# "Double" time signatures

Having read the “Double clefs” thread, I am wondering how I can notate the attached in Dorico. This type of time signature was common up to about 1700.

David

It’s possible, though fiddly.
Invoke the meter popover (Shift-M). Type the following, exactly: 4/4 / 3/4, 3
[this tells Dorico to create an interchangeable meter that is a bar of 4/4 followed by a bar of 3/4. The final comma 3 tells Dorico to give a pickup bar of 3 beats]
In the bottom panel (Write mode) change the Separator to ’ ’ (a space)
Then tick the Common/cut common switch.
Next, select the barline at the start of bar 2, type Shift-M again and type 3/4 into the popover. In my test this 3/4 time signature automatically hides, but if it doesn’t, just flick the Hide Time Signature switch in the bottom panel.

The only caveat is that Dorico treats the first measure as being the 2nd, 3rd and 4th beats of a 4/4 bar. You’ll need to rebeam things yourself - I had to use force duration to get the dotted minim/half in the bass staff.

Screenshot of end result attached.

Thanks pianoleo - this is a terrific example!

I like brain teasers

But should it be such a complicated procedure? In S…s, where my example was made, one just moves “3/4” to the right and then adds C from a panel – and the first bar still starts on beat one.

David

Well you could do it with Shift-X text if you do wished, but it would need fiddling in each layout if you had multiple layouts. The same possibly applies in Sibelius; I can’t remember…

And frankly, once you’ve persuaded someone else to take 20 minutes to work out how to actually do it, implementing it takes approximately 20 seconds.

You’re right, of course, that Sibelius makes this easy. However, a crucial difference between Dorico and its competitors (Finale probably moreso than Sibelius) is that Dorico handles things semantically - it cares about WHY you’re trying to put something on a page, as opposed to just giving you a set of generic tools that let you put anything on a page.

Just today I’ve been crying out for horizontal brackets (think 1st time bar endings without the number), something that the team haven’t yet implemented. In the end I resorted to devising a macro that takes an existing (piano sustain) pedal marking, sets hooks at each end, makes them inverted hooks (ones that point down), changes the line width and nudges them up 14 spaces so that they show above the staff rather than below it. This - horizontal brackets - is one of many cases where it’s not a necessity for enough users for the developers to prioritise implementing it.

What you’re asking for is a means to notate something that was “common until about 1700”. I typed another paragraph here and then I remembered that another user (you!) put my sentiment much more eloquently just yesterday:

You’re right, of course, that Sibelius makes this easy. However, a crucial difference between Dorico and its competitors (Finale probably moreso than Sibelius) is that Dorico handles things semantically - it cares about WHY you’re trying to put something on a page, as opposed to just giving you a set of generic tools that let you put anything on a page.

I think we basically agree. And my WHY is the best one possible: it is a valid and venerable (though some would say out-moded) notational feature.

But this raises a potential problem with all software: that decisions made at in the initial design stage can impede development. In this case, IF the Dorico team has decided that all time signatures take up a certain horizontal space, or are comprised of only one glyph, C3/4 could not be accommodated. (I think one might make a universal rule that, because of restrictions placed in early planning, the development of all applications grinds to a halt after a certain time.)

David

Once a program has become fairly fixed, then often plug-ins arrive to fill in niche needs or common routines initially overlooked in the original development process. Sometimes these are later absorbed into the program.

Be that as it may, Dorico is still growing and has not yet reached a stage at which plug-in development is altogether productive.