Feature request: Tempi alignment

For film work, alignment of tempi doesn’t really matter.

I do hope there are plans to add controllability over Tempi alignment. Some publishing house do have house styles that require other styles.

Universal publishing France, so all the historic French publishers, currently has a house style that wants Tempi aligned to the start of notes, not time signature. I’m pretty sure that Boosey & Hawks London has the same rule.


Please add this feature!

I have the Boosey style guide on my desk at work and will check this out. I don’t believe this is stipulated in their style guide. And it’s certainly not standard practice to align a tempo mark at the start of the bar with the first beat if there’s a time signature present.

Thanks for chiming it Daniel.

One thing I’m liking so much about Dorico, is the customability if offers for so many parameters.

An aspect a big as Tempi alignment can be a deal-breaker for publishers. Please don’t let that one
aspect close the door on Dorico !

I don’t really understand this, jamwerks. Are you suggesting you know of a notation program that produces 100% perfect, publishable output, every time, with no manual intervention ever? If so, I’d love to know what it is.

Regardless of Dorico’s settings for tempo alignment, you can always adjust them by hand.

Quoting directly from the Boosey & Hawkes style guide, page 98:

Tempos are aligned with the left of the time signature or, if there is no signature, to the first note or rest in the bar.

As I say, I’ve never seen a publisher whose house style is truly that they prefer to align tempos with the first beat of the bar even in the presence of a time signature.

And given that other scoring software doesn’t align tempos according to this (as far as I know) universally followed convention already, I don’t see why Dorico not supporting it and requiring the editor to manually adjust the tempo if that is needed should be a deal-breaker. By which I mean to say that editors are used to having to move tempo marks in scores produced in other scoring packages to make them align with time signatures, which Dorico always does without fail, so it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker if somebody perversely wants the opposite. If it’s idiosyncratic notation, it’s not our responsibility to provide every possible option, since adding options is not a zero-sum game. Every option takes time to implement, time to test, adds localisation cost, adds ongoing maintenance burden, and so on. So I will need some more persuading before we add this option, I’m afraid!

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Out of interest, I just looked through some of my french editions from Leduc and others and I always found the tempo markings aligned to the time signature or even further left (aligned to the beginning of system or to the accidentals).

jamwerks is right: Durand is now doing this, for better or for worse… Boosey isn’t – despite the style guide being authored by the same editor. I wonder if he just flew a white flag, since aligning tempi further left manually was something always left behind in a rush?

I’ll try to get in touch with David Bray to ask him what the reasoning behind this might be. Even if one publisher is doing it, my previous points still stand.

I really wonder why a publisher would change where everyone has always expected to look for tempo indications. I too would like to hear the justification. My old Durand editions all do it the current expected way. Sometimes standards help.

The Dorico 3.5.10 manual says: “If there is a notehead with an accidental at the rhythmic position of a tempo mark, it is convention to align the tempo mark with the accidental.” Where can I set on this behavior? I cannot find such an option within Engraving Options. All my tempi are aligned with the left side of the note instead of accidentals.

The manual says: “When horizontal space is tight, the metronome mark can be positioned below the tempo mark text.” Is this an automatic function or can I force this behavior?

At the moment there’s no way to automatically position a metronome mark on a second line for a tempo, but that’s certainly something we intend to add in future.

The passage you’ve quoted in the manual concerning th convention of aligning tempo marks with the leftmost accidental on a note is not intended to imply that Dorico does this automatically. It’s actually quite difficult to do in general because of course in a full score you would have to decide which staff to align the tempo with. Would it be the staff on which the tempo itself appears? What if the tempo appears above several staves in the system – should each one be aligned at a different horizontal position?

It’s a little easier to imagine being able to do this automatically in a part layout for a single instrument, but at the present time Dorico does not do this. It is something we could consider adding.

Thanks, Daniel, for the explanation.