pianist in an orchestra sees a bar of 5/8 starting with an 8th note rest followed by a bunch of notes bracketed under a half-note, you don’t even have to ask yourself any question on how to perform the passage, even at first sight.

I like it too, disregarding truly difficult examples such as Claude mentioned.

+1 for all of that. Corigliano does use slightly more complicated tuplet brackets to show how many notes a feather-beamed phrase is meant to take up, showing subdivisions of the beat as well, as in this example, which shows several different ways:

I’ve added this to our backlog, but I can’t make any promises as to when we might get to it.

Thank you, Daniel!

I think that Corigliano’s notation for the feathered beaming is excellent because the duration of the group is not clear otherwise.

However, I think that if the first tuplet in the original example is simply an eighth note followed by a quintuplet of 32nd notes, the notation falls into the reinvent-the-wheel category and is actually confusing. If the notation means something freer, I hope that it is explained in the preface to the score and that the players all read it, because at a first reading, they may question why the composer didn’t notate this normally.

I will reluctantly agree with your factual statement.
But if I had to guess, the ambiguity of the original example was meant to obfuscate the mathematical complexities of the tuplet so as to make it more musical and less metronomic.

I was reminded of this by something I’m working on where there is often a flurry of short notes in a bar that is otherwise metrically straightforward.

I would probably prefer an 8th-note symbol under just the tuplet rather than the quarter not under the whole beat. Reading a score full of this sort of thing, I don’t really want to be told how many notes there are (I can see that!) but the duration of the whole group.

Corigliano’s notation is certainly easier to read than figuring out whether “7” means “7:4”, “7:6” or “7:8” in situations where it’s not spelled out, and it’s easier to read than mentally working out the length of the tuplet even when the notation explicitly says “7:something”.