Double stems - Schumann bizarre rhythmic notation

is there a way to replicate the attached fragment with Dorico Pro 3.5 (which is bars 21-24 of Des Abends from Fantasiestücke op.12 by Schumann)? I guess it’ll be easy to set a second voice layer with the down-stem notes, and I already know how to separate the beams to obtain just single eight-notes, but then I have no idea on how I could write a quaver where Dorico knows it should be a semiquaver. How can I “fake” a note duration (which is NOT “force duration”, neither a notehead change, as this affects the flag and not the head)?
Thanks for any help.

Surely, what Schumann means is that the quaver is held into the next bar, as has happened on previous beats. Obviously, the normal notation would be two semiquavers tied across the bar line, which is what Dorico will produce if you input a quaver at that point; but Schumann’s notation is perfectly clear and less fussy!

I will leave it to the experts here to tell you how to duplicate this neat trick in Dorico!


The “simple” answer is create a 2:1 tuplet for the quaver at the end of the bar.

Or if you want the quaver to play back into the next bar as david-p says, write two semiquavers tied over the bar line, then create a 1:1 tuplet and set the “spans barline” property to display it as a quaver at the end of the first bar.

I just used a similar notation in a project, and here’s what I did:

-Input the up-stem eighth notes on the beat, one beat earlier than you want them to ultimately appear.
-In the Note Spacing mode in Engrave Mode, click on the little circular handle for each eighth note and use Alt/Option + right arrow to shift them over until they exactly overlap with the same note in the other voice. Thankfully Dorico uses a precise grid for horizontal spacing, so it is possible to make the noteheads merge into one.

This won’t work for playback but it a visual workaround. The downside is that any time an adjustment is made to horizontal spacing (i.e. introducing a new system break, or even just inputting an accidental on the same system), you will have to start over with these graphical note spacing adjustments.

Liam, you might try Rob’s suggestion next time - it’s much more robust.

Thank you Rob Tuley, I wish I had done it that way! Would’ve saved a bunch of time.

I wouldn’t try to do this graphically. As Liamk warned, any changes to the horizontal spacing can be altered by formatting. Rob’s suggestions work well and can be done quite quickly, especially if you set up one bar and then copy it and use Lock to Duration. Just in case his explanation wasn’t clear enough, here’s a screen shot of how you can do his first or ‘simple’ answer:

As he remarked, this won’t play back correctly, with the 8th lasting over the barline.
This will:

Actually it’s not bizarre rhythmic notation at all! :wink:
Schumann 2.png
Schumann 1.png

Thanks for this addendum, Vaughan!

I had never thought that correct playback was possible in such a situation, and I just assumed that I would have to live with whatever tuplet I created along the lines of Rob’s suggestion and your first option. This second option is just too cool!


The second option is probably most useful in early (16th century) music which was originally written and published without and regular bar lines, and with individual parts having independent rhythms.

Adding editorial bar lines makes life easier for modern readers, but can give a misleading impression of imposing a regular “beat” plus “syncopations” which was not the original intention. Using tuplets across bar lines instead of tied notes over bar lines helps to preserve the original rhythmic notation.

Could someone explain why Schumann has not used dotted quavers in the LH?

It’s in 2/8, and all the semiquaver/16ths are triplets.

Ah, suddenly it makes sense!

Thank you all for your suggestions, Rob’s one is genius (and I love Dorico!). And yes, maybe “bizarre” was not the right term, but I’m not english-speaking and as you can imagine I just wanted to point out the non-usual way of writing a syncope (a way that I really love in Schumann’s writing, though).