feature request: alternate rhythm above staff

Hi. I just started using Dorico a couple of days ago. Really nice!

It would be helpful to have the ability to easily add an alternate rhythm above a given note. This is a common feature in Baroque music, where you might have an eighth note written in the staff, but have the alternate performance possibility of a sixteenth note written above the staff. I have tried to use the workaround of shift-X and then copying the SMuFL glyph using Bravura, but this wreaks havoc with the system spacing.

Maybe it could just be another subsection of the ornament popover, which works perfectly for adding ornaments in exactly the same space that the alternate rhythm would go (or, for that matter, ficta). It wouldn’t have to affect playback at all, since the main rhythmic option is already denoted in the staff.


How about adding the note in another voice, hide the ledger line, and make it silent?

  • or-
    Make a playing technique?

For the attached example I used a few notes above the staff in an extra voice, made them cue-sized and hid the ledger lines. (Note I’m not concerned about playback).
Schermafbeelding 2018-12-14 om 00.30.45.png

Is the ossia function not fit for this?

Maybe, but it’s overkill if you don’t want staff lines, etc, just a couple of notes close to the main staff with the minimum change to the vertical spacing.

I encountered a similar problem in very different musical context: rhythmic notation above the staff in a jazz leadsheet. Someone suggested adding them to a hidden single-line percussion instrument and then adding them back onto your print score as rhythmic cues, which I’ve found a quicker alternative to all the leger line hiding and whatnot.

Thanks for all of you answers. I wasn’t aware that new playing techniques could be created. That is the perfect solution! At least that’s the case for individual notes above a single note on the staff. I’m not sure how it will work out for two (or more) notes beamed together above multiple notes on the staff, but I’ll delve into that when I need it. I was hoping to find a method which didn’t necessitate hiding the ossia staff or individual ledger lines, and didn’t mess with the overall layout of the page, and this really does the trick. Once you’ve created the Playing Technique, it’s a one click operation to put it in the score

If you use this method, you’ll likely want to reposition the default spacing for where it appears above the staff, since it places the note very close to the top of the staff. You can adjust this globally in Engraving Options>Playing Techniques or for each instance individually in the Properties Panel.

The one problem with doing this globally is that it will change the positioning of all Playing Techniques symbols (there is a separate offset option for all text based Playing Techniques).

There doesn’t seem to be a way to adjust the positioning globally for each Playing Technique individually. Maybe there’s a reason why that can’t be implemented, but it would be great to have that level of control (maybe it does exist and I just haven’t spotted it).

thanks for the help!

You could experiment with creating a PT that includes a vertical offset into its design (that is, position the PT higher on the Y axis in the editor). I haven’t tried it, but I suspect it would work.

Thanks, Dan. I tried to do that when I initially created the PT, but the X/Y offset in the PT editor doesn’t seem to have any effect on the placement when used in the score. It moves the glyph around within the editor, but the symbol always appears at the same spot above the staff in the score (regardless of which mode I’m in). This is not true of the scaling, which does affect the size in both the editor and the score. [If someone does use this method for creating an alternative rhythm above the staff, you’ll probably also want to scale the note. I’ve scaled mine to X:68 and Y:68].

Given that it doesn’t impact placement in the score, I can’t really fathom the purpose of the X/Y offset in the editor. Maybe there’s some way to toggle it to have effect in the score that I’m unaware of?

I’m trying to do the same thing as Tubagooba mentioned above, and I can’t figure out how to make it work. I created a new instrument (snare drum), and created the rhythm I need. When I past it as a cue, it is in the middle of the staff, not above it. I know I’m missing something very obvious, but how do I place it above the staff (or, preferably, between the staves of a Piano grand staff)?

Thank you very much!

Make sure your cue has the ‘Rhythmic cue’ property set, and that should sort it out.

Thank you very much for your response I tried setting the Rhythmic cue property, and it does move an eighth rest up above the staff, but not the “notes”. The notes just stay on the middle line. I’ve attached a simplified project here in case that helps figure out what I mean. (I renamed the Snare Drum part to “Brushes” because that is what I want it to say next to the cue. The cue is only for the pickup bar and the first measure.)

Thank you very much for any and all help.
sample.zip (354 KB)

Sorry, even after looking at your project file I can’t quite see what’s going on. In which part are you trying to create the cue?

I apologize for not being clearer. I just want the rhythm cue on the pickup bar and first bar of the piano part. I’d like the brushes rhythm to show up between the staves.

Thank you for your help.

I’ve attached a photo showing what I’m trying to do in case that helps…

Thanks for clarifying, and I see that you did in fact provide that bit of information in the description of the file you uploaded, and I was simply too blind to see it. Sorry about that.

The reason this isn’t working is that you’re using a slash voice on your Brushes instrument, and Dorico will always render notes in a slash voice on the middle line of the staff, even in a rhythmic cue. If you select those notes and choose Edit > Voice > Rhythmic Slashes > Normal Notes, you’ll find that they then respond as expected to the ‘Distance’ property in the Properties panel when used in a rhythmic cue.

Thank you very much! That worked. I really appreciate the great job you and the others do on this forum helping us learn to use Dorico. Your support (and that of the other excellent folks here) is what made my decision to buy Dorico an easy one.